The NFAA Indoor Nationals

As I approached the site for my shot at the NFAA Quarantine Edition of the Indoor Nationals all I could think was “shit”.  There wasn’t a mask in sight.

The tournament venue for me was in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  That county has the second most Covid-19 cases in the state, around 50,000.

I’ll be 66 in a few months.  My age group is one of the harder hit clusters.

I had a mask with me.  My mask protects others by reducing my expiratory ‘plum.’

The others in this case, other archers, seemed not to care they might be asymptomatic.  Their ‘plums’ are harmful to me.

I left. I was and remain disappointed.

Turf Toe versus String Finger

Turf toe, a football injury, is a pain.  It isn’t horrible like a broken bone.  It is just a pain in the toe that prevents elite performance.

The skin on the middle finger of my drawing hand has a small split.  It bleeds and hurts a little when I shoot.  My wife calls it string finger and compares it to turf toe.

It isn’t a blood blister.  Practicing in the cold, I believe is the root cause. This is just a small split in the skin.

I use a Fairweather tab.

All I know to do is put the bow down while it heals – completely – then use a Band-Aid to help prevent this from happening again until the weather warms up.

Any suggestions?

Oh Well There’s Always Next Year

The NFAA Indoor Nationals for 2020 couldn’t have been any better.  There would be no long haul to compete.  The venue is a 45-minute drive away. Excellent.

Because of Covid-19 the NFAA created a format allows NFAA Affiliate ranges to provide a base where to compete for the 2020 Indoor Nationals.  These Nationals are being held at ranges all across the country.

I’d signed up and selected the Archery Learning Center just up the road.  I could drive over shoot and come home.  Easy.

A few days before the event I cut my finger.  Not a bad cut but a cut.  In most instances I’d hardly notice.  In this instance the cut is on the middle finger tip of my drawing hand.

I sort of reminded me of turf toe. Not a horrible injury but a real nuisance – painful and bothersome enough to keep professional football players out of a game.

Practicing while hoping for a speedy recover of the cut was a loss.  Each session the finger’s small wound would open and bleed.  It hurt enough to cause a minor shift in finger pressure leading to more on the index finger that is correct.  The arrows landing a bit higher as a result.

The practice scores suffered a little with a few more points dropped per practice than the pre-cut scores. There was only one solution, hold off shooting for a few days and let the cut heal.

Such a little thing

The NFAA Indoor 2020 as convenient as this year’s might be is a miss for me.

Pandemic Archery

I’ve shot 4 tournaments in 2020.  That is pitiful. I know many archers have competed in a lot more events. No me.  I know too well how healthcare in America functions.  I don’t want to end up at the mercy of our healthcare system.

Wait, you might think we have the best healthcare in the world.  You’d be wrong.  When it comes to healthcare we’ve dropped from 6th in 1990 to 27th.  (1) I know firsthand how our healthcare system works and how other countries manage their healthcare. I spent 42 years in the medical field and 21 of those were international medical experience.

Last week I was visiting a hospital.  Honestly, I’ve never seen worse. So, I am cautious when it comes to my health. This has meant only four tournaments in 2020.

I won 3 out of 4 of them.  I also used this time away from competition to switch to Olympic recurve.

Olympic recurve is a different game all together.  Comparing compound bow shooting to Olympic recurve is like comparing checkers to chess. Recurve shooting is an entirely different world.  It is a nice switch so far.

I am looking forward to competing using this recurve.  I have completed one event with the recurve.  It ended well.

1) https://www.businessinsider.com/us-ranks-27th-for-healthcare-and-education-2018-9

 

 

Georgia 25-meter Indoor Championship Coming Soon

The Georgia 25-meter Indoor Championship is about three weeks away.  It is being held that the Georgia Southern Shooting Education Center in Statesboro, Georgia. Aside from poor lighting, fluorescent bulbs high above the floor, it is a nice facility.

This year is a bit different.  First only 24 archers are allowed to compete during any of the three times offered. Spectators are not allowed in the building.  Archers must wear a mask at all times and temperature checks will be taken before competitors are allowed inside the building.  All of this is understandable considering the current state of this pandemic.

While I have no issue with the conditions, I admit shooting while wearing a mask is a challenge.  I’ve been testing masks to see how it goes during practice.  It doesn’t go well. Wearing a mask my average score at 25-meters drops 26 points!

On a poor day shooting my average will fluctuate about 10 points.  Ten points is my worst drop off from my average.  That is unless I am wearing a mask. The difference from my high score at 25-meters and low score is 27 without a mask.  The difference with a mask is 49 points. The low score without a mask was shoot over a month ago and was my first attempt at 25-meters.  It was also the 69th day of shooting a recurve bow.  Even that score is higher than any score I’ve achieved wearing a mask.

