Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Night running

I ran with Lisa, Arena, and Mitch out at the Boranical Gardens--not IN the park, but on the long hilly road to and from. We ran 1.5 out and then back. My Olympus, which has climbed out of a D- rating to a C- had an excused absence as the battery was dead. My bad.So no adorable pix of Lisa or Arena, and no Mitch pix either--but of course Mitch was on the News on Six for having been partially responsible for his companiy's raising of $3,500.00 worth of food for the needy. No, these pictures were taken with my iPhone with no flash.This is downtown Tulsa taken after passing the edge of Holmes Peak. I like salvaging a good capture when the cards are stacked against me. Oh, and the run was great. Not fast, but lotsa chatting and goofing around. With hills!Ok, here we are 6 weeks ago while we still had daylight savings time, and it was 50 degrees warmer. Winter is upon us now.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Running with the TOTs

Sunday morning, I ran with a few friends at Turkey Mountain. Um, make that about 75 friends! TATUR has kicked off it's trail running training group T-TOTs (TATURs Training on Trails.) Brian aka Head TATUR, or DIC-TATUR, would like to have everyone who runs experience running on dirt, and I agree. Of the 75 who came out at 7:30 am, many had never run off-road.
We divided into 4 groups--one f-f-fast group, one group who was nearly as fast, one slowish group, and a group of walkers. Do the math--each group had 15-20, and in fact, the slow runners whom I fell in with, had 35! That's a lot--I have ran in RACES with fewer runners. After a short .8mile loop, I suggested we split this army into a couple of more manageable groups. The ones who thought we were going a little slow went with Kirk, and those who were comfy or wanted to run a bit more cautiously went with me.
To get to most of the trails on Turkey Mountain, you have to get to the top of the hill. You can go the shortest way, which is also the steepest, or you can go the zombie way, which involves a lot of switchbacks and is a more gradual less steep route, and it gets you a few extra tenths, which is good for a mileage ho like me.
We waited for all of the group to catch up--did not want to lose anyone on their first trail-outing.
Then we ran the Bunny trail--about a half mile of sweet downhill single track. Where the Bunny runs into the Ridge trail (Upper Yellow), we headed back towards the parking lot. For the most part, we ran on the easier trails on Turkey, but we had a fair amount of rocks and roots--it IS Turkey Mountain.
At the parking lot, it was rumored Brian would be cooking pancakes. A quarter mile out, the trails is wide and smooth. Seems like everyone picked up the pace to finish up.
Derek looks like he has pancakes on his mind. Bobby ran sag, and made sure we didn't lose anyone. Thanks, Bobby!!
True to his word, Brian flipped griddle cakes and few a bunch of hungry runners--one flap jack at a time.

Later, Dana and I ran a few miles as well. I like running with a group, but running with my sweetie is the best!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Route 66 Marathon

It really should have been a bad idea to run a road marathon the week after running a road 100-especially one that beat my feet up so bad I could hardly walk around enough to pass for working. But strangely enough, by Thursday, I ran 3 miles on roads and felt greatly encouraged in the prospects of not wasting my 90 dollar entry fee and running the Rt 66 Marathon for the 5th straight year.Each year this race has gotten better. Every year, the course changes a little here and there. Some people might think that is a bad thing, and the cause of the changes may be bad. Some church somewhere has trouble getting into their parking lots, some business in Brookside thought all the added exposure was not worth being inconvenienced for a few hours early Sunday morning. Blah blah blah. But each year, the route has taken in more of the older parts of downtown
, and ran through more old historic neighborhoods, and has incorporated a few more hills. (TZ does not like flat races!) The medals have been average to brilliant--last years could have been a lethal weapon if flung across a crowd, and this years medal had the characteristics of a spinner hubcap. Cool stuff. Plus, this year, the race had an option to take a detour--an extra .3 of a mile to the Center of the Universe. This excursion, a short out-and-back, would be rewarded by a bonus "coin", and gave runners the distinction of running 26.5 miles. Some people might think this is "bad for the marathon". I say poo poo. I think it gives this race something again unique. Someone hell bent on running in as few minutes and seconds could skip this detour guilt free. Mileage ho's like myself, got a little bonus-mile action, and bling to go with it. The Center of he Universe is just north of the Williams Center--Williams Co was the major sponsor of this race. A bridge just north of the Williams skyscraper has a yin and yang sort of design in the brick work, and when standing in the circle, your voice has an echo. People outside the circle cannot hear the echo. It is strange, but things ARE strange in the Center of the Universe.

