Friday, June 26, 2009

Show me a better way to spend a warm Saturday night!




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Barkley Marathons is actually two races run on the same course, a 100 Mile Run and a 60 Mile Fun Run. It is held annually in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee sometime in late March or early April.

The course was designed by Gary Cantrell. His idea for the race was inspired upon hearing about Martin Luther King, Jr's assassin escaping from prison, and making it only 8 miles after running 55 hours in the woods. Cantrell said to himself "I could do at least 100 miles." Thus, the Barkley Marathon was born.

The course itself, which has changed distance, route, and elevation many times since its inaugural run in 1986, currently consists of a 20-mile loop with no aid stations except water at two points along the route and the runner's parked car at the beginning of the loop. Runners of the 100 Mile version run this loop five times, with loops three and four being run in the opposite direction and loop five being runner's choice. Runners of the 60 Mile Fun Run (considered to be harder than Hardrock) complete three circuits of the loop.

In addition to running, competitors must find between nine and 11 books (varies per year) and remove a page from each book corresponding with their race number as proof of completion.

With 54,200 feet (now due to course changes, over 60,000 feet) of accumulated vertical climb, the 100 Mile Run is considered to be one of the more challenging ultramarathons held in the United States, if not the world. Some say it is the toughest trail race in the world. Some say it's not a race. Some say these are not trails.

The cut-off time for the 100 Mile race is 12 hours per loop, and the cut-off for the 60 Mile version of the race is 40 hours overall, which averages out to approximately 13 hours and 20 minutes per loop. Since the race's inception in 1986, only seven runners (Mark Williams 1995, David Horton and Blake Wood 2001, Ted "Cave Dog" Keizer 2003, Jim Nelson and Mike Tilden 2004, Brian Robinson 2008 (course record 55:42:27)) out of more than 650 have completed the 100 Mile race within the official 60 hour cut-off. In 2006 nobody finished even 60 Mile Fun Run in under 40 hours. Best woman achievement is Sue Johnston's 66 miles in 2001. More than 30 competitors failed to reach first book (2 miles).

The race is limited to 35 runners and usually fills up quickly the day registration opens. Potential entrants must complete an essay on "Why I Should be Allowed to Run in the Barkley."


That, my friends, is the inspiration for our Barkley Book Fair. Like the Big Barkley, our event will have 2 races, a day run, and a night run. The day run will commence around 6:30 pm tomorrow night, which should be plenty of time for even the most cautious trail trodder to finish before dark. The night race will begin after dark. I have been asked if the course is hard. The day course is medium to hard, with one steep hill to climb just before the halfway point. There will be water and Gatorade at the halfway point.The night course is different every year, and each year I like to throw in some new challenges to make it interesting.
Expect a few surprises along the way. Expect to get lost, but so far, we have not had to call "search and rescue". A cell phone sometimes is helpful for those who are sure they are in the Turkey Mountain Triangle.

I am considering scrapping the checkpoint in the underwater cave. Seems a large turtle has claimed this submerged cavern and sometimes he is "home" and sometimes he is not!

For the night run, which will be 7 miles +/- this year, I advise spraying down with some off or an equivalent solution as ticks have been pretty bad this year. I have captured and carried away 50 of these critters so far. You are welcome!

All things considered, I do insist that the night runners be experienced in trail running and night running. They should have a reliable flashlight or headlamp. There will be water, Gatorade, and maybe another beverage at 2 locations on the night course. There will be some sort of food and drink at the finish. TATUR will have a bucket that you can toss a buck or two to offset the cost of the food and drink stuff.

Come join us!! (The above was a reprint from last years event.)

Tomorrow night, the 4th running of the Barkley Book Fair will happen once again on Turkey Mountain. This is by far my favorite run of the year, and I do not even do it!! For three years, I have marked a fairly strenuous course of around 4.5 miles that TATURs and friends of TATURs get to run for FREE! Part of the allure of this race is that although there are obvious places where one could "cut the course" and also plenty of reasons to consider that, I place books out on the course and runners must tear a page out of the book that corresponds with their race number to prove to me that they are not cheaters and actually were tough enough to finish the course.The day course usually has 5 or 6 books and has just one hill to climb. More than once, a swear word has been heard by those negotiating this one hill, but so far, no one has died from it.Much of the day course is nice runnable single track trail, although there are a couple of rocky sections.This time of year, there may be a few various reptiles heard slithering just off the trails in the underbrush, so while watching your step so as not to trip on rocks or roots, keep an eye out for anything living you would not want to step on.

