Wind to My Back

The wind has been awful out here on the Little River. I can’t remember a day without white caps. It makes archery practice a challenge. Early in the mornings the wind is typically not so bad. That has not been the case for a while. Cycling is good in one direction.

Remember that feeling you had when you were a kid, riding your bicycle with a tailwind pushing you along. That how it was today on an out and back ride from home.

There was a cross wind as I pedaled down my road. Once I turned right there was a furious tail wind. Within minutes I was in my biggest gear pushing as hard as I could. It didn’t take long for that to taper into a nice tempo in a large gear cruising at 27 mph. It just felt so good.

Before too long I reached the turn around point, that is where things changed.

Chasing my shadow on the ride home.

Amazed, Dumbfounded and Thanks

The data I have on this website from my GoDaddy account, as far as I can figure, only stores for 12 months. On the 13th month, the earliest month of collected data is dropped. Thus, a 12-month loop.

I check my data at GoDaddy every month or so and am dumbfounded. Certainly, I am not a great writer and what I post is full of over-looked typos, poor grammar, fragments of sentences, and other mistakes that make expert writers shake their heads.

Nevertheless, and not withstanding the literary pain inflicted people that understand language better than I, I continue to crank out posts about this adventure in archery. What is amazing, a lot of people read those posts.

Over the previous 12 months, 160,713 people visited this site. Those visitors read 387,364 pages and the site had 1,218,128 hits.

Amazing and thanks.

A Little Running and Cycling to Go With Archery

Before archery practice I run then I ride. Running is as much for River, my lab, as for me. She really seems to enjoy it and acts eager to go every morning. When we get home from the run I head out for a bike ride. Not hard, not too far – between 10 and 25 miles. Then, I’ll head out to the range for archery.

I own several bikes and I rotate them for rides. The past few weeks I’ve been using either a Litespeed road bike or Cannondale mountain bike. Neither bike is new. The Litespeed is 21 years old. The Cannondale is twelve. Both are in excellent condition.

Some of my bikes

The Litespeed is one of my favorite machines. The only original component on the frame is the front derailleur. The frame, titanium, feels amazing.

Part of the training I do is for fitness. One day I may decide to do more triathlons, mountain bike racing or cycling time trials. Or maybe not. Either way, I believe being fit provides an advantage for me in archery.

Savannah Wheelmen at a race in Virginia – 1972 (Me in the middle with the light colored hat)

Certainly, I’ve shot against a lot of archers that I would say aren’t physically fit. There are a lot of good shooters that aren’t what I’d consider healthy. At least they’re doing something beyond watching television or playing video games. And many of them can really shoot a bow.

For me, I prefer being in better health. I don’t mind running or cycling. Of course, I swim –just not very fast.

Turn the TV Off, Stop that Video Game and Go Play Outside

I often write about stuff I do outside. That’s because I am outside a lot. We have a nice home but not so great as to keep me indoors. Outside, for me is where the action is.

I find it amazing when I look at the activities of others how it is that so much of those actions involve indoor play. The play is not so much the physical type unless finger movements are considered exercise. Playing a video game while sitting on a couch is not my idea of sport.

In the newspaper today there was an advertisement for a bed. The bed could be elevated at the head and the knees could be propped up. The newspaper ad promoted this comfortable position for binge television watching. A bed specifically marketed for people to remain in it for extended TV show viewing. Seriously?

How did the bed company come up with this market segment?  Did information gained from intensive focus group questioning reveal a significant segment of their potential customers are so lazy they’d rather not bother getting out of bed to watch TV?

It is no wonder that 2 out of 3 US adults are overweight or obese. Among children ages 6 to 19 one third are overweight or obese. (1,2)

Archery isn’t what I’d call a sport where cardiovascular fitness is rampant. Still, rather than sitting around for hours on end getting to a range an hour of more a day is a lot better than spending the same amount of time exercising fingers or watching TV.

