Wednesday, November 28, 2007

November....





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.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Patagonia Dreams


I know that in the USA there are endless mountains to climb, streams to wade, trails to run, lakes to sit by while watching a sun set or rise, but I have always been awed by Patagonia. Patagonia is a geographic region containing the southernmost portion of South America. Mostly located in Argentina and partly in Chile, it comprises the Andes mountains to the west and south, and plateau and low plains to the east. 















The name Patagonia comes from the word "patagon" used by Magellan to describe the native people who his expedition thought to be giants. Some of the most lifeless barren landscape on Earth is sandwiched between the towering craggy peaks. Many have described it as looking like landscape from Mars. It is a land as raw and unpolluted today as it was a million years ago. Water from these streams are more pure than the bottled water we buy at Quik Trip.
I know I will probably never be able to go there and I can have my hunger for exploring and stretching my limits met in the Rockies and Sierras, or closer to home in the Ozarks and Ouachitas.


But who knows? Maybe some day I will wake up tethered to the face of one of one of those daunting mountain faces, in a 14 ounce tent, in a -20 degree sleeping bag, longing for a nice hot soy latte. Unzipping the flap, I'm greeted by an icy wind that blows my breath back in my face, but peering upward I see that I'm only a few meters from the top~~~!!



Today was day two of our back- to- back long runs. We bundled up warmly, only to shed clothes 15 minutes into our run. I had fresh springy legs, and Dana just had legs. She did run well after warming up, but we both decided to cut it short so we could do some shopping and meet my boys for dinner this evening.











Along the way, we stopped to check out the fungus tree. This tree seems healthy enough but has dozens of little "ears" growning out of it.
Dana and Casper the friendly ghost!There's a fungus among us!!During the summer, you can hardly see the river from the trails on Turkey Mountain. But during the winter months, it is a great view.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Running and Turkey Mountain wildlife


This morning I ran with the RunnersWorld peeps at 8:00, although I rolled out of bed at 7:55. The darned alarm would not rattle my bones out of the sack. So I was a few tics late and caught the line oftrail runners after they had ran around 3/4 mile. We then ran the lowest trail, crossed the railroad tracks, and came back on the gravelled trail. I then did a little 2 mile loop and finished with around 4.5 miles.

Then it was round one of Dana's back-to-back long run, her last long run before Sunmart. We had intended to get 20 miles in, but only got around 16-17.

It seemed to be colder at 10:30 than it was at 8:00, but it was because of the wind. We ran a modified yellow trail loop which has a nice 3/4 mile smooth downhill trail, and then ran the snake and hairpin trail. Then, we refueled and did it all again. 


At one point, Dana was ahead of me and then froze. She held her arms out and motioned for me to be quiet. It seemed she had spotted a deer on the trail just ahead. But as we got closer, it begin to look more like a dog.And then strangely, as we got right up to it, it was in fact someone's Golden Retriever. I couldn't tell if it was a doe or a buck. You know, eyesight does go when you get up in years. 























I made a quick run back to the house, and picked up Ginger, who was delighted to get out for a run. She is so silly. She will run right beside me, then edge ahead, and then panic and cut around to my back. Then, she wants to be right by my side, either under or on top of my feet. 

Tomorrow, we'll try to get 10-15 miles in. Then, it's taper time for her til she does her 1st ultra in Huntsville Texas.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

Ahh, Thanksgiving Day. A day to be with family and friends, give thanks for our blessings, eat, drink, eat, be merry, and eat.
To make a feeble effort to stay on my diet and not gain 10 pounds by day's end, I ran early, hitting Turkey Mountain at 7:00 to meet Larry, a trail runner from Austin, TX who was in the area for the weekend to be with some relatives here. He, like me, wanted to get a few miles in early. Brian, Grim Reaper, Larry, and I headed out for 4 miles +/-, and I worked up quite a sweat. I quickly shed my warm winter clothes as I was really heating up trying to keep up with these rabbits!! Take special note of the efforts of watching my weight. More running and less beer and I might get back into fast running shape by this spring!!! Later, Brian and I met Kathy, Dan, Johnnie, and a host of other TATURs and other runners at the river for the Von Franken run, which is a fun-jog around Zink lake between 31st and 11th street on the paved bike trails. I ran it at a fairly brisk pace, for me at least. My total mileage for the day was 9 miles give or take a few steps. YAY, now I have room for seconds at lunch!!