Well, back to the race.RunnersWorld-Tulsa's group, with whom I frequently run, as always had a city of runners trained and primed for the races. Many of these folks are my best friends, and had helped out immensely in my race last weekend. My plan was to run with Derek and Bobby--Derek because it was his first marathon, and he and Bobby were hanging out together. Derek and I had secretly talked about what pace Bobby would have to run to get a PR, considering the extra .3 detour. I was to keep an eye on the garmin and passively dictate the pace to keep that possibility in play. Turns out, we ran whatever was comfortable and always has a few seconds per mile cushion over that magic pace.The half, full, and relays all started at 7:30 am. There was a 5K that started later. The start was in 3 waves, and usually it seems the faster runners get to go first, with the decent runners next, and then folks like me. I was in the third wave, but some other slow peeps were in corral 2, and there were some speedsters back with me. Maybe this needs some refining, but it really caused no problems. It was reported on the news that 9,000 and I even heard 10,000 runners ran in this event. Looking at the preliminary results, there were 6,460 finishers total between the full, half, relays, and 5k. I guess there were over 2,500 DNFs???? Hmmm.... Maybe that will be cleared up in the next few days.Around 7:45, we got to amble down the chute to begin our run. I gave my Olympus to Dana, who was doing crew/cheerleader duties this November day. I had my phone and the camera on it, which does a so-so job. We did a loop down Cherry Street, down Utica (shades of the Tulsa Run), and then a loop west of Utica, a loop around Swan Lake, then we skirted around Utica Square, through Monte Casino's parking lot, back down Utica to Terwilligger and north to Woodward Park. Lots of great houses--mansions no less. A few more hills, down Woodward Boulevard to 31st Street, and then to Cincinnati and north to 21st Street and back by Veteran's Park. Eight miles down, and then we headed across the mighty Arkansas River and actually onto Rt 66 for a while.We made our way downtown and ran through the Brady District and on to the Blue dome district, a couple of very old areas in downtown Tulsa that is being revitalized with restaurants and loft apartments and such. Cool stuff.Dana met us around mile 10 with PBJs and Turkey Sammies, and a water bottle change for me. Then, my entourage--Derek, Bobby, Jason, and Kathy wound around and made our way to the .3 detour.Special coins awaited the first 400 who accepted the challenge of an additional .3 miles, and we were concerned that the coins would be gone--but to our surprise, there were plenty of coins left. So either there were a lot more than 400 coins, or there were few who dared to "man up" and go for the extra swag. I thought it was awesome that we got some extra booty!

After the downtown route, we were spilled onto Riverside Drive for six miles out, and five miles back. This is actually a beautiful part of Tulsa, but for those who do a lot of running there, it is kind of a downer. Out-of-town folks probably love it, but to me, it's 11 miles of concrete and it goes on and on and on. Add 30-40 mph gusts of headwind, and the next six miles were quite the struggle.A lot of my friends felt like their race took a sour turn at this point. Paces definitely slowed down, and even when the turn was made and the gusts were at our backs, the payoff was lacking. A tailwind does very little to keep you cool, and the temps were rising into the mid 70s by the time my posse made it to mile 21. But I don't mean to seem like I'm griping or making excuses--actually the weather could have been much worse. Bitter cold, warmer 80 degree weather--in November, you could have either.

At mile 22, Kathy asked us all how we felt. She asked Bobby if he thought he could PR. I don't think Bobby had even thought about it, but when he realized a PR was in reach, he reluctantly decided to go for it. I was a few steps behind when he took off, and when I caught up with Kathy and Derek, they told me Bobby was on a mission, and I decided to catch him and run him in. This was a good tactic for me, as my walking speed was slower than my friends, and my shuffle was slightly faster than what they were doing--I was not staying right in the group without either slowing or pushing. Derek was happy to jog it in with Kathy, and I shifted into the zombie-shuffle and caught Bobby in a few blocks. Bobby was running very well, considering he had signed up for this marathon on a whim. He is always trained, and runs several a year. Last month, he PRd inthe Mother Road marathon in Joplin, and he was on his way to another PR--this one, a 26.5 mile race. We ran 90% of the way in, only walking the water stops and a hundred feet or so 4 blocks before the finish line.We're almost there!!

