Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last run of 2007

Haven't been blogging as much lately. I've been busy helping people rebuild their houses from all the fallen ice covered limbs. Sounds noble, doesn't it? Actually, I have had tons of calls for repairs, and have been pulling some long days surveying and giving estimates for repairs. Now if the insurance gods are kind, I will have a profitable January.

My last long run of 2007 was with my buddy Alex down in the Ouachita Mountains in SE Oklahoma. We got up early (4-ish) and drove to Talamena State park, parked, and ran about 25 miles on trails.The first 12 miles or so were on the Old Military Road trail, which is really not a road at all....maybe a mule road, and was mostly all downhill, mile after mile of very nice runnable single-track. Most of the trails during this section were covered with pine needles from tall trees that seemed to reach the sky.

Then, we had a long climb, and ended up on about 2 miles of boulders that had saw briers growing up betweenst them. Lots of scratched up legs for sure. After crossing the Talemena Skyline Drive, we started down into Dead man's Gap.

Legend claims that years ago, some horse thieves were captured near this hollow, and were hanged right there on the spot. This tree is the very one where the hangings occurred.

The last 8 miles were up and down, with great views of the distant mountains and plains.This was one tough run, and took us almost 9 hours, even though we ran around 90% of it. We trudged up the hills, but ran all the flats and downhills. I have talked a lot about running the entire length of the Ouachita Trail, and maybe helping put on an ultra there. As tough as the Ouachita portion of our run was, I wonder how feasible this would be. Running all day and all night would wipe me out mentally as well as physically. An all night outing might lend itself to hallucinations like this....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A long time ago, I had a discussion with a friend about this song. She swore it was first recorded and released by Tina Turner, but I thought it was from another artist. Her name just escaped me. Today, I  you-tubed it, and Ann Peebles sounds as awesome she did in 1974.

Gray drizzly days, with only the sound of ticking clocks and distant chain saws.

Tis late December, the sun has turned her radiant face away from the man beneath the clouds. She is gone.

I take another Tylenol, another cup of coffee, and trudge on til the day's end,
all the while longing to see her again.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

baby sitting, Christmas, and bike riding

I'll catch up on the last three days all in one post. Here goes....
Last Friday, my youngest son and his wife brought my 1st grand baby by for us to baby sit. She is so sweet, and a dream. In fact, about all she did was dream the whole time she was here. Other than scarfing down a bottle of baby formula, she napped in my arms for about 4 hours!!! 

The next night, (Saturday) we had all three of our boys and their wives over for Christmas dinner and presents. Best of all was just having us all together. Kenny and Lynnsey are expecting our second grand baby in August. Being a grandpa is really not all that bad, but I can't lie about my age as easily now!

Today, we did the church thing (a great concert of Christmas songs, some brand new, some traditional....Charlie rated it a 10, and I have never heard him rate anything higher that a 9.35!) ate lunch, came home and went to sleep during a good movie (We Are Marshall), and decided to ride bikes to burn some of my pie-flab. The east bank of the Arkansas has some of Tulsa's best scenery,and a few lesser views as well.12 chilly miles down the Arkansas River path and back was enough of a workout to make me want another nap. Is there a trend here??

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I wish we had ran

She was a 1960 MGB Roadster, not this one, but like this one. It was a car that James Bond would have drove, back when Sean Connery was Bond. Mine was dark blue, had badly faded oxidized paint, but was all a 17 year old could dream of in 1977. 
She had a rag top that would not have kept the wind or rain out, interior that was beyond well worn, good tires, and would not start. But hey, for $1,800, it was a bargain. I just did not have the cash. My grandfather would have loaned me the money, but it was an old, foreign car that would not start and would have cost a lot to work on. But, to this day, I wish she had ran.

It was an old country road from where I lived to the base of Turley Hill. My beginning days of running were there. Upon a whim, I headed out one morning and ran at a steady pace, huffed and puffed a mile away, and then returned. I was young, maybe 18 at the time. Two miles of running with no warm-up, stretching, or proper shoes should have done me in, but I was again young enough to get by with such foolishness. 

The second day, I intended to run four miles. I did in fact cover the four miles, but the last mile was walked and I was disgusted with myself. The next two or three days after that I was a sore as I have ever been in my life. I was not injured but had went too far too soon. I quit, and never tried again, until much later in life. But looking back, I wish I had ran.