I came home and threw together a lemon meringue pie for later, and then went up to Skiatook for dinner with my folks.





 I admit I did eat a couple extra nibbles of Dana's yummy scrumptious pecan pie, but all in all, since I skipped breakfast, I was ok.

Then I went to a dinner with Brian and Kathy and her brother and wife, and her daughter and fiance. More great turkey and dressing, potatoes, a couple casseroles, more pecan pie, and my lemon pie.
I ate sparingly, but two "sparingly" helpings of everything equals too much. My goosh, I feel bloated.Above, I posted my morning picture. Below is a late afternoon picture. Six weeks of dieting are now down the drain!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gray



November crept in like an unwanted cat,slinking around in the shadows, then announcing its ugly presence in a continuous whir of cold north wind. 

Chased away were the afternoons of a late indian summer. 

Nightfall doused us early, sending us to our room without dinner like punished children. 




Gray paint, colors of nothingness tossed about from horizon to horizon hiding
blue skies and memories of warm days past, as I stand in my playground and shake my fist, rain spits in my eye.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 2 of catching up....

The day before yesterday was day 2 of my double--2 marathons in 2 days--at Route 66 in my home town! Funny that less than a mile of it is actually on Route 66, but most of it was through the nicest parts of Tulsa--lots of trees, old stately houses, Cherry Street, and Brookside. I felt fatigued at the start, but the energy of the crowd helped as did the ibuprofen!

Like yesterdays race, there was a nice 3ish mile loop to start things off. Unlike yesterday, Almost all of the race was on concrete which has given me a case of the moans and groans. Everything below man-land hurts. I had a cup of coffee and a bowl of pain killers for breakfast!
I almost decided to not wear my watch, but I forgot to forget it. Leave it to me to do that! I settled in to running 11 minute miles, and if all went well, a 5 hour finish might be in the cards. Actually, after settling in, I really had no excess pain from running the day before. I passed a few friends, and was passed by others. As last year, I got to see the leaders come on their way back, and as last year, by the time I got through the Jenks loop, the crowd had thinned out quite a bit. Around mile 21 or so, I started to fade. I was taking a walk break about every 1/2 mile, but would walk for only a minute and then resume my slow methodical shuffle. Dana rescued me with a Gu and some salt & vinegar chips and a Rooster Booster and that fixed me right up! Much to my surprise, I caught up with Robert from the RunnersWorld training group. He was running with an injured toe, and had slowed to a brisk walk. I stopped and chatted with him, and it seems that by nursing the sore toe, he had injured the other foot. Sounds like zombie-luck to me. We walked through the 41st street aid station together. At this time, we had both noticed a group of very nice looking girls sitting on a table. I thought they looked like Hooters girls, and Robert thought they might have been OSU cheerleaders. One of them whispered, "Wanna know a secret?" Now I thought, Heck Yeah! I approached them, and she whispered, "I think you're supposed to be running...." YIKES! What a slam!! Me??? I thought later, Let's see her run a marathon, get her pretty toenails messed up. In fact,....well, enough of that. It was actually funny. Robert and I laughed about it after the race!