Probably the most dangerous critter you might see on the day run is the mutated Easter Bunny that terrorizes the Bunny Trail.It is because of this menacing creature that I have decided to not send the day runners back on the said Bunny Trail.

The day race starts at 6:30 pm, and runners have always been able to complete the day run before the sun goes down. One who can run/walk a 20 minute mile can finish the course in an hour and a half.

The night run as quite a different story. First off, it is at night. It is a different course and most years, I have made it 5-6 times harder than the day course, although I heard some whiners last year saying they thought the night course was a little too easy. (And this year, they will PAY for that!) Whereas the day course is well marked, the night course is less so. Last year, I was generous with the pink ribbons, but this year, I am going green. Green does not show up all that well at night, and I don't want the local landfills to be overrun with excessive discarded ribbons, so runners will have to rely on a map that I will have for sale before the race.

I am thinking maybe 8-10 books. I suggest you bring a few things to this run, such as a flashlight and/or headlamp, some bug spray, a cell phone, band-aids, snake bite kit, water bottle, duct tape, wetsuit if desired, an innertube or rubber duckie flotation device, one of those Star Trek communicater devices so Scotty can beam you up, a small machete, and a ball peen hammer. (Please leave the machete and ball peen hammer at the last book area before proceeding to the finish area.

Seriously, you can expect 7-8 miles of trail, some trail that you have never been on, some trail that you will never want to be on again, some decent hills, (see above elevation profile of last years night run) (this year's night event will have more hills) and for sure, a surprise or three. I am not talking things like a guy in a hockey mask and a chain saw, but you may see some weird things out there. But, after finishing, licking your wounds, and such, I think most will be a combination of pissed, amused, and thrilled.Threats to the RD will be evaluated, brief outbursts of whining will be tolerated and will be treated with nonchalance and beer. Donations to TATUR will be appreciated (someone pays for all the great refreshments and such at the aid stations.)

Saturday June 27th....the fun starts at 6:00 pm, and ends up late and sometimes we end up at IHOP. You'll kick yourself if you miss it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Favorite magazine just moved way up in my ratings!!




My favorite magazine hit my mailbox this morning. I just happened to be home for lunch, and a brief time in my study. I took the magazine with me as it helps pass the time. I always read the magazine backwards, and in about the middle of the mag was an article Trail Bloggers....pretty cool!! All the big name runners blogs were listed....some I knew, some I will check out. Anton KrupicaScott JurekAndy Jones-WilkinsLisa BlissJamie DonaldsonTeam Montrail
Later in the article were "Blogs Less Traveled". This category included blogs from "lesser-known but not necessarily less talented trail runners. Some suffered from "bad poetry and Too Much Information." And some were praised for their "comic relief." The last blog mentioned was "a deadpan wit enhanced by offbeat graphics"....your truly, Ken Childress (trailzombie.blogspot.com) I was identified as a TATUR (Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners) and one "who finds a lot to laugh at on the trails and in the mirror."

WOW! I feel like I have arrived. Can't stop grinning!! Had to get out in the 100+ temps and RUN! :)

Thank you so much Sarah Lavender Smith, for writing this article. Thanks also to a great intern and illustrator, Jeremy Duncan who I have had the pleasure of visiting with a few times via phone and email!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

From one problem to the next!




My goats are doing a so-so job on my back yard. My front yard is manageable, but keeping up with the neighbor next door has been more of a challenge than I ever wanted. See, when it comes to working in the yard, I'd rather go running! So out the door I go, and my neighbor is manicuring his yard with tweezers!They scowl when I mow my yard fearing that a weed spore from my yard might blow over onto their plush green lawn carpet.

So, I guess I felt a little guilty and went to Lowe's to see what I could do to pretty my yard up. A few gallons of weed killer would have my yard golf course nice in a few days!!!So, 5 days later, all the weeds were GONE! Trouble is, all that was left was dirt....no grass at all!Oh, this was bad. Now....what to do? Seed it? Roll out some sod? One of the above choices is what I should have done, but I knew some people who knew some people who said they could get me a good deal on some leftover concrete. Hmmm....cement in the whole front yard and Wala! No more mowing!!!Now....anyone know if you can pay off a city inspector?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2/3 of a Tri




Nine months ago, I did the running leg in a Half Ironman. I have been a spectator in a few triathlons but this was a chance to actually participate in one, and while I only ran a half marathon, it did get me to thinking: Hmmm....