Finish line pics are sorely lacking. Dana had taken a lot of pics while out and the battery was dead in the Olympus. (There was a charged battery in the case. :-P ) I was pretty tuckered out, and ambled over to a food tent and took a load off my feet. We finished in 5:48, a 3 minute PR for Bobby, and a good 30+ minutes faster than I thought I could do this a week after running 100 miles. After a rest, I felt fine, and we went to eat with the gang. Life is good--very good!The haul for the race--a nifty metal and a bonus coin! My bib number--109--is my number for as long as I want to run this race. I was the 9th person to sign up the first year, and I'm guaranteed that number forever. I like that!!I like the medal, although I rarely get giddy over medals--but I love the coin!!!

Finally, at the Mother Road 100 in the goody bag, we got several temporary tattoos. Since the tats worked for this race, I had Dana stick them on for me.Pretty sexy, huh? Then, so as not to waste the extra tattoos, she proceeded to put one on my lower back--my very own tramp stamp!!She didn't shave the area on my back good enough, and I wasn't crazy about having my back shaved anyway, so it is peeling off in this picture. I jokingly made mention of a 4th tattoo, and you can see a bit of it in the above pic. Here is a better shot of it.You can thank me--I carefully cropped it to keep this blog rated PG!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Spirit Live's On! (Bill Richardson's Race Report)

The Spirit Live's On!
by Bill Richardson on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 7:01am

First off let me say that this site is not very pretty but I'm working on that, just haven't had the time! The following is a race report about the Mother Road 100 #3 and my story; really over the last several generations. It's long but I've poured my soul into it! Also, I know there's grammatical errors......but it's me...it's my way of telling my story and relaying my insides to the outside. I also have some cuss words, if you’re offended….I don’t apologize…in these times of political correctness I’m writing from my soul. And if you stay to the end, I think you’ll see what I mean.

My grandpa Howell, my mom's dad, walked into this territory from the State of Kentucky in 1906 behind a covered wagon. He was just about 5 years old and I probably ran on some of the same soil he walked across during this race. I can’t even imagine what that was like, leaving your home and in a covered wagon nonetheless to come into an unknown part of this great country. If you draw a line from that area of Kentucky to where they settled in Oklahoma…I had to of criss-crossed a part of their wanderings. That played into my race a bunch during the night!

The race was the (MR) Mother Road 100 #3, named in honor, of course, the Mother Road 66. MR number 1 was run in 2006 from Arcadia, Oklahoma to Sapulpa, Oklahoma. MR number 2 was run from the State line west of Elk City to Fort Reno, just west of the OKC area. This race trio was dreamed up by some local boys from OKC, the same one’s who put on the OKC Memorial Marathon each year. Proud to call these guys my friends, if I start naming names I’ll leave someone out and I’ll be in trouble, so Thomas and Brett tell everyone else “thanks for the memories”!

This race was originally run in 1928, from Los Angeles, California to New York City, New York. A local boy, Andy Payne from Foyil, Oklahoma (where there is a statue in his honor, we ran by it in Foyil) was the eventual winner of the sum of $25,000……that’s 1928 $ value! He averaged about a 6 mph pace over 3000 miles in just about 3 months time! Went back home to Foyil, paid off his dad and mom’s mortgage, built them a new house, and married his childhood sweetheart! To say that his spirit wasn’t with all of us running this race would be foolhardy!

