This blog is pre-pinkfletchings, a practice blog of sorts and I kinda like it. I hope you will too! (not about the grammar, I started to edit it, there was a lot of missing capitalization at the beginning of sentences but then it started to lose its flow, so I’ve left it mostly as I had written it).
6 am, alarm, avoid rolling over cats, turn it off, neighbors must hate
me because I sleep with earplugs in and never hear it right away.
Or I will put it through sooze for an hour straight. Not this
morning, got up, wanted to shoot. didn’t want to rush.
meditated for 15 minutes. wanted to leave by 7 am, left by 7:37 am,
need to leave the range by 8:30 am, would that be enough time to
shower and head to work by 9 am and enough time to shoot? would it be
worth it? yes. just go.
driving to the range, LA commuters insane, rude. God grant me the
serenity to accept the things I cannot change: people swerving to get
in my lane. Stressed.
Arrive. I see a short man on the short range. Another man, Reggie Hamilton, at the farthest left bale of the long range. I string my bow, which I prefer to do after I’ve warmed up but I didn’t feel like carrying the stringer out with me to the range. I wave to
Reggie with my bow slung over my drawing shoulder as if it were a
longbow. It’s a recurve, a PSE riser with very nice Hoyt limbs; a
loaner from Bob Bingham. Without stopping to talk but slowing down
just enough for a short polite exchange I ask, “You just get here?”
He obviously just got there, he’s still unzipping his cases. “Yes,
just a few minutes ago.”
“I’m going to go work on my form.” I inform him as I continue walking.
As I walk over to the bale farthest right, as suggested on the posted
signs for shooting close up, I try to remember why another guy looks
familiar, brown hair, somewhat balding, shooting a stickbow,
recurve, doing a walk back, shooting at a white piece of paper. I
stop looking. I don’t usually watch other people shoot, unless they’re exceptional shooters. I give up trying to figure out who he is. I am going
to shoot mostly with my eyes closed so that I can internally see my
I do my warm-ups. They are very effective. They take me at least 10
minutes. I incorporate a few yoga moves and I find myself looking at
the world upside down for a few moments, which is highly refreshing, relieving the tension in my neck for just a few
essential seconds. I shake my head while upside and enjoy the feeling. Done
with stretching out my neck, arms and shoulders, I stand there, hands
in the pockets of my Second City sweater and begin the 10 minute
toughness meditation, which I picked up from Jason Selk’s book. So, in
all my warm-up, physical and mental, takes 15 minutes.
Bear with me, I’m revealing a vulnerable part of me to you. Take it
with all the grains of salt in the sea if you must or use it as a guideline
for your own mental workout. I do it before EVERY practice and
competition. Mostly it does me a hell of a lot of good.
(Woah! The following has changed a lot but I like to see where I used to be and how it has changed. I’ll update some things paranthetically)
1) 6 second in breath, 2 second hold, 7 second outbreath
2) What I say to myself while shooting, if anything at all: See the
shot, Trust the Shot -Honestly though I’ve still been working this
part out, sometimes I say, “aim small, shoot small” I know the
expression is “aim small, miss small” but I don’t like the connotation
of “miss” and sometimes it’s much lengthier with: Keep the bow arm
straight. Hit the X. Aim small, shoot small. Trust the shot.”
The actual meditation is usually of a jumble of all of the
above. (today it’s more like: focus on form, build from the ground up, it is like me to keep my draw arm bicep relaxed as I draw from my scapula, relax my draw fingers, reach with my bow arm, see the spot, explosive follow through – yup I’m obviously still in the stage of going through everything consciously until my body knows the routine)
3) Highlight reel of my shooting so far: Shooting the CA state 900 round at Oranco, at 60 yards 1st end, seeing the shot clearly and scoring 52 points out of 60;
shooting at the Riverside Big Cat 3D shoot and scoring 265 points, 3
points away from beating the adult male recurve 1st place. having the
guy who handed me my trophy be told that I shot better than him, he
says, “barely.” another guy who works there later coming up and
congratulating me on my great shooting, beating second place by 101
Shooting Big Bear. Putting the shelf on the belly of a large Ox that
is just under 50 yards away and hitting an 8 and turning to Bob Bingham and
telling him so. He says he had told Bill I had done just that. And
how Bob says, “I know you don’t think so but you’re doing much better
than you think.”
