Boat Races and Good Friends on the Choptank

This past weekend we celebrated Memorial Day with friends in Cambridge, Maryland. We didn’t take the Winnebago; instead we rented a small cottage on Hudson Creek near Cambridge. We spent the days on the Choptank River.

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Brenda’s friends in attendance were mostly associated with education. She was a teacher in Easton, Maryland before she retired. The guys I hung out with were a mix of athletes, businessmen, and medical professionals. The conversation was something I miss at times living so remotely here in North Carolina.

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This was also the weekend for the Cambridge Powerboat Races held on the Choptank. These races have been going on for over 100 years. On Saturday, along with our good friends, the Brohawns, on their Boston Whaler, were able to anchor just outside the caution buoys for the races and watch. Seeing boats race at speeds of 100 mph or more is pretty awesome. The fastest I’ve gone on water is 71 mph. It would be pretty cool to add 29 mph more to that 71 mph.

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Naturally, we stopped at Great Marsh Park where the EagleMan Ironman 70.3 race starts and finishes. It’s a really hard race. The current in the swim is always against you, the ride is always windy and the run is always hot. We lived just down the road from the start, so despite the hideous conditions it was always on the list of events for a year.

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Many of the guys at our weekend gathering wanted to know if I was doing any more triathlons or other racing. They know that I am now focused on archery. I explained that I have three triathlons on my calendar for 2016. We also discussed the fitness of other archers; some of them have read my posts here and are aware that archers aren’t the most physically fit athletes.

Looking at those friends, you would not mistake them for being out of shape. Despite them not doing triathlons they are still very active.

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Scenes along the way during morning runs.

Among them are two serious runners. Brad who now lives in New Jersey and is a marathoner and Jimmy who lives in Cambridge and remains a speed demon when it comes to running and is now a running coach.  Joe, is a competitive sailor (he was that before he became a triathlete) and aside from staying physically fit he races and wins with a J30. David B, still rides and runs, but has returned to his sporting roots in tennis. Fred is a long distance cyclist and kayaker. Alan, a physician, has worn out a hip and is having that fixed in a few weeks. He’s already planning post-surgery events. These aren’t all the guys, just a few of them.

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Scenes along the way during morning runs.

I missed seeing Tim. There wasn’t enough time. Tim’s a former triathlete and active shooter (not archery). He’s taught me a lot about shooting that I’ve related to archery.

But, here is what I found very interesting – there were zero war stories during the entire weekend. None, not one of these athletes talked about their “glory” days. That was entirely refreshing. It really becomes tiresome listening to someone talk about how good they once were and I hear it all the time. It’s much more fun to hear about current adventures.

I am happy to hear about what someone did last week. Or listen to an interesting tale about some event or tournament. But, those sagas of past greatness and glory – please.

For the most part, my friends in Maryland are not young men. The mean age is 60. They are all very active. I’d guess their mean body fat % in this group was about 9%. These guys remain extremely fit even if triathlon isn’t the number one sport on their minds. They did take a poke at archers.

They talked a bit about archers who can’t walk from stake to stake without becoming winded or needing to sit down and “catch their breath” before they can shoot. I’ve witnessed walking fatigue in the men’s open, bow hunter, and in the men’s pro hunter classes. I’ve even seen physical exhaustion when an archer couldn’t walk back and forth at 18 meters without a break because of her size.

Here’s an example of archer’s a take on fitness:

“…wondering if the ASA is ever going to take into consideration the distances the senior class shooters have to walk to shoot? ………. I really enjoy shooting the events, but [it] seems to me that the senior class ranges are getting to far for me to walk to shoot. …… I love shooting the ASA events, but please take into consideration the walk distances for the senior folks.”

Granted, health issues can develop that might impact walking. However, the predominate health issue I’ve noticed is obesity in archery.

The guys in Maryland suggested I write a little more about fitness for archers. Believe me, they aren’t fanatics when it comes to fitness. They are pretty normal guys who enjoy sports. With one exception, me, they all still work at their normal jobs. Yet, they all find time for sports.

Archery, like all sports, takes a lot of time if you want to be good. Being fit doesn’t take all that much time. If you are out of shape, you can probably find at least 30 minute a day to begin a program to improve your health. You could probably even find an hour. And you can do this without impacting your archery. One easy place to gain time is to take some time away from television. There’s nothing worth watching anyway.