Reference:

[1] Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Ogden CL. Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999–2010. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2012; 307(5):491–97. Available online: jama.jamanetwork.com/

[2] Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999–2010. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2012; 307(5):483–90. Available online: jama.jamanetwork.com/

Playing in the Back Woods

This morning Brenda, my wife, and I headed into Elizabeth City to workout at the YMCA. It’s a bit of a hike in from the country to the big city. Brenda had a couple of hours of gym time planned. My Y plan was less ambitious– I’d swim and lift weights. Then, while she continued her workout, I headed over to PGF Archery to shoot on their indoor range.

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Pool at the Y in Elizabeth City

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Swimming and lifting weights does take a toll on arms. Archery afterwards isn’t as smooth as on days where those two prior exercises aren’t on the menu.

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Nice to have a range so close

Fortunately, PGF Archery is essentially across the street from the Y. From the time I leave the range to walking through the front door of the Y about a minute has lapsed. The way we work our Tuesday and Thursday schedules is Brenda works out that extra hour while I shoot, then I pick her up, and we head out for lunch and home. Home, back into the sticks of rural coastal North Carolina. Here, we are sandwiched on one side by woods and the other by water.

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The water side of home. (Yes, the Carolina Skiff is not on the lift. We’re getting a new trolling motor. It’ll be home next week.)

Once home, today, my neighbor, Jimmy, a retired police officer, was sighting one of his rifles. Like many police officers, Jimmy is an excellent shot with a rifle and pistol. His practice range, like mine, is in his yard. He and Amy, his wife, are the other two permanent locals along our secluded one lane resident maintained gravel road.

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It was extremely windy here during the afternoon so I shot from the protection of my shed.
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The woods side of home

Coming home to shots being fired is not uncommon or bothersome.   Rather, it is a matter of course. Jimmy was once a competitive shooter. These days he shoots for fun. But, over time he has shared a number of shooting observations that have been applicable to archery. Whenever he talks about firearm shooting I listen and learn. Later, in the afternoon, while I was shooting arrows, Jimmy came down to talk about shooting.

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Jimmy, going me in my shed, showing tighter groups than I was shooting today.
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Running a mile or so from home.

It’s pretty cool living way back in the sticks. Just image young kids with nature at they’re doorstep. Being able to run and play outside in the woods. Pinging, safely, around with BB Guns or 22s. Or shooting a bow and arrow. Being on a river and able to fish, crab, ride around in boats, kayaks or on paddle boards, and go swimming. Able to hop on a bicycle and go for a ride with little to no risk of being hit by a car. Having their dogs to play with on their land without fence or leash. Or to grow a garden and harvest their own vegetables.

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River with her favorite toy playing in the yard.
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Close up of Jimmy’s shooting

Rather, image a couple of 60 plus year old guys doing the same things. Live the dream.

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Yep, a pretty nice place to hang outside and play.

Practicing with an Archery Target Thief

 

img_5673The weather report indicated we’d have a windy weekend. Today, Saturday, proved the advance notice correct. Sunrise was nice and calm. The calm did not last.

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The river looked calm as we headed out for a run
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No Coco today

River and I enjoyed a run before archery. Coco, River’s Labrador friend from down the road didn’t join us this morning. Too bad for Coco, I’d brought extra treats to share. When they run together River comes home ready for a nap. Today, she wasn’t ready to nap and hung around me while I practiced.

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Running was less frantic without Coco

Preparing for archery I surveyed the conditions then considered making the drive into Elizabeth City to practice indoors at PGF Archery. The calm of dawn was gone and the river was covered with white caps. Being Saturday I couldn’t be sure who would be on the range in town. Saturday is often a team practice day for the JOAD groups. So I decided to stay home and deal with the wind.

My fall back to adverse conditions is to shoot from inside a shed. It is a last resort when there is simply too much wind. When I started practice, outside of the shed, it only took a few shots to realize that was not going to work.

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River intent on watching for that moment to begin her theft of targets.

River seemed calm while I focused on my target from inside the shed. She walked around and didn’t offer suggestions to play rather than work. Often we play ‘shoot three arrows – throw and stick.’ It didn’t take long until I discovered the reason for her silent prowling.