The MR #3 was the last segment of the 3 race series since 2006. The OKC boys say that this was the final one, no more, that’s it! Well I had run in MR #1 and due to hyponatremia, (that’s low blood sodium) passed out at about mile 83ish and just about saw the pearly gates! I woke up the next morning in my bed with little to no knowledge about what had happened to me the night before. Learned my lesson about sodium….thought so anyway! Signed up for MR #2 but due to family plans had to back out! In its place I tried the Arkansas Traveler 100; it’s a 100 mile trail race close to Conway, Arkansas. In that race, I lost so much weight that I really got sick, they wanted to take me to the emergency room in Conway but I wouldn’t let the race officials do it. I threw up for probably 12-14 hours and when I got home, I had lost in the neighborhood of 21 pounds. I was beginning to think I’d never be able to complete my life’s goal of reaching 100 miles in a footrace! Well fast forward to 2010 and the MR #3 race.

We started in Baxter Springs, Kansas at 9:00 a.m. on a beautiful Saturday morning, could not have been more perfect! My plan was to go with what my body told me, now I know what some of you are thinking, that it’s already told you that! Well I hadn’t reached that life’s goal just yet so the itching was still there, as well as 2 did not finishes (DNF’s) at my first two attempts. I came through the early checkpoints in a good time on the clock and when I hit the Afton station, I was out of water and quickly filled my two water bottles with what I thought was water, NOT! Turned out to be Heed, which I’ve never been able to drink…..makes me sick every time! But, I was now almost 1.5 miles out of Afton and turning around was not an option. So, it was onto the next aid station! 2 – 2.5 miles out of Afton it hit me; throwing up, headache, and diarrhea. I was in trouble and I still had around 15 miles before I reached the half-way point! To describe the next few miles would not be nice or polite but I think you get the picture. I lost an incredible amount of weight….now I weigh numerous times throughout the day….so when I say I lost weight…I know it! I didn’t have a belly…nothing! It wasn’t pooching out or anything and I knew if I came into the halfway point, (where the next weigh-in would be) I would be forced to drop out because of weight loss. You see, before the race they weigh each of us runners and we are warned at 6% loss, and dropped at 7%. I walked; I crawled, and somehow reached Vinita…the half-way spot at 8 hours and 5 minutes, on my watch. Just shortly before the aid station I called my wife and told her I’m dropping….I was so frustrated…I cannot describe my feelings without cussing…so I’m not gonna start! First thing I did was right before Vinita….it was dark….I drank all the water I had which was about 40 oz. then put on my night-time running clothes. They weighed about; I figure 3-5 pounds, and then found a check-in person to weigh in. The man I found, by chance was a doctor, Dr. Tom Coniglione. First thing he did, of course, was weigh me and check my vitals. He did not like what he found, asked if he could put some IV’s in me then started the process.

I, in my head, was losing it….I was on the verge of crying and felt like a complete failure, again! Excuse me……….but dammit, it wasn’t easy to hold it in when I had specifically trained for just this race for almost 10 months! I had found a trainer on January 1, 2010 and told her what my goal was and she pretty much kicked my butt into high gear. So, the problem wasn’t my legs this time….she saw to that one! Well anyway, Dr. Tom was finding folks to hold onto the IV drip because it was so cold that they had to force the drip out of the bag, putting pressure on the bag to do so. My veins, because of low weight and water levels were not even hardly visible….the doc and nurse, (who was Brian Hoover’s sister…my friend in the TATUR running club) apologized that it was taking so much effort. They’d stick me and the vein would move, finally doc held about a ½ inch segment of one they found on the right hand, and got it into the bloodstream. Now in my mind, I had dropped from the race……just hadn’t told anyone yet! Then it began to happen!

I went back to thinking about my grandpa and what he went through walking behind that covered wagon, and possibly through this very area. I thought about my own dad, (who was and is my hero, he went to be with the Lord in 1999) and what we had went through with losing our farms, our equipment, our livelihood, and our dreams in the late 1980’s. And Andy Payne came back into my mind…..now excuse me again, but I got pissed….I don’t mean just mad…I mean nobody and nuthin’ was gonna get in my way of realizing THIS dream this time! The damned banks, FHA, PCA, and government took our dreams away in 1987….it wasn’t happening again if I could help it!

Now the two bags of IV drips were beginning to take over, Doc told me I’d begin to feel like I had high octane gas in my engine….wow…did I ever! During this time they were feeding me chicken broth and bananas, I felt like I’d just had a fresh oil and lube-grease job-and a complete 97 point once over! I was actually glad that I hadn’t told anyone, but my wife that I was dropping from the race. So, as my old junior high wrestling coach used to tell me…shut up, get out there and get it done!