The Tulsa Tri was this weekend, and I heard there was a land lovers division.Now I am a bottom dweller (I know a lot of you have thought that for quite a while) and I sink immediately like my legs are made of brick. This particular land lover division allowed me to bike and run, with a designated swimmer doing the water duty.
2nd problem: my bike is not a road bike although not a real mountain bike either. The store owner called it a hybrid, the perfect bike for someone who wanted to occasionally ride off road, and recreationally on the roads. Well, while it is a very good bike, I am afraid I would tear it up riding on Turkey Mountain, and when I try to ride with friends who have road bikes, I cannot stay up. My bike weighs probably twice what a good road bike does, and I swear road bikes must have different gearing than I do. But, I was determined to do the 40K bike ride and the 10K run.
3rd problem: I had never ever rode, and then immediately ran. I have heard tales about having spaghetti legs and such in this transition, but instead of doing a few brick workouts in the 2 previous weeks, I just rode and ran on different days.
4th problem: the weather forecast. The starting temps for the event was to be 79-80, with a low 90 probability for by noon which is about the time I thought I would be on the run. Ugh!
5th problem: the elevation in the bike ride....YIKES!

I talked my good friend Rock Star Ed into doing this with me.Ed has done a couple of sprint tri's and I was able to pick his brain a little. The swim was 20-some-odd miles northwest of Tulsa at Skiatook Lake, and the bike started there and rode southward into a stiff wind to Tulsa where the 10K started, and it extended 3 miles down a paved trail on the west side of the Arkansas River and back. I stashed my car in Tulsa early, and we loaded our bikes into Ed's truck and headed to the T1 area at the lake.Around 200 athletes participated, and the swimmers went out in 3 waves. I was a little antsy but kept it together by telling myself it was ok to be last....been there done that.

Ed was cool as always, but I actually thought he wanted to take down as many bikers as he could and then see what the run held for him. I was not too far off.

Our swimmer Carolyn Fairless, a fellow Tatur who is also an Ironman (Iron woman?) was one of the earlier ones out of the water, so I started out ahead of most of the athletes, but they sped by me all morning.Due to the wet summer we have had, everything was nice and green. Riding through the country for 24 miles was a real treat.Well, other than the few climbs, and even those were not all that bad. A steady south wind kept me cool, and I had wore a long sleeve tech shirt which was nice and sweaty and extra cool in the breeze. A lot of people thought I was wacked for wearing it, but it was a good choice.

The course was well marked, and all the intersections had traffic control. In that regard, the race was great. There was supposed to be an aid station half way through the ride, but we did not get it until about mile 18. My water was low and hot by then, and the water by that point in the race was almost too late. Glad it was cold water. :)

Just after leaving the water stop, I got an ache in my buttock....kind of a cramp. and kind of like a hip joint ache. It hurt to sit, it hurt to pedal hard, and it hurt to get out of the saddle. I lost my ability to push the pace, so my slowness turned into a snails pace. I came to a short very steep hill at about mile 20, and a few bikes in front of me dismounted to push their bikes up, and I was hurting pretty bad myself so I got off the bike and pushed my wheels for about a hundred yards. I also took this opportunity to take a couple of electrolytes and some shot blocks.

More pedaling, holding on, trying to make it.One more mile on the bike!!!
Susan and Bobby were at T2 along with Sandra. Great to have a cheering section. They both took pics which I really appreciate. Susan described me as looking like I was coming in from a leisurely bike ride. Sheesh! If she only knew I was dieing!

I had joked around that I was gonna be number 1 in my transition time. No shoe change....just dump the bike and helmet, brag a water bottle and hat and go. WRONG!I tried to trot over to my bag, and I thought I was gonna go DOWN! I had almost no control of my legs at all, but managed to lurch over to my bag and get my things. I was still in and out of T2 in 1:10....quicker than Ed!!After about 1K, my legs started to come back and my sorry excuse for running turned into my reliable shuffle. Time to catch a few slow swimmers who passed me on the bike. I lost count of how many I passed. I was thinking 10-12, but I played cat and mouse with a couple of guys due to a pee stop, so maybe I counted them twice.

There were water stops every mile and that was a good thing since the heat was cooking the runners. The bad thing: No cold water, no ice, and no Gatorade or other electrolyte drink. Bad. Is this normal in a tri? I volunteered in the Tulsa Tri 2 years ago, and I server Gatorade....cold Gatorade. Having water sponged on our heads was good though, and I enjoyed a double dose at every stop throughout the 10K. I did walk a few times just to make sure I did not overheat, but I mostly did the 100 mile shuffle, averaging about 12 minute miles with the walking, aid stops, and pee stop. The last half K, as soon as I saw the finish line and a few walkers ahead, I stretched it out a bit and ran on in.I guess it was good to pass a dude who was having heat issues and an old man just before the line. Bad Karma? Maybe.

