Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A little bit about today and yesterday....

Yesterday, I had the awful chore of visiting my dentist.Not that he isn't a great guy, but Novocaine needles and dental drills are not things I like.
The waiting room was calming, seeming like a Victorian tea room, very comfy, but in a prim and proper way.For the restless, there was a very well equipped game room.For those wanting to give the techs a little more to clean from betweenst their molars, there were chocolate chip cookies!After taking me to the torture room, and strapping me into a reclining position, the doctor approached with needle in hand!!Actually, he had his technique pretty well perfected and the whole ordeal including the drilling was not to uncomfortable. And the cool thing was the tooth in question was not so far gone that I have to have a root canal done. Whatever they use to numb the area was pretty potent, if not at least long lasting. I still had no feeling in the right side of my mouth or face for 10 hours later.

Today, Dana and I headed to the river for a short run. We started at 41st and Riverside and headed north to the pedestrian bridge,crossed, and went south to the rapids near the west shore. It was unbelievably windy! Dana had not seen the zigzag trail down to the water. From that vantage point, the rapids are pretty impressive, for the old muddy Arkansas river that is.
The return trip was right into the 35 mph wind, which is a great substitute for hill training if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

OKC Marathon

Ok, Here's part two of last weekend. After a cold beer and a warm shower, Tatur Uno and I headed back to Oklahoma....first to Tulsa to pick up Dana, and then she played the part of chauffeur driving two tired ultrarunners to OKC to do the OKC Memorial Marathon. I managed to maybe sleep 20-30 minutes while Uno continued his multi-hour nap. At midnight, we arrived at our motel which was advertised on the Internet as being right in Bricktown, which would have been within walking distance of the starting line, but instead was 2.7 miles from the starting line. And since it was raining and in the 40s at 5:00 am, we drove to the start. We were supposed to meet at 4th and Robinson to meet some of the RunnersWorld peeps for a group picture, but traffic was so snarled that we barely made it to the starting line in time. I did meet Candice who had my bib and chip (thank you Candice!) and we slipped into a church which had opened up for the runners and was serving pancakes and sausage. (YUM!)

I gulped a pancake, and thankfully a cup of coffee.

Uno looked like he was still needing more nap time!

About 5 minutes before race time, we ventured back out into the cold (it had quit raining) and made our way to the starting gate. The problem is, the chute was very full, and there were 1 zillion spectators between where we were and where we needed to be. We worked our way up through them but could not get through, over, or under the makeshift fences. Some official looking dude told us we need to go around the block and come in down the street. Bummer. It was at that time that the urge to answer a call of nature came to the forefront of my mind, and around the corner there was a public restroom which is way better, warmer, and cleaner than a cold dirty porta-potty. Funny thing, Uno had the same idea. I guess that seemed weird, but hey, we're good friends! Since the race had started, there was no line at the men's side (but still a long line at the women's side.) Well, in a couple of minutes, I felt brand new again (TMI, I know!) We waded our way again through the crowd and into the street only to find that they were letting the 5K runners into the chute. Now, we would have to wait until that race started before we could cross the mat and start our race.But Uno plowed his way right through the crowd, knocking little old ladies over, stepping on several brand new running shoes, and telling them I did it. (What a guy!)

So, we crossed the mat 13 minutes after the starting gun. That was OK because the race was also chip timed. This meant we should be able to pass people all during the race, but very soon, the 5K started and we were swarmed by a bunch of sprinting rugrats! Oh well, it was fun. 
After a mile, I caught up with Bobby who was running his first 1/2 marathon.
I ran with him for a minute or so while Uno took off ahead.
I wished Bobby the best of luck and headed on. Bobby ran his first 1/2 marathon in right at 3 hours and never took a walk break. Awesome! Bobby is pacing me later this year at Mother Road for 10-15 miles in the wee hours of the morning. He'll get to see me at my worst then!

After about 4 miles, Uno had to go pee pee again and ducked behind some buildingsto desecrate someones parking lot. I told him I'd go slow, and walk a little so he could catch up. I poked along and began to wonder if he had to do more than pee, or maybe he got lost?? He told me later that he ran by me while I was stopped taking pictures,and I ended up burning a few minutes wondering where the heck he was. I finally decided to just run and ended up catching him a few miles later. At around mile 8, I decided to push the pace a little. I was running into a steady north wind, but amazingly I felt good, and had no pain or stiffness from yesterday's run.