At about that time I saw Ken Childress coming through the station, asked if I could tag along and he was more than happy to have another person with him. You see, Ken is kinda like one of our TATUR groups ole wise men…( I figured hell I’ve tried this with my own way of thinkin’ and look where that’s gotten me, let someone else do the thinkin’, you just move your feet)! Luckily Ken’s wife Dana is an RN and that was another variable in this night’s equation I hadn’t even considered before the race. They had everything, and I mean everything….from nutrition to medicine to advice to friendship to helping me finish this goal! I really felt good, I didn’t hurt and we walked the hills ran the flats and enjoyed the moment together. I had called my wife Shonna just before I had left Vinita and told her we’re heading towards White Oak, the next water stop on our endeavor.

Shonna and Abigail, our youngest daughter found us at about mile marker 63ish. It was a very good feeling to have my family with me, but now the night began to get very cold. If we stopped for any length of time, I would begin to shake but I knew I had to eat….and keep moving. Shonna, Abby, Dana, Ken, and Ken’s pacers through the night kept me going. We made it into Chelsea and the warmth of a heated hotel room that served as the aid station. I never realized how hot chicken soup and saltines were really a delicacy! Doc had told me to take bananas, soup or broth, and salt…….but sip it slowly and take it easy putting it into my system. So I did! For the first time I actually began to think…maybe, just maybe I can finish this thing! All the time Dana kept saying to me, drink-drink-drink! So I did, and let me tell you I peed enough times that Ken started asking me…so just how many times do you think you’ve went tonight? I figure somewhere in the ballpark of 25-30 times I stopped, relieved myself then took off again! One time, in the morning hours after daylight the only spot was some evergreens in the middle of the 4-lane road by Claremore. I finished, and jumped out of the bushes only to see two guys in a pickup truck look at me like I was a homeless guy that was crazy! Well, they got one part right wrong anyway…….I do have a home….LOL…my humor! We pulled into the Foyil check point, which was 77.55 miles and my weight was just about 157! Yes, I had started to come back weight-wise and was feeling very good!

Within about 20-25 minutes we started out of the Foyil station and headed to Claremore. It was now getting light but the clouds were hanging on and I was having a hard time staying warm. Within about the next 1-2 miles, somewhere around mile 80 I figure….I started throwing up again. I got dizzy, started to think about the office pot! You see, I had made a bet with my folks at my company where I work that I’d make it this time…but they could bet against me if they wished! It went like this, if I dropped out between mile markers 1 – 50….that person with their name on that mileage line won the entire pot. If I dropped out between 50.01 – 99.99 then we’d split the pot. If, by luck, I finished the race….I won the entire pot! The only thing I was thinking about at this time was who the heck had written their name in on mile 81….I figured they’d put a hex on me! Well Ken gave me some rock salt and within a few minutes I felt better again. Off we go! We came into Claremore and went around the edge of the town, more nature breaks and now the ankles were shouting at me to stop!

At about mile 87ish Abigail began to pace me in…now I was in uncharted territory, had never ran this far before. But between Abby, Shonna, and the rest of the gang we kept plodding, and plodding, and etc. Finally came into Verdigris and stopped to get a hot coffee at a convenience store. With the sun now beginning to shine I felt better, but as any ultra runner knows…..things can change in an instant. It hadn’t yet, but at mile 97 I was wasted….I had given it everything I had and I didn’t have anymore to give. It’s funny how things happen for a reason….in life…..and this was no different. On the top of my thoughts was, mile 97…mile 97….that’s Austin Heltne…he’s gonna win half this pot! I thought, huh…half isn’t bad then I looked over at my Abigail and she was as fresh as a new born baby colt. So I thought about it again, if you don’t finish and if you really, really have any kind of a desire to not think of yourself as a loser…you’ll just, “get er’ done”! Then all the emotions of my family came flooding back into my mind. First was my grandpa, what would they of done if they broke an axle wheel on the wagon or someone got hurt along the way? They dealt with it; they did what they knew to do………complete the journey! It’s was and is the reason why I am on this road today running this race….they didn’t quit…..what on earth is so bad as to not be able to run just 3 more miles!

