Adding Some Endurance Racing for 2018

Years of planning and a bit of luck helped me retire at 57 from a typical job. When I retired I considered focusing on winning a major endurance event in my age group. Now, I’ve never won a lot of races. I had earned a spot on a USA World Championship Team for the Long Course Duathlon, which was pretty cool. I also got to compete in the Ironman World Championship on Kona, Hawaii. That is the Super Bowl of Triathlon.

Kona, Hawaii 2008.
World Championship, Long Course Duathlon 2007

But, I’d never won something like a marathon or a 140.6-mile Ironman. I’ve done a lot of 70.3 and 140.6 Ironman events, but I never finished among the top athletes. I did better at the shorter distance triathlons.

Get out of the water under your own power

The sprint distances were where I did my best. See I not a great swimmer, I am a pretty okay runner, and a really decent cyclist. My plan for the shorter races was this: Swim well enough to finish the swim in the top 25%, pass everybody, the better swimmers, during the bike portion, hang on to my lead during the run. That worked for me a number of times. (There was often that athlete that is better at all 3 disciplines)

Finish at Kona – Ironman World Championships

But, the more I thought about it I realized I’d never be a good enough swimmer to place well in the major events. Sure, I can swim. Sadly, while I can swim far, I will never be fast. It’s a matter of genetics and body type. (My best time for a 2.4-mile swim is 64 minutes) So, I put that out of my mind while relaxing in my front yard shooting a newly acquired compound bow a little more than four years ago. There is where the thought hit me; maybe I could do well in archery. Time will tell.

Picking up some hardware

In the meantime, I can’t let go of endurance racing. I tried for a year to pedal around on a bike, jog every morning and swim at the YMCA. I stayed away from racing any distance. Essentially, my day is this:

Up between 0530 and 0600 , stretch

Eat breakfast, run one to six miles.

Shoot my bow for one to two hours.

Eat lunch

Take a nap

Ride a bike ten to 30 miles

Shoot my bow one to two hours.

Often, one of the last things I do at the end of the day is take a walk through the woods with my dog, River.

If there is water, River will find it.

It works out to from 4 to 6 hours a day of exercise and training.

In 2016 I ran a number of 5K races for fun. Each time a little more slowly than the previous race. These were for fun and I had not been training for speed. Still every day I think about racing. While planning my 2018 archery schedule I thought – why not add a duathlon. So, I did.

2017 USA Archery National Indoor Championships, Snellville, GA

I’ll still train about the same amount of time only now I’ll add speed work. I’ve added a spring dualthon onto my calendar. I’ve got 5 months to get into shape. On top of that there are a number of significant archery tournaments where I’d like to perform well all occurring around the same time frame. Nothing gets me going like a good challenge.

See ya

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.

Running Partners’ Injuries

Coco trying to ask about River.

Coco, River’s good friend, has had a hurt rear leg.  So, I’ve kept River on a lease when we run past Coco’s house to keep both girls from going dog crazy playing.

Now, Coco is better and River has a hurt from leg.  As hard as it was for both of us, I had River stay home while I ran.

The girls when they’re feeling better.

Morning runs without the girls aren’t nearly as much fun.

Back with the Pack

It’s been a week since heading out for a run along Deep Creek Road here in New Hope, North Carolina. In that absence I pounded red clay, gravel, and dust that covers Buckhead Road and the surrounding trails in Tignal, Georgia.

River, my lab, joins me on runs. In Georgia, there were plenty of new smells to entertain and satisfy canine olfactory curiosity. More than one fox trotted within sight to begin a chase with River, the fox never losing.

Deep Creek Road, here in New Hope is the main passage to our home as it dead ends into River Cove Lane the road where we live. A secondary passage to our house is by water and is often used by friends that live on the other side of Little River.

Deep Creek Road leads 3 miles to New Hope Road. From my front door to River Cove Lane then Deep Creek Road it is one tenth of a mile. The round trip to New Hope is an out and back 10K. Over those kilometers are veins of ditches and creeks. Those tributaries, natural or man-made, to larger bodies of water are dotted with dogs.

The dogs dotting the ditches and creeks are well known to River and me. Within a half of a mile into the run today we were joined by Coco, a lab, and a close and cherished friend. Shortly thereafter a third entered our pack.

The third was also a lab. We’ve met in the past. He’s young perhaps a two year old yellow lab. He’s been over to our house before. I know because I have him on a trail camera stealing a shoe. The photographed shoe in his mouth was the second stolen.

After the first went missing I installed the trail camera to capture for record if the criminal indeed returned to the scene. He did. There are no hard feelings and I denoted the shoes to the yellow furred thief. By now it and its mate certainly have been thoroughly chewed and buried for tenderization with future plans for more chewing.

The youngest lab and I have never been formally introduced so I do not know his name. He was last in and first out. The girls were a little rough on him.

I enjoy running with dogs. They seem to enjoy it, too. It’s good to be home and among my furry friends.

Getting in Cardio

Usually, my day starts by taking a run with my dog, River. Sadly, she’s injured her left front leg so she has to rehab and walk. So, we started with a long walk, no chasing squirrels, no playing with her friends, and pretty much a leisurely pace. Tomorrow she may have to wait for me while I run.

Between morning and afternoon archery practice I got my cardio in by cycling. The temperatures are no longer frigid and despite a brisk wind the bike ride as usual was wonderful.

