Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day by Day

PT yesterday. More massage, electroshock therapy, and some range-of-motion work. Woke up with a stiff shoulder today. Does not hurt too much, but stiff. More PT tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

Counting the days until I can shoot again. Pretty sure there will be a trip to the range first. A very depressing trip where I just collect my bow for the long flight across the country.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not Where I'm Supposed to Be

It is a Saturday afternoon, and I'm supposed to be at the range. It just doesn't feel right, sitting in my apartment on a Saturday. Weekends are for archery, or at least they have been. I almost have no idea what to do with myself otherwise. I want to be staring down at a target, trying to clear 250 again, maybe do it back-to-back rounds. I'm just missing something today.

And my shoulder hurts.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sports Medicine

Saw the sports medicine doctor this morning. Diagnosis? Rotator cuff strain. And to fix it? Rest and physical therapy. No shooting this weekend or next. Probably not the one after that. My guess is my next trip to the range will be to bring my bow back to Boston so I can take it to San Francisco, not to go shoot.

The good news? Only a 5% chance I'll need an MRI. Most likely rest and strengthening will take care of the problem.

It is going to be a long [insert length of time here] before I can shoot again, and probably December before I can shoot again at Archery USA.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Physical Therapy

Had my first PT appointment (for my shoulder) today. Started out with a bunch of range-of-motion and pain-level tests. Diagnosis? Rotator cuff tendinitis. Tests followed by a warm compress to loosen it up, then a shoulder massage (eerily reminiscent of the ITB massages I used to get and hate), and some strengthening exercises with a stretch band. All topped off with an ice pack covering an electronic pulse machine.

No archery this weekend. That's the word once and for all. Don't think I'll even go to Dedham. I told Anthony one time (when he hadn't seen me take my time on the shooting line) that I wasn't going to go all the way out there to not shoot. After last weekend, I guess I have to modify that: I'm not going to go all the way out to Dedham when I know I can't shoot.

What's the good news in all this? There's no tear.

Sports medicine doctor tomorrow, although the rumor at the PT shop is that his prescription will be PT.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back to Dr. Eli

Went back to the doctor this morning. Told him what happened the last two weekends. His new diagnosis is shoulder tendinitis/bursitis. He gave me two referrals. Tomorrow, I'm going back to the physical therapist for diagnosis and treatment. Thursday, I am seeing a sports medicine specialist to get his opinion (and possible treatment options). More bulletins coming as the information warrants.

Pretty sure I won't be shooting Saturday. I just hope I don't have to miss too many weekends. Its not easy to give this up right now, just as I get all this new equipment. Just as I start doing so well. But this is too important to me to screw around with. I'm going to do this right, and I'm going to get this fixed.

I hope.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Failure to Launch, but Feeling Showy

Skipped last Sunday to rest my shoulder (and watch the Wimbledon final). Went back to the range today, but just could not get anything done. Set up my bow and went out to the line. Drew my first arrow for my first warm up end, fired, and felt it in my shoulder. Fired a second arrow...."Damn it." Shot a third..."There's just no way." I put the bow down and collected my arrows. There was just no way I could shoot with the pain in my shoulder. Spent a few ends shooting a 20# draw house bow (as opposed to my 34# draw), and didn't feel any new pain, but my shoulder still hurt from just those few shots on my bow.

Anthony came out onto the range and asked if I wanted to take a road trip with him to another range up in Acton. A former colleague of his had purchased a range that they used to work at, and Anthony wanted to show him some Win and Win bows. Anthony had a different model to show him, but since I had the only Inno, he asked if I would come along and bring my bow with me. Since I wasn't going to be shooting any more, I decided to tag along.

Took a nice little drive along some Massachusetts roads I hadn't seen (since I don't have a car), and arrived at this unimpressive little building. But when you walk in, even with the ceiling over the lanes unfinished, and boxes of ancient equipment everywhere, there was clearly something good happening there. So Anthony showed the new owners the bows, talked about running an archery business for a while, and then we headed back down the road to Archery USA.

On the way to the bus to get back to Boston, with my shoulder still hurting, I finally accepted that I may be in more trouble than I thought. Time to go back to the doctor, and maybe even to a sports medicine specialist. I'll make the call tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ultimate Highs and Worrisome Lows

I did it. I made it. I achieved it. I am a Master Archer.

