Running in the Dark

Often you’ll read at this website that I post articles about fitness.  Many of those posts include stories about running.  While cardiopulmonary fitness isn’t essential to pick up a bow and shoot it, it does improve one’s health and ability to maintain an athletic posture during long archery tournaments.

During hunting season I wear orange every time I run trails

Among the exercises I do as part of my training regime, running is a major element.  One manufacturer of running shoes once had an advertisement that read, “Athletes Run.”  Whether or not archery is part of my life, I believe running will always be a part of it.

One of the running pleasures I find most appealing is trail running in the dark.  In the winter months running in the dark is easy – it’s dark when I get up to run. In the warmer months this isn’t the case.

A head lamp is a must for running in the dark. River, my lab, has a little read clip-on light on her collar.

For some, the thought of running through the woods in the dark might bring to mind some scene from a horror movie. Not the case for me.  I do run with a light – getting smacked by a tree or limb isn’t on my bucket list.

Some mornings we finish running just after sunrise

Running in the dark is peaceful in my mind.  The woods are quiet and calm.  Occasionally, I run in the direction of some critter and that can be startling, but never horrifying.  I do run with my dog, River, who’s a big girl who provides a sense of ease when I cross paths with an unexpected animal.

Find this at night and you’ll wake right up

There’s a 1.3-mile loop behind my house that cuts a perfect trail to travel whether running or hiking. Sometimes I’ll run it in the morning and hike it in the afternoon.  I try to cover a few laps each time, more laps when running.

I understand not everyone that reads this site runs beyond being chased.  If you do run and have access to trails try running in the dark it is an entirely new experience compared to running during the day light. Oh, carry a light, bring your dog, and watch how you plant your feet. Also, let someone know where you’ll be running and when to expect you home. Plus, carry your cell phone just in case.  Before you run a trail in the dark run it several times during the lighted part of the day to learn the trail.  If you happen to get off the trail it isn’t difficult to get turned around.  If you happen to get lost, wait where you are until the sun comes up to regain your bearings.  Clear lens running eye glasses are ideal for not getting an eye poked out by a low hanging pointy limb. Now that I think about, maybe you shouldn’t run in the dark – you’d probably get hurt.

An Impressive Younger Crowd of Archers

When I compete or practice in a group I am generally the oldest person in the crowd.  This is especially true during indoor practice or league shoots. Heck, while practicing at the local indoor range, I’m older than the parents that have driven their children to train.

At large events there will be people my age and older. During an outdoor competition last summer there were a couple of archers in the 70’s. Excluding league events where there are no age divisions, I’ve shot in 12 tournaments so far this year.  Of those I competed in my age group six times and in younger divisions six times.

In the senior division (the younger group), I won 3 times, got two second places, and one third.  In the masters (my age group) I won twice, got three seconds and a fourth. You’d think I had a slight edge against the younger fellas but the bulk of the loses came during the time we were moving and my practice wasn’t great.

Being the oldest person in a crowd is a bit weird.  There’s very little common ground for conversation.  Most of the people I routinely see on the range are more concerned with getting a drivers license, turning 18 so they can move out of their parents’ home, or where they’ve applied to college.  On the other hand, I worry about my portfolio, trade wars, and what my grandchildren are going to break next. (Either bone or property, I never know)

What strikes me most of the youngest sub-section of the group I see most often and shoot against on a weekly basics is the overall high degree of good manners and respectfulness of others they exhibit. There average age is 17 with a range of 15 to 22 years old. Each of them would make their parents proud.

They also make their coach proud.*  As a group they have a 70% win rate at tournaments.  Not just the local events, but national and international competitions. While taking a break on the range yesterday I was flipping though an archery magazine and there on the pages was one of the archers, highlighted for winning at a World Championship.

Here’s the competitive frustration about shooting with and against them – missing one X takes you out of the money on league nights.  A nine among this crowd doesn’t cut it.

It’s fun to shoot with this group.  But, I wonder, after some of them leave for college, get roommates, cars, and jobs will their performance falter.  For a few yes, the writing is already on the wall.  For others, will their future hold decades of shooting that provides an income to exceed that of those that sought a more traditional route to self sustainment? Probably.

