Frozen

When I finished practice this morning the temperature had climbed to 44°F from 37°F. Half way through practice I stopped, hiked back to the house, went inside, thawed, added more and thicker clothes and headed back out. The temperature had risen a little and was outmatched by the increase in wind. Convective heat loss is heartless.

I know some of you archers who live north of the Mason-Dixon line laugh at a windy 37°F. You’ll be outdoors at that temperature taking selfies to post of fresh snow while barefoot, wearing short pants and a tee shirt. I applaud your grit and wish you speedy recovery from your pneumonia.

By the time I finished practice I felt like the Michelin Man. I was wearing many puffy layers. Five layers up top to be exact: short sleeved undershirt, long sleeved undershirt, running insulated top, down filled vest and a jacket. The bottom half, an error in thermoregulation, consisted of jeans, socks and boots. Tomorrow morning I’ll be sporting long johns.

For my head and ears I done right. An Elmer Fudd hunting hat – flaps down. Hands are another matter. I’d ordered hand warmers from Amazon. They hadn’t arrived. When I mentioned the warmly anticipated order to my wife, Brenda, she corrected me. Turns out I never ordered them. I’d put them in the cart and forgotten to click order. (I placed the order after coming in from yesterday’s morning practice. I suppose my brain was still in a hypothermic state.) No, I’d not clicked the order and Brenda cleared the cart.

I can wear a glove on my bow hand, which I did. It is thin and doesn’t provide much insulation. The hand that holds my release just freezes.

Yesterday, during the Georgia versus Auburn football game my son-in-law showed me his outdoor propane portable heater. With it running I stood next to it. It was pretty good. When I return to Amazon today to actually order those hand warmers that propane heater will also make it to the cart. Just have to remember to click the order.

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Longevity

There are two things we can never really know – we don’t know when we’ll die or how. That said, it isn’t a bad plan to live everyday like it is your last while being prudent in your planning ahead.

One of my sisters recently gave me a family history that was done professionally. A cousin had hired a firm to verify some of the myths associated with our kin. The mythology, fantastic gossip passed down through a verbal history, included an unlikely tale of longevity.

If there was any grain of truth to how long our ancestors lived it was a bit remarkable. According to legend, a great many of my ancestors lived to ripe old ages. I’d heard the tales and blown them off as exaggerations.

Then, I got hold of a copy of this in-depth history of our family. There on the pages were many of the historical names I heard as a child. Most amazing were the data on birth and death records.

As I studied the data I thought that the time between birth and death looked pretty lengthy. So, I took those times and did the math.

The complete data on my ancestors’ age began around 1600. Further back the data became foggy. During the 1600 until the 1800 the average live expectancy was 35 years. At that time the women in our family were hitting 72 years old and the men reached 76 years old on average before they kicked the bucket. One fellow skewed the men because reached 100 years old. Taking him of the mix the men lived an average of 72.5 years.

The old fellow that lived to be 100 seemed like a mistake. On a whim I checked him out on the Internet. Why, not – everything else is there. Sure enough I found him and sure enough independent records confirmed his century of life here on Earth.

I figured if this group that contributed to my genes lived so long must have had money. I didn’t think there was anyway a person could nearly triple his life expectancy in the 1600s if he was poor. Sure enough, the oldest of us was noted as being “very wealthy” on the Internet. Sadly, his wealth didn’t survive to me.

The report my sister sent is extremely interesting. Among the data collected included two brothers that fought in and survived the Revolutionary War and a Southerner that fought against the North, deserted ,walked home,  planted fields,  then returned to the fighting. It seems a lot of the Southern Army practiced this fight and farm routine. The Northern Army later captured him. He survived the ordeal, too.

Overall, the Lain side of my family lives as long as the myths suggested. All I know of  “Mamas” side, the Weatherly side,  is that Grandmamma expired at 97 and Great-Grandmamma died at 104.

I certainly don’t know when I’ll die or how it will happen. I do know that we humans have being dying forever. We all have to do it. In the meantime, it is a good idea to treat others the way you’d like to be treated and set in place plans to cover the life you want to live.

Plantation Ruin

Mountain biking around my home is really pretty nice. I can be on trails, hard pack, or dirt roads within minutes of leaving home.

