Running Out of Steam

I had a meeting in Elizabeth City this morning so I skipped my first archery practice. I had time for a run with River and shower before driving into the big city. I got in archery practice before cycling in the afternoon.

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Of course, Coco joined River and I on our run this morning.

The meeting in Elizabeth City was worth the effort. I’ve hired a consultant to help with a number of projects. He’s a recent college graduate and what’s so impressive is he works for himself. He’s a few years younger than my youngest daughter. A common thread between them is neither as worked for a “company.” I appreciate that spirit, of individuality and willingness to remain free of the typical 9 to 5 routine.

Following the meeting I headed home for lunch and a brief nap. I always, and advocate it if you can, lying down for a few minutes after the mid-day meal. I don’t climb in the bed. I simply lie on a carpeted floor and take a break. Not too comfortable, and not for too long – about 20-30 minutes. Afterwards, I’m ready for the afternoon.

This afternoon, before cycling on my Computrainer, I practiced on a 3-spot. Shooting from a shed toward the target I stayed dry during a cold light rain. The shed is heated. The light rain wasn’t real bad so getting damp was about as rough as it got while retrieving arrows.

The first 30 arrows, after about 12 warm-up shots, went pretty well. Nineteen 10s using the smallest circle (USA Archery scoring method) and ending up with a 289 (out of 300). The next 30 arrows weren’t so good – 272 and only four 10s.

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This is the target for my first 30 arrows; the second is to embarrassing to post.

What I noticed most is I was tired. I couldn’t figure that out – why so tired. When it came time to train on my bike (connected to the Computrainer) I was exhausted. I mentioned this to my wife Brenda.

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Afternoon on the bike

imagesBrenda reminded me, “Well, you worked hard, yesterday.” I had worked, but it didn’t seem at hard at the time. I had shoveled, then hauled, and redistributed 25 wheelbarrows of dirt. Plus, I’d lifted weights, run, and shot about 130 arrows. Maybe I had earned some fatigue. But, people work like this everyday; I guess I’m not one of them. Because, man, when I ran out of steam today, I was done.

 

Using data and notes to find a remedy

I examine the scores of other archers when I can find them. Going into a tournament, I like to know what I expect of myself and where I stand relative to the competition. Naturally, there are people that continuously preach to me “Don’t even think about the score!” During competition I don’t think about the score or at least I give it minimal attention. By the time I am in a tournament, I am so accustom to my scoring what ever I’ve shot rolls off my back once the score has been recorded.

But, I don’t go into a tournament blind to what I expect from others and myself. I know when I am off and I know when someone else is shooting below his or her usual. However, the score is not my focus. I let the score take care of itself – it always will. I just shoot one target at a time.

A few weeks ago I was off and week later I was on – taking a 9th place then a week later 1st place. What happened? That has been the question.

Because I keep data and logs of training I was able to go back and analyze my shooting. This is a habit I brought to archery that has its roots, for me, in cycling. Now, I don’t keep an extensive journal. I keep what I think I need; essentially I record what I can analyze and a few notes. I keep it simple. If it’s not simple, it simply won’t get done.

Yesterday, I was working on a problem shooting a Vegas style 3-spot. My best score shooting this group of targets, under the new USA Archery scoring rules (the littlest circle, the old X, is the 10, all the other yellow is a 9) is a 588. My average is 4.8% lower, when combining my hinge and thumb release scores. My best results come using a hinge. On average, the hinge release earns me 6 more points versus my thumb release out of 600 possible points. However, recently I’ve been off with my hinge.

Why? Well, I changed slightly with how I activated the hinge. My data and the few notes (the important practice observations I record) gave me the clue, which was confirmed by video. Of course, I am eager to correct my error and shoot. That needs to wait a few more hours until I’ll put what I’ve learned to the test.

If things work out I expect I’ll beat 588 real soon. Soon enough for the indoor tournaments coming up – I hope. By keeping scores, logs, and notes then analyzing my data I think it has helped me improve. I don’t keep an outrageous amount of data -I keep enough for me.

A Word About My Sponsors

Obtaining sponsors is a bit of work. So far, I don’t have companies lining up at my door to offer me, well anything. That’s fine, I do have several companies that are providing various degrees of help. And, of course, I appreciate all of them.

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Rudy Project has helped with shooting glasses. I’d been on racing teams that were sponsored by Rudy Project in cycling and triathlon. When I moved over to archery I contacted the person in charge of sponsoring athletes.

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She was great and extremely happy and helpful. Sadly, she moved and her job has passed through two company representatives since she left. I have one more year before my contract runs it’s course and we’ll see what happens. I will note that I have multiple pairs of their glasses, sets of lenses, and two of their bicycle helmets.

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BRL Sports Nutrition is also a company that supported me during my exclusive days as a triathlete. I do use their products on a daily basis for archery and endurance sports. I highly recommend the EPO Boost. You might enjoy TriFuel as a sports drink. It, too, is excellent for archery as well as endurance sports.IMG_3817

I wrote a few papers about their EPO Boost. I found that the product lived up to the company’s marketing claims. I am very pleased with BRL’s people and supplements.

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60X Custom Strings is the biggest pure archery company that lends me a helping hand. I go through 4-5 strings per year and the arrangement we have is quite valuable to me. They’ve also provided me with one of their archery competitive shirts so now I have that “Pro Archer” look . The 60X shirt is cool and thankfully does not look like a bowling shirt.IMG_4610

They are the first company to offering me their marketing apparel. They also make very good strings and I trust their products. In other words, I’m not part of their team just for the promotional benefits 60X provides. I was using their products before I was on their staff. A former company representative got me connected and I remain a member of their team.

