Today was the second full day of training in Trutnov. I woke up and walked out to the balcony to see that it was another beautiful, sunny day. I was also greeted by the sight of my disgusting O-clothes; the balcony makes an awesome place to dump my sweaty, mud-ridden shoes and clothes, but doesn't make them any cleaner. One day I'll probably have to do laundry, but I'm trying to put it off as long as possible.
This morning was a track workout. Conveniently, there's a track a minute away from the hotel, so all we had to do was walk out the back door, and, after a 15 minute warmup and some stretching, were ready for the workout. After each interval we looked at a map with a partner and talked about the legs of the course. The downside to the beautiful day is it was also quite hot. I was, impressively, drenched in sweat before we even started the workout, and by the end, felt like I had just taken a plunge in a pool. I was only too glad to get back to the hotel and take an actual shower before lunch.
In the afternoon, after an ice cream run to the grocery store and a quick nap (both vital down-time activities for me), we headed out to a patch of woods just outside of town for another training. Right by where the cars were parked there was this cool hole in the side of a hill, which was all boarded up. Of course I had to crawl in. It was actually pretty cool. There was an outer room and then an inner room made out fo stone. There were some sketchy looking hooks on the ceiling, and Izzy told me that it was (for a fact), a hobbit torture chamber.
It took a while to actually get to the start -- all uphill, it seemed to me -- but eventually we got there. For the first loop of controls, we followed Erin around in a group, discussing what details we should be seeing along the way. We also talked about when heading into the control, what features we should look out for that are on the way to the next control, to improve course flow -- which was actually a super helpful pointer that I hadn't used before. By the end of the exercise I was dying to run -- the horseflies were vicious.
Luckily the second half we were on our own, and I was able to outrun most flies in pursuit.
Dinner was, for once, NOT chicken and potatoes, which was beyond exciting. And after some games of cards, I now sit here on my balcony, again looking at a beautiful view, finishing this blog entry.
Well, we show up in Prague International Airport nad after going through baggage claim, I realize I am the only one missing their bag. Good thing I packed most of the important things [like the training maps! -ed.] in my carry-on!
After a few days of training, I really begin to appreciate air conditioners and washing machines.
Today, after the intense gut check that was our interval workout, we were set to learn “how to see with [our] eyes” as Erin pu tit. Aside from giving me time to pursue one of my favorite pastimes – tree hunting – I ended up a much smarter orienteerer. By walking through the woods instead of my usual headlong sprint, I was able to really get a feel for the different vegetation boundaries. I brought my focus up from just looking at my map, to actually examining my given route choice. I feel that given more practice, I could use this to adapt my route and choose smarter paths in the beginning to use less energy crashing through the vines, thorns, bushes, trees, roots, and whatever else may cross my path. Also, we practiced identifying easy landmarks so you can move away from controls more quickly. It is really a very simple thing that I sometimes did, but now it has been brought to my attention, I hope it’ll shorten my time re-orienting myself through the controls.
OK, so tree hunting: the basics.
- find a dead tree, the taller/thicker the better (dead tree limbs count too!)
- call it out to your friends
- compliment the finder on what a beautiful specimen of a dead tree they found.
- Arrange the necessary number of people at the base of the tree.
- PUSH IT OVER!
- Extra points: if it’s rotten in places, it will explode!
We engaged in a bit of tree hunting during our stroll in the woods and I came upon an exceptional specimen of a dead tree around 34-35 so I immediately called my buddy Duncan over. He hurried over getting pumped for our soon to be tree hunting extravaganza! As I started pushing the tree, I witnessed in slow motion the top quarter of the 20+ foot tree come hurtling down to my immediate left… exactly where Duncan just arrived! Luckily the top 5 feet of this tree realized it was about to hit one of the most studly men in the world, and Duncan’s pure power caused the tree top to fall further to the left, narrowly missing him. After a sigh of relief, we helped the tree to the forest floor in spectacular fashion!
Also, Duncan and I would like to first say thank you to the USMA and USMA Orietneering Club and to Col. Hendrix and Maj. Malcom for all the financial and logistical support! Also, we’d like to thank Orienteering USA for providing the opportunity, logistics and funding through the amazing volunteers/staff (goes double for Barb Bryant, Erin Schirm, Anna Shafer-Skelton and Marianne Spencer!)!