I try to ride everyday. I doubt I’ll race again – but I might. I think of racing every time I train. The fact is, I ride (and run) as part of an archery fitness plan. At 63 years old I want to compete against seniors although the masters archers are pretty tough to beat. Part of that desire requires I stay fit. I don’t want to end up with high blood pressure and need to take beta-blockers to manage as aliment when fitness and weight management can help reduce the risk of getting high blood pressure. Beta-blockers are banned in archery. Still, there are a lot of archers competing while using beta-blockers. Aside from that cycling off-road is a lot of fun.

While riding in a wooded area I discovered what appeared ruins of an old mansion. It seemed to be more than just a run down old house. I circled the ruins and rode around trails that were on what seemed to be old property to a large estate.

When I got home I searcher the Internet a learned the ruins are the remains of the Casulon Plantation that burned in 2002.

What a shame. The estate was incredible. The Internet report indicated that the couple that owned the Plantation was going through a nasty divorce. The couple was out of town when the Planation burned.  Arson was suspected. It is awful for Georgia to have lost such a nice old home.

Before the fire

Mountain biking is one of my cardio programs used for fitness, which is part of my archery training. It is fun to get out on a bike ride through the woods. You never know what you might discover.

Another State Record – Maybe

A couple of months ago I won an outdoor archery tournament. I shot it in my age group. I did well and won. I’d been practicing the distances required for the tournament, 70 meters, 60 meters, 50 meters and 30 meters for weeks. I finished 101 points over the 2nd place finisher.

The event was a state championship. I looked over the results from prior years. It seemed I’d broken the old record. That is unofficial since I was only searching for scores on the Internet. But, from the scores available it seemed like a new record.

I asked the organizers, via email, whether my score was a new record a few times. I never received a reply. In a previous outdoor event at 50 meters I did set a new record. I decided then that where I set records I’d compete in the subsequent year in the senior division.

I don’t know if my score was an official record – well it isn’t since no one from the organization that ran the event notified me of a record. But, next year I will shoot in the senior division.

You’re Never Going to Beat Us

Decades ago I had a decent triathlete give me a slam. I was out of shape having not raced in years. I’d spent a lot of time after I finished racing bicycles to finish my college education. I wasn’t in horrible shape; I was certainly not as fit as the group I was training with on that day.

The comment really pissed me off. I got my racing form back in short order. Afterwards, when I trained with that group I did my best to repay the insult.

Riding a bicycle I used that slight to push me harder when training with those riders. Oddly, in archery, a few months after I picked up a bow I was practicing 3D with a group of close friends. I was an outsider. I wasn’t doing very well; it had been only a few months since I’d picked up archery.

One of the archers said to me, “Just shoot you own game, you’ll never beat us.” I remember that comment. It was loud enough that anyone nearby could have overheard. I considered it rude. I held my tongue knowing that nothing I might say would make any difference.

I don’t see those fellows any longer. Most were fine men. The guy that made the rude comment was nice even if a bit arrogant. I may never see them again. So, I’ll never really know whether the comment was accurate. Well, maybe.

Those guys compete exclusively in IBO fashion 3D. I wondered, what were their recent scores at major IBO events. I checked.

These guys are certainly good shooters. Overall, their average score is 9.32 points per arrow from 35 yards maximum distance. Individually, they scored on average: 9.52, 9.56, 9.22 and 8.98 points per arrow. Like I said, these guys aren’t bad. They’re just not great.

Then, I checked my 3D scores. I excluded the few IBO scores I have since those where just too low and I was truly a beginner. I was interested in the past two years. That allowed me some time to learn to shoot a bow – two years.

Another factor I can’t control for is distance; I have been shooting ASA style. Using the classes where a rangefinder was not allowed I shot at a maximum distance of either 40 or 45 yards. My average score is 9.89. Not bad, but certainly not great.

I have no doubt I can beat those guys today. But, unlike the cycling, I don’t care nearly so much as I did after the triathletes comment.

Stretching and Flexibility

Slow and easy, that’s how I go when it comes to stretching. I stretch as part of my morning routine. That is, as soon as I roll out of bed. To some, they’ll say, “Whoa, that’s not good, you could hurt yourself stretching when you’re cold.”

