I have a Facebook friend, Jan Bang, who lives in Denmark. He’s an elite archer and competes in World Cup events across the globe. I am envious of all the World Cup events where he’s able to shoot. On the other hand I get into some competitive event a few times a month, only on a less grand scale.

Jan at the World Cup in Berlin

One of the primary reasons I wanted to connect with Jan, aside from archery, is for news from Denmark. For decades I was able to spend time in Denmark and Sweden, more so in Sweden. There was a point in my career when I had an opportunity to move to Uppsala, Sweden to live and work. I let that moment pass. Still throughout my career I spent an abundance of time in Scandinavian countries.

I spent a lot of time here in Uppsala

Most of my Viking friends aren’t on Facebook – or I haven’t found them. Through Jan I keep a connection with a part of the globe of which I was extremely fund.

This week Jan re-posted, through Facebook, a photograph taken by Jesse Broadwater. If you are reading this it is likely you are an archer and know of Jesse Broadwater. If you are not an archer, Jesse Broadwater is an elite archer having won a number of World Championships.   The post that Jan circulated was of Jesse’s hand. That caught my eye.

Jesse’s hand

The reason it interested me has to do with form. In particular I have been working on hand placement. Getting my bow in the same position for each shot and having my anchor point the same for each shot are among the critical elements to achieving a good shot.

It seems that a lot of people take pride in their ability to provide free coaching advice. I receive a fair share of free advice. Often times, free advice is worth the price paid. Occasionally, there is good free advice that I considered a free pearl of wisdom. At other times the free advice is over valued.

There are times where a picture is worth a thousand words. Jan’s re-post of Jesse’s picture was on of those times.

When my form is right and I am mentally set I hit the X when shooting paper. In 3D, I can have a perfect shot but if my yardage is off and well such are the ways of 3D archery – that’s a resultant 8 or 5. But, good form and mental focus at a known distance is another matter.

The hand that holds the bow is not to be trifled with. I’ve looked at all sorts of grips and seen some nice grips and some nasty grips. One of the scariest grips is the pistol grip. You’ve seen it – you may even employ it. That’s the grip where the archer has an index finger pointing forward, sort of pointing toward the target. Those archers that use that grip and have short arrows are the ones that make me shake my head. I can only imagine the archer, using a broadhead, the bow in hand with the index finger pointing the way resulting in a sliced digit. Last week on a range I watched a novice getting his free lesson and noted the extended pointer. I mentioned, off to the side to pro bono instructor, that if the novice kept lifting and extending in index finger he was liable to shoot it off. Before the next shot, the instructor suggested the new archer not extend his finger.

But, what got me about Jesse Broadwater’s picture was where his bow sits in his hand. (I’ve seen video of him shooting; he’s not a pointer.) The picture got me considering where my bow sits. Following a practice session or two I remembered the Jesse picture and decided to take a similar photograph of my hand for comparison.

David’s hand. The red line closer to my thumb is from my bow. That lower smaller callous is from bicycle handlebars.

Cold and Rain

I can take the cold or I can take the rain, but I can’t take the cold and rain. In the past, I’ve been in situations where training or competition ended up occurring in some nasty weather.

Setting up to practice indoors

Once, during a frigidly cold cycling training ride of 60 miles it began to snow. The snow and ice gathered on my gears and brakes making it impossible to change gears and nearly impossible to stop. There were times when I had a second home in Cleveland where to get a ride in I used a mountain bike and slid around in the ruts left from cars. At a triathlon, up north, the air temperature was 48°F and the water temperature was 50°F. Believe me, jumping into a 50°F lake then jumping out and onto a bicycle in 48°F is not fun. Honestly, I couldn’t feel my feet until I was 3 miles into the run. After that arctic triathlon I began setting limits. Archery is no exception.

It might look sunny and warm, but it wasn’t!

It was cold, raining and windy and I wanted to shoot. Shooting from my shed doesn’t help much in the rain.  I still have to go out and pull arrows. Fortunately, I could drive to Elizabeth City and practice indoors.

That worked out pretty good. A few wild shots.

So, It’s Cold – Happens Every Winter

A good friend of mine is nearby on a business trip. He’s just up the road in Virginia Beach. It is a quick work trip so there isn’t time for us to meet. But, is nice to have heard from him. He’s also here when we’re being affected by an Arctic blast of extra cold weather.

The cold doesn’t force me inside and off of archery practice. Sure, I could drive into Elizabeth City and practice on the indoor range at PGF Outdoors and Archery. The drive takes a total of an hour. That’s an hour wasted when I can practice at home.

The Indoor range at PGF Outdoors and Archery in Elizabeth City.

