Something New

I’ve never competed in a “Field Archery” tournament. I’ve never done an “off road” triathlon. This weekend that will change – if all goes according to plan.

I’ve shot in a lot of archery tournaments in less than 3 years. Forty-eight at last count. But, never one of the NFAA type tournaments.

I’m not real sure what to expect. I tried to read the rules and searched field archery on Youtube for a bit of education. Both efforts failed to provide a wealth of assistance.

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Well, I had a dozen new arrows for a minute. Hope I don’t need more than 10 this weekend.

One thing I noticed is in field archery targets are out to 80 yards. That’s a long shot and I did practice at that distance this week. The archery competition also two days – Saturday and Sunday, or so it seems. Honestly, I am not sure. I imagine this weekend will be enlightening.

The other new thing is an Xterra triathlon. The scheduling will be tricky. There’s not an abundance of time between when I expect the archery to finish on Saturday before the triathlon begins. Archery finishes around 2:00 PM and I need to be race ready by 4:00 PM. Tight.

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It’s a rare triathlon that starts in the afternoon. I really hope I can make it on time. Racing in a tri that doesn’t start at the “puke of dawn” is a bonus.

Either way, the Winnebago is ready to go.

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Tapering

This weekend there’s a two-day field archery tournament and a triathlon. I’m entered in both events. It’s going to be a stretch making both of them, but it’s worth a try.

With the triathlon in mind, I’m tapering a bit. The race is an Xterra sprint. That means a short swim, only 800 yards. The swim is followed by a 14 mile off road (mountain bike) ride and finishes with a 5K-trail run.

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The swim is, well just that a short swim. The distance is par for a sprint triathlon. The mountain biking and trail running are different for me.

I’ve done both and did pretty good in mountain bike racing and was okay as a trail runner. But, I’ve never done an off road triathlon. I’m looking forward to it.

It is going to be tight. The archery tournament is a two-day event. The finish time for the tournament is approximately 2 PM on Saturday. The triathlon, 45 minutes away from the archery tournament, starts at 4:30 PM. However, check-in ends at 4:00 PM. It’s very cool to be doing a race starting in the afternoon. Most start around 7:00 am or earlier. I hope I can pull it off.

Tapering for the race means little for a sprint. I still swam today and ran. But, not as far as usual. Short for the swim means I only swam 800 yards. I’m not a fast swimmer and it took about 14 minutes to go the distance. I also ran slower than usual simply enjoying an easy pace.

Archery was also a little easier. Yesterday I shot for about 5 hours. Today, I practiced only two and a half.

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60 yards was far enough today

I practiced for a while shooting at paper out to 60 yards. I went out to 80 yesterday. In order to get an 80-yard shot I moved my targets, used a 100-foot tape measure and reeled out 80 yards – marking at 30 yards, then 60 yards and finally 80 yards.

I ended up two doors down on my road and practiced shooting from one of my neighbor’s front yards. I shot across his property, the house between us onto the target in my driveway. There’s only two families here full time, including us, so it wasn’t a problem to shoot across the middle lawn where there’s a currently vacant house.

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River waiting for a toss

Today, 60 yards was enough. Since I’ve changed arrows for the field tournament and the USA Outdoor Nationals I am having a bit of a problem getting a yardage tape that aligns with the calibration on my sight. The yardage marks are good out to 35 yards, but beyond that everything is off by 2 to 3 yards.

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It’s getting thick in these woods

It was also a day for 3D practice. The range has gotten very thick with foliage. It will need to be trimmed this week. Parts of it were too wet for running shoes, which I was wearing at the time. We’ve had a lot of rain here over the past few days. Tomorrow, it will be rubber boots in order to keep my feet dry.

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River inspecting a coyote

River was a big help throughout practice. She seems to have learned a new trick. What she does is goes swimming. She then leaves the water and stand near me as I prepare a shot. Once I’m at full draw she shakes the water from her coat. Neat trick.

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Struck this branch with an arrow on the way to a bear. Couldn’t believe I still hit the target.

 

 

 

World Wide Web Stats

It was Brenda’s idea that I create this website. Brenda is my wife. See, it began with an experiment.

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The experiment is: Can a mature, relatively healthy, person become an elite athlete?

In this experiment, I am the subject. I began by first deciding upon a sport. When I began the experiment I first considered triathlon. The science behind that idea in no way agreed that a 58 year old could become an elite athlete in triathlon. (I was 58 when I started this experiment) Even the elites, that are no longer in their 30’s, can’t remain elite. They could be good age groupers and possibly when their age group, but they’d never again be in the league with the younger athletes.

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Ironman World Championship, Kona, HI – 2008.

Even though I still compete in triathlons doing another Ironman is not top on my list of goals. I still do them for fun – they have always been fun. But, I’ll do the shorter triathlons.

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Swim start, Ironman Lake Placid, 2010.

In sports there are two disciplines where someone over 50 can become an elite athlete: shooting and archery. As such, archery became the chosen sport for this experiment. Why, archery is less expensive – ammunition isn’t cheap. Arrows, by comparison are inexpensive.

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Arrows are less expensive – you can use them over and over. Just, always check them before shooting.

Brenda noticed me making notes as I began figuring out how to go about learning to shoot a bow, figuring out how and where to compete. All of that remains a work in process. She suggested I start a website and record what I learn and what I do in the sport. She said, “It would be a great why to keep your notes organized.”

August 2016 will mark 36 months since I picked up a compound bow. Conventional wisdom suggests in another 84 months I’ll reach the rank of an elite archer. Newer research suggests I’ll be there sooner. Time, of course, will tell.