Obviously, more practice is needed while wearing a mask to bring up my score when wearing a mask.

 

 

First Olympic Recurve Event: Georgia State Field Championship 2020

On Saturday October 17, 2020 it was 38°F in Acworth, Georgia at 0830.  The weather report had ‘suggested’ the temperature would be 48°F at 0830 with a rapidly increasing warmth to follow.  The weather forecast had been off. It was cold at the Kennesaw Archery Club for the Georgia State Field Archery Championship.

On Wednesday the 14th of October, a day before registration closed I entered the event. The reasoning was to put off entry until nearly the last moment in the event of a forecast to rain or me still flinging arrows like a clown with a water gun.  The forecast for the weather wasn’t the main deterrent for a rejection to enter.  In reality if was the drive through Atlanta being the major issue against attending.

The secondary consideration was whether or not I’d make a fool of myself shooting at $249.00 Olympic recurve in the Men’s Senior Division having only just started shooting a recurve.  In total I’d had 62 days of actual practice shooting an Olympic recurve.  Granted, I believed those days to have been fairly high quality practice days.

The Olympic recurve is a satisfying bow.  At $249.00 for limbs and riser a barging for entertainment.  As a serious competitive bow, well since I’ve not shot any other Olympic recurve is seems just right.  The arrows that are flung off the bow’s rest cost $5.50 each complete with fletching, pile and nock.

Those arrows are a tad under-spined, un-cut, and there is no clicker on the bow.  There is a sight, which is, as sights go, one level above the trash.  I admit openly, the sight is awful. The price for the sight was around $20.00 new.  In this case, you really do get what you pay for.

The sight moves on it own, the aperture rotates between shots, and the calibration assembly aligns “in the ballpark” at best. “In the ballpark” after 62 practice days is probably good enough.

At 0830 there I was, sitting in my Ford-150, at the Kennesaw Archery Club’s range for the tournament.  I was thinking, this is really stupid.  I am going to be so embarrassed. But, I’d made the first leg of the drive (getting there) paid my $35.00 registration fee, so I might as well enjoy, albeit cold, the learning experience.

I unloaded myself from the pick-up, grabbed my introductory level bow and somewhat miserably began the hike to the check-in table. There I confirmed my initial target assignment and walked over to the warm-up range.

Along the way I passed friends and opponents.  This is my first recurve tournament.  I’d won the event in 2019 in the Men’s Masters 60 year old age group using a compound bow.  The recurve contest wasn’t as a Master.  I’d decided to compete for a while in the Senior division.

A friend of mentioned he’s not going to Gator Cup because they don’t have a 70+ division.  Many tournaments bail out of the age group divisions at 50.  I figured I might as will shoot with the guys under 50 since I’m starting something new.  At least there will always be a division in that age group.

There were comments about the in my hand recurve, of course.  There were folks suggest their opinion that the discount equipment was “Good for you.”  Said in the vein of “That’s a piece of crap but maybe you’ll have some cheap fun and not lose too many of those toy arrows.”  There was even the curiosity regarding what happened to the blue rubber tips I’d removed from the arrows to insert the 65 grain pile. One polite fellow, when he mentally digested my bow and arrow set changed the subject to cycling.

Others had more invasive questions. As answered: No, the set did not arrive in the mail zip tied together on cardboard and sealed in vacuum packed plastic. No, this bow isn’t available at Wal-Mart.

Admittedly, the budget bow and arrow set assisted in a good time. The sight was a frustration since it wouldn’t stay locked. It was a minor problem that was dealt with after each arrow.

One thing I will add is the Kennesaw Archery Club has a very nice facility.  Another is Atlanta traffic sucks!

When I left I brought this with me. (No 5-finger discount, I actually won it) 1st Place Senior Mens Recurve Division

Planning a recurve tournament

I’ve been shooting a recurve for several weeks.  It isn’t a fancy high priced rig.  It is an Olympic recurve style bow priced at $249.99 brand new off the shelf.  The arrows are Easton Vector 1000s, which are $66.00 for a dozen online.  The event is the Georgia State Field Championship.  I think it could be fun.  Winning isn’t the goal.

Nope, I think I’ll be pleased to hit every target with every arrow shot.  At this point I am certainly not competitive.  My arrows are under spined; the sight added to the bow rattles loose after every shot and the stabilizers bounce all over the place. I do have a nice tab and decent string.  I’ll also say for $249.99 the riser and limbs seem fine. But, at this point what do I know.