It was somewhere around mile 8 or 9 that I passes my good friend John Hargrove who runs the OKC every year with Benny Meier, who is completely blind.They both hold on to a small rope, with John telling him where every turn and obstacle is along the way. I am so impressed with the both of them.

Each mile split I passed told me I was climbing from a 6 hour plus projected finish to one closer to 5 hours. I began to wonder if I could get under 5 hours, and maybe even under 4:45. Usually when I do a double, I run both of them (if on roads) in around 5 hours, but today was special. I felt great. I hit the half in 2:23, and headed on toward Lake Hefner and when I made the turn and had the wind at my back I let it loose. I passed hundreds of people and was passed only by relay runners. I was hitting some of the miles under 10 minutes, which is decent for me. Doing fuzzy math in m head, I knew at mile 20 that barring a total collapse, I would finish in 4:40 chip time. I kept running hard and smooth, and the wheels never fell off. I pushed as hard as I could down the final few blocks, and did my usual antics crossing the finish line making the crowd applause. I know, I'm such a ham.
I finished in 4:47 gun time, and 4:34 chip time which was fully 30 minutes better than I thought I could do. Plus, I had a slight negative split!

OKC is where I ran my first marathon back in 2003.In 2003, I was 5 years younger, 30 lbs lighter and ran it in 3:57:06. I have not broke 4 hours since then, but I do have more fun running marathons and ultras now than I did then.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Freestate 26.2

It was a weekend with 750 miles of driving, and 52.4 miles of running. It seems silly to drive that far to run such a comparatively short distance (listen to me referring to a marathon as a short distance!) but if I compare the time spent driving/running, it makes a little more sense. (13 hours of driving to run 12 1/2 hours)

Tatur Uno and I drove to Lawrence Kansas, home of the 2008 NCAA Basketball Champions, to run the Free State Marathon.This event has a marathon, a 30 mile race, and a 100K, all on single track trails. This was Uno's 89th marathon, and my 45th. The packet Pickup was at Sunflower Sports, a store that was what heaven must be like. They had bikes, kayaks, trail shoes, backpacking gear, disc golf stuff, Patagonia clothes, cool outdoorsy hats, and all of this in a very old 2-story building in downtown Lawrence. There is no place that can even touch this in Tulsa. It would be like taking Backwoods and combining it with a good bike shop, and setting up in one of the buildings in the Brady district.
I got to meet Bad Ben, who I have heard a lot about. He seemed like just a regular guy. I'd like to know the story behind his name.
We met up with Nels Bentson, a Tatur friend from OKC who also ran with me at the Texas Relay earlier this year.The three of us did the ritual carbo-loading at a Mexican joint near our motel, but should have eaten at one of the many restaurants downtown which looked to have had considerable more ambiance. Finally, after a couple of beers, I hit the sack and slept well.
We arrived at the race just in time to see the 40 milers and 100Kers take off, and then waited for our race to start an hour later. It was cold enough to have frost on the windshield, and there was a heavy dew on the grass. So much for dry feet.
I had the pleasure of meeting Colleen (strawberryhillrunner)
who has one of the best blogs I have read. She was running her first marathon and her dad was running it with her. How cool is that?? He had run several mountain 100 milers, and I would have liked to pick his brain. Perhaps another time. Colleen went on to run her 26.2 debut in 4:43. AMAZING!

