Orienteering 54:54  5.4 km (10:10 / km)
spiked:6/10c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
Green course at Boxford State Forest. I arrived at the meet site quite late, and while I intended to help out with control pickup, I was still frantic in my effort to arrive, prep, and start my course. The start box had already been picked up, so I started from the registration tent rather than the 300m distant start.
I had decided to schedule Boxford after Tim Parson visited the site and concluded the terrain was sufficiently interesting. It was understood that the map was ancient and in need of revision, but the contours were adequate - as adequate as they had been when the map was first created, which is to say not very. Expanding the set of maps NEOC uses for local meets has been a goal of mine, and Mika Latva-Kokko agreed to run the meet. His meet at Harold Parker last November was very successful. With Turtle Pond, this is the second old map to be resurrected this fall. Jim Crawford and Peter Gagarin introduced entirely new maps in the spring at Mt. Misery and Earl's Trails, so it's been a reasonably novel year.
Out of the start, I struggled to make sense of the trails. I actually stopped before the start to check out a piece of asphalt before moseying on down the trail. I took what looked to me to be the best route - a trail run left of the line, a push across a set of marshes, and an attack from a second trail. My attack was very poor, and I lost contact quickly. I was pushing too fast and made very little sense of the contours. I bailed fairly quickly, but found relocating challenging; I estimate I lost about eight minutes meandering in the woods. My attack to control 2 was similarly bad for a loss of about two minutes - I attacked from the end of the marsh, but struggled to interpret the contours. Controls 3-8 were improved apart from a small bobble at 7, but I found the area around 9 tricky and lost around 30 seconds poking around before spotting the control. I attacked prematurely to 10 and found myself well south of the control before turning north and hitting the stone wall. I made a 90 second error on the finish leg running down the wrong trail because I lost focus.
Overall, today was not a good day. Certainly some of that is the sketchiness of the map, but the contours aren't so convoluted to justify these big mistakes. Lessons:
1. Prepare for your race. A good warm up and a calm, focused mindset are critical.
2. Have a solid first control. Especially in unfamiliar terrain, it is far better to slow down and be very accurate than to run faster than I can process. Better to lose a minute or two to speed than ten to errors. You can only orienteer on the edge of control if you have first established where that boundary lies.
3. Always have a plan. Both controls 1 and 2 were in part due to poor execution near the circle. Once I had connected with the second trail, the attack to control 1 should have been trivial.
Orienteering 1:00:00  *** 6.0 km (10:00 / km)
12c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
Control pickup. I didn't actually know what courses were being picked up. I had seen a cadre of kids marching out boldly picking up nearby controls, so I reran to Green #1 (in about 8:45, rather than the 18 minutes on my course run), then wandered around on the far end of the map checking control sites. I ran into Dean at the 7th control I checked - green #5 - and received instructions to pick up Green 6-10. Running with less urgency gave me more of an opportunity to explore the map, though I made a remarkably foolish error approaching control 8, which I had executed acceptably during the race. The map certainly was lacking in places, but my deviation from straight while using my compass is unacceptable and only loosely related.