It has been raining a lot here in Georgia. I half expected the Buckeyes 3D archery tournament in Social Circle to be canceled. Having no way to verify the shoot I made the 80-mile trip in hopes the rain would break. Their course is always a challenge and it would have been a shame to not compete in this last of four events over the past 8 days.
When I arrived at the range and turned my car off the rain stopped. There weren’t too many archers practicing or at registration. My friends David Alligood and Gretchen Pruett were working the desk. Both wore heavy coats and welcoming smiles.
A few competitors were signing in when David asked me, “Do you have anyone to shoot with?” I didn’t and Hunter, who was checking it, invited me to join their group of three.
That matter out of the way I headed to the warm up range. I shot six arrows hitting my mark twice each at 20, 30 and 40 yards. I thought I was ready, I was wrong.
On the first shot in woods I missed the target. My judgment of yardage was off more than usual today. Throughout the shoot my rights and lefts were fine, my ups and downs were today’s weak points. Sadly, there isn’t much that can be done to offset a miss.
In our group was a youngster that Hunter was instructing. The little guy was a good shot. He also appreciated splashing in puddles and digging his rubber boots in the plentiful red clay mud holes. Although Hunter made attempts to avail the nipper of proper range etiquette, the puddles and mud were too tempting. Employing forced discipline I remained separate from the obvious pleasure of squishing muck.
Coming off the course my score wasn’t as horrible as I’d supposed but certainly below my average. I’ll need to wait to learn how I faired overall. Unlike the few archers that had gathered earlier the range was now filled with shooters. These late arrivals will certainly knock me down in the standings.
After packing my gear I said my goodbyes. This is a very nice group of athletes here in Social Circle. Their course is particularly challenging and a great place to train or compete. I’ll look forward to my next tournament at the Buckeyes. Driving away, the rain renewed its drenching of Georgia.
Saturday, I was awake early in order to prepare for then drive to a race in Winder, GA. By early I mean 04:50 AM. The event was the first of two scheduled for this weekend, the second being a 3D archery tournament on Sunday.
So many of the races I’ve done start early (The Puke of Dawn). The most common start time is 7:00 AM. A 7:00 AM race typically means setting an alarm for 4:00 AM. Today’s race start time was 8:30 AM. A reasonable time that would have been better if it were not for the nearly 2 hour drive from our place in Tignall, GA to the starting line in Winder, GA.
Departing at 6:00 AM I arrived a few minutes before 8:00 AM to pick up my race packet. I was glad for the extra time. The sign-in confusion had me questioning whether the registration desk clerks could complete the task of distributing race numbers before the gun sounded.
Registration was held in the gym of an elementary school. A good number of the runners were waiting there until the last minute since the outside conditions were 36°F (2°C) and windy. Taking their lead I hung inside among these weather conscious athletes.
It necessitated an official with a blow horn to encourage the gym-enjoying competitors outside. She, the official, began roaring warning announcements that everyone in the gymnasium would be required to move out at 8:20 AM. She repeated the broadcast at diminishing intervals with religious zeal. I supposed she was giving everyone dreading the cold opportunity to mentally prepare for the plunge. (Not to mention refuge from the electronically amplified hollering)
Eventually, the toasty inside crowd sluggishly herded themselves outside. Shivering at the starting line hopping runners didn’t have to wait long to begin their trek. The lady with the blow horn bellowed a few noisy unintelligible remarks then sent the group away.
I’d queued up near the back of the pack. I was there to run and get a t-shirt. Placing wasn’t a priority. Placing might have been more crucial had the race officials allowed me to run in my age group. Erroneously, they’d assigned me to a younger age division but it wasn’t worth a confrontation to correct.
I have raced over many very scenic courses. This was not one of them. We started in the parking lot of a school. From there we ran across a road banked with dead weeds, through a common breadbox housed neighborhood with car lined streets, back across the road from which we’d entered the neighborhood and returned to the school’s parking lot finish.
Because I’d started in the back of the pack, I began passing people rather quickly. It was nice to have seen so many people working to get into shape. There were some fast folks on the course, but it was obvious the overall phenotype of the group wasn’t lean. As a rule, I don’t allow myself to be fooled by someone’s body shape. More than once a big person has run past me. Today, that didn’t happen, probably due to the number of climbs on the run.
Five-kilometer runs are fast. Within minutes the event was over and it wouldn’t be long before I’d head back to Tignall. Passing a display with finishing places I observed I’d gotten third. The problem with placing is – should you want your medal or trophy you must sit though the ‘Awards Ceremony’.
These ceremonies can last an awfully long time. It was cold and I really didn’t care to wait. In fact, I could see runners were still finishing and from the look of things it was going to awhile longer before most were done. Finding a blanket wrapped lounging race official I explained I couldn’t delay my nearly two-hour drive any longer. I inquired if I couldn’t simply accept my medal from her a leave. She explained rather seriously, “Well, we have an ‘Awards Ceremony’” (meaning no and don’t trouble me).
Medal-less, I’d gone to my car, changed my running clothes to warmer apparel, grabbed my bib, walked back to the finish line and found a different official, a warmer individual, who understood as I elucidated my situation. She checked my bib against the finish board and awarded me the medal saying, “Go ahead, I’ll explain it.” I hope that explanation didn’t bring to her the wrath of the former wrapped and unyielding offical.
I was glad to be gone. Some races are more fun than others. In December I did a colder, windier, and rainy 5K in North Carolina. It was a blast, the course was beautiful, the crowd pleasant and the post-run festivities a memorable experience. Today’s race was the opposite.