Hump Day

It’s Wednesday. Sunday was a recovery day. Since then I have an hour and a half of running, an hour of stretching, three hours of cycling, a trip to the gym, and nine and a half hours of archery practice under my belt.

Big Sky over a bicycle ride near Athens, GA

This morning we, River my lab, and I were practicing. Well, I was practicing and entertaining my canine companion between ends, which is mostly tossing sticks as I walk the 18-meters back and forth to pull arrows. River seemed to have more spring in her step than me.

River runs with me in the morning. She’s almost 9 and still has plenty of spring in her step.

Working toward an athletic goal is demanding. At times it can be grueling. The long-term effort needs to have breaks. Those breaks are periods for recovery. On Thursday we go on vacation. On this break I am not bringing a bow. I will, however, bring a mountain bike and running shoes.

The sun is coming up later as winter approaches and the air is cooler at 8:00 am in the morning.

The cycling will be easy active recovery rides. Running may turn out to be walking. For sure, after archery practice this afternoon I won’t pick up a bow for a week. If I carried one on the trip I would no doubt be tempted. But, I also know that rest is too important to take for granted. So, the bow will be left behind.

There’s a coaching tip in this post.

 

Winter is Coming

When we lived in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, being Southerns, we had pretty much the same opinion of Winter approaching as projected in the “Game of Thrones.” There would be snow on the ground around October and there it would sit until March or April. In Cleveland there are two seasons, Winter and when they repair the roads. Pittsburgh road repairs seemed less – just less.

When I write of cold I’m serious. When a Great Lake (Lake Erie for the geographically challenged) freezes that is cold. Aside from cold Winter brings shorter days.

Early morning on the trails

Down home, we finally made out of the ice, Winters are milder. Georgia is a far cry from Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Winter is milder but the days still produce abbreviated daylight.

The headlight I use does a good job

In preparation for darker evening and morning runs of the colder months I’ve illuminated the trails behind my house with solar lights along paths. That is fine in the evening when the lights are still powered. In the morning runs require a headlight to avoid trees.

The light also illuminates spider webs. A bonus to be able to avoid them

Running in the morning in Cleveland in February was awful. The temperature was always way below freezing. When I mentioned to some folks I’d been out running on a typical artic morning in Cleveland someone asked, “Wasn’t it freezing?” I replied, “No, it wasn’t that warm.”

As Winter approaches (…its coming) the Fall in Georgia will be nice for running. Some runners look forward to the colder weather. Personally, I am just fine shuffling along in the heat. Although, Fall and Spring aren’t too bad.

Okay, that hurt!

I’ve been sorer following a race. The most sore I remember being after a race was following the Las Vegas Marathon. I’ve run 3 of the Vegas marathons. The painful memory was from the first time I’d run that particular race. I was in Las Vegas for the American Associations for Respiratory Care’s (AARC) annual meeting. I’m a former respiratory therapist and attended the AARC meetings to earn continuing education units. During many of these meeting I was invited to speak on whatever research I was working on at the time. I’d also schedule meetings with other investigators during that week long Vegas event. The first of those meetings at that year’s congress was in the afternoon following the marathon.

It wasn’t so bad, the soreness from the morning’s marathon or so I thought. Then, I needed to walk down several flights of stairs. Going up them hadn’t been bad. The return trip was a bit of a shock. Over the next several days I climbed down those stairs over and over. Each time my legs screamed at me. It wasn’t at all bad going up, but going down hurt for days. I think I was recovered by the time I needed to fly home from Vegas.

There’s a marathon as the last leg of an Ironman. Of the several Ironman (140.6 miles) triathlons I raced none had me as seized up as that Vegas run. Then, I don’t remember needing to walk down stairs after any of them.

On Saturday I raced only 5K. It was hilly. On Sunday when I started my morning run I noticed my legs were a bit sore. During the morning’s two-hour archery practice I felt the previous day’s race.

140 meters walk after each end. 12 ends and 2 ends for warm-up. 1920 meters of back and forth walking. It was rougher than I thought it would be.

