Monday, September 27, 2010

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.... a line borrowed from Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities", and then mutilated, and rendered so fitting to my run at FlatRock 50K this past Saturday. This year was to count as my 9th year. A finish--maybe even a good finish was on my radar, and I was almost cocky in attitude--not to say I was gonna own the course, but that it could not own me. A quick bible lesson: Proverbs 16:18 warns that "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

But before the gory details, let's have some fun. We arrived at the pre-race shindig around 5:30, and were in time for the usual pasta and meatballs. I am not a big pre-race pasta nut, but this is always a treat!!Just add a salad, store-bought rolls and butter, and yum! I even made a meatball sandwich for dessert!!
RD and great friend Eric Steele does a super job with this event. Somehow he makes going out on the toughest trails in the central states sound fun and enticing. He hoots and hollers, blows a train whistle, bangs on trash cans, and high-fives every finisher. It is one of trail-running's most fun finish lines. We visited with a few old friends, but I did not get many good pix because at the time, I thought I had forgot my new camera, and only had the iPhone for pictures and it was getting to dark for the pix to turn out. I later found my camera just where I put it in the end-pouch of my Sunmart bag. Some pre-race jitter-pix are in the post below this one if you haven't seen 'em.

Race day morning.
Eric and Dave Dinkel work to get everyone checked in. Dave is the heart and soul of this race, having ran the first 10 to earn the honor of being the first to be knighted into the FlatRock Hall of Pain--notice the cloth race bib. I aspire to earn one of those by running 10 consecutive FlatRock 50Ks--and number 9 was today!

Dana was working an aid station about 10 miles into the race, and had to be there EARLY-thank-you-very-much! Whereas I am always dragging in at the last minute, I actually had time to visit friends, and visit the wonderful out-house--they had built brand new toilet facilities, but it was still of the outhouse genre. Smelled rosy.

There was lots of catching up to do--friends you see only once a year.Earl (on the right) is a friend from Oklahoma. Earl was working the Oak Ridge aid station with Dana. Dennis (on the left) is another of the Knights of FlatRock. Dennis, after earning Knighthood, has continued to run every 50K offered on this rugged course, and is also one of 3 finishers of the 100K (click here for a long race report on it)ran here a few years ago.

More friends--some of the Oklahoma contingent: Jim Perry, Long Vu, and Richard Smith. On a good day, I can hang with Jim and Long, but not Richard.

There's sum TATURs. Janeen and Tammy were representing us well, and Chris was here this day for moral support.

Another runner of note: Paul Schoenlaub was here today to run his 10th FlatRock--which meant he would achieve Knighthood after completing his run!! 100K Paul also puts on a 100 miler that is on my list for possibly next year--the Ozark 100.

Eric does the roll call as the 42 brave 50Kers arrive at the starting line.

The race follows the road for a very short jaunt, and then crosses a ravine into the woods.And then the climbing began....(A delusional view from the back-of-the-pack.)

FlatRock has it's share of ups and downs. There are not any super long or super steep hills, but there are enough to wear on you. What makes FlatRock so hard is the relentless rocks. Rocks that are mobile. Rocks that like the taste of blood, that enjoy a good bite of knee flesh every now and then. With this course being an out and back, these carnivorous toothy craggy rocks always have a second chance to make their mark on you, as you will be more weary on the return trip and much easier prey.

An early descent through what I call "the Devil's Butt Crack."

Ah, the call of the bench...come, sit a while...enjoy the view...take a load off... (This is a much louder call on the way back.)

Much of the course is alongside limestone bluffs like this--sometimes at the bottom, sometimes at the top. Trip and fall a little to the right on the way back, and you'll have a 70 foot bungee jump minus the elastic cord.

