Shooting, eating, and worn out dogs

Warmed up and ready to shoot

We’re headed to Georgia in a few hours. Our last day in North Carolina until January 6th was a good one. We spent it shooting, eating and playing with dogs.

The day started with archery. Norman Mitchell and I met at the Soul Hunters indoor 3D range to practice. While there Woody popped in to shoot and check on a venison meal he was cooking in the oven on the side of the range. Cliff also came by to do some work, eat and talk.

Norman, also ready to shoot.

This range is harder than it looks. From the line where we shoot the maximum distance is around 34 yards. The distance isn’t the issue; it is the size and angle of the targets. Some of these little critters have mighty small X’s. The subdued lighting makes finding the X difficult.

One cool indoor range

Because I had to get back home to finish packing, for the trip to Georgia, I missed Woody’s stew. All I had time for was a sniff and a picture.

Woody’s stew

Back at the house, I packed the truck while tossing sticks and footballs for the dogs. Not the most efficient way to pack, but fun and both dogs agreed with this inefficient packing method.

Two tried dogs


The house in NC remains a construction zone so getting to Georgia has been a trip we looked forward to making. With the renovations we’ve been without a fully functional kitchen. Brenda and I got lucky when sympathetic friends; Jimmy and Amy, invited us over for dinner.

The meal was excellent – a dish that in fact had been one of my mother’s frequently prepared meals and my brother’s favorite. It was the perfect way to end a day in the country.

Amy and Brenda


Renovations, shooting and running

Renovations of our property in New Hope, NC (Hertford) are coming along.  I’d like it finished so we can get on with our permanent move here and begin to have a bit more of a routine.  We don’t always get what we want and life at the moment is anything other than routine.

That doesn’t mean training is tossed.  One of the many nice things about living in NC is that I can walk out my back door and shoot.   I can also head out for a run and not be bothered by traffic or being leased to my dog, River.

Busted arrows making good marking distances on the right of the photo

Today’s archery practice started by measuring, using a tape measure, distances in five-yard increments beginning at 20 yards and ending at 50 yards.  My pins for 45 and 50 yards are not exactly how I’d like them.  Basically, that means for 45 yards place the bottom pin just above the X and for 50 yards – guess.

At around 3:00 PM I decided to head out early for a run. In part because the weather was nice and I’d enjoy running in the daylight compared to the dusk or dawn runs I’ve been doing.  And, in part because the tolerance for adjusting my pins had reached a maximum level of patience and control. River, naturally, was up for the run and we left River Cove Lane and headed toward New Hope Road.


During the run we encountered a school bus so River had to wear her leash until the coast was clear.  Other than that one bus, there wasn’t another vehicle of any sort to molest our run.


With the house a construction site being outside is the best way to spend the day.  Shooting and running are well-suited pursuits for North Carolina.  I’d hoped to get in a bike ride, alas, I have no idea where my cycling shoes and helmet are packed.

Great place to run


Back in New Hope, NC

We’re back in NC and our home remains a construction zone. The only sink that works is a mud sink in laundry room. Water is working for one tub so we can wash and drinking water is available from the refrigerator.

We brought our outdoor furniture in to have a place to sit.

This project is supposed to last 6 weeks. It could conceivably finish on time or very close. There will be no room left untouched.

My office: new paint, new blinds, new carpet, and customized closet.

The highlight the return to NC has been seeing Norman Mitchell. Hopefully we’ll get to shoot a bit on Thursday. Today’s 67°F temperature was quite nice. Shooting outside in December while wearing a short sleeve shirt of pretty good.

Norman shooting on an indoor 3D range

Last Race of 2014

On December 7th I competed in my final archery competition of 2014. A week later I ran in my last race of 2014. Both ended on high notes despite the low temperatures.

On Saturday December 13, 2014, race day in Stevensville, Maryland the wind was blowing and the temperature was a brisk 35°F. When I arrived at the race I was pleased to find registration was next a stadium parking lot. It would be a short walk to sign-in and to the starting line.

Runners at the pre-registered sign in window

The race officials were using the stadium ticket counter to check-in runners. They were offering hot chocolate to everyone; I declined not wanting the beverage sloshing around in my gut during the run.

There were two distance races a 5K and a 10K. I’d signed up for the 5K. After signing in, I headed back to my truck and its heater. It was too cold for me to stand around until the gun sounded.

Back in the truck, hydrating and staying warm

Sitting in my truck I noticed the past seven days had left it a mess. It was filled with sports gear. In the front sat my gear for running and in the back a bow, arrows, paper targets and other equipment used in archery. It would have to be uncluttered after the race.

Panorama of a mess

As the gun time neared runners began emerging from the warmth of their vehicles. A local IMG_2642coach offered a brief warm-up session to the contenders as they approached the start line. The event was close to Christmas and many participates wore costumes. One of my favorites was a youngster, there with his parents, dressed as an elf.