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Finishing the day at the Cambridge Yacht Club

It was wonderful to spend time with friends. I even thought about buying another home in Cambridge this past weekend. But, then, I can just pull the Winnebago there and spend as much time as I want while saving the cash.

Switzerland, that’s one of those Norwegian Countries

We were in Pittsburgh last weekend. Brenda and I drove to the Steel City, where our daughter lives with her family, for a birthday celebration. Actually, there were two celebrations for two granddaughters. The older of the two turned 5 and the youngest is now a one year old.

We didn’t stay with our daughter. Instead we stayed with friends that live in Murrysville. Brenda and I once lived in Murrysville. We made many lasting friends there, but the Western Pennsylvania cold finally drove us away.

I brought gear with me so I could play. There wouldn’t be a lot of free time, grandchildren eat up free time, but there would be time to run and shoot. We were too far away from The Archery’s Edge, where Jeff Falconer works so I found a range in Murrysville. It would have been nice to have seen Jeff, but that wasn’t going to work this trip.

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The back up range I found was located at The Ultimate Outdoors in Murrysville. It was smaller than Jeff’s indoor range. I was the only shooter on the range so it worked out fine. As I was leaving one of the people that works at the Ultimate Outdoors told me there was an outdoor range at Boyce Park. I decided to give that a try and headed to the park.

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Along the way to Boyce Park I stopped for gas and a Red Bull. The 8.4 oz. can of Red Bull was $2.49. This is expensive even for Red Bull. In NC I pay $2.09 a can at the local New Hope Community Store.

When I mentioned the higher price the clerk gave me a geography lesson. He explained that Red Bull comes from Switzerland. He checked the labeling on the can to verify his pronouncement. Then he added, “Yes, this comes from Switzerland, that’s one of those Norwegian countries.” I paid my $2.49 plus tax and left the geographically wise clerk beaming with shared knowledge and pride.

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It was nice to have been able to shoot, even if I didn’t make it to the Archer’s Edge. I learned some people think Switzerland is a Norwegian country.  We celebrated two birthdays. It was great to be back in Pittsburgh.  But, I never did find that archery range at Boyce Park.  Maybe next time.IMG_5054

 

Sufficiently Worn Out

Being physically worn out is a good feeling. Right now, I have that feeling. Today, there was a lot of moving around outside and that is how I earned being beat.

The weather, after several days of cold and rain, turned clear and warm. Not hot, warm, 81°F. It was a day to spend outside, so I did spent it outside.

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Well, this was a good start to a fun day

The morning began with a run. River, my lab and her friend, Coco, a lab that lives about a mile away, ran with me. After the run, I got in about 30 minutes of archery practice before moving onto the lawn.

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When I cut my grass I ride on a small John Deere tractor. It’s a lot easier than pushing a mower. When I cut the grass I also cut one or more of my neighbors lawns. Today, I cut only one of the neighbors’ lawns – the neighbor that allows me use of his acreage across our road (it’s a dirt/gravel path more than street, so I call it a road) for my 3D range.

Then, I tended to the 3D range. Weed whacking, trimming and blowing away debris and clumps of grass follows the mowing. The entire process takes about five and half hours.

There was plenty of daylight and great weather remaining. It was prefect for cycling. The morning run wasn’t hard and cycling was also at an easy pace. Cycling lasted a little more than an hour.

Finishing up the outside play was another two hours of archery practice. All of this was 3D focused. The 3D range, freshly manicured was irresistible.

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This day began at 5:30 am and the exercise part of it ended at 5:30 pm. It was a good day to be outside and I worn myself out taking advantage of it.

Heading to the Steel City

We’re heading to Pittsburgh today. We lived there for several years. It’s a great city; it’s a cold city. The cold ran us Savannahians out of town after four years of frigid suffering. We left one of our children behind, our youngest daughter. She attended college in the Steel City. She found her husband among the locals and there they remain.

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Leaving this for a few days

Over the course of their marriage they’ve had three children. This weekend is a birthday party for two of them. So, here we go, again.

It’s May and the temperature during the night in western Pennsylvania is going to the in the 40’s (F). We’ve packed our, once put away, winter apparel for the spring trip. We’ve also pack athletic gear.

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Among the gear is Brenda’s, my wife, fancy Yoga mat. I don’t do Yoga. I tried a couple of times, at Brenda’s encouragement – it didn’t stick. My gear includes running shoes, running jacket, and running shorts. It also includes my archery equipment.

There is a range nearby where we once lived, at Boyce Park. It’s an outdoor range and I’m going to give it a shot while we’re there. This should be a fun trip.

