Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 4

It's the 4th day of Thanksgiving. Usually by now, I am SICK of turkey leftovers, and feeding the remainder of the leftover dressing to the dogs who never get tired of rewarmed food. But this year, I have yet to have a bite of the traditional bird. I feel so un-American!

I am in the start of a streak. Since the Rt 66 marathon (and actually since the day before) I have not missed a day of running. That's 8 days straight. No significantly long runs (except the Rt 66) but I did have 2 runs totaling 14.4 miles on Thanksgiving day.

I will extend
the running streak
and maybe
put a halt
to my turkey cravings.

Should be
an interesting
taste test.

Thanksgiving without turkey! (Osage Hills Trip on lower part of post)

Kind of an odd Thanksgiving this year. Dana had to work a 12 hour shift at the hospital. My Mom had surgery yesterday and the witch doctor hospital barely had her skull stitched up before sending her home. She was/is still groggy and we decided to do the traditional dinner thing later in the weekend.

A annual tradition in Tulsa on Thanksgiving morning is the Von Franken Run. This is a fun-run around Zink Lake, and the only entry fee is a sack of non-perishable food for the Salvation Army. I was able to sneak out some pickled beets, along with some other veggies. Dana actually packed up a bag of goodies enough to feed an army....well, a small army. Ok, it would feed 2 or 3 people if they liked veggies.The 400-500 people running came up with around 4,000 lbs of food for the less fortunate. I think we did good.

It was a picture-perfect morning without a cloud in the sky. Temps were in the mid 30s at the start, but not a bit of wind. What a nice day to run.

Jack Wing, the voice of nearly every big race in Tulsa, and Dan Threlkeld handled the emcee duties. Dan was a popular fellow, delivering such good weather.

A whole gang of RW/TATUR peeps awaited the start of the run. Sandra's headband says it best. Burn a few calories early to offset that extra serving of turkey-and-dressing! Have the 2nd piece of pecan pie, you'll need another afternoon run.

Even Rock Star Ed bought into the calorie-pre-burn theory.

After the run, three of the running stores in Tulsa, including RunnersWorld, donated lots of give-aways and Dan drew and called numbers. It took quite a while to go through the stash of t-shirts, running socks, and water bottles.


After the morning run, my nephews John and Jeff and I went north through Bartlesville towards Pawhuska to Osage State Park to run the trails there. I had been there a couple of times a few years back, and remembered the trails being ok....not great, but worth an occasional trip. I was thinking you had to use your imagination to string 5 miles together. Either there are more trails there now, or I had missed some of them in my past trips. After looking at a crudely drawn map, we found a way to sting a loop together that used all the trails in the park, and still see a few cool sights along the way.We started with the cabin trail.Some of these trails are merely mowed swatches across a field....not my favorite kind of trails, but there was not a lot of this, and they were smooth and runnable.

Straightaway, eagle-eye John spied an, um, an eagle. Sorry for the pun. It was down this steep wash which featured a 10' drop down some wet slick rocks. Funny how the camera seldom picks up the steepness of an incline.Actually, what he saw was a vulture feeding on a dead hawk. Here, he holds up the remains of the big bird that was being eaten by another big bird.

A stream., Sand Creek I think, runs through the park area. part of the creek is muddy and ugly, but parts of it run through large boulders and has more the look of a mountain stream.

Across the stream was a large outcropping of limestone towering in places 100 feet or so. These bluffs seem to have a few caves, or at least small crevices. We debated crossing the stream but there was the matter of this sign.Oops. Well, you guessed it. The Five Man Electric Band said it best. Maybe I'll YouTube the video.There were several caves, but this was the biggest one we found. Most were big enough for industrious field mice, or timber rattlers during the summer.Any kind of good running pace was blown traipsing back and forth along these bluffs. But we were not thinking about anything but having fun.Recrossing the stream, John and Jeff tried to install some new stepping stones.

John takes a break after heaving large stones. (He still got his feet wet!)

A cool diversion from the trails. This stream has running water except in the very driest days of summer.Mussels anyone?

We did a little climbing on a trail that was well maintained, and then it got a little technical.Yes, the trail goes there.

There were several trail spurs leading back to the river highlighting bluffs like these.Of course, the boys had to climb down to a little shelf 30 feet below on the face of the bluffs.

After that, we left the river and headed towards the other end of the park/ We ran through some bottom land on a long loop that seemed to be cut and maintained by a John Deere.

If the sign says don't do it, John is gonna do it.