Alone on the line, I set up on lane 1, right up next to the wall. My first warm up end, I shot six arrows. For the second warm up, I took the three arrows that had the best scores in the first end, and fired again. I wish I had been scoring the second warm up. The three arrows totaled 29 (out of 30 possible) points. With my first scoring end, I put up 23 points (which for some reason always seems to be my first end score). After that, however, I put up a lot of really good scores. All in the mid-high 20s. After 8 ends, one of the range employees came out to the line to talk to me (I was still the only one shooting). I waved him away, saying "Don't talk to me, not now. I'm so close. Give me two ends. Talk to me in six arrows." He walked away without a word, understanding what I was shooting for.

After nine ends, I was sitting on a 230. Just 20 points away, and my worst end so far was the 23 I opened with. My first shot was my worst scoring arrow of the day to that point, a 6. A moment of panic set in, but I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself down. My next two arrows were a 10 and an 8. Even though I am not usually one for loud verbal celebrations, I let out a little celebratory yell. I had done it. 254 points. I had cleared the Master Archer threshold of 250. Finally.

Because of my shoulder, my original plan for the day was to shoot one round, and then assess the situation before deciding on a second one. For two reasons, one logical but wrong, and one full of hubris, I decided to shoot a second round. The first reason was simple. My shoulder felt fine. No pain whatsoever. The second reason was I had just scored a 250, and I wanted to try to back it up with another 250, and get to 500. So after a break, I went back out to the line (no longer on my own), and set up for a second round.

The second round started off OK, but about halfway through, I started to notice a problem. As I drew back the bow, my left arm was shaking. So close to the finish, I decided to shoot through the pain. I ended up with a less-than-stellar score (although still better than with my old equipment), and a pained shoulder. It was suggested that I buy a few feet of Theraband tubing to use as a means to strengthen my shoulder and to practice my form. I did so, and started playing with what is essentially a length of surgical tubing.

Mixed day. Such good news and great success clearing 250, but worries, nervousness, and pain in my shoulder.

Score: 254 + 233 = 487.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Visiting Dr. Eli

After the trip to the gym where I discovered that there was no way I could lift due to the pain in my shoulder, I made an appointment at University Health to see a doctor. After hearing my problem and conducting a quick examination, he made his diagnosis: Shoulder tendinitis.

The good news? He said that I can keep shooting, but should lay off weights for a few weeks, and do some stretches that he showed me.

Walking on thin ice, but at least the news isn't all bad.

A Little Historical Diversion

When I was back in San Diego, Elisa and I would not just shoot at targets for score, or shoot at pumpkins, or dollar bills, or the occasional balloon. We also developed our own archery games. One of them, was an archery version of curling. Today, I found a Wikipedia page on different archery games, and decided to add curling to it.



Developed by two friends in San Diego, California, the scoring is identical to the rules of traditional curling. Archers fire an equal number of arrows (usually 3 or 5) at the same target. Each arrow an archer places closer to the center of the target than his opponent's best shot scores 1 point.

Elisa and I would play semi-regularly, and almost always frustrate the hell out of each other. One of us (often me) would have a series of decent-to-good shots, clearly outshooting the other overall. The other (usually Elisa), would have a series of mediocre shots, and one awesome shot that wiped out most or all of the scoring chances of the decent-to-good shots. Of course, we would both frustrate each other this way, but as I remember it, Elisa would keep gaining one or two points at a time, and because she kept outshooting me with one arrow, I could never close the gap. The rare occasions when I was able to turn the tables were satisfying indeed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Eli's Coming

On Sports Night, Danny (one of the anchors) talked about what he always thought the song "Eli's Coming" was about. Casey (the other anchor) told him that the song was about a womanizer, and that girls were being warned to not fall for his tricks. Danny said that he knew that, but growing up he didn't realize it. To Danny, "Eli's coming" meant that something bad was about to happen.

Bringing it back around to me, and to archery, Eli is definitely coming.

Yesterday I went to the gym, getting a new weight routine, but I felt a tweak in my shoulder and could not really lift any kind of weight. Today, I tried to actually implement the workout. Not a chance. Left shoulder could not take any kind of pressure. Bad news all around.