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Flying Arrow Archery is a group that found me. Their marketing agent connected with me via social media, I think it was LinkedIn. I was impressed with his business sense and accepted a position based on our conversations. Since then I have used their Toxic Broadheads.IMG_0298

I also did a test to check the shooting variance of their Toxic compared to target tips. That information can be found under the Archery Research tab here.

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TriDaves.com is my company. We sold soap and lip balm for endurance athletes. We’re not investing any more time into the business, simply because my partner and I don’t have the time and couldn’t find anyone to handle the business. We had developed a very nice scentless soap for hunters but never bothered to market it. Basically, we’re done with this one. Once I figure out how to do it (or hire someone who knows) I’ll delete TriDaves from this site.

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Thus far, these are my sponsors. Thanks to all of you for your help.

 

 

 

Whoa, whoa, whoa

This morning after a run I headed into Elizabeth City to practice on an indoor range. The wind at my home coming off the river was simply horrendous for archery, great for sailing, not so much for shooting. As usual, when I show up to practice early in the morning I had the range to myself, at least for a time.

Today, a mature fellow was in the shop having some bow maintenance done. When it was completed he walked over to the range to give it a test. With him he had three arrows. Since I was shooting a 3-spot, I was working with 3 arrows. So the shooting would align fairly evenly.

He said he only wanted to shoot a few times to make certain things where correct with his bow. He was polite and not at all a bother to me in the least.

When he asked me the distance to the target, 20-yards, a red flag popped up. But, I dismissed the mental caution assuming he was trying to make conversation. He interrupted me between arrows, I’d fired 2, and so I informed that the distance was 20 yards and invited him to go ahead a shoot – I’d wait. He shot 1 arrow while I shot my final one.  Then he offered to stop so I could retrieve my 3. He, too pulled the one he’d shot.

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On the next end, we each had shot 2 and I was preparing to shoot my third arrow. I was at full draw. The man had been standing on the line next to me a few yards away. Then, out of the corner of my eye I noticed he was walking down range.

I was at full draw using a hinge release. The release had already clicked. I froze and began saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” as I carefully let down.

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What was going through this guy’s head? He did stop, but good Lord – who walks out potentially in front of an arrow. It was a first for me.

Marginal Gains Following the Use of EPO Boost

My average score for 20 yards was 9.27, which at first glance seems pretty good. Actually, it’s okay. It’s not great, yet.

An average score of 9.27 for 60 arrows against a 3-spot using the current USA Archery scoring is only 556. Again, just pretty good. The new USA Archery rule scores the little X circle in the yellow as a 10, the rest of the yellow is a nine. That means it’s harder to score 10s.

I’m always looking for ways to make marginal gains. Going from 9.27 points per shot to 10 points per shot is only 0.73 points. While this sounds like a little but it is a lot. It means advancing from an average score of 556 to 600 or 44 points, now it sounds like a much higher hurtle.

Obviously, more practice is the first thing that comes to mind. Practice helps, especially if you have decades for improvement. But, at a certain level more practice does not necessarily mean more improvement. How the practice is conducted becomes more critical as perfection is approached. That matter is for another paper. This is about a simple addition I made to archery and the results.

When I was not involved in archery, or about 2 years ago, I was heavy into triathlons. A friend of mine introduced me to a product that was sold by the company where he worked – EPO Boost.

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EPO Boost contains “Echinacea an herb that stimulates your immune system and your kidneys to make more EPO. In the long run, this results in more red blood cells…and peak performance.”1 It is legal and not a banned substance by WADA or other performance enhancement agencies.

Before I tried it for triathlons, I did some research and felt it was safe for a trial. In advance of the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, I’d been taking EPO Boost for about 6 weeks. I finished par in the event, but what I noticed was that my recovery was noticeably reduced. In fact, I published a paper describing its use and my results.2 A few months ago, I decided to see what EPO boost for do for archery.

First, did it reduce my recovery time? Well, I didn’t measure that so I don’t know. What I studied were the data recorded shooting Vegas and vertical 3-spots. 3D shooting was not included since judging distance added too much complexity.

All the targets were scored in the usual fashion, 10 points and below. I did use the current USA Archery scoring system, so that the smallest ring in the yellow equaled 10 points. The data was collected and stored on an Excel Spreadsheet. The scores were pre-EPO boost and during EPO boost consumption.

I allowed two weeks of EPO Boost consumption before I began entering the EPO Boost data. The data needed to be collected throughout a reasonable time so that it might not be affected my natural performance progression. In other words, I wanted to not have a change simply based on “I got better over time.” Therefore, the entire test was relatively short, over 5 months (pre and during EPO Boost). Basically, a convenient way to see what would happen if I took EPO Boost.

My average score before EPO Boost was 556.2. At the end of the data collection the average score was 562.8 or a 1.17% increase. Clearly, not a statistically significant interaction (p=0.29. 1-tailed t-test for math people). That doesn’t could like much, but it is a nearly 7-point improvement (6.6 points rounded up) over a short period of time with no other changes.

In competitive review, 7 points at the 2015 USA Indoor Nationals, for my section, is the difference between 1st place and 4th place.3 (Won by Dee Wilde). Another way of saying this, those 7 points were the difference between the National Champion and not finishing on the podium. (By the way, I did win the 2015 USA Archery South Section for the event, but who’s keeping score.)

Yes, this is a sample size of 1 (n=1). But, the ‘n’ is me so I’m interested. You know, 7 points here and there do add up. Marginal gains, every little bit helps.

(EPO Boost is a product of BRL Sports Nutrition. BRL Sports Nutrition in part, sponsors me. However, they did not influence this work.)

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