In no way did the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) of the 5K rank among the top ten of post-race DOMS I’ve experienced. But, it sure made the back and forth 70 meter hikes to retrieve arrows a tedious chore.

Taking a Break From Archery to Race

There were two choices, a bow hunter 3D tournament or a 5K race in Watkinsville. I selected the race.

I’d not raced a 5K in a while and felt I needed to run one. I’d just shot in a league shoot two nights ago that was pretty intense. Besides, I enjoy 5K races and this one was only 11 minutes from home.

The race was the 11th Butterfly Dream 5K. The race collects donations for a special needs adults and children. My wife, Brenda, had pointed out a sign near our local grocery store that aimed at getting more runners involved. The night before the race I chose to run rather than shoot. It would be a nice competitive break.

It didn’t bother setting an alarm to ensure I got up in time for the 8:00 AM race start. Eleven minutes away from home and two dogs with stomach breakfast timers would be enough to get me to registration with time to spare. I did have plenty of time the morning of the race. I found a good parking spot and was amazed at the numbers of cars and people that had showed up to huff, puff and pound pavement for 3.1 miles.

Runners crowding the start line

During registration I learned all the awards were custom with each one being uniquely hand painted by one of the children that are supported at Butterfly Dream Farms. I wanted one. Seeing the crowd of runners I recognized I was not alone in this desire.

Starting my race at the back of the pack

There are so many 5Ks around Athens that you expect packs of runner to be on the smaller side. Of the two 5Ks I’ve done this year that has not been the case. Today’s run had about 200 adult runners. What was another surprise was the herd’s age split. There seemed to be as many or more runners over 50 as under.

The course was very scenic for a short race

As runners were called to the line I headed to where I am most comfortable starting – in the back. The really fast runners crowd the line. I’ve been there. No longer do I feel the need to grab a few extra seconds or get in with a small fast group for pacing. Nope, get in the back, run my race and pass people. I am perfectly fine with reeling in other runners and keeping a pace that feels good.

There were two horses at the turn around. That was a first. I tried to get better pictures but I was running.

With a mile to go I felt I needed to push a bit and ran my fastest mile. It was in that mile that I passed the most other runners. My pace was just right to earn me a 3rd place finish.

A good new t-shirt and cool award for the morning’s work

When the race was over and times were posted it was evident that the winner of my age group was a serious runner having taken 3rd place overall. Athletes over 60 cranking out sub-20 minute 5Ks are in great shape. I’m okay with a more leisurely pace at this stage of my life.

Each award is different. Each was painted by a child. They were random in the order presented. I was happy with mine depicting the University of Georgia colors, two paw prints and Uga in the center.

While running I did think about the 3D tournament. I thought about driving over and shooting in it after the run. I’ve done that in the past. In that instance it was a 10K followed by a 3D competition both in Maryland. That, too, was a lot of fun.

When I flipped my award over it became more special because it was painted by a child named David.

Today, however, I decided to skip the 3D shoot altogether. I’ll practice a bit this afternoon on my range. That is after a nap and before the Georgia football game.

What Sport Should You Do?

There are all sorts of “tests” you can take to help you understand which sport it is that is ideal for you. I stumbled across some of these “tests”several weeks ago while researching another topic. For fun, I gave a number of them a go to see how the results stacked.

It turned out that they were all pretty good and mostly fun. The simple “tests” did a good job of putting me into sports disciplines.

Cycling was always near the top. One “test” indicated I’d be good at triathlons. A few of them suggested boxing or tae kwon do. Archery came out a winner on one “test” and among the top 3 or 4 sport in others.

There was a theme for most of these questionnaire exams. Some were specific to Olympic sports and others more general. In the more general exams football came up as a top choice for me a time or two.

This is what I found surprising, the “tests” did a pretty good job of identifying sports where I have played.

I did play football in high school and was a starter. I’d had some serious scouting meetings with coaching advice to follow during summer between my junior and senior year in order to get a college ride. I failed to follow that advice and instead began racing bicycles.

The cycling turned out to be a good choice and even though I didn’t get a sports scholarship to college; over time I earned other awards that paid for nearly 100% of my schooling (which was a bundle considering I earned two doctorates and a masters degree – kind of like Dr. Sheldon Cooper).