Let me say….3 miles…well……that was the hardest 3 miles I’ve done in my life! My muscles didn’t hurt but my bones did….hurt so bad that I’d decided then and there if I caused long range damage it was worth the effort of accomplishing this goal! Now, I’ve dropped out of races less than this because I didn’t want to hurt myself….but this was different. I began to think about Andy Payne and how many times he probably felt the same way, I thought about my dad fighting cancer……..and NOT one time did he complain! Not even when his little body had wasted down to 90ish pounds…..and for 3 long, agonizing, painful, hurtful months did he ever say anything negative! That had did it for me….if I broke something or dislocated something or caused long-range mental instability, (you guys at work can’t say anything) it was worth every doctor visit!

We came into the stadium at Catoosa and as we rounded the the 330 yards we did on the final track lap, Ken reached down and grabbed my hand. We had come 50 long and hard miles together…..and I be damned if we didn’t come across the finish line in unison! That’s how life is supposed to be, we think we’re meaner, stronger, tougher than we really are. But we’d never amount to anything if it wasn’t for God, family, and friends!

And, I saw Doc Coniglione at the finish line…he wanted a picture----with me! I forgot to mention that he had checked up on me at mile marker 87! Told me he had been looking for me throughout the morning and wanted to make sure I was alright. He was concerned and was very sincere in his action and word. Told me he was proud of me…….folks I’ve been married with a family for darned near 30 years now, but to have someone tell me the things he did I began to cry! I thought of all the earlier events in my life and then it hit me; I had just reached one of my life’s goals! I still haven’t come down yet!

I’d like to say a very sincere thank you to my family who I know prayed me through the night. For sure Shonna and Abby but also all the rest back home! Can’t say it enough, thank you guys……

And secondly, my friends Ken and Dana Childress, Tom Robinson, Deborah Gulley and her daughters, and the host of people that just were there for us runners through this endeavor. Thank you guys as well!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mother Road 100

Well, I have still not caught up on sleep, and in fact, tonight is not gonna get me out of the hole either, but I felt the urging to get some sort of write-up on the third running of the Mother Road 100 posted. Dana and I decided to not drive to Joplin Friday night, since it is a mere 90 minutes away, and we slept in our own comfy bed at home--got a whopping four hours sleep! We got up at 5:00 am, and drove to Baxter Springs Kansas for the 9:00 am start. Plenty of time, made a couple of stops for gas, peeing, eating and such. We were among the first of our group to arrive. Stormy and Brenna were also early birds.
Stormy was attempting his first 100 miler, having ran a 50 mile training run, and a hot and humid 50 miler during the summer as well as several sufficiently long runs--I felt he was ready. He ran a good race and ran a 23:10. Great job!!Roman and Caroline were giving 100 miles another shot, having worked out a things at Lean Horse back in August. Was today gonna be their day?

Roman had crew babes of his own! Candice and Susan crewed for Roman and Caroline all day and night and day. Caroline made it 100K before calling it a hard day due to blisters.

I guess I just don't run 100 milers unless Kathy runs too. To date, of the 14 100 milers I have ran in, she has ran or paced in all but two of them. We were both tied with 6 finishes apiece. A slip-up from one or the other could put one of us in the lead!!

We got in several group shots, and no more would the shutter snap when someone else would rush up who needed to be in the picture. My camera missed a couple of the re-dos--not pictured in our army are Charlotte and Randy. Randy ran a bigtime PR and Charlotte finished and i dont know any details of either right now. Dana was behind the camera.

After the National Anthem, a prayer, and the pledge of allegiance, the last seconds were counted off and the starting gun was fired. 200 or so runners took off down Military Avenue in Baxter Springs, Kansas following Andy Griffith in his squad car.

One of the things I liked a lot about this race was that whenever possible, it veered onto the original OLD Route 66. This kept us off a lot of the more heavily traveled and more modern sections, and at times, you could really feel the spirit of the old Mother Road.

Cold overcast skies did their best to threaten, but 40 degree weather is what runners really love. Could have been a lot worse, as the day before we had heavy rain!! This dead tree doing it's best to look scary against an ominous sky caught my eye, and also the camera lens of another runner in my proximity.