Getting through the nightly news

We watch very little television. The evening news and football are what we view on commercially driven TV. But, the commercials during the news are nearly too much to endure. Last night, I put a stopwatch on the abundance of commercials.

The bulk of the commercial time was spent on drugs. The pharmaceutical companies, with plenty of our money to spend, took first prize with 6 commercials lasting 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Second place went to banks and financial management companies. If you’d invested your money with any of these money managers they’d have spent your dollars on 4 commercials lasting 2 minutes and 8 seconds. The third place winner was the news. Yes, the station itself gave a self-promotional plug with 3 commercials during the news lasting 1 minute and 38 seconds, all to encourage us to stay tuned or come back and watch more news later – just in case there were other important developments to put us at risk. Or, we were already at risk and had better tune in again before going to bed to learn more details about why. Fourth place winner, losing to the news by a mere 8 seconds was pet ads, selling to the viewer both dog food products and pet drugs.

There were two pure consumer commercials, one for Ford, 28 seconds, and one for Ace Hardware, 16 seconds. I categorized them as pure consumer since the viewer does not need a medical condition to be considered fair game, (such as a sleep disorder, diabetes, opioid constipation, or erectile dysfunction) or need an investment bank (though a loan would likely be needed for the Ford), or have a pet to feed or care for.

The commercial to news ratio was nearly 1:2; for every minute of commercial viewing we were treated to roughly two minutes of news (9 minutes of commercial/ 19 minutes of news – seconds rounded down.)

Some of the money spent on ads by the pharmaceutical companies was aimed at men over 50, or perhaps their partners, with the hope that the company could aid men with erectile dysfunction. The spokesperson in this commercial was always an attractive younger woman in her late twenties or early thirties shown as a possible incentive to encourage the 50 plus-year-old fellows to come hither and get on with business. I am relieved there are no children in my home that might require an explanation of what the sultry women is inviting while languishing on a bed.

We’ve never been big watchers of TV. For a time we didn’t even own one. We do enjoy watching a good movie on our large flat screen TV mounted on the wall. We do love to watch football. The news is sometimes interesting. The price we now pay for those moments of newsworthy reports, the commercials, is about to reach a point where no news will be good news.

Swimming and 3D Practice

Swimming was my primary focus for today’s cardio training. Since it’s been raining non-stop swimming at the YMCA was perfect. Then, it was onto 3D or indoor archery depending on the weather.

I have a triathlon in a few weeks. My goal for this workout was time. I did a swim time trial for the distance I’ll be swimming in the June XTerra triathlon. The distance is not an issue. What I wanted to know is how slow (or fast) I might be over the 800 yards (sprint distance) for the triathlon. Whatever time I have the in pool it will be faster than open water. In open water it’s harder to keep a straight line. I tend to zigzag from buoy to buoy.

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Swimming in open water – I barely stay on a straight line

Heading back to my Ford F-150, after the swim, I was pleased to see it had stopped raining. Not really wanting to shoot indoors I knew I’d be on the 3D range soon. I’d recently gotten a new 3D target, a bobcat, and was eager to stick some arrows into the small cat.

Before I got to my new target I spent time shooting a bear, badger, coyote and turkey. Progressing through the range, I was anticipating the new animal. Shooting the same old targets day in and day out is fun, but a new target is exciting.

The bobcat is certainly a small target. Where it’s placed on the range the maximum distance it can be shot is 32 yards. That seemed like a good place to start. The rings on the bobcat are barely visible using binoculars from 32 yards. This wasn’t a freebee shot.

The cat sits so that it’s in a tunnel of foliage. From the stake, which is in the open, the shot enters a closed in path. This was done in an attempt to make the shot more difficult.

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Patch of blue sky through the leaves

I’ve seen bobcats similar to this one during tournaments. Each time the faux Lynx rufus was sitting straight down a lane less than 20 yards from the stake. Granted, it is a small target and during tournaments small targets are frequently arranged less than 20 yards from the stake. Small targets aren’t always so close. The last few javelinas I’ve had to shoot in tournaments were at 40 plus yards. I silently cursed before I took my shot.

My inaugural shots on the bobcat were a ten and an eight. The eight was the first attempt. I tried a few more times to hit the very small center ring from 32 yards – never got it and moved onto the next animal.IMG_5035

Where I wanted to spend some time was on this pig that is situated so that trees and angles make up the challenge. I have three stakes for this pig. There’s not much different where distance is concerned, two shots are at 37 yards and one is at 34 yards. The trick is to get the arrow between the trees and hit the pig on a slant for the longer shots. At 34 yards the shot is nearly straight on.