Circa 1986

Cycling eventually gave way to duathlon. A duathlon is like a triathlon without the swimming and having more running. Duathlon worked out pretty good and earned me a spot on the USA Team to the World Championship Long Course Duathlon.

ITU World Championship, Long Course Duathlon – 2007

Duathlon migrated to triathlon and I even made it to the Ironman World Championship on Kona.

Ironman World Championship – 2008

Those online sport “tests” were pretty cool. I’d even done tae kwon do for several years earning a brown belt before cycling sucked all the time away I had for training. (One day I’d like to go back and complete that path.)

Of the sports selected for me archery is the most frustrating. Some folks say archery is 90% mental and 10% physical. I once heard a top coach, in jest, say archery is 10% mental and 90% trying not to quit.

Certainly, archery remains the single sport where I have yet to achieve the degree of expertise I thought I’d have by now. Archery is vastly different from the other sports where I had success. The gap in talent transfer is huge compared moving from cycling to duathlon.

Transferring from cycling to duathlon was easy. Moving to triathlon was harder because swimming required learning a new skill with a wider talent transfer gap than that of riding to riding.

Always come out of the water under your own power (My triathlon rule #1*)

Archery on the other hand just doesn’t fit the mold. The athletic skills needed to perform well in archery aren’t associated with sports that move fast. (Although, the conditioning needed to move fast can be beneficial in archery)

Archery is, however, one of the sports that online “testing” suggested my body type, conditioning, training, and brain should excel.

Did anybody see where my arrow went?

If you’ve got some time to kill go online and search for “Which Sport is Best for Me” or some variation of that query. It might be fun to see where you fit. Don’t be disappointed to learn you’re better suited for gymnastics or track and field other than archery.

Footnotes:

  • Coach Lain’s 3 Cardinal Rules for Triathlon
    • 1 – Get out of the water under your own power
    • 2 – Don’t crash on your bike
    • 3 – Don’t be last on the run
  • I’ll also note my wife, Brenda a professional Yoga instructor, took a few of the online “tests” to find her ideal sport.  It was unanimously archery.
    • “Is this as far back as it goes?” (50 pound draw weight)

A Stinky Run and Some Morning 3D

The morning started as usual. River and I hitting the trails I’ve cut in our woods for a run. The plan for training and practice was pretty much the same as it is every Thursday with the exception of practicing 3D rather than shooting at paper targets.

A great place to run – behind my house

During the run River took off in another direction for longer than usual. She gets to free range in the woods unless she’s out of sight to longer than I am comfortable not being able to see her or hear her.

When that happens I whistle and she returns. Today, when I whistled she returned with gusto. There was a big dog smile on her face. And for her, she was smiling with good reason, a reason she shared.

River had found something particularly smelly and nasty to roll in. She came barreling at me and slammed her chest against me thereby transferring some of good stink onto me. That, of course, meant we’d both get hosed off as soon as we returned home. It was exceptionally nasty.

Here comes the stink

River having a bath was kept off the 3D range after the run. It is a bit lonely without her but I wasn’t taking a chance that she’d return to whatever gross mess it was that she’d found earlier.

I’ve not shot in a 3D tournament since last year and am planning to compete in one this weekend. Yardage has been the focus of the past few days of practice. That and making shots interesting.

At 40 yards, this is an interesting shot. (Photo zoomed)

I’ve been shooting the same targets for a few years now and creating ways to keep them lively helps make practice enjoyable. For example, I’ll position myself so that there are narrow lanes or longer distances (50 yards is the max with my pins) can keep me on my toes during practice. Hopefully, this will pay dividends this weekend.

 

 

Snakes on the Range

Dealing with snakes is constant activity for me. Last year, in North Carolina it was moccasins and copperheads. In Georgia it is rattlesnakes and copperheads.

My 3D range is also where I trail run. Whether I am running or shooting I carry a small pistol in case I cross paths with an ill-tempered viper. I don’t mess with snakes that don’t mess with me.

I’ve seen lots of snakes running and shooting. I even see them when I riding a bike.