A mile later, the clouds began to break, and we had postcard pretty weather for the rest of the race.

Entering Commerce, Oklahoma, where a month ago, I ran the Mother Road marathon (put on by different people. This race had ran from Commerce to Joplin, Missouri--the other direction. It was a good preview of what this race had to offer, but it did not give me any sort of home field advantage or anything.

During the day, the skies got bluer, and the breezes were just enough to keep the sweat at bay. Most of the run we had a nice wide shoulder to run on. Most, but not all! A couple of sections after dark (for me anyway) had NO shoulder and lots of traffic including 18 wheelers that would blow you right off the edge of the road! But it was not as bad as you might think. (I do now wonder if sometime during the wee hours of the morning when I was sleepwalking, maybe one of those trucks ran over my feet??)

Downtown Commerce--home of Mickey mantle.

An old landmark gas station. I think it was still operational.

There was not a lot of crowd support along the way. Many of the runners had their own crews, and all would offer words of encouragement, ring cowbells, offer water or food. This race is unique in that regard. There were also canine and equine support. No biting dogs this time, fortunately.

Here's a stretch of the old road that was just like it was 80 some-odd years ago. The center section was paved, and had concrete curbs. I am thinking the gravel shoulders were added in later years as automobiles got wider. I did not know we would be running on course gravel, or I would have probably wore my trail shoes. I ended up with massive blisters and the last several miles were way painful.

After a few miles of gravel, we turned out onto pavement again. A majority of this years edition was on asphalt, which is marginally softer than concrete.

I love the sound of a distant train, and we had 'em all day and night, and day. This particular crossing had a train hold up runners behind me for a few minutes. As you can see by the long shadows, it was getting late in the afternoon. I was nearing Afton at mile 35. Here, I hit the first major aid station where I would be weighed. I actually don't think anyone was sweating enough to lose much body weight, but they have always used this procedure despite it being a winter race. The Thursday before, I had gotten a bug and was a little sick for 24 hours. I was nauseated, and had a bout of diarrhea but had recovered and all was well. But a mile before getting to Afton, I had a scare! I managed to make it to the aid station and I needed to GO! But, they wanted to weigh me. I was in a bit of a bind and asked the guy if I should weigh before or after using the bathroom, as it would most likely make a significant difference in my weight. He pondered that for a moment, and then quickly cleared way for me to get on the scales! Well, all was fine--I was good on my weight-only down a pound, and the bathroom stuff was all sound affects. I was good to run.
So thankful to have a wife who is willing to be out there for hours and hours helping me get these things done. Thank you babe!

I picked up my first pacer, my friend Arena. She wanted to run only 10 miles, since she is running the Rt 66 Marathon this Sunday. We had a great time chatting about life, running stuff, movies, food, her fiancee, our friends Jason and Lisa, and all kinds of stuff.

The sunset was not a disappointment. At times, the sky was ablaze, but few of the sunset shots turned out good. Arena ended up running a half marathon--13.1 miles. Another friend, Deborah along with her daughters Amanda and Jessica were my next three pacers. Amanda took over near Vinita and ran like a gazelle. My pace had settled into a 13 minute mile counting the bathroom stop and the aid stops--can't stop the clock just because you use the bathroom! But with Amanda, we shaved a few seconds off the overall.

At the Vinita aid station, I heard a familiar voice, and turned around to see my friend Bill Richardson. Bill is fast! He has tried his hand at a couple of hundred milers before, and both times, has gone out a little too fast and had electrolyte issues, and it sounded like it had happened again. He had gotten sick, dizzy, and had diarrhea himself.(HAHA! Got to say diarrhea twice in the same post! No, make that three times!) Bill had came into Vinita in bad shape, and the doctor there put him on an IV to rehydrate him. Bill expressed a strong desire to continue on and finish the race, and after a couple hours rehydrating and eating, they let him continue. Bill asked if he could run it in with me. I was ok with that, but obviously concerned that our paces were miles apart. I had pacers all the way to the finish, but I enjoy Bill and his company. So we were a team, and Dana and I made sure Bill ate and drank, and Bill kept the conversation going. He was a lot of help to me, and after my feet blistered up so bad, the dreaded thoughts of dropping entered my mind--but not wanting to disappoint my pacers and Bill, I put that nasty idea out of my mind!

