"I am Hooked!" by Lisa Cameron

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Throughout my entire life easily reached goals I set for myself because of my determination and competitiveness.   Hunting is also a large part of my life, and with hunting came new challenges and goals.  I begin hunting with rifle at an early age, and progressed to archery for more of a challenge.  I set a goal to always be the best I can be with shooting and hunting, so I began competing in as many archery competitions I could attend.  Doing this made me a very good archer and increased my confidence with hunting situations.  After winning many state competitions I needed to change my goals and challenges, so began the look for something new.

I created an elk hunting group on Facebook to form an online community of people who shared similar passions with myself.  One day as I scrolled through my group I came across a post Matthew Ament placed in the group.  He shared his experience of the Train to Hunt Challenge (TTH).  Matthew’s story inspired me, and watching the video of the challenge sparked a new interest and goal I wanted to conquer.  I looked up the various challenge dates and locations and found one within a distance I could easily travel to.  As I looked further in to the challenge I realized the Denver TTH challenge was the same weekend as State Target.  That presented a problem as I felt a huge commitment to my state competitions and the fact that many people devoted time in my shooting and my equipment for these state competitions.  I thought it out and discussed my feeling with my husband Darryl.  He told me to do whatever I wanted to do, after he said that, it was a given that I would do the TTH Challenge.  I had to find out how I would do in such a different competition.  To me the added fitness challenge with shooting was the perfect competition as well as a great way to be prepared for hunting season. The TTH Challenge date gave me 4 weeks to prepare myself.  I felt a bit concerned about being ready for this in such a short time.  I watched the video a few times, taking notes and getting a list of what I needed to prepare.   I gathered up my equipment, put a 15lb sand bag in my pack, and began jogging with the pack on.  I could not believe the difficulty it was to jog with the pack on compared to jogging without added weight.  I would jog as far as I could and walk to catch my breath.  Feeling the weight on my knees, I decided I better take care in how I do this.  An injury would end it.  I jogged and walked 5 days a week and did all the challenges twice a week.   I also needed to work on burpees, a dreaded workout that everyone needed to do in the TTH Challenge.  The chest to ground burpees were killer and each time I finished it left me completely out of breath and exhausted.  The daily jogging I do is not even close to enough to be prepared for such a challenge.  I did this routine for 3 weeks and on the 4th week and days before the challenge I decided I needed to set up a practice course to see how I would do.  I used my running app on my cell phone to set up challenges throughout the mile and set up a target to shoot as they did in the video. I set my timer and off I went.  By the time I was half finished I was dying, completely out of breath and needed to rest much longer than I anticipated before each shot.  I finished the course in 33.5 minutes.  I felt disappointed in my time and this increased my feelings of anxiety with the challenge only days away.  I made a commitment that I would complete the challenge regardless of how long it may take.  I did my regular routine the next day and following the advice of many took the remaining week off to rest my muscles and body for the challenge.  A few days before the challenge I dreamt I did absolutely horrible and the challenge took me 40 minutes.  Figures I would have a dream like this, it is typical of me to have negative dreams before any of my big competitions of life events. Saturday morning July 13 arrived much too quickly in my mind.  Driving up the mountain to Morrison for the challenge butterflies crept into my stomach, I kept telling myself I will do this, I will do my very best, and most importantly I WILL complete this challenge.  We sort of got lost and having to turn around twice, we arrived much later than planned making the time of my heat around 1pm.  I was not thrilled to be given such a late time but all would be fine.  I watched all the heats in front of me and I was impressed with the way all the competitors cheered each other on, and helped in any way possible.  Seeing this eased my mind. My time finally arrived.  I put my weight in my pack, placed my bow in front of me, and ready or not, here I go.  Did I mention I hate burpees?  I did those 20 painful burpees, grabbed my pack put it on, and ran pretty slow to my first target. I ranged the target at 40 yards, took a few very deep breaths drawing my bow and putting that 40 yard pin in the kill zone I took my shot.  I have no idea where the arrow hit, but I heard foam and that meant I did not have to do double on that part of the challenge. Challenge complete and off to the next target, jogging I noticed little about my surroundings, trying hard to focus on my breathing and continue forward to my next target.  I made my next shot, and heard foam again.  I completed my next challenge and moved on.  Half done and so out of breath, I walked.  I slowed down more and more with each challenge but I did hit foam every time.  By the end of the challenge jogging up the last hill to the finish line, I felt sick to my stomach and dizzy.  I continued on and crossed the finish line.  My finishing time was about 30 minutes and a few seconds.  My time could have been better but I did feel good about beating my practice time and I felt amazing having completed the challenge.  I had no idea how I shot and after seeing my scores the next day, I realized I needed to take more time before taking my shots.  I gained a lot of time due to my shot placement.  I also learned how to better prepare for next year’s challenge. I am excited to try this again!!!  Although I was the second oldest competitor there, I think being more prepared will change the outcome of next year’s challenge significantly.  In the month of training for the Challenge I went from doing 10 chest to ground burpees to 20 in a row.  I still was horribly winded after but I was capable of completing them without stopping.  Training and completing this challenge has made me a stronger person.   The only other competing female was Lindsay Jenkin.  I was so impressed with her sportsmanship.  She ran the challenge beside me and cheered me on with words of encouragement.  I have never experienced a competition with individuals all working together to make it a success for all even though we were all competing against each other.  This was the greatest physical challenge in such a short distance I have ever experienced.  It was also the greatest competitive experience of my life.  These competitors are of the highest caliber of any competitors I have ever met.  Thank you TTH for the most amazing competition I have ever experience.  I am hooked!!!!!