In today’s training, there was a lot of focus on the challenge of seeing other people out in the woods. The critical lesson from today was knowing when other people can help you by leading you into a control, and knowing when other people can lead you astray by making mistakes or distracting you. This morning’s “warm-up” course was actually quite fast-paced. Erin had us run together, specifically to practice this critical aspect of competition. I managed to stay in contact with the map for the first few legs before I realized that I had lost contact with the map. I slowed to read the map, not wanting to follow my teammates completely blindly but in the process fell behind. I was then left in the woods, unsure of my location and separated from the herd I hadn’t realized I was relying on so heavily. I relocated after a helpful tip from Danielle to “check your compass!”, and continued the rest of the course mostly alone.
I had a second chance to practice this later in the day. We split into groups and were assigned different controls to run to together. Meanwhile, Erin, Anna, and Barb were the “rabbits” and/or “turkeys” that would try to distract the teams. This exercise went well for me. My teammates set a pace that was faster than I usually orienteer and comfortably navigate at. The entire time I felt I was on the edge of being able to read the map and continue moving along quickly. This time however, I managed to stay in contact with map for the most part, and was able to point out if I saw my teammates go astray, or pose a hypothesis if we all ran to the wrong spot. I also recognize that had I been on my own, I probably wouldn’t have been able to take a bearing that fast or plan a good route as quickly. The final lesson: I did benefit from my other teammates, and having them running to the same controls helped me find them faster. I also realized how important it is to maintain a certain amount of independence, so that were I competing as opposed to collaborating with other orienteers in the woods, I would be able to recognize when I needed to forge my own path.
Today started with a punch in the face because it was raining hard; all the stuff we had on the clotheslines to dry are soaking wet again. We woke up a little late for breakfast. Carl and I had cereal. He had this concoction of a strange sandwich that he made with eggs, ham – it looked disgusting but it looked good at the same time.
Barb and Marianne were late to leave because of figuring out whether to take Addison to the doctor. Erin suggested we have them do pushups, because having people do pushups when they’re late is a thing here.
First was the “warmup” exercise. It felt fast. It was very flat, so it was a breath of fresh air after all those 90-degree slopes. (Exaggerating.) The woods were very white, but when they were green it wasn’t too bad; you could still make it through, with a few scratches and bruises. You could read the vegetation out there like contour lines. It was very noticeable and the map was very accurate. We got back quickly. Everybody kind of overdid it but we still had plenty left to give.
We started our second training. Erin told us that everything was taken off except for a few big roads, some fences, and vegetation. When I was halfway to 2, I was on this hill, and I looked at my map to look for it and I was thinking, it’s gotta be on this map, what’s wrong? So I freaked out a little; it took me a few seconds to remember that contours had been taken off the map.
After that everyone headed back. We had lunch.
Marianne told us the story about being yelled at by a Czech man – again – for the 4th time on this trip. At the end of his sentence, Marianne just closed her eyes and shook her head and said, “I can’t speak Czech.” The guy said, “Oh.” Long pause. “No parking.” After Marianne tried to explain that she wasn’t parking, she was waiting for everyone and staying with the cars, he just said “No parking.”
Then we left for the second training. We had no idea what to expect. We saw an American store on the way there and some people wanted to shop there. We arrived at the next training site and got ready to go. Everybody was taking so long, so my team decided to leave before the others. To the start we took the correct path. Erin and the others had a little navigational trouble getting to the start.
We started the relay. My team was determined to beat Erin. We were doing great, then everybody except Erin, Anna and Barb had trouble on 49. We were a perfect team. Too bad that we won’t be able to talk to each other and help each other in the actual orienteering relay. Near the end we beat Erin by a little bit. We waited for the others. Then we wandered back to the car and decided to go for a swim. Once we started driving the van, everybody was yelling at Marianne, “Hey, wait, we want to go back to the American store! We wanna go shop!” But we didn’t go.
We made it back and I went to the grocery store looking for an ATM, but didn’t find one. So I came back, had supper, which was chicken, potatoes, 1 cucumber slice, and one wedge of tomato and some cabbage, which I didn’t eat. I had some soup, and pineapple dessert. Immediately after dinner I left for town. I memorized the route we took back when Ethan was looking for an ATM. I found the ATM, but unfortunately I do not know my PIN. I thought I knew it, but I don’t. So I just kind of wandered back, and when I got back, the meeting had already started.