Amanda ran just a little over 10 miles before passing the duties to her big sister Jessica. Jessica ran 4 miles or so, and she caught Bill and I up on what she has been doing on her mission trips. Sorry for no night time pics, but I handed the camera off to Dana at dark, as it does not take good night pix and I did not need to be jacking around with the settings. After Jessica got her four miles in, Deborah took over and ran around ten.

TATUR puts on an aid station in these Mother Road races--usually around mile 70-80. This year, at mile 78, they were an oasis in the night taking up shop in Foyil. They had a roaring camp fire, comfy chairs, belly dancers, warm soup, coffee, other drinks, and it would have been so easy to just stay the night. After 15-20 minutes (way too long, I know) we headed out. My feet were badly blistered. Maybe I was not drinking enough. I had used my Blister Shield, and maybe a reapplication would have been a good idea. Every step hurt. I could run slow about as easy as walking, and did a lot of both. Bill was so good to stay with me, and we had picked up my running buddy Race Horse Tom Robinson. The miles seemed to just crawl by. Eventually my second Garmin died, and every time someone would tell us how far it was to the finish, it would be way longer than we thought. Funny how it takes just a few minutes to drive the distance (and I do often drive this route in my work.)

Here we are running somewhere in Claremore. Bill's wife and daughter came out and helped with crewing late in the race. At this point, we were around 12 miles away. Three miles out from the finish, a barrage of friends came out to meet us and cheer us in. It was awesome. Finally about a half mile from the finish--from the football stadium in Catoosa, we decided to run it nonstop to the finish line. Might have started that run a little early, as I had very little gas in the tank! But we made it in, and Bill, although he could have dusted me at the finish line, hung with me right to the end. Very cool. Love you, Brother!In a small way, I helped Bill get his first finish, and in a big way, he kept me in the game. My pacers were also awesome. I am so blessed to have such good friends.
Tom ended up running right at 30 miles--maybe not the best idea for someone running a marathon next Sunday. (Of course I am a fine one to talk about tapering!) Tom, buddy, I owe ya!

Bill and I flashing our bling--very cool belt buckles! After that, I ambled over to the gymnasium to eat. Juicy burgers were on the menu, and were delicious!

A big thank you to Thomas Hill aka T2, and Bret Sholar aka Mav who did a superb job marking the course and organizing what was the best of the 3-race series. David Wood, also was all over the course helping out here and there. I know there are others who were vital to the race, and thanks to them too.

My friend Ken Saveth aka K2 was giving another 100 miler a go. He DNFd Mother Road 2, and DNFd again in Heartland last year. He wanted in the worst way to get in a finish, but his training for this race was really light. To make matters worse, he had been battling some soft tissue injuries behind his knee.
But with a LOT of heart and a LOT of determination, he finished this race around an hour after we did. I was amazed, and so proud of him.

And Roman, who had his first DNF at Lean Horse, managed to keep going, and he never quit. So many of our RunnersWorld friends came out and walked with him, and drove a few blocks ahead to cheer him in every step of the way. He had a small army with him for the last 6-7 miles!!

It was so awesome to see him get a finish!!!

Another friend Arnold Begay finished another 100--and his 3rd Mother Road. Finished it in 20 hours and change--not too shabby. Way to go!!!

My buddies Bobby and Susan also helped in crewing me when Dana was shuttling pacers. Thanks, guys!!

There were so many other people who helped here and there. TATUR was blessed with lots of volunteers. Dee and Aaron met me out on the course and lied to me telling me how good I looked. :-) They took pics and I can't wait to see em.

And so the count now is TZ-7 and Kathy-7. I had Dana text her last night to see if we could call a hundred mile truce. Kathy seemed responsive to that--but nah--that'll never happen!

Still, 100 milers beat me up!! I am still so wiped out! Here, I sit in Derek and Laurie's car, and I guess I crashed. They had some fun taking a bunch of less than flattering pictures of me. Hmmph!! This is the best of the best. I'll spare the usual blister pictures. I do have a gross video on my FaceBook page if you wanna see that kind of thing.