The arrows on the other hand are okay for the price but not really high end.  They are too long for my draw length, which doesn’t matter so much since I don’t yet use a clicker.

The under spined problem isn’t horrible.  The limbs are at 34 pounds.  At my draw length (calculated) I am pulling 32 pounds.  The arrows are labeled for use up to 29 pounds.  (These were represented as the correct spine for 34 pounds upon purchase) Since the arrows haven’t been cut (a matter I’d planned to have addressed on October 6thbut was disappointed when I arrived to learn the person to have had been assisting with this endeavor had forgotten the appointment, despite correspondence less than 24 hours prior to the meeting confirming the meeting) shortening them may just correct the floppy spine. Until then there will be floppy arrows flying out from my bow.

The issue isn’t a problem at 30 meters or less other than an occasion funny flung arrow.  Beyond 30 meters I have to use a version of Kentucky windage to correct the rightward shift.  The real problem is when I overdraw just a tad.  There seems to be a break point where the overdraw (beyond 26.4 inches) when the arrows throw in the towel.

At this point none of it matters. With ten weeks of recurve shooting this upcoming tournament is purely for fun. The biggest hurtle is the drive.

Gotta drive through Atlanta

 

Dang, that was windy

I’d planned to start at 70 yards (not meters).  Then work out to 70 meters. It was cool with the temperature around 51°F. That would have felt pretty good except for the wind. Morning practice was going to be a challenge.

It was windy. The wind was blowing steady at 12 mph with gusts up to 28 mph.  I can shoot through that – I thought.

The problem was the gusts blew my target over twice.  On the second crash, one of those gusts, which felt like more than 28 mph, I moved to a heavier target.

The heavier target is smaller and without the overhang clearance of the larger less wind adaptable target. I have lots of trees along the range lanes and some still need to be trimmed.  So, I moved closer.  It was still frustrating.

My light introductory level recurve arrows, Easton Vector 1000s, aren’t ideally suited for gusts of wind.  Trying to time a steady wind with the intermittent gusts was good practice should I, or rather when I, find myself competing is such conditions. Before any major tournament I imagine I’ll need an arrow upgrade.

I got in 70 arrows before I had to move on.  I’d lost some time setting up a blown over target twice so I didn’t get the 90-arrow practice completed.  This afternoon the wind is forecast to drop to 6 mph.  That should be a more humane practice.

Watching my caloric requirements

As we age our BMR, Basal Metabolic rate, decreases.  Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest. I do a lot of exercise and need to check caloric intake versus caloric burn to ensure I have the right balance of intake and output.

I check this every few months and adjust based on training demands, body weight, percentage of body fat, and the food I am eating.  Getting this as correct as possible improves recovery times along with optimizing sleep as well as fat, carbohydrate and protein intake.

Staying aware of my BMR changes helps to monitor intake, which differs in quantity compared to when I was in my 20s. You can use the internet to find all sorts of calculators to find your numbers.

When I was competing in cycling, running and swimming I never seemed to get enough to eat.  As an archer the caloric load is significantly reduced.  For example, while training for the Ironman World Championship I was burning about 6720 calories a day on top of my BMR.  Archery, alone, burns 777 calories a day.  (Based on my weight, height and hours of training) Add daily supplemental training and I burn 2572 per day on top of a BMR of 1472 for a total of 4044.  That is significantly less than what is required for Ironman type conditioning. Heck, add my BMR needs to triathlon caloric needs and you’ll be looking at 8372 calories per day.

When I raced my percentage of body fat ranged from 3% to 7%.  Now that I’ve switched to archery that percentage has increased to 10% – 12%.  If I didn’t do any cardio work and ate the same amount per day as I did before archery I’d expect a much higher percentage of body fat.

Because I am 65 and plan to compete in the Men’s Senior (rather than Masters) Division of Olympic recurve it is paramount I maintain a focus on fitness.  Part of that focus is optimizing caloric intake and output.  Part of the benefit is not having hypertension (high blood pressure) and I don’t require medication to control it. Beta-blockers, a drug of choice for treating hypertension is a banned substance in competitive archery.  I doubt a therapeutic exemption would be allowed for a beta-blocker in archery. Nevertheless, I rather be fit and not need it to begin with.

My mother, an 87 year old, walks two miles a day with a Labrador retriever on a leash, mows nearly an acre of land using a push mower, and works on her property everyday except Sunday.  She takes no prescription medication.  She gets a physical exam every 6 months and is in superb condition.  As she describes it, “It is better to exercise than to take drugs to maintain health.”