Later, I passed the advertised belly dancers. Now if you know me, you know they would catch my eye. But I'll tell you, I was so tired that I really could pay them no mind. But, If you know me and know I had a camera, you will also know they would find their way onto my blog! 
Now I will not bore you with tales of the late steep hills in the race, or brag about running sub 6 minute miles downhill through Cherry street. I'm sure you've heard all that before, or have topped my blazing speed yourself.I will say that at the finish I had as much applause as I dreamed possible. It's so cool to have such great friends. I finished in 5:06 and had no bruises, scrapes, blisters, or boo boos to show for it. Just a few aches and pains getting up and down out of the easy chair.
Congrats to Tatur Dave who set a huge PR and got in under 4 hours, to Robert, who toughed it out despite an aching foot, to Caroline who ran with a fever and still finished, to Brian who despite very very very little training finished in 3 hours and 65 minutes, and this on the 2nd anniversary of his 39th birthday! Kudos to all the others who stared 26.2 miles in the eye and conquered the distance. You all are awesome.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Catching up on things

Story of my life I suppose. Running both Saturday and Sunday has left me a lot to talk about but has left little time to post, but I'll try to catch up a little....
Johnny and I left Friday and drove what seemed like forever to Mountain Home, Arkansas to run the Mountain Home Marathon. 


Part of the proceeds from the marathon went to orphanages in Kenya, which seemed like a good cause. 
An 8:00 am start greeted us with 43 degree temps....ahh perfect! Bright blue skies, just a hint of a breeze, life was good. There was a half marathon and a 5K to go along with the marathon. By far, the marathoners were outnumbered. The halfers were shipped out to the half way point but the 26.2ers lined up and started out with the 5K walkers and speedsters. It was really a mixed bag. We did a big loop around the Arkansas State campus and returned to the starting line where us long distancers left on our continuing journey. The entire race was on asphalt and chip-n-tar surfaces--much softer than concrete :) The aid stations were every 2 miles apart and had all the goodies that you usually see in ultras. Route 66 could learn a little about aid station fare. A couple of the aid stations had themes-- one was North Pole style, one was western.All were very friendly and great cheer leaders, making up for the lack of spectaters. There was specific traffic control only at one highway crossing, but police or sheriff patrolling all day along the way, and traffic was sparse anyway. The 10 miles following the 5K loop were hilly but not so steep to kick your butt. Probably half of the runners ran up all of the hills while the other half walked. Bet you can guess what half I was! :-Þ
Along the way I chatted with a few of the runners. One runner was a 63 year old gray haired woman who wore a yellow dressy type sweater, running shoes, an Adidas t-shirt, a stocking hat, and a LONG DRESS!! This lady had been a serious marathoner 30 years ago, and then after a 30 year absence, picked up the habit again. She NEVER walked. Her husband was sagging for her, and even when he handed her a bottle or a banana, she never missed a stride. I passed her early in the 5K portion, and then she passed me at mile 4ish. I caught her at mile 7 or 8, and passed her, then she edged ahead on an uphill. Then I made my move. I built a lead that I thought would stand. Then, coming down a long hill at mile 12, she blew by me!! I ate her dust for many more miles before finally catching her at mile 22 and I elbowed her into a ditch!(Just kidding!!) Somehow I found a 2nd wind and had a good finish and she had started to fade a little. She did finish just over 5 hours and was pushing so hard at the end that she staggered through the shoot having spent all of her reserves. What an awesome performance, and wearing a long dress at that!
I managed to kick my pace up enough to finish in 4:56, which I was happy with.
Mr Tatur Uno was not quite his usual speedy self finishing just a few tics over 5 hours.
After a little post race eating, a couple cold beers, and a shower, we embarked on our 5 hour drive home!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Two More Days....

....until the 2nd Route 66 Marathon. I went last night to the RunnersWorld Grand Opening. It was so awesome to see Kathy's store JAM PACKED with so many people. Saw a lot of friends, and met quite a few runners that were new to me. No way I'll remember all the names. It sounds like we'll have nice cool crisp weather for the start.
I will be near the back of the pack, but I still hope to not fall into a death march. Finishing with a positive attitude is my goal. Beating Brian to the finish line would be a bonus!
I'll take my camera along to the race as well as Mountain Home. Hope to post a few pics.