Notice in the last few pics there were no runners in the frame? I noticed that too, and decided to put my camera away and run. I always start out slow in this one--no sense beating my brains out running up steep inclines when I need every last drop of gas in the tank for the last 4-5 miles of this race. But it was time to settle into a nice rhythm and make up some time. And I did just that for about a mile. I had Jim Perry in sight, and a group of 3 girls ahead of him around a ridge and through a dry water-crossing. I was looking forward to chatting with Jim when my left foot and gimpy ankle failed to negotiate fist-sized rock number 1,845. I nearly folded my ankle over, and hopped on my one good foot to a stop. Damn! I limped for a few steps, thinking I could walk it off, but it really hurt. But there was nothing to do but go on, and I figured it would let up and I would be able to get going again. I did run a little, and did not ask for help at aid station #1 at mile 4. Things got worse, and I had to watch where that foot landed EVERY STEP. Flat dirt was good. Flat rocks, not so good but better than slanted rocks and loose rocks. The going was slow, and it seemed faster to walk a steady pace than to run so slow. So, that was how it was for the next 7 miles. It was the worst of times.

Dana and Earl Blewett were at mile 10-ish, and I thought if I could just make it there, Dana could tape my ankle up and with some vitamin "I", things might turn out alright. Hindsight tells me I should have begged the aid stop 3 miles earlier for some tape, painkillers, and whiskey. Dana had ran out to meet me--somehow she had heard I had jacked my ankle up, and she paced me in about a half mile to Oak Ridge. There, she mummified my ankle and foot, fed, watered, and medicated me, and sent me packing. I did not know if I had a prayer to finish, and while there, called Eric to see what his ruling would be. The cell signal was so bad, I don't think he even knew who I was or what I wanted. But the good news was, I was able to walk pain-free. After climbing out of Oak Ridge, I tried to shuffle and things got better.

Math skills get fuzzy in an ultra. I think a good feature for a Garmin would be adding a pace calculator that was easily accessible to figure out the pace needed to meet a cut-off, or to catch a runner ahead. I knew I was in the hole, and making the cut-off at the turnaround would mean I would have to run four sub 10 minute miles--HAHAHA!!! So, I was thinking--would I be allowed any extra time? Would a finish past cut-off be acceptable to keep my finish streak alive? If I was pulled, would my quest for Knighthood be over? I was making myself sick thinking about it. I was greatly encouraged by Jim Perry, who I saw on his return trip. He was a good 3-4 miles ahead of me, and I told him of my plight. He told me that he heard that if I came in, I was going back out. WOW!! That put a spring in my step!! I ran faster (ok, just a little faster) all the way to the end. Running into the aid stop, they commented how I looked good--aid station workers are such wonderful liars!! There was a discussion as gto how I felt, and if I could possibly finish with my ankle. I felt great at the time, and Dana refilled my bottles (I was carrying 2 now) and my Nathan Pack. I had enough H2O to make it all the way back, or close to it. Dana was now in crew-babe mode, and she met me back at her aid stop at Oak Ridge.

I had actually made good time on the return so far. Finishing in the overall time limit seemed vaguely possible, but I needed to keep moving. I hit the next stop still moving fairly well, although some of the hills were getting steeper. (Hills do that in an out-and back--REALLY! They do!!) Dana leap-frogged to aid station #1, and allowed the guys there to pack up and go to the start/finish. (I should mention, besides being able to leap from one aid station to another in a single bound, she is an awesome short-order cook, a competent shrink, and cracks a pretty mean whip. Durn lucky to have 'er, I say!) By the time I made it there, I was pooped. I had been running well, but the heat of the afternoon was working on my head. Fortunately, a bank of clouds had moved overhead, and while it seemed to cool down a little, the humidity seemed to soar. The next 3 miles are the hardest on the course--partly because of fatigue, but the rocks-they be jagged, the climbs--they be steep. I did my best to shuffle/run, and when I walked, I tried to not walk in place. I had not fell on the trails in several months, but I fell twice during this section, yet there was so little forward momentum, the collision with the ground was of little matter. (No blood, no cigar.)

I was about a quarter mile from the end of the trail from hell, when I saw a couple of the aid-station #1 dudes coming to run me in. How nice. These young whipper-snappers coming out to help an old-timer make it home. (Actually, I was glad to see them and we ran nearly every step of the way to the finish.)