  • There coach, Big John Chandler is a USA Level 4 NTS Coach.

Searching for the Root Cause

A few weeks ago I increased my 30 arrows, inner ring X, goal to reach an average of 295.I’d been pretty steady at 290 and felt it was time to most up a bit.

In practice, I warm-up with 6 to 12 arrows, shoot 30 and record the score, pause, then shoot another 30 when I’m preparing for indoor 18-meter events. I repeat this practice during the afternoon.

Along the way I may change the focus of the practice. Some days I shoot for timing, other days I spend looking for improvements in form, there are times I change releases from a thumb to a hinge. Throughout it all I record how I did on each arrow minus the warm-up.

A 295 for 30 is half of the total count for a 60-arrow competition, or a final score of 590. I’d managed the 580 – 588 range, a 290+ thirty arrow score, enough times that it was clearly time to move the goal. Then, things began to fall apart.

Obviously, the primary consideration is the archer. After about a week I took a look at the equipment. That’s where I discovered that my 60-pound max bow was firing arrows at 46 pounds. Corrections ensued and the scores remained lower that the prior 290 thirty arrow goal. The cause seemed to be  the archer. The scores were better but still below the earlier average.

Paper tears where shot, adjustments taken and repeated. Arrows finally flew straight, but I could not get comfortable. The first few arrows would be fine then shots began to drift. Once again, the poundage was checked and this time measured around 58 pounds. For me, that is too high. A turn was taken off the limbs and the score drifted up a little. In 25-meter tournament last weekend I shot the first 30 better than the second, a revise of how I typically perform. Today, once again, arrow placement started off good then drifted.

My data shows that I shoot best at 50 pounds. So, I took another crank of the limb screw for my second 30 arrows this morning. The bow immediately felt better. The arrows immediately grouped tighter and the score improved by 9 points. Still below average.

When I bought this bow a few months ago my gut told me not to purchase a 60 pound bow and rely or cranking the limbs out to achieve the maximum variance allowed for the bow at 50 pounds.  It has been a matter of tinkering to keep the bow at a steady poundage.

In an all out rehab, the bow, less than one year old, was restrung, timing adjusted, poundage checked, and paper tears verified.  The the rear stabilizer was replaced moving from a 15-inch to a 12-inch and the bow was balanced.

Getting a bow tuned for the archer and arrow spine is a key element in performance. A few pounds one-way to the other can have a detrimental impact. The root cause of this recent score fluctuation remains uncertain.  What I did discover, is while the bow in question was undergoing it’s rehab I shot my old supposedly lesser model and scored higher. (Both bows by the same manufacturer)

I haven’t given up on the new bow, yet.

Buy My Book – “Simple Ways to Add To Your Life”

Ever read any of those self-help books currently on the market.  Most of them are over 70,000 words.  That is a lot of reading.

Decades ago I became interested in longevity. That is, why do some people live longer than others. Certainly, genetics and in today’s world some luck, play a part in how long we live.

But, what I reasoned is that there are 5 simple things we can do that can help each of us get the most years out of what we were born with.  And, yes this is a self-help book.

It’s a self-help book of the old style self-help books published during the beginning of the genre. It means this book is only around 10,000 words. If 10,000 words seems like to many flip to the summary at the conclusion.

I’ve also, just dropped the price to the lowest available on Amazon, $2.99.

Like the Stock Market, this Down Turn Will Head Up

There’s a lot of data on my archery spreadsheets.  Five years, one month and 18 days worth of data is a lot.  Over time the data shows a graphic of how scores have improved. It further covers equipment, environmental conditions and how I felt.

Over the past several weeks the steady rise in 3-spot performance I’d been so proud of has dropped. The drop was nearly instantaneous. I reviewed my shooting and went through deliberate practice sessions hoping to reset my form.  I did discover a few bow issues and perhaps those problems contributed to the falling scores.

Those drops may, as I noticed in the past, have matched the Stock Market.  When it drops, I worry.  I worry about the interest rate climbing (again), the trade war, and political unrest in Washington.  I can’t do a thing to change those variables, but I do not like millionaires and billionaires screwing around with the market based on their power struggles – especially when it negatively impacts me.

