Monday, June 29, 2015

Bush orienteering - a lovely long leg

Our orienteering calendar has a variety of events. The beginning of the year is dominated by the Urban Series, a collection of 10 events that are held on urban terrain - places like university campuses, large school properties, city parks, botanical gardens and golf courses.

With winter comes the start of the Bush events, which are my favourite-favourite. Here the navigation is more technical and the terrain more challenging, especially up here on the highveld were we have rocks and grasses and bushes and wag-n-bietjie thorny trees and rocks and rocks...

My club hosted the Bush orienteering event at Hennops Farm yesterday. This was the second event of the Bush Series; there are eight in total from now until mid-October. Margaret did the controlling with Pascale learning from Margaret and trying her hand at assisting with planning.

I ran the brown course - and what a superb course it was!

For the most part my navigation was more than spot-on and I thoroughly enjoyed this terrain that really allowed us to move 'as-the-crow-flies'. There was little restriction to our movements due to vegetation and so for the most part I avoided the paths and played with straight-line navigation.

There was one leg of particular mention - between Control 2 and Control 3. Heading to #1 and #2 I'd folded my map and leaving 2 I unfolded my map to reveal the next leg.

"Oooohhh weee!" I shrieked with glee as I started running towards my destination.

There were two options here...

  1. Head back the way I'd come (a gate in the uncrossable fence) and run on the trails heading for Control 3 (yellow line)
  2. Go cross-country (pink line)

Let's take a look.

I didn't go totally straight-line from 2 to the fence corner to avoid dipping-into and climbing-out-of the valley. That's why I took the track along the fence, which made for easy, no-brainer running.

Most went for 1 (yellow). Margaret seemed to think that 2 (pink), which I went for, was actually faster because you don't drop and then climb up again - the gradient is more pleasant. Mmm... I'm not sure.

I wasn't particularly racing and I stopped to chat to Celliers for a bit near the fence and then I overshot 3. The road continued a bit further than indicated and I actually went off the map, which I realised immediately and backtracked - but I lost time anyway as I was a bit uncertain how far I'd overshot. So my split for this leg really won't be representative of the potential of this route.

Assuming two orienteers of similar speed and ability take on each route, which do you think would work out better?

Overall this was a very, very enjoyable course with great direction change and spot-on control placement. I really loved that I could go straight-line for most of the controls. Gauteng Champs are on this next weekend in Hilton, KZN and the next Bush event is on 19 July at Big Red Barn, also presented by AR Club.

Dead of Winter Run not that cold - again

With morning temperatures predicted to sit on 6°C for Saturday morning, we thought that this may be the first of our 'Dead of Winter Emmies to N1 Run' to actually be cold and wintery. In past years conditions have been sunny, warm and pleasant.

Driving from home to Fred's shop just after 06h30, it was already 9.5°C according to my car. Nice. And it was even more improved by the time we set off at 08h30.

Turnout this year was better than ever before. I didn't write a post about this last year but I seem to think there were only four or five of us running. This year at least 40 runners joined us.

This is a casual and social run and the runners settled into groups of matched pace. I was in good company with Ian, Sarah (x 2) and Nick. Good company and great conversation as we made our way along the Braamfontein Spruit. The distance was around 18km and we were rewarded with a lovely breakfast on the far end.

Next one will be in the dead of winter next year.

We (Adventure Racing Club) are thinking of coordinating a "Heat of Summer Emmies to N1 Run" - we'll let you know.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wearing gaiters, a winter run and bush orienteering

John Vonhof this THE foot guru and his book 'Fixing Your Feet' is the best foot care resource for runners and hikers. This wonderful guide is in its 5th edition and AR Gaiters feature in the book. John also writes informative and educational foot care blog posts (subscribe to his feed for free) and his most recent one is about the value of wearing gaiters for blister prevention and a host of other foot-care related reasons.

On Saturday morning we've got our annual AR Club Dead of Winter Emmies to N1 Run. It looks like we're in for a chilly run, which is unusual because our Dead of Winter Run has been warm and sunny the past few years. Well, it is a Dead of Winter Run and we've been angling for a frosty morning. Looks like we'll get our wish this year. 

And then on Sunday morning AR Club is hosting the second Bush orienteering event of the season at Hennops, which is North of Fourways on the road to Hartebeespoort. There are a bunch of courses available for all ages and levels of experience. It really helps us for you to pre-register on orienteeringonline so we print enough maps. It's free to register on the site and makes pre-entry quick and easy.

Understanding ignorance - a new MOOC

The world of MOOCs is a wonderful place. This are Massive Open Online Courses. They're available on the internet and cover more topics and themes than you can imagine. And they're free.

I haven't done a MOOC since the bunch I did early last year and I've been keeping an eye out for one. 

My new course starts tomorrow / Wednesday and it is hosted by edX. The course is called Ignorance! It is offered by the Australian National University and runs over five weeks.

In the course description they write:
Ignorance is everyone’s business. Ignorance is relevant to every discipline and profession, and to everyday life, both at work and at play. 
We will explore questions about ignorance such as: Where does ignorance come from? How do we impose ignorance on each other, and even on ourselves? And why? We usually think about ignorance as a bad thing, but can it be preferable not to know something? How do we use ignorance? What roles does ignorance play in social interaction, group relations, institutions, and law? Can ignorance sometimes be a virtue? When can ignorance be good or bad for us? How can we harness the unknown for learning, discovery, and creativity?
A few months ago the best friend of a lady-I-know passed away. Apparently she had a quick-onset cracking headache and was very ill. By morning she was dead.

The lady-I-know said her best friend has died because of the stress of her car being stolen a few days earlier.

I explained about meningitis - the onset, symptoms and prognosis. This seemed the most likely cause. I thought that the lady-I-know would think about this and consider that this (or something similar) could be the most likely medical explanation for her friend's passing.

A few weeks later in a random conversation she again mentioned the car theft as the cause of her healthy, mid-30s friend's sudden passing. It troubled me that she was ok with this.

Ignorance comes about when a person lacks knowledge. I'm not quite sure what you call it when you don't ask questions and you don't consider other possibilities?

I hope to learn more about ignorance over the next five weeks.