I finished in 11:04. That was way over the time limit, but Eric ruled it a finish. It seems a precedence was set a few years back where a runner vying for the 10 finishes had a finish time past the cutoff. He was not given an official time, but was given an official finish. Suffice to say, I am exceedingly grateful for the ruling, and I vow to run a very respectable time next year when I nail my 10th finish!!

Many thanks to the volunteers who work so hard to make this race what it is. The food before and after the race is spectacular. Warren just never disappoints!Special thanks to Chad, who always works the turnaround aid stop and went to bat for me, so to speak, believing that I could finish my race.

What's to say now--some 2 days after the event? I am wearing a Velcro brace around my ankle. Walking is pain free. I'll run maybe Thursday. I have a 100 to run next weekend and I think with a properly taped ankle. I'll be able to get it done.

Oh, and I almost left out a very important part of the story!! The Knighting of Paul!!
The illustrious King dawned his royal crown, and Paul, surnamed Sir Slam (for his amazing achievement of completing the Grand Slam and the Rocky Mounrain Slam) was knighted into the FlatRock Hall of Pain.Long live the Knights of FlatRock!! Long live the King!!! It was the best of times!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Night Before Race Day

I'm in Independence, KS--ready to run the FlatRock 50K for the 9th time.
 It's such a process to get ready for a race. Packing the stuff you need is nearly as important as the training. Imagine not packing your socks, or forgetting your lucky underware?!?!? I brought the entire lineup with me: from the Montrail line, 2007 Hardrocks, 2006 Vitesse, and 2010 AT Plus. I will start the Oboz Hardscrabbles with my Dean Ksrnazes insoles, and bring jn the Hardrocks from the bullpen at mile 22 is need be. There's s lot if trail running tricks I've picked up over the years. BlisterShield is a miracle powder I dump in my socks. At T&T 50K I did not even have a hot spot using it whereas I had major blister probs in my previous 2 ultras before o knew about it. Vespa (main ingredient is wasp extract) actually helps my body burn fat as fuel and you know I have plenty of that. Using Vespa, I recovered with zero aches and pains. Me thinks it works. My hybrid water bottle is a 22 oz insulated Camelback in a California Innovations sleeve. I will swap out iced down bottles every 10 miles and refill in between. SaltStick is the best electrolyte capsule I have used, and the sea salt is my emergency jump start if I get behind on my salt intake. Luv me sum Shot Bloks--Gummi Bears meet Gatorade. The 5 Hour gives me a boost. Does not make me run like the Flash but keeps me ahead of crawling moss and some of the slower snails. The jar of salve is Dana's secret recipe Sac-So-Soft. A SINGLE dip applied to the nether regions keeps the chafing away. (Not pictured Injinji Toe Socks, and nipple bandaids.) (Not pictured 50 billion TONS of ROCKS!!!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

I LOVE Shoes!!!

Anyone who knows me knows I am a major shoe nerd. I own probably 20 pairs of running shoes, most of which are trail shoes. My absolute favorites the past few years have been Montrail Hardrocks, pictured below.In 2007, Montrail was bought by Columbia and the Hardrock was "updated"....which meant cheapened and ruined!!!!! Instead of being a tank, four-wheel drive for your feet, it was merely a light duty unsupporting shoe that felt like a neutral road runner with a mildly aggressive tread. I wore one pair of the new ones one time, and sent them back for a refund. Thus began my quest for a replacement shoe.

There are a lot of halfway descent trail running shoes available. I have ran in Asics Trabucos, and I like them alright, but they seem a little too limber for my liking, and a few hundred miles on rugged trails sends them into an early retirement. I tried the Saucony Xodus, and they felt like they blew out after one 50K. Brooks Cascadias weren't too bad, but they did not seem to be bomb-proof like my beloveds. Vasque Velocities were ok, LaSportiva Imogenes were ok, but the only shoe that felt like an old friend when I put them on were the Hardrocks. My last pair have a few more miles left, but a hard 50K like I have this weekend could be the last major race I could do in them. I have scanned Ebay on a regular basis, and every once in a while, I find a pair of the old models which I would buy immediately. But it has been months since I have found a pair of pre-2008 Hardrocks in size 10.5.