Also, I plan to have some updates on the TATUR website up over the weekend, if I have a little mental energy left.
(This is what a zombie looks like after back2back marathons)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Egads, I am so tired of tapering. It's 7:15 and I want to head out the door and run long! But I will wait. Saturday I go to Mountain Home Arkansas with my good friend Johnny Spriggs to run the first leg of a double (2 marathons in 2 days). Johnny is beyond help mentally, as he routinely runs doubles. He even ran a triple....that's 3 marathons in a row around Lake Tahoe. Strangely he ran each day a little faster. 
Hmmmph! Right now, Johnny is sitting on 75 career marathons, and 26 for the year. He is the animal he has become.I truly hope the Mountain Home Marathon is hiLLy. Lots of good places to walk and work other muscles in my legs. The next day is my hometown marathon, Route 66. I will start this one with tired legs, but I want to run a respectable time. Gone is the hope of breaking 4 hours. I doubt I could do that again even if I was fresh. But, 4:30 might be in the cards. 


Why run 2 marathons back-to-back? Well, it challenges your reserve, makes you listen to your body, conserve energy when you can, and lay it all out to finish. It's also cheaper than golf! I get the same satisfaction running 2 marathons in a weekend as I do finishing a 100 miler, but with a lot less wear and tear on my body. (Plus, I have DNFd my last 3 100s.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

once there was a day i forgot to watch the sunset
yet it sank all the same into the arms of the west















then every day was cloudy and i never saw the sun
yet the days were light, feeding me my meal rations


once there was a day i forgot to drink the water
yet the stream ran its course over boulders and falls


then the stream ran dry with summer dust and famine
yet clouds above me tempt us with promises of rain

Friday, November 9, 2007

An interesting article about an interesting girl!

. A great friend of mine had a nice article in the Monday Tulsa World sports section this past week.

Click here to read the article.

The amazing thing about Kathy running the back to back marathons last year is that the week before, she ran the Tulsa Run, running back and forth chatting with all her friends along the way and probably ran more like 20K instead of 15. Then she travelled to Stroud and ran 28 miles pacing me in a race. This coupled with all the miles put in with her running group, she surely had 4 marathon distances in a matter of NINE days. 


She has done a seamless job of taking over RunnersWorld, and plans to broaden the shoe offerings to include more trail running shoes and gear. Talk about "one-stop-shopping!" :-) 

Kathy is 2 for 2 in 100 milers, running just over 24 hours in her first at Rocky Raccoon, and then battling extreme warmth and high humidity at the Traveller this year to finish in 28:10. Over 60% of the entrants dropped out of the race, most due to heat and fatigue. I was one of those who did not finish although I felt ok, my pace was cautiously slow and I was pulled due to not making a time cut-off.

Kathy was going to pace me at Western States this past June, and had I made it to the point where I could pick up a pacer, we would have flown from there. (It was 16 miles of downhill.)

This weekend, the crazy girl is travelling south to Texas to run another ultra in 86 degree heat and 95 degree heat index. Meanwhile, Brian and I will get our little hill run out of the way an an hour and change, hopefully before it gets to hot for us wimpy guys!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Climb the World's Highest Hill? Why not?

My nephews John and Jeff, Brian, and I and maybe Taturcakes are invading Poteau this Saturday to conquer this little hill in SE Oklahoma. Poteau has two claims to fame. They are the home the most esteemed school (I will let the picture speak for itself!)
The other attraction in Poteau is The World's Highest Hill: Canaval Hill. It rises 1,999 feet from the base to the summit, just one foot short of being classified as a mountain. It is not the highest point in Oklahoma, but offers the most distance you can climb in the state without being called a mountain climber.

Oops, sorry! Actually, that is not really the real hill. I am a sicko! Here is the real mccoy, Canaval Hill photographed from a distance. It is actually quite an impressive
"mountainous" looking hill. It shadows the whole town of Poteau and the sun goes down there 2 or 3 hours before it does anywhere else in Oklahoma. In fact, there are 3 weeks in the winter when the sun never even comes up! 
A view from near the top shows some of the nice foliage we will get to see. This should be maybe the absolute best week for seeing the fall colors.






Once we run our 5 miles to the top, and climb 1/5 of a mile in the process, we get to stand in awe in front of this monument and drink a couple beers.I plan then to jog back down. Why drive for 2 hours to a race in Poteau and not get at least a 10 mile run in?