Thanks to Tom Dorothy for taking this pick. And many thanks to whoever put this water hose and sprinkler here. It cooled me down quite nicely. It would have been nice to have gotten a medal or something. This was a milestone race for me. I was thrilled to have finished. We did receive a nylon gym bag which will be handy and will fit nicely in the closet with the other 8-9 gym bags. Come on, race directors, a little bling is cheap.

Speaking of Tom, he WON the land Lovers division, finishing his bike and run way before I even started my run. He has really got into the running ways as of late. He ran a PR finishing 8th recently in the Jenks Half marathon, and then won the TATUR Estim8ur a few weeks ago.
Ed beat me handily on the bike and extended his lead on the run. Young punk! I finished my race in 3:34:26 (pretty slow I know!) 11th of 12 overall, 11th of 12 on the bike, and 9th of 12 on the run. Lotsa room for improvement.

Big thanks to to Bobby, Susan, and Sandra for being such good friends and fans. Ed and I love ya!

Friday, June 19, 2009

wear your sunscreen!




It's gonna be a hot sunny weekend....perfect for going to the lake, mowing the grass, riding bikes, running, sunbathing. But please remember to put on sunscreen before baking your flesh under old Sol.
Find a friend, or find a stranger to slather you in the places where you cannot reach!
Don't forget your tootsies. Any flesh can bake. T Z has places so white, 15 seconds in the sun will turn them pink!

Wear a hat, and remember whatever the hat does not cover is fair game to midday broasting.

Seriously guys, don't let yourself catch the rays in the wrong places.

Or what the hell....just forget it and tan away!
Not bad looking for a 24 year old, huh?

Monday, June 15, 2009

BARKLEY BOOK FAIR 2009 !!!




In 2 weeks, actually less than 2 weeks, the 4th running of the Barkley Book Fair will happen once again on Turkey Mountain. This is by far my favorite run of the year, and I do not even do it!! For three years, I have marked a fairly strenuous course of around 4.5 miles that TATURs and friends of TATURs get to run for FREE! Part of the allure of this race is that although there are obvious places where one could "cut the course" and also plenty of reasons to consider that, I place books out on the course and runners must tear a page out of the book that corresponds with their race number to prove to me that they are not cheaters and actually were tough enough to finish the course.The day course usually has 5 or 6 books and has just one hill to climb. More than once, a swear word has been heard by those negotiating this one hill, but so far, no one has died from it.Much of the day course is nice runnable single track trail, although there are a couple of rocky sections.This time of year, there may be a few various reptiles heard slithering just off the trails in the underbrush, so while watching your step so as not to trip on rocks or roots, keep an eye out for anything living you would not want to step on.

Probably the most dangerous critter you might see on the day run is the mutated Easter Bunny that terrorizes the Bunny Trail.It is because of this menacing creature that I have decided to not send the day runners back on the said Bunny Trail.

The day race starts at 6:30 pm, and runners have always been able to complete the day run before the sun goes down. One who can run/walk a 20 minute mile can finish the course in an hour and a half.

The night run as quite a different story. First off, it is at night. It is a different course and most years, I have made it 5-6 times harder than the day course, although I heard some whiners last year saying they thought the night course was a little too easy. (And this year, they will PAY for that!) Whereas the day course is well marked, the night course is less so. Last year, I was generous with the pink ribbons, but this year, I am going green. Green does not show up all that well at night, and I don't want the local landfills to be overrun with excessive discarded ribbons, so runners will have to rely on a map that I will have for sale before the race.

I am thinking maybe 8-10 books. I suggest you bring a few things to this run, such as a flashlight and/or headlamp, some bug spray, a cell phone, band-aids, snake bite kit, water bottle, duct tape, wetsuit if desired, an innertube or rubber duckie flotation device, one of those Star Trek communicater devices so Scotty can beam you up, a small machete, and a ball peen hammer. (Please leave the machete and ball peen hammer at the last book area before proceeding to the finish area.

Seriously, you can expect 7-8 miles of trail, some trail that you have never been on, some trail that you will never want to be on again, some decent hills, (see above elevation profile of last years night run) and for sure, a surprise or three. I am not talking things like a guy in a hockey mask and a chain saw, but you may see some weird things out there. But, after finishing, licking your wounds, and such, I think most will be a combination of pissed, amused, and thrilled.Threats to the RD will be evaluated, brief outbursts of whining will be tolerated and will be treated with nonchalance and beer. Donations to TATUR will be appreciated (someone pays for all the great refreshments and such at the aid stations.)

