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.

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