Last year, I converted a storage shed into a nice room for training on a bike connected to a Computrainer. The shed is now has carpet, paneled walls, heat and air conditioning, and the walls are insulted. It stays toasty warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It is ideal for archery as well.

Staying warm

For 18-meter archery practice I open one door. Move my target closer to the shed. Turn on the heat and practice shooting from inside the shed toward the target 18-meters away. Today it was just fine.

The Arctic cold that has descended upon North Carolina is frigid. The low temperature was 18°F and our high may have reached 30°F. The heater in shed kept me comfortable even with the door opened.

The glacial cold impacted the US States in the North with a greater severity than our Southern States. My friend on his business trip in Virginia is from Norwich, Vermont. In his home State the low temperature last night was 4°F and they expect about a foot of snow over the next few hours. At the moment in his home town it’s gotten worse –  the temperature is 3°F.

In front of my friend’s house in Vermont.

He did mention to me the cold we’re experiencing here in Virginia Beach and near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He commented, “I’m glad I brought a sweater.”

When my friend returns home he can expect the temperature to have risen to perhaps 25°F. That should be suitable for shoveling snow. By then, I anticipate wearing short pants and shooting outside with a predicted temperature of 77°F on Sunday. I won’t need a sweater. In the meantime, I’m glad to have the shed.


Trail Running on the 3D Range

Brenda, my wife, was headed to the YMCA for several hours of training. When she asked if I was going, I said, “No, today I want to do a long run.” I could do a long run on a treadmill – if my life depended on it. But, in all other circumstances I’d rather run outside. She headed to the Y while I headed outside.

Canada Geese enjoy less frequented country roads – also good for running humans

Initially, I was going to cut through the woods and head out along a long country road. Once I go started, I stayed on trails.

Heading down a trail toward a mountain lion on the range

The trails are cut through a dense southern-forested parcel of land. The area where I’ve made trails and cleared paths for 3D targets in total covers a circumference of less than a mile. The paths are nice for easy mountain bike rides and running as well as reaching the 3D targets. For running and cycling, it does mean making laps.

After several laps my run is beginning to create a path within the leaves on the path

The road I run results in an out and back with some nice off detours to run or ride off road. Having started in the woods, today, I changed my mind regarding the road and continued running laps. Either course would have been fine, but today the trail running was just a bit finer.

To add to the run I paced around on an inter-circle on the range





Out of Light and Range Finding

Wednesday, December 15th was a long day of training. First there was shooting, then swimming, weight lifting, running, (lunch and a nap), and finally more shooting.

The afternoon archery session began at 2:30 PM and lasted until  4:30 PM when the light faded.

There was still enough light to take a walk and practice guessing yardage on the 3D range. All other practice in archery today have been focused on 18-meters.

Maybe I am left eye dominate. That might explain things.

Just a few more months of short days. I’m already looking forward to more daylight.



Overcast, Cool, No Wind and 3D

The weather here in North Carolina is pretty good, today. It is overcast and cool with the temperature in the low 50s. A bonus is there is not much wind. Certainly, it is a nice day to get outside and shoot.

Cool and cloudy – but no wind

For the past couple of days I’ve been working to align a yardage tape against the calibrations on my sight. There are excellent computer programs that will provide a customized tape to affix to sights. Those programs, for the time being, are outside my reach. I use an old school technique of shooting at 20, 25, 30, 40, and 50 yards, record the graduation marks on the sight then try to match tapes purchased from Lancaster Archery Supply. The tapes I had were close, but not exact.

Lots of tapes, no exact match

Although 18-meters has been a focal point of practice, 3D season is just around the corner and I’ve been wanting to pop some faux animals. Hence, all the work on setting the sight.

I switched back to my Mathews Conquest Apex 7 from my Elite Energy 35. It means losing about 30 feet per second using Black Eagle Challenger arrows. While shooting the Elite is fun the Apex 7 does appear, for the moment, to feel better to me.

My Mathews Conquest Apex 7. In the background that’s a Lemond Maillot Jaune with Campagnolo Record components connected to a Computrainer.

To be fair, there’s not much difference in scoring between the bows. The difference I find is that with a hinge I feel more comfortable with the Mathews.

The Elite is now arranged with a pin sight and hunter stabilizer

Once I was fairly confident my tape and sight were in harmony I headed over to my 3D range. Since 3D in 2017 means a maximum distance of 50 yards, I took aim at 33 to 60 yards. The 60 yard practice was more to check the sight and a little about shooting a medium sized cinnamon bear at that distance.

