Broken Down at a North Georgia Baptist Church

We took a short vacation.  On the evening of the first day, Thursday, our 2006 Ford F-150 died. We were stuck. Fortunately, the engine died just at the parking lot where I was able to coast in at Baptist Church or so we thought.

Throughout the Christian Bible there are teaching where Christians are encouraged to help others.  Sitting without travel power in the parking lot of a Baptist Church I initial thought was “we’ll be okay until I can get help.”

It was a huge church.  It was the tallest building in town. It has a magnificent parking lot.

Unable to find help via either of my two roadside assistance subscriptions I walked over to the police station.  The police department had closed at 4:30 PM.  I called and left a message explaining my problem.

I also called the Baptist Church and left a message.  It was a simple message, “Please don’t tow my truck.  I will have it removed as soon as possible.”  It was the same message I’d left with the police. Both messages contained my phone number.

See, in the parking lot of the church I was warned should I leave my truck where it sat it would be towed away.   What I needed was a wrecker service and a destination for a repair.

I then went online and sent the church a message.  I went to their prayer line and wrote I was praying the good Baptists wouldn’t have my truck hauled away.

My wife is a Baptist.  I’m more of a Methodist.  When I was a child we moved away from our family Methodist Church. Mama had us try the closest new Methodist Church and it didn’t take.  Mama switched us to Baptist.  My loyalty remained Methodist even though I religiously attended the Baptist Church.  In fact, I met Brenda on a Baptist Church retreat.  I was 14 and she was 15. The decades together haven’t narrowed the distance of our two affiliations.

We’d once consider a compromise and thought we might find the Episcopal Church a happy medium.  It didn’t take hold.

During the frantic protection of my F-150 we tried to rent a car, no dice.  Tried to find a taxi, Uber or Lift – no luck.  We were stuck.

Lucky for us there was a group of boys milling about nearby.  Once they heard our dilemma they helped by driving us to the property we’d rented for vacation. Before I left the truck I put out orange cones, wrote notes explaining the situation and placed them on the truck windscreen, driver’s door and added one to what looked like a popular side entrance of the church. The door preachers and church staff most likely used when not opening the main front doors.

When the boys took us to the property we’d rented I checked to see if the good folks at the First Baptist Church had answered my prayer line request or email.  No response.

The next morning no response from the Baptists.  I hoped they hadn’t towed my truck.  I sent another message to inform the Christians I was working on a solution.

Finally, I got a response letting me know they’d gotten my prior email and prayer request.  I wished they’d have let me know sooner.  The response someone (no name was signed to the reply) said they’d give me a little longer to get the truck out of the massive lot. The note was short and sounded serious in the matter of truck removal.

There isn’t anyway the First Baptists could have known of my Methodist alliance – could they?  Perhaps, I should have asked my Baptist wife to initiate the attempts to contact her fellow Baptists.

From the rental property I found a Ford dealership 22 miles away and a wrecker service.  The owner of the wrecker service was unfamiliar with the address where we were staying and suggested I walk back to the truck – 4.7 miles away.  He said he’d look for me on the road and pick me up if he saw me. I started running.

A little over 2.5 miles into my run I saw a wrecker heading in my direction.  I waved it down and indeed it was the wrecker service I’d called. The owner operator of the wrecker is 82 years old!  Not only does he operate the wrecker service he is a paramedic. Our backgrounds in emergency medicine gave us a lot to talk about during the operation to recover the vehicle.

The entire drive the 82 year old talked to me or was on his phone.  The drove at two speeds – full throttle or stop.  His seat belt was never applied.  You can believe my seat belt was fastened.

Approaching the behemoth church I saw dozens of people doing church activities. It was Friday however it was busy.  Where my truck was parked the massive lot held just one other car.  Naturally, it was parked directly in front of my truck a few yards away from the front orange cone,  at an angle to ensure removal of my vehicle would be more difficult.

The older fellow and I managed to position the wrecker and my truck so we could remove it.  During those wrangling a church member drove her car perpendicular to the intersection of my truck and the wrecker then paused providing us an angry look.  After a few minute he drove to hir left and departed.  There wasn’t even one car on that side of the open lot. (Aside from my truck, the wrecker and the one other care parked in front of my truck and to the right of the angry Baptist.  The crowd of other Baptist were using another parking section altogether. But, this driver appeared pissed off I was there and seemed to want me to know it.)

