Let the Games Begin

This week will be very busy for me. I’m on the verge of accomplishing a goal I’ve had for a while – participating in the Montgomery County Senior Games, taking place May 9-13.

This series of events is for people 50+. All kinds of athletics are included and they take place in various places around our county. Why is this important to me? Well, I was an avid runner and swimmer before my health issues started in September 2012, but over the course of the last three years, though I’ve tried to stay as active as possible, I’ve fallen out of shape.

Now that, knock on wood, nothing seems to be breaking off or down anymore, I have dedicated myself to getting back to fighting form. I realize things will be different from before – I’m older and I have some deficits I can’t make up. But, I’ve been running and I’ve returned to my gym classes and workouts and I’m making progress.

Participating in these games was goal #1 for 2016. I did swimming events about 5 years ago, and last year, I signed up for running, but – I suffered my stress fracture in my foot days before (the games people were really nice and mailed me my T-shirt anyway).

This year I’m doing orienteering (more later on that); running the mile and 800 meters; and doing a timed walk.

I’ll start with orienteering. I am a total newbie to this sport. My son and daughter-in-law introduced my husband and me to it. I went along with the idea because I thought it would make a nice thing for us all to do together. It also reminded me of trail running, something I really like, but that I don’t feel safe in competing in anymore with my eyesight and balance issues.

So having signed up, I needed practice. (Nothing like just diving in, is there?) So, my husband and I have done 2 practice courses in local parks and 2 competitions, working against the clock.

We did a competition at French Creek State Park yesterday. We arrived around ten in the morning and checked in. Beautiful day.

Orienteering 5-8-16 -1- small

The course looped around a small lake in the park. It had rained the day before and the ground was muddy. The terrain was rocky and hilly.

Hopewell Lake 5-9-16 small

We chose to do the Orange course. This is an intermediate level course and it’s what we had done in the other event.

This time, we were a bit over our heads in some parts – we are so new that pretty much everything is a challenge and there were some control points in the middle of the woods that we took quite a bit of time getting to. I am also very shaky on my feet in trackless, rocky stretches and I have to move slowly. Nonetheless, we found every point, were never lost, and we made it to the end. It took two hours, but we got there. And we weren’t the slowest ones, either.

Map French Creek 5-9-16 -1- small

Here’s the map we used. It’s packed full of information.


Map French Creek 5-9-16 -2- small

You can see the circles on the map – those are the points we had to check in at along the way.

So tomorrow, May 10, I’m doing the orienteering course at the Senior Games – taking place at Norristown Farm Park in Norristown, PA. The other event we did was held in this park, so maybe that will help me out. I will be going out alone this time – just me and the map. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

14 responses to “Let the Games Begin

    • Thank you. I am kind of nervous. Hoping not to get hopelessly lost.

      • It’s a controlled event so you can never get hopelessly lost, I’m sure. My oldest son went orienteering one freezing November in Scotland when he was nine. That kid has no sense of direction whatsoever but even he managed to not get hopelessly lost.

        • I’m not worried that I can’t find my way back but that I will circle helplessly around a control point and yet miss seeing it and start crying or something. I feel sure it won’t happen but I must remind myself FOCUS! and pay attention to details and not make assumptions. Good advice for everything, I guess.

  1. Hats off to you, Claudia! And good luck in the games.

  2. And what a beautiful map! Good luck, and admiration from NYC. (K)

    • Thank you. Getting ready to go over to the park in a few minutes…

      I agree, these maps are great. High quality (you do need to see details) and full of info. You can really picture the terrain from the variety of symbols and colors, etc. I always did like map reading in school when we studied geography.

  3. Pingback: You Are Not Lost if You Know Where You Are on the Map | Sometimes You Get So Confused

  4. Pingback: Re-Orienting Myself | Sometimes You Get So Confused

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