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You can tell the angle of aim on this pig from the arrow placement

What’s happened, as summer approaches (come on warm weather) is that the foliage in the woods has darkened everything. The black boar’s rings are impossible to see. Shoot it enough and maybe the rings can be committed to memory. If only all the pigs I see in tournament were at 37 to 34 yards and the size of this one.

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It’s almost like a rain forest in these woods

Back in the woods, out of the wind, I have a couple of targets where longer shots are possible. One is a Rinehart deer that, at the moment, has a 55 yards maximum range. There’s also a mountain lion, that if I wanted, I can shoot at from 100 yards or more. Note I wrote, “shoot at” from 100 yards not hit from 100 yards. I’ve never tested a shot over 85 yards. (I found that arrow cutting the grass last week)

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Practice kept me in the woods for around two and a half hours this afternoon. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. The lighting in the woods because of leaves gives this forest a very different appeal than the bare trees of winter. It sure beats sitting in an office.

The Mother Load of Triathlons

If you read this website, you know it is not exclusively about archery. Among the posts here are writings about running, cycling, swimming, and triathlons. Yes, archery is the major topic – it’s the ambitious experiment with a study population of 1.

Regarding archery as an experiment, well in a manner that is exactly what the sport of archery is providing me. Using whatever training, science, and psychology available I wanted to see whether I could be successful as a competitive archer. The archery experiment has been underway for 34 months. As such, 34 months ago I shot, for the first time, a compound bow. The study remains inconclusive.

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Archery is also a competitive fix satisfier. I love to compete. I love sports. I have zero natural talent. I am somewhat short (5’8″ and shrinking) and slow.  Nevertheless, I been fairly successful in long distance sports.

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I do understand a lot of the science around sports.  I’ve used what brains I have to help compete against athletes that exceed my brawn. Sometimes it worked, many times it didn’t. In either case, I had some fun.

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When we moved to our home in North Carolina there weren’t many local endurance races. I’d bought a bow on an impulse and was soon hooked shooting. It is easy to understand why there are so many archers – it is very addictive. And, even a talentless retiree could hit a paper target with practice.

However, my need to race in endurance events remained strong. I have no desire to go after an Ironman; I’ve done plenty of them. Any triathlon would satisfy. The ones available were long drives away, expensive, and nearly always interfered with an archery tournament.  Not yet ready to give up on endurance sports I’ve continued to do moderate training in the, what seemed, unlikely circumstance that there was a run, ride, or triathlon nearby – at least in the State of North Carolina. The training, in my opinion helps with archery.

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In the past, and currently, I’ve traveled a lot to compete in sport. I’ve raced or trained in Europe, Japan, Asia, nearly every US State including Hawaii, and Australia. Most of this was associated with travel where I was not footing the bill. Today, I have to pay to play. Believe me, archery is a lot less expensive than an Ironman and the travel is more humane.

Still, it was sad that there did not seem to be a lot of endurance events anywhere near where I live in North Carolina. True, there are a few races over on the Outer Banks. I’ve done them several times. Locally, there was zippo. Then, by chance, I found the mother load of endurance racing on a website for North Carolina.

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What a relief. I was so disparate for an endurance race I was considering running an Ultra-marathon, a 100-mile run. The distance isn’t so much of a worry, the boredom is the obstacle. Since I found the races I’m already planning one race per month through November 2016. If I have a weekend that hasn’t been filled with an archery competition, well I’m racing. Heck, I am  considering another Ironman for 2017. Happy days are here again.

Recent Web Stats

Occasionally, I check the GoDaddy stats they keep on this website. It gives me information regarding visits, pages read, hits, time spent on the site by visitors and other data.

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I can’t read, but I’m happy to be on your site.

I’d not checked the stats a while and was killing time before I headed to the YMCA for a swim. So, I decided to take a look at the GoDaddy data. This is what it revealed.

Over the past 11 months there have been 116, 271 visitors here at Puttingitontheline.com. Y’all read 272,973 pages and it had 1.27 million hits.

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I can’t read either, but you can use my picture

In April most people spent 4.5 minutes on the site per visit. During the past 11 months (May isn’t included since we’re still in May) 15% of the visitors stayed on the site from 15 minutes to over an hour.