There is no shortage of verses in the old and new testaments on the subject of helping others.  I wasn’t asking for physical help by contacting the Baptists.  I only wanted an acknowledgement of my predicament and some statement of leniency. When, after eight attempts, I received the short and serious reply implying that my truck needed to be hauled away soon or they would manage it for me I thought about a better response.  One that a Christian might have sent without obligation to provide physical assistance.

When I was off the property of the First Baptist Church I felt relief no member of the church had done more than offer an angry prolong stare.

Sadly, the F-150 repair estimate is $8000.00.  The price for a new engine.  The old engine provided 238,000 miles.  There won’t be a new engine.  There will be a new vehicle, soon. I considered asking the good folks at First Baptist to pray that I make a good decision on the choice of my next vehicle, then thought better of it.

The Price of a Sight

In August of 2020 (it is December 11th today) I ordered an Olympic Recurve from Lancaster Archery in Pennsylvania.  Even though I’d been shooting compound bows for six years, seven months and 22 days when I placed the order I’d wanted to try shooting an Olympic recurve style bow. The new Olympic Recurve bow arrived 133 days ago.  I’ve now shot compound bow over the past 133 days.

When ordering the recurve I tried to get the most bow for the least cost.  I ended up spending around $460.00 for everything including a tab and stand.  The bow, riser and limbs, priced out at $249.98.  The accessories for the bow ended up costing another approximately $210.00.

The riser is good the limbs stack but aren’t bad.  The stabilizers seem okay but I lack the experience to make a comparison.  The original string lasted a few weeks and a replacement was purchased from 60X.

Of the 133 days I’ve owned the recurve I’ve allowed 30 days of recovery from practice.  So, I’ve shot the bow 103 days.  Those days have been part of a process of gradually building arrow count.  I started with only 50 per day.  Now I am roughly at 1000 arrows per week and have shot 11,054 arrows (to date) using the recurve bow over roughly four and a half months.

I remain satisfied with the riser and limbs.  In fact, I’ve won two State Championships in the Men’s Senior Division with the gear, the Georgia Field and Georgia 25-Meter championships. There is, however, one major problem.  The sight I initially purchased.

The sight is an inexpensive Cartel Focus K with 9-inch aluminum extension.  The cost was $34.99.  It wasn’t a bad place to start.

The first problem, which really wasn’t a problem at first, is the large stem mounted pin in the aperture that is included in the $34.99.  I ended up aiming so that the pin and the upper curve of the aperture bordered the spot on the target I wanted to hit with an arrow.  I replaced that with a Spigarelli aperture which ran $18.99 excluding shipping, handling and tax which brought the priced to $26.70.

The Spigarelli is better.  Both apertures have one problem in common not associated with the aperture. The sight itself fails to maintain a grip of the apertures and both rotate clockwise while shooting.

The thumbscrews on the Cartel Focus K all loosen following every shot.  Now part of my shot sequence is to tighten the four thumbscrews and check the position of the aperture prior to each shot.

The sight also fails when it comes to small adjustments.  Although the marketing material suggests micro-adjustments are possible – not with my fingers.  When it comes to adjustments its approximate.  For example, yesterday my arrows were shooting slightly to the right.  For those with expensive sights ‘about two to three clicks’.  The Cartel K features a large screw rotation that means there is no exact click of calibrated movement.  So, it is easier to aim a little to the left to compensate.

The elevation is also rough.  Since the block moves rather stiffly and the tigthening of the thumbscrews after movement isn’t exact the elevation is a hit or miss process. This was especially challenging during the Georgia Field Archery Championship.  But, so long as the distance doesn’t change and the thumbscrews are tightened between shots and the aperture hasn’t rotated the sight has been okay for an entry-level sight.

It really is time to upgrade.  Therein lays another problem.  There isn’t any point in purchasing a half-ass medium grade sight.  The difference in quality doesn’t warrant the outlay of cash.