Well, I go slowly. It feels great. I look forward to it.

There was a time when I was extremely flexible. I studied karate for years and I stretched a lot. Cycling took place of karate and it wasn’t long before I lost most of that flexibility. I still ride a bike. I am no longer as limber as I was during my karate phase. But, I realized that flexibility was an importance adjunct to overall fitness.

Coaching Tip

“Flexibility exercise is one of the four types of exercise along with strengthbalance and endurance. Ideally, all four types of exercise would be included in a healthy workout routine and AHA provides easy-to-follow guidelines for endurance and strength-training in its Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults.”1

As we age it is easy to neglect flexibly. Well, so are strength, balance, and endurance fitness programs. It is easiest to do zero exercise. You know this is true of most folks as suggested by the current state of obesity in America. For you, an archer, all four types of exercise are more important that you may think – especially if archery is your primary (only) form of fitness training.

As an archer it is a good idea to have a plan that includes flexibility along with your balance, strength and endurance adjuncts to shooting.

A stretching routine need not take a long time. I get all main muscle groups in about 30 minutes. Since I do this first thing in the morning I move slowly and feel tightness slipping away.

There are a number of sights online where you can find more about flexibility and stretching. As this site develops I’ll add my routine if you’d like to follow it.

Reference:

1.) http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/staying-motivated/stretches-for-exercise-and-flexibility

 

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Daylight Saving Time and Archery Practice

Try this once you’ve gotten your body accustom to daylight saving time: Go to bed one hour later than usual. Wake up at your usual time. Go to bed at your usual time. Wake up an hour earlier. (Yes, of course not on the same night.)

Which one makes your feel more sluggish? If you’re like most folk the latter of the two sleep pattern disruptions makes you more sluggish. That’s why we often feel out of sorts when we switch to daylight saving time. It is also way falling back often seems harder than springing forward. (Aside from the bonus hour in the spring)

Last night we made the switch and fell back. I was optimistic that it might not be as awful this year as all of those in the past. Nope, I felt like crap.

Getting through morning archery practice was pretty miserable. I considered ditching the workout. I didn’t, I trudged through it.

There will be archery tournaments that may require you to shoot without having a perfect night’s sleep. It is good practice to continue your training when you’ve simply had a poor night’s rest. You’ll gather information on how you’ll perform and be able to consider techniques that will aid you making corrections.

Coaching tip

For example, when your shooting is off because of poor sleep, you may make shots where your form is sloppy. Understanding that you’re not physically worn out, rather you are shooting while a bit sleep deprived can help you pause and figure out what to do. In this case, slow down, work through the shot process and trust your training. You’ll need to dig deep to focus on the shot process and not get lazy.

It’s easy to make sloppy shots when you’ve missed some sleep before a practice. You don’t have the tournament adrenaline rush to boost you up. Still, lack of sleep not withstanding, do your practice, concentrate on each arrow and mentally override that momentary disruption in sleep pattern.

Professional athletes who travel  learn to make this mental adjustment needed to deal with disrupted sleep. Think of yourself as a professional who is continually competing in different time zones. When that day comes and you need to have this skill you’ll be glad you practiced it.

Not Enough Apparel for 41°F

It was 41°F for my US friends and 5°C for just about everyone else in the world. Either way it was cold when I started my morning 18-meter archery practice outside. My bow had spent the night in my 2006 Ford 150 and it proved just how well it absorbs the cold. Cold or not it was time to practice.

I thought I’d dressed just right. I thought I’d stay warm. I was wrong. Certainly, I could have gone back inside and added my layers. Call it stubbornness or laziness, but I didn’t want to take the time or hike back to the house. I was on the range and I was going to stay.

I had a simple goal before practice, that was to shoot 60 tens in the outer 10 ring and no less than 40 arrows in the inner ten ring of a Vegas style 3-spot.

This target

I planned to take my time, go through the shot process, don’t rush and make every shot count.