Path leading onto the 3D range. Look closely and see a turkey to the left in the distance between the two pine trees in the foreground, a badger nearly center, and a cinnamon bear’s head poking out at the right near the foreground.

I spent two hours on the range. I’d started with 6 Black Eagle Challenger arrows and ended up with 5. The lost arrow was scarified to a turkey. It’s set at an angle. Following a poor shot the arrow glanced off, hit a tree limb and snapped.

Shooting with the X angled to the left.

It wasn’t an epic day of high marks. Mostly tens and eights. Aside from the one target, the turkey, at 33 yards, no other target was closer than 40 yards. It wasn’t too disappointing and a nice break from shooting at 18-meters.

A Third Career

My first career began in medicine. It started early when I worked under a child labor permit in pathology at a teaching hospital. My final days of pure clinical, in hospital, work were over in 1990. In March of that year, I moved into the medical industry.

Today, while reading a paper, Reliability of Displayed Tidal Volume in Healthy and Surfactant-Depleted Piglets, I realized how much I don’t miss working in the medical profession.*  When I moved into industry a hospital administrator where I’d been employed said, “We’re not giving your office to anyone. You’ll be back in less than a year.” He was wrong. I’d started my second career. When I left my first, I was 35 years old and had spent 21 years in hospitals.

Working on ways to prevent iatrogenic lung injury in 1988.

The second career moved me me around the globe. It paid for law school and set me up to retire at 57 years old. Not a bad gig that ran for 21 years.

Press release photo from my medical business days, 2011.

Throughout those first two careers I’d been involved in sports. Considering I worked since I was 14 years old I’d performed well as an amateur athlete.

At one point I had an opportunity to race bicycles professionally in Europe. But, the deal left too many unanswered questions and provided little security. I stuck to my academic-based plan that developed and worked out for the best.

On the bike at the 2008 Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI

The nagging thought for decades is what might have happened if I’d have moved across the Atlanta and raced bicycles. What would it have been like to live the life of a professional athlete?

Three years ago I got my hands on a $78.00 recurve bow. I shot it in my front yards at a bale of hay. It was so weak that the hay stopped the arrows. Still the arrows landed pretty much where I’d aimed. So, since I wasn’t working, I decided to buy a better bow.

To be honest I did not want a compound bow. But, that was all I could find to purchase, so that’s is where I went. If I could do it over (actually I could) I would have worked harder to find a better recurve. Shooting a compound bow is where I now have 3 years of practice and I am not too interested in starting over, yet.

While shooting my new compound bow it occurred to me that I might be competitive if I got serious. Today, I’m serious and shoot more than most people. In fact, I practice for hours every day, except the 1 in 7 or 1 in 10 days, which are assigned as rest days. Then, I locked on the idea of a 3rd career – that career being the goal of becoming a professional athlete in archery and earning money.

Trying a 3rd career, 2016

I’ve shot in the professional class a number of times and gotten soundly beaten. I’ve also shot in the amateur classes and been beaten just as soundly. Here’s the thing, those beating are less punishing today than they were yesterday.

We’ll see how the third career progresses. What I can positively say at this point, this adventure would not be possible had it not been for the first two careers.

*Honestly, I do not miss working in the medical field. I am however, looking for an EMT Course in which to enroll. That is a matter of improving our safety here in rural countryside. I do miss doing research, but satisfy that need by playing with archery and other sports science data.

Example of a Quarterly Report to Sponsors

I have sponsors and take my job of supporting Rudy Project, BRL Sports Nutrition, 60X Custom Strings, Flying Arrow Archery, and Swiftwick seriously.  They all receive quarterly reports.  I thought some of you might be interested in reading what I share with my sponsors.  Here is my Q4 report:

Q4 2016 Report – David Lain

It’s not quite the end of Q4. But, the final weeks will be busy. So, here’s my Q4 report a little early. It will not have the results of the final three December tournaments. Two of those will be in North Carolina and one in Georgia. October, November and December mean most 3D archery shoots are over for the season as archers turn to hunting.

On the competitive side focus has been on preparation for the USA Indoor Nationals scheduled for February 2017. Hours of daily practice at 18-meters has been the rigor of the day. In two recent indoor events I ended up with a 1st Place and a 2nd place, both tournaments in North Carolina. In addition there are indoor league events where I am currently competing.

Over the course of 2016 I competed in 21 archery contests. I took two 1st place, six 2nd place, and 4 third place finishes. The other results ranged from 4th to 43rd (a particularly frustrating event in Augusta.) In addition to archery I finished 2nd place in two cycling races and 4th in one road race (5K run). I had one archery ‘DNF’ because of equipment problems (IBO World Championships.) I took 2nd in the Maryland IBO State Championship and 4th in the ASA North Carolina Championship (Both 3D). At the USA Indoor Nationals I won 2nd place in the South Division.