Or, the drop in scores may be over practice.  It is easy to fall into a pattern of worrying that the other guy is practicing more and practice more. There is a point where the return isn’t worth the wear.

The failure to move up to an average score of 590 for 60 arrows on the inner ten 3-spot may also be mental.  That’s a good score. I’ve surpassed it having shot a 593 a few weeks ago.  But, when X’s begin falling into place it is easy to think that it is a fluke.

The 593 told me I could shoot a 600.  Today, during the morning’s practice I shot a 568.  Nowhere near to where I’d been shooting.  Thing is this has happened before and it will happen again. Whatever the root cause of the dip, I know I’m missing the ten.  Not by much but enough to become frustrating.

Certainly, like the Stock Market, there’s no call for alarm.  Simply handle any potential cause, make any correction available, and continue to push for that 600. And like the Stock Market, the yield will improve over time.

(The day after I wrote this post the Market improved – as did my 3-spot score.)

 

Puttingitontheline Readership Continues to Grow

There are methods to improve the search engine opportunities for Puttingitontheline.com.  I don’t use any of them.  In fact, my search engine optimization is really elementary.

This site is fun for me. No one pays to have me for marketing their products and no one pays to read what I write.  Ideally, I’d like to see this site generate some revenue.

A 2019 goal is to figure out how to earn some money while running this website.  I tried getting help to do just that a few years ago.  I’d hired an “expert” to set up all sorts of income generating approaches and connections.  After a few months I removed all of his ‘work’, his effort generating noting but a mess.

Maybe in 2019 I’ll figure things out that will lead to Puttingitontheline becoming a revenue stream. It isn’t a top priority.  The top priority is to continue to see the readership grow by publishing articles people want to read.  If you have suggestions let me know.

In the meantime, Puttingitintheline is doing pretty good.

2018, rolling data, the 13,711 value is for the month of December though the 17th. (Metric from GoDaddy data)

A Cone of Warmth

Last month I paid $60.00 for unlimited use of a local indoor archery range. It was a good deal. In North Carolina the same deal was $30.00, a better deal. I made the purchase of the archery pass because the weather during the past month has been cold and rainy. The problem with the $60.00 deal is the drive.

The $60.00 range is excellent, the time spend going back and forth is in my opinion is wasted time. The round trip takes an hour. An hour might not seem like a lot but it does impact training. While an hour on the road might not be spent in direct physical activity it does impact how I recover from a morning practice period before entering an afternoon practice period. To make this matter better I got a gift from my son-in-law, an outdoor gas heater.

Glowing red this little heater does a decent job of keeping a limited area warmer.

The little heater makes a big difference. While it doesn’t match an indoor climate controlled environment it does provide an ever-escaping cone of warmth. It uses propane, which is selling for $0.76 a gallon. The gas heater operating on the lowest setting is all the heat needed at around 38°F along with a few layers of clothes. Hopefully, this will help save some cash and time.

That Picture from the Event

Throughout my sporting activities there have been loads of pictures taken of the events where I competed. In running and triathlon races they’re always a pile of photographers snapping shots in hopes those digitalized athletes will exchange money for the memory.

I good friend of mine was a professional photographer and he’s often come to races where I’d entered and take pictures. Some of them were of me.

At the IBO World Championships, one year, I’m pretty sure photographers where on the ranges snapping up images they sold. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure.

During that tournament, I looked over the photographs available to review at a booth with a computer at the ready to search for pictures of yourself. My search proved empty. I moved on without further inquiry.

There are a few pictures of me on this website, mostly taken by my wife unless the image is of me is some race. In that case, I probably bought the ego-enriching photo.

What I can say about archery is that I rarely make the cut for a picture unless my wife takes it. I did, however, finally make to cut at the Georgia Archery Association 25-Meter Indoor Championship, this past weekend in Statesboro, Georgia.

The tournament had around 152 archers competing. At the Facebook page where the organizers said we could find our pictures that I checked.  I discovered there are 257 pictures of the event. That’s nearly a 2:1 picture per archer ratio. It seemed the odds of finding myself at full draw, looking determined and dashing were pretty good.