In the meantime, I have been posting this adventure along with bits of information on health, fitness and outdoor living. If I don’t stay fit and healthy the experiment could fail. With that in mind, I post about training other than archery. Being active is important for archery. I believe a fit archer will outlast an unfit archer. That’s not to say an unfit archer has never beaten me in competition – it happens a lot. My theory is it won’t happen all the time.

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Sometimes I end up winning.

From time to time, I check the stats on this website. That is, how many hits, how many pages read, how many visits, and the Alexa ranking.

Today, there are over 1 billion websites. Puttingitontheline is number 28,660,347 in the world.(1) Currently down – I have not been pushing it through social media as rigorously as I have in the past. Frankly, I’ve been too busy. It’s nearing the peak of archery and triathlon season and there’s only so much time in a day.

With over a billion website, this one is in the top 3%. Two months ago, before it got real busy, it was ranked in the top 1.6%. GoDaddy, where I started this website, stats indicate Puttingitontheline gets over 10,000 visits per month.

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Now, I know I’m not a great writer. I know I can’t proof read my own work. From that I draw a conclusion that most of you can figure out what it is I’m trying to type. I appreciate your understanding.

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This experiment, being shamelessly written about here, is not complete. There is a goal and a time limit. When I reach both, the plan is to gather all the data, published and not, and create a book.

The book will have a bit more science stuff in it. Until then, I’ll keep posting. Thanks for reading – David

Reference:

(1) http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/puttingitontheline.com

A “Hot” Dog, Turkey, and a Fish Eating Snake

River and I got out a little later than usual to run. It was already hot. It felt good to me, less good to River. Because it was hot I directed the run toward an area where River could go swimming if she wanted. She wanted to swim.

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River cooling off

It was a good day for a brick (a brick is a back to back run / ride for those of you that aren’t triathletes) and that was on my schedule. Back home I changed over to cycling and headed away on a bike. This day I took a mountain bike.

There are paths that lead into swamps about five miles from my home. The swamp is where I wanted to ride.

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Shortly after I left the road and hit the trail I scared up a turkey. The hen had been hiding in some brush. Along with her were six babies. I took a couple of pictures then left them alone.

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In the swampy area I noticed an unusual track – that of a human.   What on earth anyone would be doing way back on this trail barefoot is beyond me.

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When I got home Brenda wanted to go out on the boat. She has two friends visiting. They’re all three Yoga girls. One of our daughters, Candace, has been a yoga instructor for years. Brenda and her friends are yoga instructors.

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Ok, she’s showing off a bit

I know a lot of people enjoy yoga. I understand it is good for you. Brenda even talked me into trying it – twice. It didn’t stick. Anyway, Brenda wanted to take her friends out for a ride in the boat.

I’d just finished about 3 hours of cardio – running and riding. She found me asleep on the floor in one of my sheds. I suppose I’ll need to find a better hideout. But, Brenda got me up and moving so we could get out on the boat.

As I was gathering what I needed to take on the boat Brenda found me and asked me to get my shotgun to shoot a snake. She said, “There’s a moccasin eating a fish on the steps leading into the water.”

Sure enough, there was a massive water moccasin slowly mouthing a fish into its gut. The snake never stood a chance.

After that excitement we did get on the water for an hour or so. We headed back sooner than expected because the ladies were getting hungry.

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The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to archery. It was nearly 90 degrees when I started shooting. After an hour and a half I took a break to write this post. Once this is done, I’ll be heading back out to shoot some more.

Bye-Bye Bonnie

at201602A few days ago Tropical Depression Bonnie nearly crossed our path here in New Hope (near Hertford), North Carolina. The weather maps showed that the outer boundary of the depression hovering over the Outer Banks and just above the Albemarle Sound.

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I was curious – how accurate are those images being posted online by Wunderground and the National Hurricane Center? So, I walked out to the end of my dock and took a look for myself.

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Admittedly the data online was very accurate. We were just outside of the really foul weather by a few miles. That meant I could still get in some archery practice.

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Bonnie hung out off the coast here for a day or so then gathered stream and headed east into the Atlantic. I won’t miss her. Living here in the coast of North Carolina we’re going to get more than our fair share of hurricanes. Only Louisiana, Florida, and Texas get more hurricanes than we do in North Carolina. Georgia, my home state is number six among the top ten states for attracting ocean originating cyclones.

Even though Bonnie skirted past us, she provided parts of the state with a bit more wind and rain than we received. I mentioned to a friend, when the storms come we’ll get the Winnebago and leave. He asked, “Where will you go?” My answer, “To where the hurricane isn’t going.”

(To my good friend in New Orleans – Terry we’re one up on you.)

Toss the ball, shoot the arrow, run from the rain

It was going to rain, again. No doubt. Staying close to the front door was going to come in handy when it arrived. So, along with River, we went outside to shoot dots.

It was a bit windy, the wind pushing the rain toward us. In order to get in as much practice as I could in a short time I selected a 5-spot. I’d not shot a 5-spot in months. It would allow me 5 arrows before I needed to retrieve them.

River was not even a little interested in archery, today. She wanted to play. The rain has kept her inside more than she is accustom. As I’d line up for a shot, she’d get right behind me a bark.

Her barks are good practice for focus. Blocking that noise out and hitting a good shot is difficult. She can become relentless.

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Game on!

So, here’s the game: Shoot, toss a ball, shoot, toss a ball. Get barked at, shoot, fuss at River to be quiet, she gets quiet, I draw, take aim, she barks, I toss the ball.

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So, you think this is over?

The rain did come and it was hard. It looked like fog floating over the river. It wasn’t fog. River and I headed inside before the deluge hit. Pretty much a repeat of today’s earlier practice.

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Game Over!