Today at 48 years of age, I realize I have lived over half my life. My life has moved along a countryside like a stream, sometimes with roaring purpose, and other times slowing to a trickle or dumping into the stagnation of a pond. I have had the devil on my trail, standing at the my door, and at other times he has heard me knocking at his. Being strong yet feeling weak, I have always managed to walk away from his clutches. But I wish I had ran.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dear Santa

I have not been all that good this year, but if you have a surplus of stuff, well, is my wish list.
This might be a stretch....

Caffeine is my friend!
More days like this....
And please, no more days like this....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


just because the electricity came back on, and I got to run
under bright blue skies with a spring like breeze at my back
leaving me thinking that winter’s first assault may be over,
i still mourn for what is lost….old trees that waved to me
as I ran by during the days of summer’s yesterday
i watch as people drag away limbs like dumped garbage
mounding them by the street, not knowing what else to do
i wonder if they silently curse their trees, or grieve for them
sadly, the charm of tulsa's midtown is marred forever
sitting in the park watching sunsets will not be the sameyears will pass, time will heal, we’ll forget this winter massacre
once all this is past, perhaps my lamentation will seem silly
until then, i’ll sift through fallen limbs & drag them to the curb

Monday, December 17, 2007


'Tis a Monday. A short day that seems long, complete with sunshine, a great more winter day out of the way. Gloom and doom, aren't I?

Listening to XM on the way home I heard the tragic news that Dan Fogelberg lost a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, dieing at the young age of 56. I have been a Fogelberg follower since 1975 and at one time or another have owned most of his recordings. If I were able to play a guitar, and sing (big IF), I would wanna be like Dan. His lyrics always seemed to portray what was going on in my life at the time. XM50 played an hour long tribute to him, and finished with Same Old Lang Syne (yes, I checked the spelling), a song that tears at me every time I hear it. I have been lucky enough to see Fogelburg in concert twice, and would have gone again in a heartbeat, given another chance.

On another note, I ran at Turkey Mountain yesterday. Someone has started up the Ho-chi with a chain saw clearing fallen trees (and there are many) so almost all of that trail is clear. The upper yellow trail has maybe 20-30 downed trees. Imagine running, and every 100 steps having to crawl over, under, through, or around a huge wounded and dieing tree. Sad. I plan to put in at least a little time clearing some of the trails as my increasingly hectic work schedule allows.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sorting out memories

It was a 1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88, bought on a whim, almost as if by accident, a chance meeting of sorts. A four door sedan large V-8, power windows and locks baby blue, a kind color, like loving eyes can do, it cherished him. He was 6 years old with no worries in the worldand that car took him places that were good. The comfy back seat held only good memories of trips to baseball practice and games
and basketball practice and games and to movies and Bell's Amusement Park, usually with friends. Many a night was past in the loving arms of that big back seat,safe and sound.

Then one day things changed
The car was abandoned, left, tossed aside traded, for another car, one more expensive, more reliable, changed like yesterday's underwear, to be forgotten.
But the 6 year old was crushed, and quietly cried on the drive home. In bed that night, he lay awake wondering about the car and where it was and what happened and why he could have not just kept this car. Many a day, he wished to go back to that car lot just one more time to see if his car was still there not to ride in it, but just to see it. And even today, he still thinks of those rides to school, to the store, and how nice it was to stretch out in the back seat and sleep.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sunmart Report

Last Saturday, Dana and I, Brian and Kathy, and a host of other friends invaded Huntsville, TX to run Sunmart 50K/50M. It was my 3rd run at the Huntsville State Park area with nary a finish to show for it. Last year, I missed the time cut-off for starting the 4th lap by a mere 90 seconds, a time that could have been erased by not having to change from my long pants to shorts, or just getting out of aid stations a little quicker. Then last February, I ran out of "want-to" after 80 miles after battling nausea, sleep, and cold. It was the 1st race I ever just quit when I should have went on. DNFing is a disease that gets easier the more you do it.

Sunmart is run on mostly single track trails with just a few miles of dirt roads mixed in. There are absolutely no rocks on the course, but more than enough roots to make up for it. Much of the run is under tall pines, and the trails in places are covered with pine needles. Other sections are quite sandy. There are several wooden bridges over some of the swampy areas,and these bridges protect the weary runners from alligators which are native to the area!

Sunmart also has the best swag of any race I have done.We each received a nice sport bag, a polo shirt, a leatherish covered notebook, some cheapie sunglasses, a nice tech hat, a really nice (but yellow) tech shirt, and for finishing, a classy medal and a choice of a Tyvek jacket or an afghan. 