Despite the warm-up session, I was not warm. On the starting line, the 10K runners lined up in front of the 5K runners. When the gun sounded I was all too happy to get moving – it was run, freeze, or get back in the truck.

I’d under dressed so I decided to go as fast as possible my motivation the warm cab of my truck. This paid off and as I passed through some of the 10K runners. I hit the 5K turn around and headed home for a 1st place finish (my age group, 13th overall).

Chasing the faster runners

First place prize was a Christmas stocking filled with goodies. In addition to the race t-shirt, which I received when I signed in, the stocking had another t-shirt. It also held a nice pair of athletic socks, a scented candle, mint candies, a discount coaching coupon, and a very nice beer mug.

Loot from my win

Rolling into winter, from November, I’d competed in three races taking a 3rd, a 2nd and finally a 1st place finish, respectively. These races matched my archery tournament finishes, the last three aligned exactly with the races. A great way to finish the final six weeks of the sports season.

Cold Friday

Friday was a day to practice 3D. My next tournament, on January 4th, is a 3D shoot followed by three indoor matches, one of which is an indoor 3D competition. Practicing outside on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, during the winter,  is undoubtedly nicer that shooting outside in Buffalo, NY. Still, 40 degrees and windy is cold to me.

December afternoon on the range in Maryland

When I am in Maryland, I am always checking the weather in North Carolina and Georgia. On this day, at our home in NC it was 14 degrees warmer and in Georgia it was 22 degrees warmer. I’ll bet someone is reading this thinking, 40 degrees, that’s not cold, what a wimp!

I know some folks think this because they’ve poked fun at me for not embracing the cold. I don’t relish the cold, but neither do the lower temperatures keep me inside. On the other hand during July and August when the mercury rises to 98 degree, the relative humidity is 95% and I am appreciating summer my winter loving friends are often melting or walled in near an air conditioner.

A few years back I raced in the Tokyo Marathon, in February, in freezing cold rain. The winner of the race said, “I was hoping for a personal best, by mile 18 I was hoping to get through it.”

Tokyo Marathon was cold, wet and fun.

More than once I’ve ended up running the marathon portion of an Ironman in 90 degrees or hotter. Cold temperatures hurt me more than does the heat. But, if you’re going to play outside, you must deal with the weather. Once a good friend of mine was with me in Savannah, GA in August. Walking outside and soaked with sweat he the turned to me and said, “This is Africa hot!” It felt great to me.

With a major 3D tournament on the horizon there was nothing to do but suck it up and be cold.  My practice plan was to shoot each target twice (30 targets), once at the bow hunter stake (35 yard max) and once at the open class stake (50 yards max).

The deer in the distance is 45 yards away.

Fifteen yards doesn’t seem like a lot until you see the difference from the stakes. At the 35 yard maximum distance stakes I shot pretty good for 30 targets: 310. At the 50-yard max stake my score dropped to 268. (IBO scoring rules – center shot equals 11 points not 12).

Difference between 35 and 45 yards (on this target) 11 vs 10 points.

This doesn’t worry me. Less than a year ago, my 35-yard shots were between 241 and 281 for the most part. I could shoot another year at the 35 max yardages but I won’t. Even though I began placing higher and scoring better in tournaments after August of 2014 my goal for 2015 means putting it on the line at the longer distance. I imagine this may lead to a few embarrassing moments, but I’ll do my best and not let that bother me.

Despite the cold, it is nice to be outside

I do look forward to the warmer weather even if that brings out the ticks and chiggers.

Weather Prediction Way Off

Yesterday the weather forecast called for warming temperature and sunny. I was eager to get outside 296and practice on a 3D range. Brenda and I were meeting friends for lunch so my plan was to head out shortly afterwards.

Following lunch at “T at the General Store” in Oxford, MD we headed home. The sky looked nothing like the weather report had predicted. Sometimes, the weather people just get is way wrong. It snowed.


Putting together concepts for success

Becoming a sponsored athlete (archery) requires a lot of time training and competing. In 2014 I shot in 14 tournaments covering seven states. These competitions yielded four 1st place, two 2nd place, and three 3rd place finishes.

Lain Photo

Reaching a high level of athlete competition requires managing 4 factors: mental focus, self-control, confidence and commitment to work toward a goal. I have written about the process of managing these factors in the past. 1-3 Further, I live and train by these concepts. Part of my successful application of the process includes competing at 5 World Championship events over 4 sports disciplines (Cycling, duathlon, triathlon and archery).


The concepts are applicable to activities of daily living, sports, education, and business. Much of the success I’ve had in business and athletics is due to adopting these pillars of success at an early age.


My adaption of this process has been presented, in lecture form, to professional business organizations as well as to athletes and coaches.4-7 I can be contacted via LinkedIn, my website,, or email at for more information or engagements.




