Where do I begin? Wow, all I can say is…YOU HAVE TO DO IT AT LEAST ONCE! What an experience! Have you heard of Train To Hunt? I hadn’t until last year. I seen the post floating around Facebook and wanted to do it. I couldn’t get anyone to do it with me in 2018. Since I had never experienced it I started watching videos and talking to an amazing outdoor woman and fitness trainer with Her Inspired Fitness. I have been following her on Instagram for awhile. She is a fellow Oregonian and her drive is amazing. She had shoulder surgery and learned to shoot her bow with her mouth until she was healed. Just an inspiration. Anyway her and I visited on Instagram a few times and I decided to sign up . The best part is I got to meet her in person! Her husband was competing and she was there to encourage all of us. She was the same person in person as she is on her Instagram page. Inspiring, kind and encouraging. Plus my kids loved her and they all became rock finding buddies.
I signed up and downloaded their 4 week program. Which FYI is not nearly enough. My goals were to #1. FINISH and #2. HAVE FUN. So I was working out 3 days a week at the gym plus anything I could do such as hiking with my kids with my pack loaded with the proper weight for the competition. A few weeks before the competition I figured I would get to just go on a mommy vacation, sleep in my canopy and just relax. My husband decided that we would go as a family and they would be my cheerleaders. Which turned out to be a huge blessing to have them there with me. I made my paper Kari, Brandy and Brittney cheerleaders as well. We all need those women by our side. Surround yourself with women that lift each other up!
Friday comes, we load the camper, kids, dogs, my bow, and equipment. FYI always have spare rangefinder batteries. Saturday the day has finally come, I am grouchy, and I had butterflies the size of Texas. All the negative thoughts came flooding in. What if the other women are mean? What if they make fun of me for not having all the name brand top of the line gear? I was so nervous. Sign in time was from 6:30-8 and we were there at 6:25 I was determined to be there early. No one else was there to sign in. So we went back to camp and fed the kids breakfast. Headed back to the competition closer to 8. A woman and her husband started visiting with us, her name was Jeannie. I will forever be thankful for her. She helped all of us first timers meet and break the ice. There were 6 of us women competing. Jeannie also introduced me to Beth. She was one of the volunteers that was helping with the event. Her heart is huge and she was super encouraging. I felt less nervous. 4 of us ladies were first timers and we were all thankful for Beth and Jeannie introduce us all.
I was in the 3rd heat with Sara and 4 guys. I had readjusted my pins from 20, 30, 40 to 30, 40, 60 a few weeks before the competition. I raised my draw weight to 55lbs and I felt more confident in my shooting. So here was the rundown. 40lb sandbag over your shoulders, over the box 20 times, sprint, come back and shoot your first arrow at 30 yards. Well I was nervous and wasn’t totally focused and forgot in the split second that I had readjusted my pins and missed my first shot which meant 20 burpees. Poof all my steam, confidence, everything went out the window. But I couldn’t stop.
Grab the sandbag and 10 ground to shoulder, back over the box, sprint, come back and shoot your second arrow. I did not miss another target. Come back grab the sandbag and do 10 over the head burpees. This is where you take the sand bag throw it over your head turn around and do a burpee and repeat. Then sprint, come back and shoot your 3rd arrow. Fourth and final round before you hit the trail is a get up. You take the sand bag clutch it to your chest roll onto your back get up and go over the box 10 times, sprint, come back, shoot your final arrow. You then Grab your 40lb pack for the women’s division and your bow with your last 2 arrows. You then run 1.9 miles with 2 more 3D targets on your path. In my case I jogged when I could but in some cases I had to walk. My endurance and lungs were on fire. I got to the top shot the first 3D target headed on up the trail. This was not a flat trail either. It was steep in some places, windy, over a mushy creek. Finally shot the last 3D target and headed to the finish line. One of the volunteers seen me coming and I had to run to the finish line. I didn’t have much left in my tank but the volunteer pushed me ” Come on Jessica shave those last seconds off you got this!!!!! Come on PUSH IT!” And then I heard them. My husband and my children yelling “MOMMY , MOMMY YOU DID IT!” “Come on Mommy!”. I sprinted!!! I dug so deep, muscles burning, tears in my eyes, lungs on fire and I sprinted to my babies. My husband took off my pack and day 1 was complete. Only regret I have is not having someone with a video camera recording that moment. It will forever be engraved in my mind though.
Day 2 was a blast!!! Worth the whole pain of day 1. I was sore but the great news was no burpees and no running. Just our 3D mountain course. 20 targets and the same loop we conquered the day before. They broke us up into groups and my family got to join us. My husband was our score keeper, and the kids were our positive cheerleaders. I was with 2 other ladies. Shantel and Mel both are sweet outdoor ladies and they did amazing. I’m very proud of them both and thankful I met them.
The 3D shoot I felt I did pretty good. It helped me learn what I need to work on. Downhill shots is a must and holding for long periods of time. Our 19th target was a 30 second hold and to be honest I got shaky and I missed. Right over the targets back. I was bummed I didn’t do better. Like I said I learned so much about myself at this competition. It really showed me the holes in my shooting and fitness. Out of 20 targets I missed 2 downhill shots, a 5 yard turkey, the 30 second hold, and a tiny goat in between logs. So I need to practice some different things.
My final take away and results. I got 6th place, last place in the women’s and dead last in overall. I got 4th in shooting, I gained a lot of knowledge and made some new goals. I met some amazing women. The volunteers at this event were awesome! I recommend the Train to Hunt to all levels of athletes and hunters. Do it for yourself, do it to test yourself and to be aware of things you need to work on. I look forward to Train to Hunt 2020.