I grew up in a military family. Guns were always around the house. Going to the range for target practice was a pretty common way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I was raised to be in control of your weapon, to respect it, not to fear it.

I haven’t shot in years. I’ve settled into the thought  if I needed to use my weapon to defend myself, I could probably get myself through it.

About a month ago, my friend Lindsey and I were casually rattling off our weekend plans. Her plan was to head out to Cleveland for IDPA. I suppose my facial expression asked the question, and she went on to explain it was a shooting competition that puts you in real life scenarios as opposed to just shooting in a single stance down range. My interest was piqued and I immediately got on board to attend the next match. Full disclosure,  I’m quick with enthusiasm… Not so great at the follow through, especially if I have too much time to think about it. I had a month to mull it over..

I had registered, purchased the proper equipment, had my outfit planned and I was STILL considering backing out when my alarm when off at 7:00 this morning. (Sorry Lindsey, real talk)

It’s early. It’s cold. I won’t know what’s going on. I won’t be the best. What if I get hurt. What if I hurt someone else. What if everyone thinks I’m wasting their time.

These little jerks were floating through my head. But I scarfed down some breakfast, grabbed my coffee,  got my gear together and jumped in the car before I had completely talked myself out of it.

The drive to Cleveland was breath-taking. I wish I would have snapped a photo. The leaves were all on fire (figuratively this time, thank you Lord!). The dark clouds from last night’s mini-storm were still lingering overhead making a beautiful contrast to all the golds, reds, and oranges. Cleveland Hunting, Rifle, and Pistol Club is in the middle of NO where, which I guess is a good thing given the concept. I am so thankful to live in the age of Siri telling me how to get every where.

Within minutes of arriving all my insecurities were gone. Every single person I met today was just the best. So welcoming, so helpful. Quick with a tip, or trick, or thought to help me improve. Not an ounce of judgement, but sincere excitement for my first competition. IDPA is a pistol competition; I own a revolver. Today I learned  the difference between the two. For me,  today wasn’t about the quick draw and speed shooting. It was all about safety, getting comfortable with my weapon, and accuracy. There were six stages, each stage had a scenario to be worked through with it’s own perimeters and protocols. You spent about 30 seconds shooting and maybe 30 minutes watching the rest of the competitors. Lindsey and I were the only two women in our group. We were joined by about 15 men ranging in age from maybe 14-75. I learned some of these guys have been shooting together for over 30 years. I enjoyed hearing their stories and stealing their nuggets of wisdom. I felt included and part of the team. After each stage I would get pointers about my stance, my shot cadence (yes! Shot. Cadence. that’s a thing!), how to better grip my gun.. It was a lot more thinking than I was anticipating.

Breathe. Grip. Aim. Squeeze. Move.  …and about ten sub-thoughts  flying between the main thoughts..

It was an outstanding day. I left feeling strong, in control, and excited for next month’s match.


On  a side note.. I stand firmly behind this CeraVe product as the BEST lip protection ever! My lips are soft and hydrated after a long day in the wind and cold.



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