Another trailhead, and more climbing.
Further up the trail, we came to this natural amphitheater.

Nearing the top.

From the Lookout Tower.

Now the boys can never say I never let them drive.

Getting late in the day. I wonder if there are trails on the other side of this lake.

The sun rests on a tree limb before retiring for the night.

We found a mountain bike trail that was new to me. At 4:00, we started out down this twisty winding single track. I am guessing it is a loop since we came to a T-intersection about a 1/4 mile in. I looked at my watch and garmin and decided we would run out for 30 minutes and then if we did not loop back, we'd turn around and come back. We went a little over a mile, and the trail continually turned further and further away from the trailhead, so I made the decision to turn back. I have been out on new trails after dark without a light, and it's not fun....especially when the temperature drops like a rock when the sun goes down. I want to find out more about this newish bike trail. maybe it goes on for 10+ miles....would be a great run.

Now, it is 2:00 Friday morning. I still have had no turkey and dressing. Dana did bring me some potato casserole, sliced ham, and a sweet potato dish from work. YUM!

Hope everyone had a great turkey day. I loved mine,, even without turkey!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rt 66 Marathon

Sunday morning, I ran my 4th Rt 66 Marathon. It's my hometown race, and despite being on pavement with a lot of concrete, I have felt the draw to do it because of having so many friends doing it. The first year, I ran the race with my friend Diana Snyder who was getting in her first 26.2. The next year, I ran it at a moderate effort. last year, I ran it with Bobby and helped him get his first marathon medal.I run every Saturday morning with this group, and most Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well. Pardon the bad splice in the pic. My next camera will have a better panorama feature.
This was to be my 66th marathon, and frankly, I was thinking of running it hard....shooting for a 4:15 and if things went well, maybe better. The finisher's medals this year were awesome--a much better looking award than in years past. This clean crisp picture is courtesy of Brian Hoover and his $1,500 camera.

This marathon thing is really quite a disease. Bobby this day was running his 6th marathon in the past year, having run just 2 weeks ago in Athens Greece. Tom, having gotten into the 26.2 habit, is fresh off a San Antonio marathon finish from just LAST WEEK!

Two more crazies: New Marathon Maniacs Ronit and Sandra both did Athens 2 weeks ago, Rt 66 this day, and are doing Disney next month. It is a sickness.

I thought a long time about a caption for this picture. Here's proof that a democrat and a republican can get along.

Soon enough, it was time to line up and wait for the starting gun.My plan was to line up with the 4 hour pace group and ride the tide. It looks like I was right where I needed to be, but there was a iron fence between where I was and where I should have been. By the time I made it through, I was behind the 4:15 group. Turns out, that was probably where I needed to be, and for 14-16 miles, I cranked out my miles at a 9:30-10:00 minute/mile pace.

There was entertainment on the course in the form of song........and in the form of dance!

Eight miles into the race, and still going strong. Heading into downtown, and a few gentle hills.

Getting my kicks on Rt 66!

It's cool to have your own cheering section!

My half split was 2:07. Half way to that 4:15 finish, or so it seemed. The first half had several gradual hills, and a couple of short slightly steeper climbs. The 2nd half had almost zero elevation change. It was a long out and back, 7+ out, and then around 6 back to the finish. It was on Riverside Drive, with a view of the river, but heck....we run there all the time. If there had been a couple of hills or some turns through the neighborhoods, it would have broke the boredom up. My pace slowed partly from fatigue from maybe going out a little fast, partly from boredom, and partly from gradually getting dehydrated. Two or three different times, I stopped at a water table and got water that tasted like old dirty water hose. I pretty much quit drinking after mile 17. Looking back, I can say that mile 18 I began to drop way off my desired pace. At mile 20, I was taking short walk breaks every 1/4 mile or so. I just knew I could turn it up once I turned back north and headed to the finish. But it just didn't happen. Running south, I had a headwind keeping me cool, but heading north, the breeze was at my back, and I heated up. My walk breaks became more frequent, and the last 2 miles, I might have walked more than I ran. Still, the last 1/4 mile, I jogged it on in.(Above pic compliments of Brian again.)I finished in 4:50ish by the gun, and 4:48ish by the chip. Far from my PR, far from my goal, but I was ok with it. A finish under 5 hours on a day when things did not go as planned is still a good finish.

After the race, I found a nice shady piece of grass and a cold bottle of water, laid on my back, and chilled out for about 20 minutes. A day later, my quads and calves were more sore than I have ever experienced. Did I pound to hard early in the race? Did dehydration lead to more lactic acid buildup? Is pavement really the evil that I say it is? Yes, yes, and yes.