Scanning the 257 pictures it was clear that whoever captured them knew what they were doing with a camera. There were some excellent shots. In one the fellow shooting directly to my front was shown a full draw in perfect form. In another the lady behind me, a bare bow archer, is seen, bow in hand, gazing downrange, in silent contemplation.

Alas, there is no glorious close up of me with bow in hand projecting an air of professional athleticism. On the other hand, neither is there a ruined image of me with a finger up my nose. However, there is one picture where I made the cut. (See below)

Look closely, at the end of the line, under the letter ‘n’ in the word ‘center’ you’ll notice a sleeveless elbow. That’s me.

Georgia State 25-meter Championship

It feels like a long time between major archery tournaments. The last one was an outdoor championship in September – the 15th and 16th to be exact. Since then there have been a few league shoots. This weekend, finally, there is a major tournament in the State.

Georgia Southern University

The Georgia State 25-meter Championships is today at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. I’ve never shot a 25-meter tournament. So, this is pretty cool. A bonus is that the competition is being held at the Georgia Southern University Shooting Center.

Georgia Southern’s Shooting center

There are 149 archers competing as of December 6th. So, when I say major tournament, I am speaking on a State level. This tournament isn’t like a National Championship or a Vegas sized competition.

Most hotel rooms remind me of a box

I drove from our home near Athens, Georgia for this Statesboro, Georgia shoot a day before the Championship. On this trip I didn’t travel with my RV. The weather forecast is for rain, ice and a little snow. Not the idea conditions for pulling an RV. It will mean two nights in a hotel.

Regardless the outcome, and despite the hotel stay, competing at 25-meters seems like it will be a lot of fun.

Well, it is the bow.

There seemed to be something off during my last competition. In fact, my arrow placement has been dropping. It was so bad during last week’s tournament I shot two eights at 18 meters.The last tournament was scored with the inner ten equaling 11 points. Despite a recent slump I was optimistic.  Before long it was apparent something was clearly amuck.

Things started pretty good but didn’t last. Before I’d shot nine arrows I knew the monkey was on my back. My arrows were flying all over the place. My first thought was that I’d hit rock bottom. My second thought was that something was wrong with my equipment.

The equipment should be fine. It had been checked out in the previous week. Still, when I got home I took my stabilizers and scope off my Elite Victory X and put them on my Elite Energy 35. Low and behold – the arrows were landing more or less where I wanted them to land.

The arrows are Easton 2018s. The Victory X is a 60lb bow set up for around 54 lbs. The Elite Energy is a 50 lbs. bow giving me 52 lbs. I’d shot 2014s with the bows in the past and moved over to a stiffer arrow few weeks ago. With the Victory things had been looking good. Then, things didn’t look so good.

At last year’s Georgia 50 meter State Championship, I was training with the Victory. Prior to the Championship I went back to the Energy and won the event setting a new State record. I did the same for the next outdoor tournament and again set a new record* using the Energy. When shooting the Victory the arrows just seem to shift. I’d have to adjust windage when there was no wind.

Following that I took the Victory to the local bow shop where I’d purchased the bow explaining that something seemed off with the bow. I also contacted Elite looking for help. Elite didn’t respond.

Indeed, the limbs had somehow loosened and one was no longer matching the other. Corrections were taken and the bow performed well. Well, for a short while.

This latest problem was soon chased back to the bow. The Victory, set at 54 lbs. was tested and found to have a draw weight of 46 lbs. Forty-six pounds from a bow that has a maximum draw weight of 60 is seriously out of whack. At the Indoor Nationals last year (the tournament for which I’d bought the bow) during bow check in I discovered the bow had dropped the poundage. I’d assumed it was a variance between measuring devices.

The Victory X is a nice bow. Mine is nine months and 5 days old. I shoot about 100 arrows a day on average. My Victory X seems to have some issue with staying tight.

The recent discovered change in draw weight isn’t the first time – it is now the third. The first, I blamed it on variance of measuring devices. The second time, well no fault was assigned. This third time, well it is the bow. The third time is also the charm.

Today, while practicing, I had to pause and tighten the locking screws that are on the sides of the limb pockets. At this point I have no idea why this bow gets loose. But, I do hope it can hold together long enough to compete this weekend.

*Unofficial record. No higher score can be found online and I have contacted the State officials to verify – they’ve not yet responded.