I do know that the current sight has caused me to drop a few points.  Partly my fault for missing the thumbscrew-tightening element of the shot sequence.  So, I decided to check out a proper sight.

The sights I used with compound bows have all been Axcel sights with the exception of the first sight I bought. The Axcel sights are excellent.

Looking at the Axcel Achieve RX recurve style, non-carbon, I am going to need $334.99.  Before I retired there would have been no hesitation – I’d have had that sight weeks ago.  In fact, I have two of their sights now on compound bows, both purchased prior to retiring. Since retiring I’ve gotten more discrete regarding spending.

When I look at the really nice gear I can’t run out and grab as I once did all I can do is shrug.  I know of lots of local men and women that get free stuff or greatly discounted gear.  Heck, even I once had “sponsors.”

Those sponsors, ‘Pro-Staff’ arrangements offered a discount to me.  I maintained those relationships until I learned a friend with the same affiliation received his products free.  In head to head competitions I’d beaten him 5 out of 6 times. In this  case it wasn’t so much how he shot but who he knew. The following year I stopped all affiliations with manufacturers that provided a minor discount and have not since sought supplementation.

Certainly, I’d enjoy help with gear.  I’d loved to have top gear.  But, I don’t and I am still shooting this $249.98 recurve fairly well along with the rickety sight.  I just need to remember – “Tighten the screws, Stance, Nock, Hood and Grip…..”

You Get What You Pay For

Working through the Georgia process to reinstate my respiratory care practitioner license I’ve been digging around for free Continuing Education Units (CEUs).  I need 30 to submit as part of my reinstatement.

The paid CEU hours seem to run around $15.00 per hour and $7.50 per hours at the American Association for Respiratory Care’s website.  The discounted hours, $7.50, would run me $225.00 to complete the 30 hours.  That fee along with the Georgia reinstatement fee of $400.00 and the Georgia fee to verify my National Boards for Respirator Care credential, $5.00, winds up to be $630.00.  So, you can imagine, I’m doing what I can to keep the cost down.

The first few credits, all free, went well and I exhausted the hours offered on the site where I was harvesting for hours.  The next site got me running, I got past the course material then got caught in some loop of infinite wonder.  There was no way it seemed to complete the program.  I gave up and moved onto the next free class.

This class was written by guys I know well having worked with them for decades.  The course presented one slide, which seemed weird.  There was downloadable material so I downloaded and read their text.

When I tried to take the quiz I was only offered two questions.  I needed to make a 70% to pass.  Problem is that there are actually 15 questions on the final quiz.  I couldn’t get the final 13 questions to appear.  I’d answer questions one and two then get my results, 2 out of 15 correct without even seeing questions 3 through 15.

I was able to make two attempts before become barred from further efforts to make the remaining questions appear.

Even though the past two courses didn’t eat any cash, they were a waste of time. I suppose you can’t expect too much for free.

Aging and Exercise

In a recent paper sport champions and athletes were asked what they thought it took to become a champion.  The group had a large sub-set of Olympians (medal winners and participants), world Champions, State and Regional Champions as well as a sub-set of “chronic” athletes that had, at the time of the survey, not earned a Championship.  The group had spent a significant portion of the lives competing and training.    This of course makes sense because achieving a sport level of performance to reach a major championship takes years of preparation.1

The group seemed in general especially bright mentally as noted by their responses to the survey.  This wasn’t too surprising because the mean of the group is 53.8 years with a range of 26 to 78 years of age.1Nevertheless; there was an air of vitality among these athletes.

The survey was not done face-to-face with the athletes.  However, a large percentage of the athletes were seen face-to-face as part of typical social interactions.  In addition, after the survey a number of the athletes felt compelled to discuss the work by phone.  At times one or more of them were present at different gatherings.  Among those surveyed there remained a competitive presence as well as a high degree of verbal and body language mild posturing that could be considered friendly yet slightly aggressive regardless of age. The overall impression a bystander might of noted is that these people appeared extremely healthy and engaged. Certainly, the group is physically fit regardless of age.