Browsing for a replacement has seemed futile, until I found a message board that had many comments from trail runners who also were suffering from the cruel product shift of Columbia/Montrail. One poster who had "inside information" told of Montrail's recognition of the void in the trail shoe world, and how they were releasing a "replacement" for the Hardrock: the Montrail AT Plus. The picture of the shoe looked good, and and out of desperation for a shoe to take me through my racing season, I ordered a pair.I like the looks of the shoe. It felt supportive although the insole looked light-duty (not at all uncommon in running shoes.) I put a pair of Sole Dean Karnazes insoles in them, and wore them to a trade show where I stood around on concrete all day for a whole weekend. I've also had them out for a run, and am very impressed with them.

Funny how things are always "feast or famine". Long ago, I put a link to Wilderness Running Company on my blog. They sell shoes, trail running gear, and all kinds of neato stuff. Occasionally they send me an email which ends up in my spam file, although I like reading it. The latest email had info on an Oboz shoe--the Hardscrabble.Obozis a small company near Bozeman, Montana, and they have a few ex-Montrail peeps on their staff. The ad claimed they had created a shoe specifically to replace the old Hardrocks!!!!!!!! And for a mere $65.00, I could have a pair. I ordered these in a flash, and received them with FREE SHIPPING!!They are an environmentally-friendly company. They plant a tree for every pair of shoes sold. I bet I will help plant a few trees! These shoes felt like old friends when I put them on. I can't stop grinning!! I intend to run in them at FlatRock this weekend. And if I love them as much as I think I do, I'll buy 3 or 4 trees worth when I get back. It is so nice to be blessed with good shoes!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

While the day was young

While the day was young, I went for a run--just down the block past the old tree with the tire swing. Then I ran on for a day and another. The leaves of autumn jogged with me and the winter flew by. I got a second wind in the spring and decided to not go home but instead run right through July and the dog day hills of many summers. Two Christmas days I ran, then a few more...I lost count but I was running. I ran through rain, I ran over mountains. A few more years turned turned into a life, and in celebration, I sprinted down hills and across streams and dreams.

I ran by my old house yesterday and stopped to sit down for a rest. It was good to stop for a while and I tried to recall my life. I remembered trails calling out for me to explore the next turn, horizons inviting me to see the other side. I remember times that I was happy and running was always a part of that. My body creaked as I tried to get up from the old rocking chair, and I wished for a glass of lemonade or a friend to talk to. But there was only the rocking chair and a wooded trail a mile away--the choice was mine. So, before the day faded away, I went for a run.BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, September 13, 2010

Turkey and TATURs 50K--the whole story

A day later, I am processing my performance, such as it was, in the Turkey and Taturs 50K. It was a fun event, almost hot but not enough to make it unbearable. I finished--slower than I had hoped. Of course, there are reasons why I was so slow--the main reason is that I AM SLOW. I can deal with that. The day before, I marked trails from 7:00 am til 11:30ish, and had the help of a lot of great friends and volunteers.David and Catherine, Brian, Joye, Caroline, Mitch, Dave, and a few others that I cannot think of right now filled in with more pink ribbon, marked off intersections with caution tape, and put up signs with directional arrows.We pretty much had the course marking done by noon, which was amazing! Then I worked at a trade show--standing around on concrete for seven hours! I would have rather RAN for seven hours. Then, after having some Peach Wave, I strapped on my headlamp and headed back out on the trails to check course markings. I fixed 6 places where caution tap had been knocked down, and one place where someone had re-tied the caution tape to send the runners down a wrong trail. Hmmm.... I ended up getting about 2 hours sleep, and woke up at 5:00 to run. No amount of coffee was enough.

Lining up to run, I took a few pictures with my NEW Olympus camera. It is a lot like my old one, but with more mega-pixels and more settings. I don't know how to work them yet, and most of the pages in the manual are in other languages. It'll be a trial and error thing. I made many errors in my pre-race pics, and because I was drenched in sweat, a lot of my pix were foggy. Supposed to be water-proof....not sure why the lens seemed steamed up.Stormy seemed relaxed and ready to run. In the back, my friend
Eric Steele--RD for the FlatRock 50K joined us, and was all grins pre-race. I did see him later in the day, and he was still smiling. we both agree that FlatRock is harder that T&T, but they are close. Jason had his game face on. He seemed to be on a mission, and indeed ran a good race, finishing 7th.