What's next? Less pavement, more trails. And a trail marathon in Arkansas in 10 days!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Instead of tapering....

It's the day before the Rt 66 Marathon. I have been a good runner this week, and have tapered. But the day was so nice today, and I was getting a little grumpy not being able to run, so I fell off the wagon and headed out the door for a few very easy miles on the trails. Dana was happy to go, and we took it easy. Took the camera along as always....and got a picture of us at the Oklahoma rock.It's so cool to have a natural rock shaped exactly like our state out on the trails. This got me to looking for other rocks shaped like states. Hmmm....It's unmistakable! Right here on Turkey Mountain was an exact replica of Arkansas!!

There are some New England states as well. Anyone could see this was Vermont!And with a bit more searching, I found the state of the New Hampshire.Hey, I was on a roll!! I hardly got to run another 100 yards, when I found none other than my favorite vacation spot, and home of my blogger friends Steve and Kathleen....COLORADO!!!Will miracles ever cease??? What an amazing find!!! Now this rock seems to portray the rocky mountain state as being a little flat, but I found an elevation profile right across the trail which shows some of the peaks (maybe Pikes Peak???)Sad to say, I did not see any more states until my run was almost at an end. But the final find was truly astonishing. Who in a million years would have ever imagined there would be an exact replica of Hawaii right here on the trails of Turkey Mountain? This was truly a sensational find!ALOHA!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Warmed up leftovers from the weekend

On our way home from Yellville, we stopped in Eureka Springs. It's an old town that dates back to the 1800s, set on a hillside and I do mean steep hills. There are several old quaint shoppes with antiques, arts and crafts stuff, very nice art and sculpture work, knick knack touristy junke, many bed and breakfasts, some nice restaurants, a coupla taffy-making and fudge shoppes.It's a good way to spend an afternoon.There are hundreds of Victorian style houses, many which look just the way they did 120 years ago. There are a lot of them that have become run-down, but most are well kept.Some are still residences, and a good number of them are Bed-and-Breakfasts or individual shoppes.
The Elm house, pictured below, is an old B&B where Dana and I stayed on out honeymoon 11 years ago.The Elm House is one of the oldest inns in this tourist town. The inn below is at least a hundred years newer, has the look of a 100 year old Victorian.
On most weekends, the streets of Eureka are jam-packed with tourists. This particular Sunday however, the morning blue skies had turned to gray and the winding streets and store fronts were scarcely populated.
The Basin Hotel still is one of the choicest of places to stay in Eureka Springs.Don't expect a hot tub in every room, keyless locks on the doors, or a chocolate on your pillow. But this inn has an eerie history to it, along with a few tales of visiting spirits from years past. It also boasts a ground level exit on every floor. I have checked this oddity out....and it's true.

Lots of hand carved art to be seen....It was hard to walk out of this store without buying this, but somehow I escaped.

Luv me sum Smartwools!!
After a trip through the Rowdy Beaver, we made our way back to the car.
Finally, after all the sights were seen, espresso was drank, fudge was eaten, and flowers were smelled, we headed home.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day two

Day Two of our trail running expedition took us to the ghost town of Rush.This abandoned mining community consisted of several 100 year old buildings, and just as many abandoned zinc mines. This area today is perhaps better known for the great trout fishing in the Buffalo River........ and to a lesser extent, the hiking trails we were about to explore.Either route involved quite a bit of climbing. We quickly scrambled up maybe 150-200 feet and ran across a trail halfway up the side of this mountain. There was a bit of a fog that had not quite lifted from the valley, and it was beautiful, but did not really photograph well.The first mile or so of the trail, beside being a steep climb, was also quite rocky in places.No complaints though....about the trail or the weather. The forecast had been rain, but we were treated to bright blue skies!Dana....on day two of testing her feet. Her PF/bone spur was behaving thus far.

Coupla cool tree shots:My guess is that the fall foliage would have been spectacular a couple of weeks ago.

We ran by several zinc mines."Do this, don't do that...can't you read the signs?"Not much of a way one could go inside. The openings here had steel bars keeping trail runners (and bears) out. Sorry for the blurry pic....I was reaching through a chain link fence to take the photo.

Indiana Jones ain't got nuttin on me. I can ride a mine shaft cart with the best of 'em.

Used to be able to have your horse shod here.

An old general store/post office. Or so they said.

Ran the gravel road on the way back to the car.Definitely a place we'll return to!