  1. MacKenzie, B (1997) Psychology [WWW] available from:
  2. Lain, D. The Four “Cs” in Sports and Archery: Tips for Achieving Your Goals.
  3. Lain, D: The athlete respiratory therapist. Adv for Resp Care and Sleep Medicine. Online March 4, 2013
  4. Career Planning, University of Texas Medical Branch Pulmonary Symposium, Galveston, TX, March 1997
  5. History and How We Did It, Keynote address, Savannah Wheelmen Annual Sports Dinner, Savannah, GA. April, 1999
  6. Mental Preparation in Training and Racing. Keynote address, Columbia Triathlon Association, Athletes and Coaches Program. Cambridge, MD May 2102
  7. Management FYI: For Your Improvement. Alabama Society for Respiratory Care. Birmingham, AL. March 5, 2012

Getting connected with Rudy Project!

Eye injuries to archers are not common. These rare occurrances happen when accidents or carelessness are associated with the event. Three more serious eye injuries include a six-year old girl who was shot in the eye and was the victim of a terrible accident. Other injuries which seem more likely to occur are being struck in the eye by a bow, one example found where a bow sight dislodge and struck the archer and one that I find the most common – getting smacked in the eye while moving through brush while shooting 3D or hunting.

Proper shooting glasses can enhance clarity and protect eyes. Pistol, rifle and gun shooters have been aware of this for years. For archers, there has been limited promotion or marketing efforts in this arena. A few manufacturers of sports eyewear have recognized the value of promoting safety and helping to improve scores in archery. I am pleased to announce one of these companies. Rudy Project,  is now one of my sponsors.


Rudy Project designs and manufactures performance-oriented helmets, sunglasses, goggles and Rx/prescription eyewear solutions by applying advanced science, cutting-edge technology and innovative aesthetics.  Designed and crafted in Italy since 1985, Rudy Project has grown quickly as a premier brand throughout North America.  Along with proprietary, award-winning lens technologies including ImpactX™, Polar3FX™ and RPOptics™, Rudy Project offers unparalleled customer service backed by a Lifetime Replacement Lens Guarantee and an industry-leading three-year frame warranty.

Learn more about Rudy Project at


Viner, PT. The Mechanism and prevention of sports eye injury. Effectiveness of protection devices – Archery, page 21.

The visual function of Olympic-level athletes-an initial report.1 Do sport specific lenses matter? The visual function of Olympic-level athletes-an initial report. Do sport specific lenses matter?

Laby DM1, Kirschen DG, Pantall P. The visual function of Olympic-level athletes-an initial report. Eye Contact Lens. 2011 May;37(3):116-22. Doi 10.1097/ICL.0b013e31820c5002

Range Manners – or the lack of them

Momma taught me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” She and my father also taught me manners.  I don’t like to say things that aren’t positive unless I feel strongly about some interfering or bad behavior. Today, I must admit, there was some bad, self-entitled activity on the range, which wasn’t wonderful.

Shooting a lot 3D the past week or so I felt I needed to practice indoors. I drove to an indoor range for workout. It looked like I’d have a good session and the range to myself. Now, while having a range alone may be nice it isn’t always going to happen. I actually prefer shooting with other archers since that is more like competition.

Area where I assemble by gear

After I unloaded my gear and changed my bow set-up from 3D to indoor I sighted it. Sighting took about 12 shots to bring the arrows from a bit left to the center of the 3-spot I was shooting. With that complete it was time for a sustained practice session.

Well, my bow was ready

Shooting 12 arrows I had to pause while two young men, in their 20’s, used the range to sight their bows. This often happens and isn’t a big deal. Ten minutes later it was clear these boys where taking a bit longer than most to set their top pins for 10 yards.

My two 3-spots ready

One of the boys looked at me when as I paced at 20 yards, wondering what was the problem. He said to me, “Sorry if we’re taking up your range time.” I was paying to shoot – they weren’t paying for the range. I responded, “Oh, no rush.” A polite response made after 10 minutes. At 20 minutes I was having some serious doubts about the sincerity of his apologetic statement.

The taller of the two shot well and was practicing with his freshly sighted bow when he paused to take a cigarette break. His buddy continued to shoot poorly blaming – of course – the bow.

At 30 minutes it was becoming clearer that these two felt entitled to the range and full attention of the shop’s staff. After 40 minutes, during which I paced, sat, watched, and was quietly amazed, I packed my gear to leave.

After 40 minutes of waiting I packed and left

The shop charged me for the two paper targets I’d planned to shoot noting they couldn’t charge me for the range since I never really got to use it. What burned me was the two boys on the range acted as if they were entitled to take it over. Because they were shooting at 10 yards, I couldn’t shoot.

I’d have never acted in this manner. Momma and daddy taught me better.  After I paid and left, about an hour after the onset of the bow sighting, the two were still on the range firing away at 10 yards.