An important observation is the general health of the group.  At a mean age of nearly 54 they are generally not overweight.  A few are overweight.  An archer is obese (but currently on a strict diet to drop the weight), there’s an overweight ex-football lineman (thought not obese) and in that category there is a PGA golf pro, and one ex-major league pitcher who are heavier than during their playing days.  In general, the group was not overweight. This may be attributed to; overall the group continues to exercise to a large degree.

Coaching Tip

Exercise is a relatively easy why to remain in good health both mentally and physically. 2,3As we age we can hope to die young at a very old age. In that vein exercise can be an adjunct to prolonged health and mental compacity.4Aside from clearly obvious physical attributes associated with aging and exercise, exercise decreases the degradation of our brains.5

Being physically active isn’t the sole method to engage our brains as we age. One study showed that individuals who played chess were cognitively engaged and had better health than a control group.6The same study, which compared the chess players to master level track and field athletes, revealed the athletes had more injuries than the chess players.6For those injuries the athletes gained a lower prevalence of chronic disease.6However, the chess players and athletes had a lower incidence of chronic disease compared to a control group.6

As we age, exercise can be modified to account for slower recovery times.7, 8Even with modification exercise among the senior population can improve quality of life and independent living.9As a measure of successful aging, exercising among the older population may be a model to support concepts of best health over longer durations as exercise works to protect the body including the brain.10, 11

Through active engagement in sport and exercise we can prolong better physical health and mental health. This becomes clear to an observer in the presence of chronic athletes.11By adding a regime of exercise to activities of daily living we can improve our quality of life.9

References:

  1. Lain,D C; What it takes to be a Champion.In review, NFAA Publication, Archery, Nov. 2018
  2. Trapp, S:Master athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001 Dec;11 Suppl:S196-207.
  3. Zhao E,Tranovich MJDeAngelo RKontos APWright VJ: Phys Sportsmed. Chronic exercise preserves brain function in master athletes when compared to sedentary counterparts. 2016;44(1):8-13. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2016.1103641. Epub 2015 Oct 29.
  4. Geard D,Reaburn PRJ, Rebar AL, Dionigi RA.: Masters Athletes: Exemplars of Successful Aging. J Aging Phys Act. 2017 Jul;25(3):490-500. doi: 10.1123/japa.2016-0050. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
  5. Tseng BY1,Uh J, Rossetti HC, Cullum CM, Diaz-Arrastia RF, Levine BD, Lu H, Zhang R.: Masters athletes exhibit larger regional brain volume and better cognitive performance than sedentary older adults. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Nov;38(5):1169-76. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24085. Epub 2013 Mar 21.
  6. Patelia S, Stone RC,El-Bakri R, Adli M,Baker J.: Masters or pawns? Examining injury and chronic disease in male Master Athletes and chess players compared to population norms from the Canadian Community Health Survery. Eur Rev Aging Phys Act. 2018 Nov 30;15:15. doi: 10.1186/s11556-018-0204-z. eCollection 2018.
  7. Foster C, Wright G, Battista RA, Porcari JP. : Training in the aging athlete. Curr Sports Med Rep.2007 Jun;6(3):200-6.
  8. Soto-Quijano DA.: The Competitive Senior Athlete. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am.2017 Nov;28(4):767-776. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2017.06.009.
  9. Spirduso WW1,Cronin DL.: Exercise dose-response effects on quality of life and independent living in older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jun;33(6 Suppl):S598-608; discussion S609-10.
  10. Geard D, Rebar AL, Reaburn P, Dionigi RA.: Testing a Model of Succesfult Again in a Cohart of Masters Swimmers. J Aging Phys Act.2018 Apr 1;26(2):183-193. doi: 10.1123/japa.2016-0357. Epub 2018 Mar 24.
  11. Tseng BY,Gundapuneedi T,Khan MA, Diaz-Arrastia R, Levine BD, Lu H, Huang H, Zhang R.: White matter integrity in physically fit older adults. Neuroimage. 2013 Nov 15;82:510-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.06.011. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

Why is it that Amazon is Doing So Well?

After 11 days on the road we needed groceries. More and more we buy from Amazon’s Prime Panty. While we were on the road we neglected to place an order from Prime Pantry. Their fulfillment center’s are fast, but in this case it wouldn’t be fast enough.