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Getting caught

There’s a trash bin in my shed where I deposit used targets. River had been sneaking to the bin, stealing the balled up targets then slipping outside to shred them. I caught her, well into her activity, with a mouth full of wadded up paper targets. Her response was, naturally, to run for it. For River, this was game time. For me, it was chasing time to retrieve bits of targets dancing away on the wind.

Athletic Compression Socks for Archery

th-1An archer on the range asked, “What kind of socks are those?” I explain, “They are compression socks for athletes.” That answer usually induces glazed over eyes.

Compression socks for athletes aren’t those white garments that your grandparents wore with the idea that the socks might help their circulation. Sure, athlete can get the white color, along with black, blue, red, green, yellow – you name it.

Yes, sports compression socks are often longer and reach to just below the knee. Other styles are mid-calf length still others come to just above the ankle. I’ve used them in endurance sports primarily for recovery. The socks made me feel better so I wore them.

I became interested when I noticed many of the top professional triathletes wearing compression socks during races. What I thought when I saw the socks, “That looks dumb.”

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What’s more, I didn’t buy my first pair of the tightly fitting socks for sports. I bought them to see if they would stay up when I wear boots. Boots eat socks. What I discovered is they felt good and they stayed up.

Today there are lots of compression garments available to athletes. I limit my use to socks. Lately, I’ve added them to archery. Why?

It started with sore legs. I run nearly every day. Along with running I ride a bike nearly everyday. Most days I do both. Not as hard or fast as I once trained, but both activities are hard enough and fast enough. Or as the case may be slow enough and easy enough. Nevertheless, my legs, when adding weight lifting and swimming to the mix, left sore while I was training for archery.

Archery adds another, on the average, 3 miles of walking and standing around shooting on my legs. A standard 20 shot 3D practice on my range is a walk of 1.69 miles. I’ll typically practice twice a day. The athletic compression socks made my legs feel better.

The other reason I began wearing them during 3D practice was bugs. Bug spray seems to alert insects that the feast has arrived. It is too hot for long pants so the higher socks help a little. The heartier bugs still bite through the socks, maybe a few are discouraged.

The experience of wearing the compression socks was a good one. So, I wear them daily.

The socks do seem to promote some recovery.1 And I am not alone in subjectively thinking they feel better.2 Can they help me shoot better – probably not although in some exercises they can improve performance.3

What I can say is that athletic compression socks feel great. Archery tournaments require a lot of standing still, standing around waiting, standing while officials to talk, standing while arrows are pulled and scores debated, standing for the sake of standing (the hotter the longer) and walking at a slow pace. The compression socks doubtless feel better than regular socks. Can felling a little better improve shooting?

In study where subjects were made mentally less anxious they performed better. If, my guess, I feel more comfortable that is one degree of anxiety that is removed and as such perhaps less clutter in my head that could negatively influence performance. 4

Athletic compression gear manufacturers are making a pitch at archers.  There was an add in a magazine for bow hunters that promoted compression under shirts and under pants. All I felt I needed were socks and wanted to see if I could find a sponsor to help with the price. Turns out I got a compression sock sponsor – Swiftwick.

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Swiftwick is a relatively new company, founded in 2008 and are located in Brentwood, Tennessee. You can find them on the Internet and in stores. Give them a try.

Reference:

1.) Goto K1, Morishima T. 1Compression garment promotes muscular strength recovery after resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Dec;46(12):2265-70. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000359.

2.) Ali A1, Creasy RH, Edge JA. 2Physiological effects of wearing graduated compression stockings during running. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Aug;109(6):1017-25. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1447-1. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

3.) Mizuno S1, Morii I1, Tsuchiya Y1, Goto K2. Wearing Compression Garment after Endurance Exercise Promotes Recovery of Exercise Performance. Int J Sports Med. 2016 Jul 25. [Epub ahead of print]

4.) Stern C1, Cole S, Gollwitzer PM, Oettingen G, Balcetis E. Effects of implementation intentions on anxiety, perceived proximity, and motor performance. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2013 May;39(5):623-35. doi: 10.1177/0146167213479612. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

2nd Quarter 2016 Results

A version of this was sent to my sponsors:

This quarter has been a frustration – no wins. I competed in 8 events. Six in archery and two were bicycle races.