That plan held up though warm-up (that’s only an expression – it was never warm) and the first 30 arrows. By then, the ‘taking my time’ element had shivered out of my plan. I still shot well until the last arrow. With snot dripping from my nose I put too much heel in my bow hand lifting an arrow slightly out of the big 10 ring. I might have been able to prevent it if I could have felt my hand.

The temperature will increase by 23°F by this afternoon. (Sorry my Celsius friends your on your own.) I should have thawed by then and am looking forward to another run at 60 arrows in the big 10.

Tips for running in the dark

Lately, most of my running has been done in the dark. I am usually cruising through the woods before sunrise.  That may change when we switch to daylight saving time.

I like running trails in the dark. I like running trails in the light. Either way, trail running is more appealing to me than pounding pavement.

There are a few things to do when running in the dark that are less significant issues when running over trails in the daylight. You need to be aware of how you plant your feet. You need to lift and plant a bit more slowly. Otherwise, you could snag a foot and trip. If the trail is tight don’t run into a tree. You aren’t big enough or fast enough to run through a tree. You are not The Flash. Trees will stop you.

Wear glasses with clear lenses so you don’t poke an eye out on a low limb. You should have a good outdoor bearing for direction. Trails coming and going don’t always look the same in the dark. Have a good headlamp and fresh batteries. Bring a spare flashlight just in case.

During hunting season light yourself up. More than one light isn’t a bad idea. If you are running with a dog, put a red light on her collar. Try to run where you know no one is hunting. You don’t want to get shot because some idiot thought your dog’s red light was Rudolph’s red nose.

Coaching tip

If you are a hunter or 3D archer running though the woods is another way to enjoy the outdoors without a bow in your hand.  It is also a good method for getting you archery fitness on track.

Personal Walk of Shame

On Facebook, an archer whose is one of those, Robin Hood shootin, Pro-Staffer, big game huntin’, Bull’s Eye hitting, experts posted his latest heroics. He’d grabbed his bow, a newly acquired hunting rig, stood at 18-meters, faced a vertical 3-spot, and landed a perfect 30X 300.

30X – Take that you whimps

On his Facebook update describing the shooting wonder he thanked his many ‘sponsors’ by hash tagging everyone and attributed to them his success. (I am not sure how those hash tags work. Because I’ve no organization with which to accredit my archery performances I’m not worried about the hash tag.) He further acknowledged his many blessings (in this case 30 of them in the X), thanked heaven, offered an Amen then called for others to blanket the Internet with an Amen rally as proof of their worth.

His devotees rallied to this glory – Amen. In unison they begged him, using that new out-of-the-box hunting bow, to take on the hot dot shooters at the next major tournament and to walk away with all their cash taken via stunning and absolute defeat. To the dismay of his fans he humbly replied he’d stick with 3D in 2019, barely being able to wait, and salvage the embarrassment of the world’s best 3-spot archers. In the meantime, he was going hunting with plans to take down “Ole Buckster” the monster and elusive trophy deer seen on his trail cam, now that he was equipped with the new bow.

This trail cam monster is going down

His peeps gnashed their teeth and wrung their hands with sorrow.   If only, if only, their king would take on those lesser archers at Vegas, Lancaster, or any World Cup event. Going though my head was, if I could just land a solid 300 on the big ten that might be good. Clearly, my thoughts were far from the ones that led to hugging replies for the semi-famous 30X hitting ubiquitous Pro-Staffer.

I come close nearly every day to matching Mr. Pro-Staff. Close, that is by measurement, to a 300 or 600 shooting the big 10. But, 300 and 600 remain goals. Additionally I remain committed to shooting an occasional 8.

Today, I once again came close to a 300 and even a 600. I was low – missing the mark. My all time new low, during this practice, was to walk away from my target, return to the orange flagged 18-meter dirt spot out back that represents my archer’s box, reach down to grab an arrow and discover the arrows weren’t in my quiver. Yes, you guessed it; I had left them lodged in the butt.

Thankfully, this was an error made in private. Although, I am compelled to share it with thousands of you here. I share this because it seems fair. This is a way to balance the extreme elite performance of a fellow archer, Mr. Pro-Staffer, who can pick up a bow, rigged for hunting, march onto an indoor range and shoot 30 perfect Xs and share his magnificence.