2016 was a year of changes. Many of the events where I competed where “B” level where while winning was a goal; a major goal was to learn a new method of shooting. This was a significant factor in 3D where I switched from pins, used in the IBO Pro Hunter Class, to a sight and scope. The change was to prepare for 2017 where the Professional 3D Class in which I’ll compete uses sights, scopes and longer stabilizers. Judging yardage with a pin feel is much different than the exactness required using a sight. At least in my opinion and my 2016 results support.

In 2016 I traveled over 12,000 miles to various archery tournaments. To cut costs I bought a Winnebago that has been really nice and I should reach 100% return on of investment in 2018. Camping has saved a lot of money on hotels, food, and kennel costs.

My website, Puttingitontheline.com (where sponsors are represented and linked) remains extremely active with over 10,000 visitors per month.

Some of you may be aware of my medical/science background. Archery is not only a sport for me it is part of an experiment in talent transfer. I collect a great deal of data on my performance. I have been studying and testing “talent transfer,” a notion in sports science. I am making time curves of the progressive myelination of my nervous system. I mention it here because there is enough data collected to write an abstract for scientific presentation. (My peer review publications can be found at PubMed/National Library of Medicine.) I am planning on publishing.

In 2017 I expect to win at a minimum two State level competitions. I intend to regain my 1st in the USA Indoors 18-meter in the Southern region. I will not have a feel on 3D for the ASA Pro/Am series or IBO Worlds for another month or more when my full time concentration returns to that venue.

I am looking for to 2017 and anticipate a great year. I appreciate all your support.

David Lain, PhD, JD, FCCP, FAARC (retired)

Archer – not retired

Fellow Emeritus, American College of Chest Physicians

Former Member –Team USA World Long Course Duathlon Championship Team (2007)

3X Ironman Finisher – Including the Ironman World Championship Kona, Hawaii (2008)

2013 USA Track & Field Phidippides Award recipient.

That Yell Wasn’t Meant for You

Archery competitions are generally quiet.  Today was a Saturday morning league event.  Yesterday’s practice had me hopeful for a high score.  By high, I was aiming for all tens. (Aren’t we all)

On the range at 18-meters, my warm-up shots suggested I was on track.  The first three arrows for scoring were 10, 10 and 9.  Oh well, that’s how it goes.

Still, the day wasn’t going badly.  Not great, but things seemed to be headed for a decent score.  With two ends to go, I felt six tens coming my way.

On the first shot of the next to last end I was feeling it.  Then, someone yelled, “Whoa” or something to that effect.  Loud and in my ear I loosed the arrow in synchrony with the holler, totally not aimed, trying to pull away from the target.

I had no idea why the yell had occurred. I still don’t.  All I know is that from an apologetic shouter, “Oh, that wasn’t intended for you.”  It didn’t matter, sound travels, not unlike a wild arrow.

That one shot cost 10 points. There was no reason to piss and moan about it – although I was a bit surprised by the shout. It seemed two guys were clowning around with each other.  I stayed, shot the final end, took my score card, wadded it up and tossed it away.

There’s a reason for quiet when putting in golf.  Then, in golf people are shooting golf balls. There’s a more important reason not to yell on the line in archery. The people there have bows in their hands are shooting arrows.

22 Degrees This Morning

River, my running companion, has hurt her front left leg.  Occasionally, she limps.  So, she’s not running with me until she’s better.  Still, we walk through the woods after which I drop her off at the house and run.  She hates it.  That doesn’t mean I am running without four-legged friends.

Poor River having to take a walk as opposed to going for a run

The friends seem to like me as much as River.  We gather on an almost always empty road where my trail path cuts out of the woods. This morning I was joined by a furry pair that seemed to enjoy human company as much as I enjoy canine company.

22 degrees F this morning

Coco, River’s great friend seemed a little disappointed that I was alone running.  She quickly got over missing River and we were soon joined by another guy on the road.

Coco is the lab. I don’t know the other fellow’s name, but he’s often around on runs and sometimes comes to our house for a cookie.

Coco, who seems to have no interest in anything other than a good time, does not hesitate to jump in a ditch are creek no matter how cold it is outside.

There is no reason to be in this ditch except for a trickle of water and mud.

When the running was done, it was time to shoot.  Once again, I am very happy to have a heater in my shed near where I stand during practice. There will be more cold morning runs and archery practice. But, this is the South and the cold won’t last long.

Yep, this is how I’ve been rolling.