Much of the fresh produce and meat we purchase comes from local vendors. Then, there are those times where we need a lot in a hurry. This was one of those times and meant a trip into town. We did stop at Bright’s Delights, a local produce stand, on the way into town where we loaded up on tomatoes, okra, squash, and green beans.

A lot in a hurry means staples. Our choices are Farm Fresh, Food Lion, or Wal-Mart. On this particular day we really needed to stock up and wanting to save cash we found ourselves at Wal-Mart in Elizabeth City.

Wal-Mart does have lower prices. We go shopping with a list, which we separate, grab two carts, pull the lower priced items off the shelf and queue to check out in about 15 minutes. We’ve got speed shopping down to an art. Although the sights throughout the mega-store can be similar to a side show we stay focused and get out. Well, we hurry along and then we stand in line.

Today I timed the wait in the queue. From the moment we entered the checkout line, ours backed-up past the vats of out-dated discounted DVDs, mouthwashes, and candy tubs to the “Fine Jewelry” counter, to the moment the cashier scanned our first item – 20 minutes.

During our wait the customer parked ahead of us said, “I know what their plan is – it’s to make us use the self-check out.” We mentioned we had considered the self-check out. The problem with self-check out, “We done it and it never works.”

You can make out the 3 open check out lines

The customer ahead sighed, “I know, it’s never worked for me either, and this time I have a gift card.” We figured the gift card would lock things down for a bit.

When self-check out operates properly it’s okay. We used self-check out exclusively at the Giant in Easton, Maryland before we sold that house relocated to North Carolina. We used self-check out at Home Depot in Athens, Georgia last Friday it was flawless. The ones here at Wal-Mart in Elizabeth City offer challenges that push patience.

Waiting in the line next to us was a mother with her 5-year old daughter. The poor child had all she could stand. Mama sent her over to a candy tub to search for a delicacy. This calmed the child as well as Mama’s Prozac.

The last time we shopped at Wal-Mart their computer system failed and no one could check out. We waited way too long. I suggested leaving the cart and heading over to Farm Fresh since we had to drive past on our way home. Brenda, my wife, not one to be defeated fought on and we waited.

On today’s wait our shopping cart included one bottle of wine. That would never pass muster at self-check out. Every bottle we’ve tried to slip past the customer operated payment system ended up needing a store representative to verify and confirm our ages. The wine purchaser age check delay combined with classification locks and system reboots conducted by a store expert increases time spent experiencing the Wal-Mart during self-check out.

Back in line our friend, Mike, the customer waiting ahead of us (we were now on a first name basis) continued to explore his idea that Wal-Mart’s plan is to redirect shoppers to check themselves out. I doubted the plan suggesting, “Mike, to have a plan someone has to think.” At this point he stopped arguing at just the right moment – it was his turn with the cashier.

Mike had 7 items. We were getting close! I could almost feel the parking lot outside.

Mike’s gift card failed. He’d made it to the cashier, his seven items scanned, his card failed. Mike, Brenda, and I just laughed! We knew it would fail. The card was good. Mike was innocent of creating the failure. Three attempts by the cashier and his line supervisor was all it took for Mike to hit pay dirt. Mike was free and clear. We were up to bat.

During the wait for Mike’s gift card to clear we’d unloaded our potential purchases. Unlike Mike’s seven items, no the 20 item or less check out line was not open; Brenda and I piled our goods on the biofilm saturated conveyer belt. The cashier went about his business of sliding, scanning, and stuffing items into urban tumbleweed bags hooked to a small merry-go-round. Seven minutes later he was done. Brenda inserted her debit card to pay – it failed. The cashier and his supervisor worked out a few keystrokes and within a several more minutes we were free to leave with our purchases.

We departed with only three items on our list not accounted for. We’ve never experienced a trip to Wal-Mart when they’ve had everything on our list. This trip we missed: fresh basil, shelled edamame and coconut milk. We can get the coconut milk (for a recipe) from Amazon’s Prime Panty. The fresh basil we’ll get out of our neighbor Jimmy’s garden. They have the shelled edamame at Farm Fresh.