My plan was to run at 80% for the first half and see how I felt for the second lap. I felt surprisingly good in the early miles, running the first couple of miles with Kathy, before she moved on out ahead--nothing new there. I ran with a couple of girls--Melissa and Elizabeth--for a while, but most of the day I ran alone.
We hit aid stations every 3 miles or so, although a couple of the aid stops were just unmanned water drops. I tanked up at every opportunity, and drained my 24 ounce bottle between every stop. Another thing--I had forgot my electrolytes, so I made sure to eat salted potatoes at the aid stops, and switched to half and half water/Gatorade on the second loop.All of the aid stations were good, but the Pink Flamingo stop was the most festive, with the tropical decor, and band of cheerleaders. The two above pics as well as the one below of Dana were taken by Susan, who won't mind (I hope) that I swiped them from her FaceBook page.

Dana ran the 25K, and at 7:00 am, just as the race was starting, her cell phone rang. Thinking it strange that someone would be calling her at 7:00 am on Sunday morning, she answered it. Someone was calling about our dogs--they had gotten out of the yard and were about 4 miles away from home! She had no choice but to leave the race just as the starting gun was fired to go rescue those dastardly labs. By the time she drove to get them, brought them home, locked them up in the back yard, and drove back to the race, an hour had passed. But she went ahead and ran, and the timers graciously allowed her to use her Garmin for her official time. The frustration of the last minute delay, and the fact that the last hour was in the mid 80s brought her time down to 5:12, far from the PR she wanted. But she finished--I would probably would have just bagged the race.

I finished my first lap in 4:10--too slow to make a run for a sub-8 hour. I quickly made a BBQ sandwich for the trail, and headed back out. Leaving on the second loop is hard, knowing all the food and 25K friends were already there. The last lap would be very lonely. Having something yummy to eat though, made the march back out more bearable. I did see a lot of 25Kers finishing up their race, and offered encouragement as I saw them. Usually, it's just "good job" or "looking good". But I was able to tell them exactly how far they had to go. (I had forgot my Garmin, but I know the course well enough to be pretty accurate on their mileage. A lot of times, telling them that they only have one more hill is better than hearing the distance left. I told a couple of the runners "just 10,000 more rocks" which brought a couple of growls.

The Westside YMCA is where the start/finish is, and this race makes a huge donation every year to them for letting us use their grounds. This is one of many signs they put out for trails on their grounds. When they say Granite, they mean wicked pointy rocks that pound on your feet!