Lately, I’ve been riding on a steel frame Peugeot. Steel feels great compared to carbon fiber or aluminum. This bike was built about 15 years ago and set up retro. It has down tube shifters, an old Shimano 105 crank, Ultegra derailleurs, and 105 brakes. It does have a carbon fork. For those that ride, the chain rings on the bike are 55 and 48 and the rear cassette is 11-18 (only eight sprockets). With a tailwind this bike flies.

Rudy Project is my archery eye wear sponsor. They also make excellent helmets. That’s one of my Rudy Project helmets on the handlebars.

The wind, being sort of bad, I nearly decided to ride one of my triathlon bikes that allow me to cut into the wind. But, there’s just such a nice feel to that steel frame that I decided to leave the Cervelo and Cannondale Slice hanging.

No rain today, we’re expecting it tonight and tomorrow

I’ll admit, when it comes to cardio workouts, for me, nothing beats a bike ride. I did get that tailwind on the ride home.

Fishing

One more day off and back to the range.  Brenda and I spent the day fishing with her dad.

Fishing wasn’t as productive as we’d hoped.  Only three stripers and we threw one back.  It was too small. The other two were big enough to provide use with a couple of meals.

It was cold on the water.  We spent seven hours doing our best to find fish.

Oh well, like my father-in-law said, if we alway came back with a lot of fish they’d call it “catching” rather than “fishing.”

Oh, and time to start running, again.

 

River Shares a Treat With Coco

If you’ve been following this site you know I run with my dog, River. On our morning runs we’re joined, almost without fail, by Coco who is also a Labrador Retriever. Other dogs join and I am often times running with a pack of dogs. But, River and Coco are the ringleaders and seem to be amazingly good friends.

I don’t understand how dog friendships are developed or evaluated. I can only observe what seems to be an extremely playful and happy response by River and Coco when they see one another and how they interact. Today, I watched River do something I can’t explain in dog terms but it appeared to be sharing.

When I run I never carry dog treats. If dogs make it back to my house they are given treats. But, typically all the dogs, Coco included, turn back a few hundred yards away from my front door. They used to come all the way to the house. That doesn’t happen any longer.

Three years ago we bought a wirehaired dachshund, Nixie. She’s a great dog around people and River. But, she has no tolerance for vagrant animals and chases all others away. She’s a lot smaller, an 18 pounder, than any of the other dogs, but she is aggressive toward them and the bigger animals don’t want to deal with her.

Today I did bring dog treats on the run. Only Coco and one other dog showed up for the outing. On the way home I remembered the treats in my jacket pocket. With about a third of a mile left to run  I stopped and gave River and Coco a treat.

The treats are nothing special, they’re Milk Bone MaroSnacks. River and Nixie seem to really like them. Well, I handed one to River and she took it. Then I handed one to Coco, she too took the Milk Bone.

When Coco finished gulping hers down River faced Coco nearly nose to nose. Then, River bowed her head and dropped her unmolested Milk Bone on the road. Next, River looked at Coco, eye to eye.

I was shocked; River always eats a treat. Still, here it was, a Milk Bone on the road in front of Coco’s paws. Coco seemed to understand, bent head down, took the treat and ate it. Both dogs then wagged at each other and ran away through water filled ditch.

I tried it again with the treats to see what would happen. This time River ate her treat, as did Coco. I’m not sure what it was I had witnessed with the first treat. By human standards it appeared to be sharing. Once home River got a bath and another treat.

Dumbness at the Gym

Some folks just don’t have any ‘gym’ sense. In fact, some are just stupid when it come to the equipment. Let me provide you an example of stupidity.

A group of three was working out together. It was a boy and two girls. Not a man and two women as that might imply they were adults. Their actions gave the impression they were little children at the gym playing on things.

Here’s the complaint: They were trying to do curls. They appeared to believe the entire gym was their’s and curling was an exercise done during their social mixer. All of their gear, water supplies, and energy bars were laid on and at the equipment surrounding them. It wasn’t just at the bench being used for curls, it included the bench next to them, the floor and the apparatus used for dips. Very bad behavior and rudeness.

Their bench is in the upper right of the photo. The apparatus for dips – notice the water bottle on the plate where one stands, and there’s the gym bag and water bottle on the floor. Out of this photo is another smaller gym bag where they kept their energy bars. Lord knows one needs extra calories for a 30 minute workout.

Needing the equipment they were using for their valet I stood next to it looking at their little campsite hoping they’d pick up on the hint. When that failed I picked their gear up and moved it. It seemed for a second the boy might say something. He didn’t.

A Typical Training Day

This is how it rolls:

Up at 0600. Cook or prepare breakfast. Today it was prepare (not a hot meal). The first meal of this November day was yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, maple syrup, coffee and orange juice. That eaten it is outside to run with River.

The first range time begins at 0730. This morning the practice is focused on paper targets shooting from 20 to 40 yards.

At 0930 it is time to leave for the YMCA. The workout there begins at 1000. That session begins with a swim, followed by weight lifting and running on the treadmill.

Home by 1230 and time for lunch. After lunch there’s a short nap from 1300 to 1335.

From 1335 until 1430 check emails. Let sponsors know I am still interested and will complete their paperwork soon.

Afternoon archery practice session number two begins at 1430 and runs until 1600.  The paper distance was 35 to 55 yards then shift to 3D. It ended early because it started to rain. Usually I shoot until it is too dark to see during the fall and winter months.

Finally, on the bike and ride the Computrainer – 1630 until 1730.

Dinner, news, write some for this webpage, watch a couple of episodes of some Netflix show, hit the hay, read (Moneyball by Michael Lewis), fall asleep around 2230.

And that’s a day.