Yes, doing a bicycle race was a bit risky. A crash could wreck an archery season. Both bike races were time trials so odds of a crash were low. The cycling races yielded two-second place finishes.

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This can mess up archery

Archery produced 3-second place finishes, including 2nd place at the Maryland IBO State Championship. There were also 2 third place finishes and one where I ended up out of the top 10.  (we all have those weekends.)

The Maryland State Championship was also the IBO World Championship Qualifier. My 2nd place qualified me to compete at the IBO World Championship.

Two archery events I’d planned were canceled because of storms. The NFAA Sectionals messed me up for the Xterra Triathlon. I was competing in the sectional that ran long infringing on the triathlon – both were on the same day. The archery in the morning followed by the triathlon in the afternoon. An afternoon triathlon – an Xterra – would have been very cool. As it turned out I had to be satisfied with the 3rd place finish after the 2-day sectional competition in archery.

I’ve been on the road a lot having traveled 2490 miles this quarter to compete. I am looking forward to some time back home before heading out to the IBO World’s.

The website, Puttingitontheline.com, where I post remains strong. During Q2 it had 32,860 visitors in Q2 who read 84,567 pages. It also has a new logo.

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To reduce costs (based on a three year ROI) we bought a Winnebago. For example, the past 25 nights on the road cost $592.00 using the Winnebago (lodging only) whereas hotel and kennel fees would have been $4,520.00.

That’s pretty much it for Q2.

Outer Banks Buccaneer 5K

This was a big weekend for running events over on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The festival includes a 5K, 8K, ½ Marathon and Marathon. In the past I’ve run the ½ Marathon and the Marathon. The race I wanted to run that has eluded me is the Buccaneer 5K. This weekend I made that run.

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Over the past few weeks I’ve raced in four 5K events, all in NC. I’d signed up for five 5s but one was canceled because of bad weather and local flooding. As it turned out the bad weather wasn’t bad and the flood failed to occur. Nevertheless, that race wasn’t rescheduled and refunds or credits toward a future event remain non-provided.

All the 5Ks leading up to the OBX event were preps for that ocean side run. I knew the final run in this series would pull in a faster group for my age division. The race lived up to my expectations.

I’d won my age group in all of the prior races. At the Buccaneer I finished 4th. The Buccaneer was a big race. There were more runners in my AG than some races I’ve done have for the total number of participates.

With so many runners queuing was difficult. The faster runners migrate to the front. The slower runners herd themselves to the rear. This way, the slower runners don’t impede the faster folks. With nearly 1000 athletes bunched on the starting line it was really hard to work my way forward. I didn’t get far enough ahead in  the crowd to separate my spot from the slower runners.

From when the gun sounded I spend the entire 1st mile weaving through the mass of people. At 0.17 miles, some of the folks I was trying to pass were already beginning to walk. By 0.5 miles I was working around wall after wall of people enjoying a walk. Why anyone that can’t a run mile would sign up for a 3.1-mile run I’ll never know. Why would that person line up in the middle of the pack is beyond reason.

There was also an abundance of mothers running with their children. One mom was actually coaching her child to run faster. The kid was 8 or 9 years old. I dodged pass the family duo during mom’s tough love lecture to her elementary aged offspring. The kid looked miserable and mom was getting all “Vince Lombardi” on the youngster. In my opinion, kids shouldn’t be running such distances until they are older. Kids need to play and run, it is healthy. But, long distance, relative to age, running may be as bad for the epiphyseal plate and bone development as no exercise.1

Running is fun for me. I enjoy the races. Sadly, so many of the events have become cliché.  That is, how can the race get your money. The OBX Expo center was a cartoon for side show salesmanship. I’d have avoided the Expo all together if the race organizers hadn’t made it necessary to enter in order to get my race t-shirt and I wanted the t-shirt. It is rather cool as race t-shirts go.

