Rogaining nerdery

Rogaining nerdery

I'm seven events into my second rogaining season and still having just the most fun ever. Every Wednesday night before we head out onto the weekly course, Jeremy and I take a moment and remind each other of our own little set of rules:

1. Don't be late.

2. Skip the 10-pointers (the lowest value) unless they're easily on the way to something else.

3. No tunnel vision.

4. Seriously, don't be late.

I was eight seconds late to the finish last night, but otherwise I felt really good about my performance. It's sometimes hard to gauge how well you've done on a particular rogaining course, since the terrain and control points are so different from week to week. Jeremy and I got to talking about whether you could even correlate distance covered with points earned (the farther you run, the more control points you reach, right?), and we decided that you probably can't. And in that moment, I knew what I needed to do to figure this out for sure: MAKE AN EXCEL SHEET.

So I plotted out date, neighborhood, points, place/participants (and therefore percentile), pace, distance, and points per km. And it turns out there is very little correlation between all these factors, at least to the naked eye. (Andrew Heiss, some day I will take a course like yours and it will increase my nerdery capabilities, but today is not that day.)

Last week, with a home-court advantage (the course was in and around our old neighborhood), I ran an (almost) all-time farthest distance of 7.58km in the alotted 60 minutes. But my total score didn't really reflect that extra distance - it was only my sixth-highest score.

Or take my all-time highest score in a non-sprint event (the asterisk-ed Vanha Suurtori one): Satama last month, with 510 points. It felt good! But looking at the field of competitors, it must have been a high-scoring course overall since I was still only in the third quartile of finishers. (Which, PS, I am fine with - I have the running part down, aside from a few injuries, but I am still learning all the orienteering stuff!)

And then there's times where it just all went wrong. The points per km column really tells this story, like how the Raisio course last month was a truly dismal all-time low of 34: cold, sleet-y, unfamiliar terrain, in which I got lost almost immediately. I kept regrouping and aiming for a new control point, only to get lost on the way to that one, too. It was so hard! Stripped of the exhilaration of like, knowing where you are and where you're going, rogaining is exposed as what it essentially is: running around in the dark.

And I'm looking forward to doing more of it next week!

December 22nd, outsourced

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