We’d be passing the Farm Fresh on our way home, anyway.

Switching Bows to Find Which Scores Best

Before this morning’s archery practice River and I headed out for a run. Lately, we’ve been cutting though woods before heading out onto the road. Once on the road we run a short loop then head back off road.

There’s been so much rain here we’ve cut the trails short. Many of the paths I’ve made for running are for the moment under water. Being under water is fine for River. It means, of course, I have to clean her off once we finish.

The run out of the way I continued on with my evaluation of bows and releases. In order to continue with that exercise I needed to remove the stabilizers and sight off of the Mathews Apex 7 and put then onto the Elite Energy 35. So, there is once again the sight tape chore.

I know which tape I used the last time I shot the Elite – the two bows require different tapes. But, it seems every time I switch bows there is a very slight variance on the calibration. It’s not a big deal when I set things up for a fixed know distance. For 3D, since I practice both, I try to keep things moving to adjust for those slight variances.

Trying to find the 40-yard calibration.

Changing the tape didn’t take too long. I knew approximately where to set the calibrations. Still, all the shots and confirmations ate up the morning. After lunch, I’ll begin the Elite tests to compare with the results from the Apex 7.

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.

Trying to Coordinate 2017 Archery and Racing

My 2017 event calendar is partially complete. Well, a little complete. I have the USA Indoor Nationals in Snellville and the ASA Pro/Am events inked. The Indoor Nationals, and ‘A’ event, is where I hope to take back my 2015 win in the South and out perform my 2016 second place finish.

There are a lot of archery tournaments. There are also a lot of other races. In 2016 I missed a number of the other races because archery took priority. Nevertheless, I get some nice finishes racing bicycles and running.

There is one race I’ve have been wanted to run for a few years. That is the Xterra ½ Marathon Trail Run World Championship. Trail running is a blast. Seriously, running through the woods is fun. I’ve even cut a trail run circuit in the woods across from my house to practice.

Trail running is a bit tougher than running on the road. Footing is a major factor. The ground tends to be uneven compared to a nicely paved road. I wouldn’t attempt another long race off road without off road several test races in my legs.

I looked at the 2017 Xterra Off Road calendar for 2017. So many races and so little time – much of that time being already locked in with archery. One of the really great ones is in Georgia a few miles from my oldest daughter’s home. Her place is a perfect location to spend the night before the race, get up, drive over, run, then come back and shower. I’d done just that a couple of years ago. It’s the: XTERRA GEORGIA “THRILL IN THE HILLS” – HALF MARATHON TRAIL RUN.

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The race started uphill.
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Race map

It is a very tough race and hilly. The race, just north of Athens, in February is cold. On race day when I ran it was cold and rainy. River, my dog, came along on the race and warmed up with me. She waited in the truck while I ran the race.

Thrill in the Hills3
Cold, wet, covered in mud. Sweet.

I say ‘ran’ with reservation. The rain mixed with the Georgia red clay made the ½ marathon more like a 13.1-mile slide. I didn’t win and ended up 6th. If I’d spent more time running rather than falling down I might have come up a place or two. It seemed the faster I tried to run the harder I slid down. I finished wet, red (from the clay) and bruised. It was a blast.

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Rain and Georgia Red Clay guarantee somebody is slipping down

Sadly, that race and the ASA Hoyt Pro/AM are the same weekend. I’ll have to keep looking and see what other races might help prepare me for the bigger race in December of 2017. That is, if I can get fit enough to run an off road half marathon with some of the fastest trail runners in the world. If not, there are plenty of races to satisfy.

Getting back home after Matthew

We’d just about gotten back to normal following Hurricane Hermine and Julia when Hurricane Matthew drove up the east coast. Living near the Outer Banks of North Carolina is not the best place to be during hurricane season. Actually, since we purchased this property six years ago we’d had tropical cyclones visit us on an annual basis.

Hurricane Matthew looked like a serious storm, to me anyway, from its onset off the coast of Africa. I’d been watching it from the very beginning. Eventually it formed into a Category 4 storm and was a big one. If you’d placed the cyclone in the center of the Caribbean it would cover that entire sea.