When I’m in the woods I keep a close watch on the ground. River, my lab that runs with me and tags along during archery practice has pointed out a few snakes I missed. She’s also missed a few that I found first.

I carry this little Ruger while running on my trails and practicing archery.

This is the time of year to keep a close look out for snakes if you’re in the woods.

The New Park

When we moved here to Good Hope, Georgia a challenge we had was to convert an over grown forest into a Park-like recreation area. It is slowly coming along.

This javelina can be shot from a maximum of 45 yards. I may move him out to 50
One of two old roads that were easily uncovered

Two of the major elements included a 3D range and a target range. The 3D range has evolved and only two more foam-animals need a home. Well, one, a boar, is up as of yesterday. But, I’ve only cleared a lane to shoot the critter. The approach for pulling arrows is going to come from another approach. This way the natural ground between archer and target is undisturbed.

I had a deer up but moved it to make room for 55 – 70 yards. The deer was in the way. The deer will need to have just the right position.

The other of two easily reclaimed roads. Six weeks ago you couldn’t move off this path was so thick with underbrush. The targets, 50-meters from my bow, can be shot from 70 yards. There’s another 20 yards to spare behind the target

Another nice element to the park is a running trail. River, my lab, runs with me. Running in a neighborhood, on public paths, or on sidewalks means she must be on a lease. We now have a trail run behind out house that is about a mile per loop. River can run untethered. A bonus is that I don’t need to worry with poop clean up.

I cleaned up some of the limbs you see here today. Nobody wants a poke in the eye

Today, I started mulching some of the primary paths in the park. That is going to be a chore. I am also considering planting an apple tree to go with the five peach trees we’ve planted. (The peach trees are gifts from my father-in-law.)

River considering the fork in the road

The new park is already great for hikes. Brenda and our two dogs often do a “walk-around” in the park after dinner. Both dogs are free to run in our park. I’ll probably put a picnic table somewhere in the middle of the park.

No, I don’t shoot this target from this angle. But,the lane can be used by rotating the bear to get a new perspective

It is a lot of work. But, being out in our woods is worth the effort.

I Chose the 5K

This Saturday there were two events from which to select: a 5K race and a 3D tournament. Both were within minutes of my home here in Good Hope, GA. Either one of them would be fun. A choice needed to be made.

Stegeman Coliseum – University of Georgia

I chose the 5K. The primary factor that pushed the run over archery was I wanted to race. I run nearly every day. I ride a bike most days. I have not done a race in awhile.

When we lived in New Hope, NC getting to a race was a joke. There were races in North Carolina and Virginia if you were up to an hour and a half to two hours drive or further.   There were three I knew of that were 30 minutes to 45 minutes away, I raced those every year. Driving further for an 8:00 am start time seemed a bit much, so I rarely made the drive. I did get up extra early to do a few races on the Outer Banks. That too got old.

Good Hope is on the cusps of Athens. I can race every weekend and only need to drive 30 minutes or less to find a race. The archery tournament, a 3D shoot, was equally close. However, the 5K was on the UGA campus.

I really wanted to run the University of Georgia campus. On the weekend, early (but not too early) before traffic with time to enjoy the sights – that sounded good to me.

The start and finish were at the Stegeman Coliseum – how cool is that! The run passed Foley Field and Sanford Stadium. Runners that are UGA fans would have enjoyed the run. I certainly did – and having another win was pretty nice as well.

I could have gotten more pictures had I not been running. I did slow down to take a few.

Just under a mile

One of my 3D targets

I’ve gotten some nice trails cut though my property here in Good Hope, Ga. The original intent was to create a nice 3D range. That turned out pretty good. The second reason was to clear so paths so that I might avoid stepping on snakes. Next is to spread the piles of mulch, a result of clearing trees.

Photo taken from 50 meters

It is still pretty thick in the forest behind my house. But, I’ve ended up with a 70-yard target range, a 3D range and as it turned out a running loop that is just under a mile.

Nice trail for running

I’d rather to loops in the woods than out and backs next to a road. River likes this better as well – she can run free range.