I was in a funk from mile 17 to 21. It was getting warmer, and I was certain I was in last place, and was probably falling further behind the runners ahead. I had not seen anyone other than the aid station workers for quite a while. I stopped at the Pink Flamingo for a bit, and drank some coke. I probably should have eaten a little more, but I did take a 5-hour drink just after leaving.About 2 miles later, and on one of the harder sections of the trial, I started running a little better--not so much faster, but I ran with hardly walking at all for 2 miles over a hill that climbed most of the way. Then, when I hit the aid stop at the upper parking lot, Deon told me that John Hargrove (a 65 year old friend of mine whom I have raced with for years) was only about 20-25 minutes ahead. The next mile was mostly downhill, and I ran it a little harder and never walked. North 1.5ish miles, and back south 1.4ish miles, and then north 1 mile--I felt like I was back in the race. But still I had not caught John Hargrove. When I finally popped out on the Powerline trail, I saw him about a quarter mile ahead.This trail is very hilly, and all out in the sun. The downhills are dicey--lots of loose rocks. I had to be careful, as rolling my gimpy ankle again would not be a good thing. John is a fast walker, but my shuffle was catching him. I caught him just before the end of this section, and we rolled into the last aid stop together. Earlier at this stop, I had asked for some Coke, and they were out. Charlotte made a special trip to the store to get some Coke, so I had to have some. John also took some coke, but I wanted some ice in mine. Seeing my delay, John gulped his down and took off like a shot. I drank my coke, and poured the remaining ice in my water bottle and topped it off with Gatorade and headed down the final 2.5 miles. This section was mostly downhill, with only one significant climb. It was not near as technical as some of the other trails, and I moved along somewhere between a jog and a shuffle. After a whole mile, I finally caught John. I decided we'd just run it in together, and it was a good thing we stayed together, as John actually made a couple of wrong turns, and I got him back on course. (He would have found his way, since the course was practically overmarked with pink ribbon.)
When 9 hours passed, John seemed disheartened, and told me if I wanted to run it in to go ahead. The last mile is one of mine and Dana's regular training runs, and I decided to kick it up. WOW! I still had gas in the tank!! I ran what seemed like an 8 minute mile pace (which was probably only about a 12 minute mile pace!) Coming out of the woods, and onto the YMCA grounds, I saw someone ahead. I could not imagine it being someone in the race, but then I heard Brian on the megaphone calling Childress. He could not have seen me, but I ran in hard trying to look like something other than an old man shuffling. The runner ahead was my nephew Jeff, and somehow, I had almost caught up with him. I gritted my teeth and charged on to the end, and caught him just a few feet before the line. We crossed the line together. Jeff has not really been running much lately, and despite that, ran the 50K for his 3rd 50K finish. He paid dearly for it, with some gruesome blisters.

My feet? I have been using BlisterShield, and I had not a blister at all!!! I think this stuff is wonderful.

Finish line food stuff....I am glad I had snagged a BBQ sammie at the half way point, as it was all gone for us slow pokes. Dana did save some of Chuck's jambalaya and it hit the spot.
My friend Alan ran the 10K for the second year in a row, and I swiped this picture from his FaceBook page of the yummy BBQ that greeted the faster runners. BBQ beans courtesy of Dana.

My son Chuck ran his first 10K ever, and first trail race. Finished it in 1:02 and change, and had a great fun time doing it. Was good for 15th place overall, and 7th in his age group. Ten minute miles over those rocks and terrain is awesome.

Turns out, there was a lady behind me. Terri Hayes, a lady who drove from South Carolina to run our race, ran a steady pace, and was determined to finish the race. From where she was last reported to be seen, we were afraid she was gonna be an hour or so past the cut-off. However, she must have found a spark in the last section as she came running in just 50 minutes after I did.She puts on 5 different ultras in SC, and has a great website promoting them. Hmmm....I bet we find our way out there some day.

Brian offered free entry to next years race to people who would pull course markings. I think he had a few takers on that, and I am glad. That means I might not have to cover 15.5 miles in the next few days pulling ribbons and caution tape.

Finally, another ultra finished, another nice tech shirt, and some nice bling. Kind of keeps you coming back.

Friday, September 10, 2010


There are only a very few things that MAKE ME MAD, but I thought I'd share them here.

1. People who STEAL! I get upset when I hear of someone's house or car getting broke into. People work hard for their money and with times being like they are, getting ripped off is such a setback. I have had a cell phone stolen from my car a few years back, but other than that, I have been pretty lucky. Last weekend while out marking trails for the Turkey and TATURs race, I had an ice chest stashed over on the west side in a secret place on a abandoned bridge. It was iced down with several bottles of water and Gatorade. Upon getting there--it was gone. Now I know whoever ganked it knew it was not just abandoned, being all iced down and such. It was also pretty well hidden under a big pile of junk iron supports that some manufacturing plant over there "stored" on this forgotten bridge....that's another story. Some worthless redneck sort with overalls that probably have not seen the laundry in years found him a cooler to put his Keystone beer in while he watched the Nascar race. Now if he could just find another pack of Marlboros somewhere. Hope the idiot finds a bar of soap too.
TZ MAD METER on a scale of 1-10.......7!