Our race first took us across a grassy field, so our feet were soaked before we ever came to a water crossing. Oh well, that is what makes trail running fun.
Our first water crossing wasn't all that bad as we were able to step across on rocks.
This, fortunately, was not one of the water crossings!!!
After our little out-and-back loop, we entered the main trail for 23 miles of sweet single track. The trail reminded me a little of the trails at Lake McMurtry....a few ups and downs,but no real steep or real long hills, a few roots, a few rocks, but all real runnable.
Nels, who is 64 years old and still runs at least one marathon or 50K a month, and has a titanium total hip replacement, hung with me for the first couple of miles and we chatted and caught up on all kinds of running tales. He did say he would never forgive me if I did not stay with him, (kiddingly I think?), so I took it easy and hung with him. After all, I did have another marathon to run the next morning. Nels is a talker, and the time just flew by. (Actually, quite a bit of time flew by!!)
There were several unmanned water drops, so I was only filling my water bottle half way and drinking a little hear and there. It was cool enough that I thought I was staying hydrated enough. We were treated to several awesome views of Clinton Lake along the way, and a trail right along a craggy beach which we had to make like mountain goats to navigate.After the first manned aid station, eating a handful of chips, pretzels, and PBJs, we entered the muddy portion of the race. We had encountered a few muddy spots, but this section had some of the longest and slickest mud I have ever sloshed through.Nels and I had done real good in picking up our feet and not tripping on the roots and rocks, but this mud was intent on taking us down. I nearly fell and rolled in it, but Nels beat me to it. He was behind me and I heard him go down. Slick mud on a side hill is a sure recipe for a fall. No more than three minutes later, he kissed the mud again and this time rolled in it. By the time I turned around to help him, he was submerged headlong in a nice mud pit.
If you look closely, you can see his feet sticking up out of the mud. I told him to just relax and try to float out of it. After constructing a makeshift bridge out of fallen trees and weaving a rope from plucked willow branches, I was able to throw him a rescue line and drag him to safety.
Fortunately, we had another stream crossing and he was able to rinse most of the mud off. We caught up and passed a man running with his nine year old daughter. She was having some stomach issues and her pace had slowed considerably. I am not sure if they were able to finish, although I did see them about an hour later just as we were leaving out of the next aid station. He was the RD at McNaughton Park 50/100/150 in Illinois. This race (the 150 miler) is one that I would like to do sometime. It had always been the same weekend as Lake McMurtry, but since I am having LMTR one week earlier next year, maybe I can work it in to my schedule.
The aid station at the far point of the race was run by the Kansas Ultrarunners Society (KUS). Nels was good friends with Stacy Sheridan and spent a lot of time catching up on things.I blame him for me eating 2 Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which are not at all on my diet.It was good to see Teresa Wheeler, who I run with at Flat Rock 50K every year.
The return trip was on trails that at times parallel the ones we came out on. Nels slowed down a little, and when we reached the next aid station, I asked them how far it was to the finish and if there were many more muddy sections. They told me it was only 4 miles and the trails were not bad at all, so I told Nels I was gonna push to the end. I was pretty sure Uno was through with his race. I had the key to the car, and iced down beer was locked up in the car. Since I was a little concerned that my windows might be broken out, I thought I had better hurry on. I ran like the wind the final 4 miles, and actually passed a couple of people. I finished in 7:04 +/-. 
Uno was waiting 120 yards before the finish, cheering me on, and holding his hand out for the key. He told me to grab a burger , which I did. I collected my metal and headed for the car for a cold beer myself. Although we needed to hit the road for a 5 hour return trip to Tulsa, then another drive to OKC, we waited for Nels to finish.He made it in about 18 minutes later and was glad to be through. Maybe the best part of finishing was that I managed to find a shower to power-wash some of the mud from my legs.
This was a great event. The course had a lot of trails where a wrong turn could be made, but all were marked very effectively. The aid station food was good. I will definitely be back next year, and probably for the 100K.

Tomorrow, I'll post my report on the OKC Marathon. Maybe I'll try to not tell so many lies!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fitness is in

First, we had Richard Simmons talking us into EXERCISING!

Then there was Jared, who lost 245 lbs eating low-fat subs. 

More recently, everyone was glued to their TVs (hopefully not eating Twinkies and pork rinds) watching normal people lose 100+ lbs competing for 1/4 million dollars.

Closer to home, we have our very own Brian who has quite the success story, having lost a bundle of pounds by eating salad, drinking coffee,running, and rollerblading!

Monday, April 21, 2008

On Mondays, I usually run with the Taylor's Titans at the track an McLain HS, but a communication snafu occurred, and the gang had pizza at a location unknown to me. (Kathy owes me pizza for this one!!) So, I regrouped, picked up Dana, and headed over to Lake Yahola for a walk around the lake.Her arm is still hurting, so running was out of the question, but a brisk walk resulted in a sweatty
t-shirt, so I assume I got a little cardio benefit from it.