Thanks for reading – typos and all.

Caught in the rain

This morning I got in a nice run with River. She got real nasty jumping into gross ditches and muddy creeks. She got a bath when we returned home, she’s easy to bathe, because she loves the water.

It wasn’t ten minutes post-bath before River was back into water, this time a swim in the river. From now until November she’ll reek of wet dog.

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I don’t mind water; in fact I rather enjoy it. That’s why we live here where hurricanes greet us on an annual basis. We know we’ll get hurricanes, we know we love being on the water. Hurricanes are the price we pay. This afternoon I got some expected water on me in the form of rain.

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This isn’t going to be bad.

I went for a ride on my bike. It was wishful thinking I that might avoid the rain. I’ve been caught in the rain many, many times while riding my bike. This wasn’t a bad rain. After a short while, primarily because I was starting to get cold, I headed home. I suppose I reeked of wet person and wet Lycra to River.

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Well, it was bad enough

Travel, Practice, Tournaments and Arrows

Between now and the USA Archery Outdoor National Championship there are a lot of 3D tournaments. The championship isn’t until July 12th – 16th. Neither style of archery event is a problem. However, there is a problem. Travel.

The last two weekends in May I travel to grandchildrens’ birthday parties and a social event for Memorial Day. While I look forward to both there will be no archery competitions. The first weekend in June there are two archery tournaments – one local one in Kentucky. I’ll probably compete in the local event. Kentucky means more travel.

There’s a shoot the second weekend of June, but I travel to race in an XTerra Triathlon. I am looking forward to the triathlon. I’ve never done an XTerra triathlon even though I have done a lot of mountain bike racing and a number of trail runs.

The third weekend in June we head back to Georgia to see Cirque du Soleil with one of our daughters and her family. That will be a quick trip. Travel.

I’d planned a 3D shoot in Maryland for the last weekend in June, but now the other daughter is coming for a visit with us on that weekend. We leave to return to Georgia on the 28th of May.

We’ll stay in Georgia for 15 days before heading to Decatur, Alabama for the Outdoor Nationals. For that trip we’ll bring the Winnebago and camp along the way. I’ll still be able to practice in Georgia.

All of the travel has led me toward a path of focus for the Outdoor Nationals. Any 3D along the way, now most of them derailed, will be for fun only. So, I began a new training plan with a primary object to shoot well at 50 meters.

Shooting well at 50 meters means changing arrows. With that in mind I’ve began a training plan that I hope will help me do well at the Nationals. First off was calibrating my sight and nocking point for skinny arrows.

In 3D and indoor shooting I use slightly fat arrows. Not the fattest one’s available. But, for cutting a line or pulling a line on foam fat is good. On the other hand, fat arrows are probably not the best choice for shooting over long distances in wind. Here on the coast of North Carolina, it is almost always windy and I need to practice out to 60 yards.

The only skinny arrows I own are Bemen. I bought them over a year ago, before I began shooting Black Eagle Challengers for 3D. The Challengers are a bit fatter than the Bemen ICS Hunter arrows. Checking on the Bemen website, it seems the model Bemen I am shooting is out of production since 2015. No problem, I have twelve of them, or I did.

While working my nocking point and sight to accommodate the Bemen arrows I was careful. That is, as my arrows began landing in the center of the target to stopped shooting the arrows and pulled them. Twelve arrows are not a lot.

I began at 20 yards and worked my way back to sixty. I didn’t do this in 5-yard increments since I had somewhat of an idea of where the yardages would be on the scope. Checking in 10-yard increments seemed okay. I’d kept notes on the Bemen arrows from the last time I’d shot them. My notes and my arrows hits indicated that I was close.

At sixty yards I put up a new target and got down to business. A new target is easier to see with my binoculars than on that’s full of holes.

My first shot was a bit high to the left. A click or two and the next arrow was closer. Since it was close there didn’t seem to be a need to adjust the sight. Another arrow would help determine whether the miss was me or was it how the bow was set.

That next arrow did clear-up the matter, it was not me, it was how I’d set the sight. A little high, a little to the left. Eleven Bemen arrows remaining.

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I’m not certain I’ll use Bemen arrows for the Nationals, I might. I have eleven remaining. If I decide to use them I’ll need some more before July. I thought about trying the Black Eagle skinny arrows, but have no idea what to choose. With all the traveling, I think I’ll just stick with what I do know. It would be awful to get on the road and discover I’d made a mistake in ordering.