Hearing my name called, “In 1st place with 213 points, Carla Garcia,” I
get my trophy, smiling, a hug from Wayne Raupe, president of CBH whose table
is near the trophies, a hug from Bob who lifts me up and says, “i’m so proud
4) The next BIG shoot: Kern River on the weekend of Oct. 27th and
28th, a teaching lesson with Sandy McCain, CA grand slam winner and
holder of several CA state records who I just met at the Oranco
Tomahawk shoot that I took 3rd place in spite of (or because of) my
heavy attitude and overly critical self-talk.
I picture following her around, just
being around her my game is elevated and I score really high and hit a
lot of spots and enjoy myself and learn a ton because there is no
spirit of competition – only of learning. I’m a very good student.
5) The next shoot: Field Round this Sunday at Oranco with Darwin and learning what I can from him and Greg. (I shot a 214)
6) Why I think I have what it takes:
I have the best eye, form, instincts, strength, mind, mental
toughness, & whole-heartedness (courage) in the world. I’m a multiple
Olympic gold-medal winning archer. I am an amazing, phenomenal, legendary archer.
7) 6-2-7 breath
And now I’m ready to shoot the first arrow.
I picked up my quiver and took out the arrow with the point barely
hanging on and put it beside my purse so that I didn’t have to
constantly bother with avoiding it. I’ll have to ask Connor to glue it back in for me. I wrecked it while at the Oranco Tomahawk shoot. I kept my sweater on and decided against the redunancy of my new arm guard. I pulled up the sleeve since it was
slightly warm. I found my finger sling and went up to the bale only 5
yards away. I let fly the first arrow and was fully aware of the
string just barely hitting the edge of my right nostril. I knew I had
forgotten my tape so i would just have to make the effort to keep my
head turned toward the target.
Warmed up, I remove my sweater and put on the arm guard without taking off the
finger sling. I am grateful that I was able to purchase it recently.
It’s nice and easy to put on, comfortable, and a good fit and
relatively cheap. Eventually I’ll continue to add and upgrade my
archery accessories. First things first. I think I’d like a longbow
soon. Maybe I’ll get one for Christmas. (ha! I had no idea I was just a weekend away from switching to Olympic recurve!)
The next arrows out of the quiver I loosed while trying to focus on
initiating the release through the right back muscle mostly to no avail.
I could tell that I was plucking the string.
For the next quiver full – I am down to 8 useable VAPS, Victory Armor
Piercing, v6 600, arrows, I closed my eyes after coming to full draw
and focused on keeping my head toward the target, my bow arm straight
and steady and being “in the bow” and again initiating the release
through my back muscle and I relax my bow arm hand and let the bow
fall but it kicks back into my hand instead of rocking forward. It
reminds me that Connor wants to put a weight on it. It takes me a
while until I can feel my back muscle initiating the release and I
move on to focus on keeping my hand sliding back along my cheekbone.
Connor also wants me to shoot for a while with a clicker. I am
considering it, except that I wonder if I’ll simply go back to not
fully drawing once it comes off again. I do not want to rely on it. (Now it’s my best friend!)
For now, I keep my bow bare. close my eyes to feel being in the bow
and letting the bow release. It feels spiritual in the sense that I’m
allowing my body to take over the process without much interference
from my mind. The next few quiver fulls went like this and I trusted that my body
would know how to correct itself. My bow arm began to ache, which has
never happened before. I listened to the complaint of my shoulder and
I almost always shoot best when I shoot alone in the
early mornings. I caught glimpses of the miracle
of the blue clear skies and fresh trees and Henry the Heron, and a
couple of yellow labs being jogged on the path between the range and
the slow crawling 405 freeway.
I want dogs. I want to be exercising more. I want to find a way to
have a job that allows me to have more time to myself and still pay
well. (hmmm … funny I should read this now and see the connection there between dogs and jobs – I am seriously considering pet-sitting, as my part-time profession of choice. Everyone I’ve pet-sat for have said that I do a fabulous job).
I drive off in my 22 year old Honda Civic and I think about how
grateful I am to have it and that it runs. I look up at the smiley face
Fernand drew on my oil change reminder sticker on my windshield, 216,
000 miles. Still, I dream about the Subaru Impreza I want
and notice that 3 subarus have just passed me, although all Outbacks.
Back to my place and then off to work at World of Wonder. I don’t even bother checking
the time and I’m surprised to see that I left earlier than I