They serve a first class banquet style dinner the night before, and then breakfast before the race and all kinds of tasty food after the race. 

I always gain 4 or 5 pounds after Sunmart. 

The aid stations are plenty, and the array of food is great. My favorite is Oreo cookies smeared with peanut butter, and sprinkled with M&Ms....YUM!!! The volunteers are great, and stayed for all of the runners including the more pokey ones like the Zombie.

This year, Dana was trying her 1st 50K. 
Her longest run had been 18 miles, although she had ran several 25Ks on trails. 
Her training was light, with minimal miles and long runs, although she had done 17/5 mile back-to-back and breezed through it the weekend before. 
Our great friend Roman ran with us every step of the way and finished despite having a hip flexor barking at him for most of the race.

We settled in to a 13-14 minute pace and gradually slowed down as the race went on. 
Dana was battling a stomach virus and that slowed her efforts for the first half of the race.
 But she was very determined and wanted a finish very badly! 
She was running strong on the 6 mile out-and-back that the 50Kers ran, and other than a few stops along the way, ran steady for the 1st 12.5 mile loop.
 I was really concerned that reaching the start/finish after 18.5 miles, the temptation to quit would be strong, and I had decided to "scurry" her right through the aid station and get her moving onto the 2nd loop. 
But, she moved on without protest. 

After about 5.5 miles and a little more slowing of the pace, someone at an aid station told her she had only 7 more miles to go.
And at about that time, an older (60ish) man passed us. That was all the fuel she needed, and while Roman and I were stuffing our faces at an aid station, Dana took off.
 We noticed that she seemed to have come to life, and we pursued. 
After reaching the top of a hill (that she evidently RAN) we realized that we had lost her. 
She had put about a half a mile on us. 
We had to pick up our pace considerably to catch her, and after 30 minutes of non-stop running, we finally caught her. 
By this time, we only had less than 4 miles to go, and the smell of the finish line was pulling us in.
It was Dana's goal to finish before dark, and although I had brought our headlamps (just in case) we never needed them.
I know she was tired, but Dana never lost the desire to run, and ran with hardly a walk break for those last 7 miles. 

She did manage to pass 3 people during her strong finish. 
Dana, Roman, and I crossed the finish line together, collected out medals, finishers afghans, and ambled through the food line. 
Dana has been all grins ever since then. 
Two days later she has lost a toenail. It was a newbie, but was pushed up to a floating existence, and since then departed. 
What is now left is a cavity deep, almost to the bone.... oozy, inflamed, and painful to see. Funny, she seems to value that awful looking toe like a trophy. 
Sounds like a diseased ultra-runner if I have ever met one!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Catching up on candle power

The next few days, I will try to catch up my blogging. I will post a report on Sunmart and the amazing story of my wife Dana who completed her 1st 50K despite warm temps, high humidity, and her not feeling well at all. To be posted as well will be pictures of the race, her awards, and her most prized trophy... her awful toenail. I am amazed that she is even able to walk, let alone working two 12 hour shifts on her feet this week.

I will catch you up on my double, running Sunmart and then Whiterock the next day. 85 degrees and no wind in Huntsville on Saturday, and then 35 degrees and strong north winds in Dallas on Sunday!!!

I need to lament for all the wounded trees during this ungodly ice storm. Many of my old friends due to no fault of their own are dieing in the cold, cut and mangled, this time from above. I know I know, is is nature taking it's course, it's an act of God, no crying can bring them back. But let me grieve. Maybe by the time I have electricity back at my house, I will have my mind on other things and will post on the silliness of my dogs, or a fun run or something. Maybe by then, these gray days of early winter will be past. Anything for a sunny day!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Today a long battle for survival was lost. Demolition crews moved in to destroy and dispose of the Camelot Inn, the marquee hotel of the 60s and 70s at I-44 and Peoria. A lot of history is reduced to rubble and hauled away to a landfill.

I find it disturbing much in the same way as I am outraged by the destruction of trees on Turkey Mountain. I know some people care, but so often those who care have quiet voices.