Usually, there are awesome sunsets across the lake. Tonight, the cloud formations were not spectacular, but were picturesque all the same.Tonight, the lake was busy. 20-25 people were fishing around the 3.25 mile perimeter, and we saw 2 other runners! Leave it to me to find that exciting, but I do.A view of Tulsa from the far side of the lake.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How to spend a Sunday

Today was a day with no official plans, that is. We had thought about doing a little hiking at Turkey Mountain, but instead, slept in 'til 10:30. We were awakened by the was Jason asking if we could baby-sit Makenna while he and Jesse went fishing. 

Now Friday is usually Grand-Baby Day, but we jumped at the opportunity of a double dose of the sweetest little girl in the world! Plus, I got to try out my new camera! Makenna is crawling now at the speed of sound and is into anything within two feet of the floor be it a toy or not. Plus, anything picked up goes directly to her mouth! 

She is enthralled with our cats, and follows them all around the living room, although they always seem to stay just a couple of feet away.Scooter endures a little "slap-petting".Sassy is less than enthused with Makenna's excitement.

After a few hours or constant running, or crawling I should say, Makenna went down for a nap. It was then that I decided it was time to do the first yard mowing of the year. My back yard had begun to resemble a jungle. 
I thought the grass was only knee deep, but was waist deep in places! Me and my old trusty mower went to work.After 2 1/2 hours in my back yard, the job was done. Unlike last year, I did not burn up a mower trying to cut 2 foot high grass down to golf course length all in one swoop.And today, I had my 1/2 acre baled, and all is well.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lake McMurtry report

Last Saturday was the Lake McMurtry 50K. This was the last year for quite a while that I could run it, and although I kind of wanted to volunteer, I also wanted to run it one more time. Next year, Tatur is taking on the huge responsibility of hosting this race, and I have agreed to RD the event. I can only hope to come close to doing as good of job as Earl Blewett has done for the past 10 years.

This race has had all extremes of weather. Last year is snowed just before the race and was brrrr cold and muddy. The year before, it was hot....up to 95 degrees and nearly melted me down to the point that I had my 1st DNF. The year before, it was wonderful weather, and the year before it was another mudfest having had rained all the night before.

This year, we were treated to high water in the lake which resulted in 16 water crossings for those in the 50K. Tatur Uno and I took the early start so we could be through while there was still food. Secretly, I think Uno likes to have an extra hour or two for carbo(beer)loading after the race. We hit the 1st water crossing about a mile into the race. I looked left and right to see if there was a hope for crossing without wading, but no such luck!I am no stranger to running with wet feet, but this was only the 1st of 16 crossings. The 3rd water crossing was waist deep, and I nearly baptised myself after stepping in a hole!In retrospect, a canoe, waders, or a raft would have made this crossing easier!Uno and I ran steady but slow enough that nearly everyone in the race who started 1 hour or 90 minutes after us was able to catch us and pass our sorry asses! But, Uno was quick to point out that he did not see any of these "faster" runners at the Hogeye Marathon last weekend. (Good point!)

Still, we finished in 8:04 or so, just slightly faster than last years time, and we tore up a few hamburgers. On a very sad note, however, no one had brought any beer and Uno had to go without!

I got to see a few people finish including my good friend, John Hargrove from Arcadia. We always finish close to the same time in our races, and this time, had I not taken the early start, he would have beaten me by a few minutes.Here are a couple of other questionable characters hanging out at the race. Oh Captain My Captain (Rob Phillip) poses for yet another silly snapshot! John sits pondering as to where all the cute chicks are. Head Tatur is in deep concentration about how to shed 3 more pounds so he can be under 200 for the first time since 7th grade.

Next year, I will keep the race much the same as it has been for years. I would like to work the "Leap of Doom" back into the course if possible. 
I will have to get the park officials to give the OK to that as it may involve running through some of the campsite areas. Also, if anyone knows the history of McMurtry, I would like to be enlightened. For who is this lake named? Might make a good mascot for the race maybe?

OMG! Look at that white boy jump!!!