Saturday June 27th....the fun starts at 6:00 pm, and ends up late and sometimes we end up at IHOP. You'll kick yourself if you miss it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

weather pics



Interesting weather. I drove to Pryor this morning, and the last time I was there, I was treated to weather much like what I had today. This impressive wall cloud was right where I was heading.

I drove right into the gut of the worst rain I have ever experienced.Along Highway 20 heading west, I slowed from 65ish to around 30 mph, and with wipers on full speed, I could not see the cars that were only 40-50 yards in front of me. I slowed a little more, and yet still felt totally out of control due to the rain. I glanced down at my speed, thinking I was still going around 30, and I was going 6 mph!The rain was coming sideways and I felt as if I were flying down the road.

By the time I made it back to Tulsa, blue sky was chasing the devilish rain away....but not before the storm dumped the ingredients for some fine mud all over my trails!!

52nd and Riverside, this tree was snapped and fell on a house. Dana had called me and was concerned since I was right in the heart of the storm, and told me she had heard of a huge tree falling on this house. Paparazzi snapped a pic, and got a glare from some people in the street. Oh well....

And finally, a pic from last night's run at the river.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TATUR ESTIM8UR report




The previous post promoting the Tatur Estim8ur had poked a little fun at my friend Michael Stelly, indirectly referring to him as the slowest runner, all the while comparing him to the fastest runner Hayley. Well, as it turns out, Hayley was the 2nd fastest runner, and Michael helped at an aid station so we'll never really know this day how slow he would have been. But Mike, thanks for your help at the 2nd water stop.

Friday found me out on the course at Chandler Park with Brian going over some fine details. Saturday, I ran with my RunnersWorld friends as they kicked off the fall training session. It was a short run, with most going 5-6 miles. The balance of the day was spent back at Chandler Park tying ribbons, pouring Pillsbury Gold Medal flour into arrows on the road to mark turns. Brian was the cone-meister and he placed around 400 orange cones out there to direct runners. It was a long day....no, make that a long HOT day.

7:00 am came soon enough Sunday morning. I was up at 4:00 and at the park at 4:30 checking course markings....yes, some were vandalized. I also had volunteered to ride my bike ahead of the lead runners to make sure they found the correct turns. My fear with that was that some of the course was off road, albeit on grass and fairly flat. I was just not sure that I could ride a 6 minute mile if I came to an incline, but actually, it turned out to be no problem at all.


Kara Cassel led the race from start to finish, and my friend Hayley pictured above with Stelly was second. Girls rock!At the point where the race went into the rocky trail and between the huge rocks and bluffs, I turned my bike around and returned to a busy intersection to direct traffic and fell more into the spectatur mode.

Now despite running a fast time, Kara did not finish in the top ten as the winners were those who finished closest to their predicted finish time. Hayley did nab a top ten, Hayley's mom finished top 10 in the 4 mile division,as did Sandra (pictured above) and Wade. The winner in the 4 mile distance predicted their time at 40 minutes, a 10 minute mile pace. Now this race was ran WITHOUT watches or Garmins, anf the winner finished just 0.05 of a second over her time. That's not half a second, that's 1/20th of a second!! AMAZING!

Just as amazing was the winner of the 8 mile. My friend Tom Dorothy finished just 5 seconds under his predicted time.Not bad for an old guy!

I had awesome help at the aid stations. I know I will miss out on thanking everyone, but here goes.Don't know the names of these two princesses, but they met the runners before they hit the water stops with better than curb-side service.And while the aid stations were not the usual all-you-can-eat buffets like they are in our trail runs, they were still adequate.Glen was nominated for the Dork award.Quite a crew at the start/finish area. Between timing, directing traffic, and recording runners and numbers, it was a busy place. Thanks to Charlotte, Susan, Kathy, Bob, Terrie, Dana, and another Terrie.


Since this race was early Sunday morning, the party atmosphere was not in full swing as evidenced from a sober looking Kurt sitting on the tailgate. Ya know, we need a good breakfast beer. Thank you Kurt and Shelley, Glen, Dee, Michael,Vicky and Katy for your help at the aid stations, Michael Whitten, Loring Zeff, and Roman for your help in sending runners the right way on tricky turns. No one got lost....or at least if they did, they were discovered by the next day before the vultures got them. ANd last, thanks again to Stelly for letting me gank some pictures from his Facebook. Same goes to Terrie. Is it steeling when I thank you for what I swiped?
Seems even the ones who were neither fast or accurate had a good time though.

We'll do it again next year, but at a different and maybe harder course.