Oh well. I suppose this is progress, and Tulsa will get another Quik Trip out of the deal. Fat chance of ever seeing gasoline that

Sunday, December 2, 2007

From the Subway Website

Take Steps to a Healthier 2007
By Lanette Kovachi, MS, RD

Many people have probably already forgotten about the New Year’s resolutions they have made to eat healthier and get fit. Here are some simple tips to help you get back on track and keep your body healthy: 

1) Curb the calories. Cutting out 100- 250 calories each day can result in a 1-2 pound weight loss per month and help prevent future weight gain. Trim down on portion sizes, compare food labels and choose lower calorie foods, and replace sodas, specialty coffee and fruit drinks with calorie-free alternatives like water and diet drinks.

2) Desert the desserts. Desserts like cakes, cookies, pies and other sweets are often high in fat, sugar and calories. If you are a dessert lover cut your dessert portion in ½, set a side one or two nights a week to have a special treat, or try a lower calorie dessert like fresh chopped fruit.

3) Choose the right fats. To reduce saturated fat and trans fat, replace butter and stick margarine with liquid vegetable oils or trans fat-free tub margarine. Limit foods that list “partially hydrogenated oil” or “hydrogenated oil” as one of their ingredients.

4) Go for the grains. Whole grains are packed with fiber and nutrients and are associated with weight control. Choose breads, cereals and crackers that list whole grains as their first ingredient – like whole wheat, whole-grain oats, rye and barley. 

5) Feel good with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in disease-fighting nutrients, are cholesterol-free and are naturally lower in calories, fat and sodium. Include at least two to three fruit or vegetable servings with every meal. At breakfast, top cereal or yogurt with fresh fruit and have a glass of 100% fruit juice. At lunch have a large colorful salad or veggie sticks on the side. For dinner include a side salad and a cup of cooked veggies. For optimal nutrition make sure to select a variety of fruits and vegetables. 

6) Count calcium. Choose three calcium rich foods to eat per day. Try calcium-fortified orange juice at breakfast, low-fat yogurt or cheese for a snack and low-fat milk with dinner. 

7) Walk, walk, walk. Make a 30-minute brisk walk part of your daily routine. You already make it a point to do other things necessary for your health, like eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth. Daily exercise is just as important. If you have a busy schedule try breaking it up into two 15-minute walks - one before work and one during lunch.

8) Cut the couch potato routine. During your favorite TV show don’t sit still - use this time to try different weight bearing exercises. Weight-bearing exercises help burn calories, build muscle strength and maintain bone density. 

9) Slash the salt. Instead of using salt to season meats, vegetables and pasta try one of the many delicious salt-free seasoning blends available.


Ken's commentary

First, there was Jared Fogle telling us we could lose weight by eating low fat subs, and walking. 

He lost a kazillion pounds, and now uses his old blue jeans as a two person tent.

Now, Subway has decided that they need to bring in more horizontally challenged people with more hearty appetites. After all, people with no hang-ups about calories and fat content of their food are likely to buy MORE food. Duh, what were they ever thinking in the first place???
The new advertised FEAST sandwich, which by the way, does look delicious, has nearly 1,300 calories and 70 grams of fat depending on what condiments are added. Compare this to the standard McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese which has 510 calories and 26 grams of fat, or the Big Mac which has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. If Jared endorses this campaign, I hope he has not thrown away all his "fat" pants!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Plan to take the PLUNGE!!

31 days from today will be the 2nd Polar Bear Plunge. Quite a few of us crazies will wear our most stylish swimwear, shiver our way down to the banks of the mighty Arkansas River, and take a nice swim. Last year it was a balmy 38 degrees, with water temps at a comfy 43 degrees.

I do sincerely hope that Brian does not come through with his threat to wear a THONG this year!!! Some talk has been tossed about of a "best swimsuit" contest, worst whiner, and of course, the Polar Bear look-alike contest, which I WON last year! Also, for those who need to get their New Years Day run in, there will be a 300 yard water-sprint. Should be a quick one for me. Hmmm....300 yards across the do we get back???

With the help of an able weatherman, we can hope for even colder temps and maybe a foot of snow!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


November passes relentlessly trudging with an unknown purpose into winter. A few remaining leaves hang from the trees only for a little while longer waiting their turn to be wisped away. It's the same every year. It never changes.
I find myself in my annual journey one frame at a time, a still-life in a northern gale, bundled tighter, shivering more.

New roads promise an escape from the barrenness, but always find their way back to the grip of winter days. I lay down my head, hoping for an hour's sleep to dream of spring and colors other than gray. I close my eyes and hear the ticking of a clock. Counting the ticks, I grasp for assurance that winter will soon be gone. Today is November 28th.