An Abundance of Nines

This was my 4th target of the day. I’d already shot up two 5-spots and another 3-spot. The 3-spot below pretty much is how my day went.

Sure there’s a ‘hopeful’ number of tens on this paper. There are also way too many nines. To be sure this is frustrating. The last 5-spot , with that seductively inviting large X-ring, was even more exasperating whenever I missed the X.

These misses, the nines, were sloppy rushed shots. You know that instant when the arrow is about to fly, your brain says no, your gut is hoping for a little luck. It’s already too late. You can’t hope for luck. You have to know without that mental debate over knowing that you are hitting the X.

Generally, I knew when I’d missed the ten before the arrow hit. In fact, I knew where the arrows were going to land the instant it released. That only makes some practice a bit more head bashing and aggravating than others.

Dropping 3%

Vince Lombardi said, “Perfect practice, makes perfect.” Archery requires a lot of perfection to earn a perfect score. I’ve not done it, yet. Very few people have shot a perfect score against the current USA Archery inner ten 3-spot. In fact, at the 2017 indoor National Championships, no one shot a 1200 (two days with a maximum score of 600 per day.)

The highest score I found was by Brady Ellison, a recurve shooter and Olympian, with an 1192. In the compound bow divisions John Freeman took the top score with an 1189. There were no 1200 scores from what I could find.

My top score for 120 arrows is 1149. That score ties me for third in my division, only on the weekend of the nationals I didn’t make that score and finished a little further down the line despite winning in the region where I competed. Regarding the 1149, it has been several weeks since I’ve been able to put together a similar or better score. I’ve been in the ballpark just a tad off on the X count.

Practice started today is such a way that I was feeling pretty optimistic. The first 6 shots all tens. I finished the first 30 shots on a high note and was eager to keep going with the next 30 arrows thinking a personal best was on the line.

That first shot couldn’t have been any better. The fourth cut the line. (The hole off the line was expanded by the 7th shot a nine)

The next 30 arrows turned out to be a bust. Two tens and 28 nines. I nearly stopped practice recognizing I was simply off and there was no reason to continue a bad practice.

Except, the reasoning to regain my form and try figuring out that on earth was happening. The misses, not hitting a 10, weren’t all over the place. However, they were consistently high just above the 10 ring.

When I get tired I drop my release hand a little. The slight shift makes supporting the bow easier. This always pulls my arrows up a little. I wasn’t tired from today’s practice. The fatigue was built up soreness from many long days on the range. I recognized the problem, did what I could to correct it and continued shooting nines missing the 10 ring by just a little.

Only a few of years ago I was trying to stay above 500 after 60 arrows. Despite the fatigue and an abundance of nines today I was still hoping for around 580. (“Hope springs eternal”) I ended up shooting 3% lower this morning versus yesterday afternoon. I’ll rest this afternoon and tomorrow I’ll aim for 590 or higher. Perfect doesn’t come overnight.

So, I Just Finished This Book

I just finished a book. I don’t mean I just completed reading a book. Seriously, I wrote a book I plan to publish.

During the 45 years I spent in the medical field I had a hobby or sorts – aging. I published a few papers that dealt with aging and worked on methods to help prolong a vibrant life. It wasn’t my primary area of expertise. But, over the decades of reading and studying how we age and why there are differences in the aging process among individuals, all of which I find fascinating, I’ve piled up a lot of information.

I’d never planned on writing a book about aging but the idea popped into my head one afternoon and I had it outlined before I went to bed that night. Actually, I completed the first draft in about two weeks. The hard part is the editing.

It is really difficult to edit your own writing. If you’ve read many of my posts here you already know I am a failure when it come to editing my own work. Still, I need to edit the book a time or two before I beg for help from better writers or professional editors.

In the past I have used professional editors. Believe me, they truly have made everything I provided in need of help much better. All of those works were manuscripts. Easy work generally less than 2500 words. Books are longer and the one I just finished is no exception.

The book isn’t my first. It is my third. The first was on how to preform a medical physical exam and the second on neonatology. Both were written for industry and weren’t available for general purchase. My copies have long since disappeared along with the knowledge I once held that provided the insight into those two books.

This third one, once it is edited, is a labor of passion. Decades of reading medical journals, making observations, and drawing totally unsupported conclusions have gone into the words of this latest book. Now, it is just the misery of editing and I’ll see if it can be published or even self-published. I expect to earn tens of dollars from the effort.

Feeling the Burn

Practice was rough, today. It started on a sour note. It soured while shooting a 5-spot. Since August 3, 2017 I have not hit a blueberry. Today, during the first round (60 arrows after a 5 arrow warm-up)) shooting a 5-spot I hit blue twice.

I ended up with only 42 Xs. The X count has been my primary metric for 5-spot practice. It was a sad day when I hit blue twice and scored 42 Xs. The second round of 5-spot practice nothing in the blue but could only manage 40 Xs.

Finally, 3-spot practice was just as weak. For this final round of work 60 arrows would be enough. No warm-up; I was plenty warm. That led to a conclusion with just 22 Xs and the rest of the shots nines leaving a final score of 562, eight points below my minimum-scoring objective.

Things started out promising

Archery practice is more difficult than most people realize. Physically, the effort to hold a 6.2 bow steady over and over can certainly build up a burn along deltoids, levator scapulae, splenius capitis, rhomboid, and to some extend trapezius muscles.

Not only do these muscles feel the burn, hand muscles and abdominals are not immune to long archery practice sessions.

But, it is not the muscles that wear out – it is the brain. Working to clear the head of everything and letting the shot happen becomes an effort. After hours of shooting any little distraction takes on significance. There is no choice, practice has to continue.

Why? Well, it makes you better in the long run.

So, today wasn’t great. Yesterday was better. Tomorrow could be worse, but down the line there will be that excellent day.

Another Long Road Trip

We’ve been on the road, again, for about two weeks. During this trip we camped at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, NC, Elijah Clarke State Park in Georgia, Skidaway Island State Park, also Georgia and finally Cheraw State Park in South Carolina. It was a long haul. But, the little Winnebago did fine.

Campsite at Elijah Clarke State Park

When I say the Winnebago did fine, that is to say only a couple of pieces fell off during the trip. Fortunately, no major parts were lost. One of the bumper caps blew away during the last leg of the drive and we had a bolt that secures an electrical receptacle fall off. Both are replaceable.

Really neat place to run at Cheraw State Park in South Carolina


Trails out tat Skidaway Island

The primary reason for the trip was my nephew’s wedding. The wedding was nice and the reception was wonderful. It felt really good to be around so many “Lain” family members. Brenda and I were even included in the rehearsal dinner, were we only knew the other Lains. Heck, my brother, Chris and father of the groom knew only a few more people than did I. But, it wasn’t his wedding and that’s to be expected.

There are some very pretty placed to run off road. This at Cheraw State Park in South Carolina

Before we reached Savannah, where the wedding was held and were we camped on Skidaway Island we stopped for about a week at Elijah Clarke State Park. There we met up with our youngest daughter and her family. Our older daughter drove over from Watkinsville, GA and we had a nice little family get together for several days.

End of a trail at Skidaway Island.

Much of that time was, sadly, devoted to getting the A/C repaired on the truck.

Walking a trail with two of my grand children.

When I could find some free time I did get to practice archery, ride a bike a run. Running was the highlight of sports activities. The trails at the State Parks were simply astonishing.

Running over marsh land at Skidaway Island

It was a long trip. It is good to be home.

View at Elijah Clarke State Park