2. People who MESS WITH MY RACE MARKINGS!! Wednesday night, I met some friends (Mitch, Mikey, and Arena) for an easy run in the rain.We ran the Ho-Chi trail (lower yellow for you newer trail runners) and along the way, we were tying a few ribbons to pre-mark the T&T course. About halfway down the yellow trail on the GROUND, we found a wad of ribbons that someone had PULLED DOWN from one of the other trails that Dana and I had tirelessly marked. GRRR!!!Later, we found another ribbon laying on the trail where we had not yet marked. My thoughts were of some idiots running or riding along the muddy sloshy trails thinking they were on Biggest Loser or Survivor and would risk getting voted of by the council if they didn't have enough flags......I was concerned that maybe hundreds of ribbons were vandalized. I sent my trail running peeps northward and checked out a few of the trails that were completely marked, and fortunately all was well. Last year at T&T, I took an early start--very early--to check the course markings. Sure enough, I found a section of trails where there were a lot of markings missing, and a crucial turn where the caution tape had been torn off. Fortunately, it was fixed before the elite runners got off course. This is majorly bad. At the Arkansas Traveller one year, someone removed course markings at a crucial intersection at MILE 98!!!!! Imagine the rage, and the heartbreak of the runners who after running 98 miles were led astray down a long long hill for a mile or more only to find out they were off course due to the devious crimes of someone who has crap for brains.
TZ MAD METER on a scale of 1-10.......8.5!!

3. People who LITTER AND DUMP TRASH!!! I hate seeing trash on the side of the road--even if it's on the way to a city dump. Not too keen on city dumps either. Why do people throw stuff out the window while driving. Heaven forbid they toss it on the floor of their car. Next time they hit the drive-thru at McDonald's, why not stop at the drive-by trash can and toss out their trash there!! The ill feelings are multiplied when people litter on the trails. Hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers should know better. I agree that sometimes a GU package might slip out of that little micro-pocket on your running shorts, and a AquaFina bottle might bounce out of your drink cage when going over rocky trails, but when someone throws away QT cups and snickers wrappers, cigarette packages, condom packages, etc. etc....that is completely unacceptable. If you are gonna be on my trails, keep your trash to yourselves. And pick up someone elses along the way to--it's good karma (unless of course, it's something just to unspeakably gross to touch.) But there are worse matters to discuss than that: people who take their pick-em-up trucks and back off into the woods and dump all the nasty crap that's been laying around in their nasty houses on our beautiful trails. On the west side of the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, there is a entrance--a dirt road that the natural gas company uses to do maintenance to their huge pipeline that runs through the wilderness area.People who have no regard for others and no regard for nature think they have found a free dumping ground. They are driving down this road just out of sight from 61st street and unload their trash.This, friends, is part of the Turkey and TATURs course. People from all over the United States of America who come to run our wonderful race will be treated to this sight....unless I we can manage to get it picked up, or maybe I can alter the course a little to bypass it which would involve cutting about 300 yards of new trail. How would these low life trash dumpers like it if I cleaned out my messy garage and dumped all the junk in their front yard, or along their street. If I ever find out who dumps thrash over there on our mountain--it will be bad for them.
TZ MAD METER on a scale of 1-10.......9.95!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


There's a new trail race in Oklahoma--the Do-Wacka-Do Trail Run in Erick Oklahoma featuring a 50K/25K/5M. Saturday September 25th is the day--just 2 weeks away! My friend Joel Everett is the race director, and has spent hours mapping and grooming this course in western Oklahoma. Joel has ran a boatload of trail runs in recent years, and has race directed a few races as well and knows how to put on a great event. There is a pre-race dinner Friday night at the Roger Miller Museum in Erick, hence the name Do-Wacka-Do (one of Roger Miller's songs.) I hear the museum is a cool place to visit, especially if you are of age to remember Roger Miller (which I am!) On the menu: Homemade Spaghetti, with salad, bread, and desert.

I always like to know a little about the terrain of a race before I commit to a road trip. What type of surface will I be running on? Are the views nice? Really--who wants to run somewhere where the scenery is drab?? Joel has shared a few pics, and I have shamelessly copied them here.All I have to say is....WOW!!

Looks like there's no skimping on the shirts either. You'll get a nice tech shirt for doing this race--black is back!(pssst! Joel! Who is the shirt model?)

Visit the website for more details.