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An ever present clichés exhibited at the race were the “Woo-Girls”. These are the girls that yell ‘Woo’ or ‘Woo-hoo’ and the drop of a hat. There was once a Seinfeld episode satirizing ‘Woo-Girls’. Seinfeld has been off the air since 1998. It’s amazing that ‘Woo-Girls’ are still around Wooing and Woo-hooing. I’m not sure which was less appealing, the frequent cry of the ‘Woo-Girl’ or the ‘Lombardi-Mom’ berating her child.

When it was over, I was glad to get away from this race. I’d lost a few minutes working through a mass of walkers, Woo-hooing girls, and Lombardi-Moms urging children toward injury. So all the prep and speed work I’d be doing couldn’t  be applied from the start. Some races are definitely more fun that others. I’m happy to have gotten the t-shirt and this event out of my system. “Woo-Hoo!”

Reference:

1.)  Mirtz. TA, Chandler, JP, Eyers, CM: The Effects of Physical Activity on the Epiphyseal Growth Plates: A Review of the Literature on Normal Physiology and Clinical Implications. J Clin Med Res. 2011 Feb; 3(1): 1–7. Published online 2011 Feb 12. doi:  10.4021/jocmr477w

Diet

The most frequent questions I get related to fitness revolves around diet. Here’s an example I from my Facebook account, “Hey there. I was wondering if you stick to a special / strict diet at all?” (Thanks, Cathy)

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Ironman Eagleman in Cambridge, MD (me on the bike, not me walking wearing the red shirt)

Here is my answer to her, “Not strict. I limit fat intake and junk food. Although, I love junk food. I drink very few cokes or similar product. Finally, I try to limit my daily caloric intake to 2200 cal. To compensate for the slightly high intake I make sure my daily caloric burn exceeds 2200 cal. Occasionally, I miss, but in the long run I have a fair balance. I also monitor my % body fat, more so that my BMI. If my body fat reaches 9% I back off on everything, reducing my caloric intake until I’m below 9%. I’ve intentionally dropped to 6%, but that hurt. Currently, I’m rethinking my triathlon/cycling/running race mix. The result may mean I need to go back to 6% body fat. It isn’t easy. When I get serious, I track all intake and output (energy in and out) on a spreadsheet to make sure I have a 800 Cal daily deficient until I reach my goal.”

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What I didn’t mention is Brenda, my wife, and I cook 90% of our meals. When we do eat out, we don’t go crazy on high fat foods.  That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a burger, but we enjoy them infrequently.

Being lean isn’t  a major factor in archery performance. While archery is my sports focus, other sports where I compete are best performed at a lower weight. So, while keeping in shape for those sports I’ve come to recognize small gains in archery. For example, I don’t get as winded on a hilly 3D course as others I’ve noticed. This is an advantage especially if I’m shooting against a person that’s first at the stake and is sucking wind. On long indoor tournaments, I may be less fatigued on the second day compared to other archers with less fitness. Many still out score me, but that is changing.

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The primary thing I’ve seen is that to be good in archery, you need to be good in archery. Phenotype has less of an impact on shooting than what’s needed to do well in a triathlon, cycling, or running. Another thing I’ve learned – never underestimate the potential athletic performance of a big person.

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Run Hines Run

On another note, if you are big, never ignore what is going on with you heart and your likelihood of having sleep breathing disorders. If you are overweight, unless you are a lineman in the NFL, excess weight is not your friend. (Even Hines Ward, a very fit guy, needed to lose 35 pounds to complete an Ironman, but Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t worry about his weight when shooting a bow)

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He just looks like a NFL lineman

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On the other hand, if you are out of shape,  get winded walking, still able to shoot pretty well and you might be shooting against me in 2016 – ignore the above, rest and eat up.