Looking out the window here at our new home in Good Hope, Georgia, there is an unusual sight. There is blue sky!
It has rained and rained since we move here a couple of weeks ago. The rain has hampered some of the work we’re still doing to the property here. Despite the bad weather things are moving along.
What is hurting the most is archery. Two days a week I can’t shoot at the indoor range located in Social Circle, Ga. They are closed on Sunday and Monday. Shooting outside is now possible, except when it’s raining.
Looking at the sky I now see the blue was only a tease. Maybe it won’t rain and just remain overcast.
The weather was great, today. Sunny with very little wind and not too cold. It was a good day to train.
For the 2018 Duathlon National Championships I’m using a modified triathlon training plan. There’s no swimming in a duathlon so those workouts are replaced with more running. It’s no big deal since running is a daily activity pretty much regardless of a formal training plan. In other words, I’m not running too much. This is a modified plan that I’m following so there is flexibility.
There are lots of sport training plans available for purchase. There are an ever-growing number of coaches for hire through the Internet. What they offer are programs available to you sight unseen. Perhaps, if you are new to a sport an online coach you never see can provide a starting point. After decades of sports, in my opinion a face-to-face coach is a better investment. I’m making no investment. I took a plan I’d created years ago and adapted it for the upcoming race.
I’ve had some great coaches in cycling, football, and track. I’ve also spent decades studying sports physiology and feel fairly confident I can put together a plan that will get me across a finish line. Of course, there are the hours of work that need to be completed and today was ideal to add to those hours.
In an abridged overview my general training goes like this: Run, shoot, rest, shoot, cycle, and sometimes run again. It was hard not to do a second run today, the weather being so nice. It was the archery practice that pushed me away from a second run.
The second practice with a bow was going just fine. Well, good enough for second practice. That session was planned for 60 arrows at a 3-spot followed by 30 at a 5-spot. The morning was just 60 arrows into a 3-spot.
The afternoon 3-spot when okay with 32 Xs and 28 nines. Sure, Reo Wilde doesn’t need to be worried for the moment. But, not too bad. Then, I put up a 5-spot.
Man, those X rings looked huge on that blue and white paper. I shot 10 arrows and called it a day. As big as the X is on a 5-spot I was doing good to hit white. It was time to stop. While I didn’t feel tired, my arrow placement suggested otherwise. It also indicated I’d had enough exercise for the day, so not second run. Instead, a hike in the woods was perfect to wind things down.
Tomorrow the weather isn’t going to be so nice. I’ll have to go into Elizabeth City to shoot. I’m glad there is an indoor range within a 40-minute drive. Still, I am looking forward to moving to Georgia where on days like tomorrow promises to be, that drive becomes 15-minutes.
If you’re an archer – you don’t need to read this. If you’re not an archer, this might be interesting.
I wasn’t at my home in North Carolina. We were off visiting in Georgia. When were off visiting I bring a block to shoot and my bow with everything I need to practice. Once on location I set up a safe place to shoot.
(I also bring a bike or two, maybe a kayak, running shoes and all the gear for that as well.)
Anyway, I was practicing archery one afternoon on this trip. A fellow comes up to me that has no experience shooting a bow. During our encounter I was practicing at 20 yards.
He said, “That’s not a hard shot. Give me a minute and I can beat you.”
Seriously, those were the first words out of his mouth.
I don’t know why but I’ve gotten crap like that a lot. Once, on a bicycle-training ride a cocky triathlete gave me some similar crap. I was new to the group I was training with and wasn’t prepared for the ride. I was grossly over dressed and knew I was in trouble when the pace, mileage and temperature climbed. The triathlete, a very good athlete on an international level looked at me and said, “We’re just getting started. I’m not even off of my inner chain ring, yet.”
Another time, when I was practicing 3D archery with a group a guy said, “Shoot your own game, you’ll never beat any of us.” WTF.
In the latter two examples, I said nothing. The day on the bike, well I didn’t have enough breath to respond. After the 3D comment I didn’t respond because I was too surprised by the comment to come up with a witty retort.
That day in the Georgia yard, shooting at 20 yards, I knew it wasn’t a long distance shot. I did, however, have a response. It was, “Well, I’ll tell you what. You can have a rifle and I’ll use this bow. We fire three shots. The highest score gets $100.00.” I added, “But you have to stand and hold your rifle while you aim and fire.” The bet went untaken.
Shooting 20-yards is easy. Putting an arrow in the center of the target is a challenge. Unless you’ve tired it you really can’t grasp the complexity. The absolute slightest hint of a mistake and you’ll miss the center. You might even miss the yellow rings and land in the red. On the other hand, if you practice long enough it isn’t all that hard. I know, I’ve seen people who make it look easy.
Two nights ago, I searched YouTube for insight regarding what has happened to y scores. Most of what I watched wasn’t very helpful. A few left me with that WTF thought. Then, there was one that made me think, “Maybe I should give that a try.” Heck, I’ve tried everything else.
The video was of Niamh Jones. You might not know her. She’s Australian and shoot for Mathews. She was in need of a new thumb release.
( Here’s the link – blob:https://www.youtube.com/05e9655d-6895-4f67-8535-3ca4e364890b)
She competes with a thumb release. Using that style release she won the 2016 Ladies Indoor National Championship. Further, she uses a hinge release as a training tool, yet competes with a thumb. Okay, that sounds pretty much like what I’ve been doing for years.