Her physician follow her last exam told her, “Mrs. Lain, you have the blood chemistry of a 35 year old.  I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep it up.”

Finding the right balance of intake and output is critical for athletes.  Archery is no exception. For that matter, life is no exception. Eat right and exercise and you’ll be healthier than if you didn’t.

Time for New Running Shoes

When Hurricane Sally’s remnants passed over us there was a lot of rain.  There was a pause in the rain around the usual time I go running every morning.  Taking a chance, River and I, headed out to the trails.

The rain was only a slight drizzle as we left our yard, passing through a fence gate to start pacing through the woods.  Our first path led to ponds of water that aren’t usually on the path.  Back tracking we found a clear path and headed deeper into the woods.

Less than a mile in the drizzle was getting louder in the trees.  Gambling we ran on.  The gamble was a loss.  Within minutes the rain was a torrent.  We turned around and ran for home.

There was no point in sprinting we were going to get soaked no matter what we did.  River did pick of the pace.  She’d gallop ahead, pause to look back to make certain I was still behind her. Once we made eye contact she was off again.

You can take the nerd out of the lab, but not the lab out of the nerd. What a goober.

As soon as we reached home the rain slacked up a bit.  Nevertheless, both dog and man were drenched.  Worse for wear were my tired old Nike shoes.

Those shoes had finally given up the ghost.  They were 15 months old!  The soles had been re-glued three times.  The black rubber bottom heels were worn to the white foundation of the bottom rubber.  But, man did they feel nice running trails – they were seriously broken in.

Slogging through puddles had been the last gasp of the amateur shoe repairs. Still, 15 months for Nike’s least expensive (or near about) shoes, at $50.00 a pair via Amazon, is a deal.  Those shoes didn’t owe me a thing.

Rather than pull out the Elmer’s and try to bleed another few weeks from the shoes I guessed it was time to reorder.  Coincidentally, my most recent issue of Runner’s World (RW) had arrived in the mail a few days prior to Sally’s arrival.  On page 63 RW has an article meant to help me, “22 Best Shoes You Can Buy Right Now”.

Pictures of sleek sneakers are runners’ porn.  There was a time I invested in really extravagant shoes thinking I’d shave a few minutes over a marathon or salvage a toenail.  I don’t race beyond an occasional 5K so my elaborate spending isn’t necessary.  In fact, it probably never was needed.

The average price of the 22 best shoes, as advertised in RW, is $140.68.  Shamelessly, I have spent that and more on a single pair of running shoes.  In fact, I have two pair of big money shoes still in their boxes.  I don’t wear them; they are too expensive to waste for everyday training.  I’ll save them for that day I might enter a race, again. (Even though I expect they won’t help me run any faster at this point.  At least I can still look serious)

I’ve even got a pair of old track shoes.  I raced wearing those in just one race years ago at the US Track & Field Masters Indoor National Championship. Now, they are just a relic from days gone by.

There’s no way I’m forking out $140.68 for shoes when my old $50.00 pair lasted 15 months.  I went back to Amazon to reorder those same shoes.

It took a second to change that plan.  Those $50.00 shoes are now $80.00.  As a running shoe goes the $50.00 spent was okay.  Certainly, the $50.00 shoes were not worth $80.00. The toe box was just a bit off, the rubber sole hard, and heel was sloppy.  Fair for $50.00 but a rip off at $80.00.

Instead, I searched and found a pair of ASICS for $45.00.  ASICS is a trainer that in the past I’ve used for 1000s of miles of running.  I invested the $45.00; the new shoes should be here in a few days.

Years ago, well more than a decade, I was running in ASICS.  A fellow I was working with on a project was one of their athletes.  He’d won a Gold Medal in the Olympics and his ASICS shoes looked comfortable to me so I tried a pair. (Not his, I bought my own)

They were just fine.  I ran wearing them for many years. (ASICS never did contact me with a contract.Do they sponsor archers?)

2008 Beijing Olympic, Gold Medal, Decathlon: Bryan Clay.

When I was running in high-level events I did pay a premium for shoes.  Now a-days, I run a few miles each morning because I enjoy it.  The old Nikes had about 1600 mile in them. That is a heck of lot more miles than I once got out of a pair of shoes running roads.  Running roads I’d have been lucky to get 600 miles out of a decent pair of running shoes.  Trails, at least mine that are mostly pine straw covered hard pack, have been generous to the life of my shoes.

I’ll date the $45.00 ASICS when they arrive and see whether they hold up as well as the $50.00 Nikes did.

The old Nikes will go to the trash, soon.  I always takes me a few days to say goodbye to old friends that have supported me.