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The weather forecasters were suggesting this massive hurricane was going to poise little problems for those of us near the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the exception of a brush past Cape Hatteras. Many of my friends felt otherwise. Brenda and I decided we’d secure our property, load up the Winnebago and head northwest.

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Our camp at Chippoke State Park

If you’ve followed the news you know the forecasters got this storm wrong. Even though we’d selected a campground 102 miles away from the coast we still got the storm. In fact, we’d discussed driving further west before it hit. However, the forecasters seemed confident our maximum impact might be 1 to 2 inches of rain. Man, by the time Matthew had passed I was thankful we didn’t have a tree on top of our Micro Minnie.

The flooding and damage to North Carolina isn’t 100% the blame of Matthew. Within weeks of Matthew Hermine and Julia had hit us. A lot of folks had forgotten about the water those two storms dropped on the State. When Matthew hit, and Matthew did pack a punch, the already saturated low country couldn’t handle any more water. The result was one of the worst sets of conditions for a hurricane imaginable.

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Rain blowing sideways, a water spout, and waves crashing our bulkhead during Mathew (I’d set a trail camera up facing Little River before we left)

After the storm we added a few more days to our campsite stay. The reports of flooded roads were enough to keep us off them. When we did drive back to our home near Hertford, NC was passed areas that were severely wrecked.

There were houses with water up to their first floor windows. Cars in water leaving only the roof of the vehicle exposed. Two of the roads leading to our house remained underwater and cars could only pass driving single file, slowly, in the middle of the road.

A week later we drove into Elizabeth City. Their flooded streets and homes remained blocked and barricaded. Friends in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach told us that in their area ditches are now creeks and creeks are rivers.

Hurricane season 2016 is nearly past. Currently, Hurricane Nicole is moving away, never a danger to the US, and a yet unnamed (but numbered) storm in the Caribbean may develop as it moves toward the Bahamas. Like many others, I hope this is it for 2016 and that we get a break in the future.

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This River Otter seemed happy to see us returned home.

Getting through the nightly news

We watch very little television. The evening news and football are what we view on commercially driven TV. But, the commercials during the news are nearly too much to endure. Last night, I put a stopwatch on the abundance of commercials.

The bulk of the commercial time was spent on drugs. The pharmaceutical companies, with plenty of our money to spend, took first prize with 6 commercials lasting 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Second place went to banks and financial management companies. If you’d invested your money with any of these money managers they’d have spent your dollars on 4 commercials lasting 2 minutes and 8 seconds. The third place winner was the news. Yes, the station itself gave a self-promotional plug with 3 commercials during the news lasting 1 minute and 38 seconds, all to encourage us to stay tuned or come back and watch more news later – just in case there were other important developments to put us at risk. Or, we were already at risk and had better tune in again before going to bed to learn more details about why. Fourth place winner, losing to the news by a mere 8 seconds was pet ads, selling to the viewer both dog food products and pet drugs.

There were two pure consumer commercials, one for Ford, 28 seconds, and one for Ace Hardware, 16 seconds. I categorized them as pure consumer since the viewer does not need a medical condition to be considered fair game, (such as a sleep disorder, diabetes, opioid constipation, or erectile dysfunction) or need an investment bank (though a loan would likely be needed for the Ford), or have a pet to feed or care for.

The commercial to news ratio was nearly 1:2; for every minute of commercial viewing we were treated to roughly two minutes of news (9 minutes of commercial/ 19 minutes of news – seconds rounded down.)

Some of the money spent on ads by the pharmaceutical companies was aimed at men over 50, or perhaps their partners, with the hope that the company could aid men with erectile dysfunction. The spokesperson in this commercial was always an attractive younger woman in her late twenties or early thirties shown as a possible incentive to encourage the 50 plus-year-old fellows to come hither and get on with business. I am relieved there are no children in my home that might require an explanation of what the sultry women is inviting while languishing on a bed.

We’ve never been big watchers of TV. For a time we didn’t even own one. We do enjoy watching a good movie on our large flat screen TV mounted on the wall. We do love to watch football. The news is sometimes interesting. The price we now pay for those moments of newsworthy reports, the commercials, is about to reach a point where no news will be good news.