The YouTube video wasn’t about training. She needed a new thumb release. She pointed out that after several years her old release wasn’t operating as smoothly as it did new. Wait a minute! My thumb release is four years old. So, was the one that Ms. Jones was replacing. I have a brand new exact duplicate of the old thumb release I shoot. Maybe, just maybe I ought to give that a try.
Occasionally, my old thumb release feels soft as I activate the trigger. It sometimes feels like it is snagging the D-loop. I’d figured it was just me – what if it isn’t?
Of everything I’d tried to get out of this hole, I’d not tried the duplicate thumb release I already own. I gave it a try. To be sure, I did not shoot a 600. I did, however, end up with 40 tens and 20 nines.
After shooting a 580 I wanted to see if it might have been the release or was it all in my head. I took releases and put them into a pouch. Then, I juggled the pouch before reaching in and withdrawing a release without looking. I put the release into my pocket still without looking at the release. Looking I can see the differences between the two releases. The old one is more scuffed and worn.
After I nocked an arrow, grabbed the release and shot three arrows I sate the release aside. I then looked at the release and scored the arrows. I repeated this four times until I had two ends for each release.
With the new release, I shot six tens. With the old release I shot two tens, three nines and an eight. So, just maybe that was the issue. Now, I need to see if this holds and find those remaining 20 tens.
PS: Alas, the momentary improvement didn’t stick. In subsequent practice I dropped back to a 562 then a 556. Today, it is raining. So, tomorrow back to the salt mine.
The eye of Hurricane Jose was a couple for hundred miles off the coast at our latitude in near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Even that far away we felt a bit of its fury. All day there was wind. There was also rain, a light rain, accompanying the wind.
All in all, not a great day to be shooting outdoors. Driving into Elizabeth City to practice inside was an option. That course uses an hour of time driving. Really, I didn’t want to spend an hour driving. But, I wanted to practice.
The rain was light enough so that it wasn’t a serious pain. Yes, I practiced outdoors. Well, partly outdoor, I stood in my shed and shot into the rain. I only got wet when pulling arrows.
The wind was more of an issue than the rain. We’d get occasional gusts that required some timing to shoot straight.
Throughout the practice, I played music. What I discovered from this is that I shoot best with Adele singing in the background – who wouldn’t?
Gradually, the scores are improving. Since returning from a longer than planned break from archery, roughly two weeks instead of the planned one, my training scores hit a low point. Day after day a lower than usual X count on a 5-spot and 3-spot.
This morning, things began to improve. Rather than the previous disappointment of mostly nines, the tens are over 50% for the past two practices. Not record breaking but 34 then 35 tens out of sixty with the reminder of the shots yielding a nines. Sixty Xs is still a ways off. Right, now, it’s all about hauling back to where I was before the break.
It rains, it stops. I grab my bow; shoot a few arrows and it rains again. It’s probably time to call it quits for the day.
It’s not easy to not shoot. There’s a new string on the bow. I’d droven to PGF Archery in Elizabeth City, NC with my new string and bow stripped of sight and stabilizers – prepared to leave there. It turned out, even though the shop was packed and busy, Jay, a competitive archer and expert bow technician, was able to expertly change the string while I waited. I was eager to get home and test the bow. Alas, the rain has chased me in, again. Of course, now that I’m typing, the rain has stopped. (Nope, here it comes, again.)
Work wears you down. It wears me down, maybe not you. But, I know when to take a break. This morning it was time to give it a rest.
I wasn’t shooting poorly, I was shooting tired. The fatigue and tiredness were not solely from shooting. It was a combination of shooting four -five hours per day, running and cycling every day, and in between doing a massive amount of lawn work.
Lawn work includes about 7 miles of mowing. Yes, I measured it with a GPS, it is 7-miles. Those miles are just the ones covered on a John Deere LA 105. It does not include the miles of weed whacking, handling a push mower to get the areas where the tractor doesn’t reach and going over it all with a backpack leaf blower. See the lawn includes my 3D range, so it is a lot of work. Today, it caught up with me.
The morning archery practice started after skipping a run. It went okay, not great. Using a 5-spot, hoping a change in targets would be refreshing; I ended up 300 and 50X. Not getting 60X on a 5-spot was a warning.
It was time to take a break. I might skip practice this afternoon.
It has been windy the past couple of days. The wind is not a friend to cyclists or archers. Practicing 18-meters outdoors is tough when it blowing. At least on a bike there is usually a tailwind.
Today, not only was it windy, again, but cool. While out for a morning run, I wore a sweatshirt during the 60°F workout. The temperature felt really nice for the archery practice, but man the wind was a hassle.
Hopefully, I can blame the low X count on the wind. Well, I can place blame there whether or not is was the offense to shooting.
Usually, mid-day break is lunch a nap then more practice. We decided to break the routine when Brenda, my wife, suggested, “Let’s go to the beach.” And we did.
We left home right after I showered from morning training. It’s still hot and archery can be a sweaty business when practiced outside. We left with plans for lunch at Virginia Beach. Afterwards we’d spend some time on the boardwalk.
Virginia Beach is nice. If you’ve never been there and can plan a trip, do so. It is different compared to the Outer Banks. They’re both about the same distance, around an hour drive, from our home on the Little River at the Albemarle Sound.
We didn’t go to the beach to get into the water. The water a few steps away from my front door is enough for me and it is a lot warmer than the Atlantic at this latitude. But, the waves off the ocean made me wish I’d brought my surfboard. Believe me, I’d have worn a wet suit if I’d gone into the water with a board. Alas, the board was at home next to a wetsuit.
After hiking about 5 miles on the beach we headed home – back by 3:45 PM. Time enough to get a full afternoon archery practice completed. Not bad at all!