Monday, February 28, 2011

Post Oak Trail Race--aid station stuff, and just running around

Saturday, I hung out at the Post Oak Trail Run. Stormy and I worked the Holmes Peak aid station, and I also meandered around taking pictures and running a bit here and there with friends. This was the second year for this race put on by the Tulsa Running Club and is run on the property of the Post Oak Lodge and the Botanical Gardens northwest of Tulsa.There was an early start for the 50Kers who wanted a little more time. Then, the 25K and 50K started at 8:00 and the 10K started shortly after that. Thing Two and Trail Goat have their game faces on and are ready to mow all the geezers down. They were not mowing me down this day, as I was waiting for them at the 2nd aid station.Thanks to K2 for these first two pics.

The first of my friends through my aid stop (about 7K in) was Tom Dorothy. He was in 3rd or 4th I think at this point. He blazed right on through, and looked strong.

Next was Charlie Wilsey, and he stopped to chat for a bit. Charlie had a knee bothering him, but kept up the battle and finished the 50K.
Thing Two and Trail Goat did not stop for water, Gatorade, brownies, or Cheezits. That left more for me to eat, which I did.

Lyle looks strong the first time through. Mr. Marathon, a guy who runs a marathon every weekend, and usually does two and usually in two different states, was running his first real trail ultra. Suffice to say he was tired, but he still ran a respectable time both in the 50K and in the marathon the next day. Lyle is soon to be a 10 star maniac.

Mark, the dad to Thing Two and Trail Goat, takes a short walk break. Mark finished the 25K and doubled by running the quarter marathon the next day.

Miss Kate poses her super-model smile for a slobbering paparazzi.Actually, I bribed her with a brownie. Kate was another doubler, running 25K/half marathon.

My good friend K2.Ken tackled the 50K this day, running on a troublesome knee. Not the joint, but the soft tissue on the outside of the knee. He was at a decent pace the first time he hit our station, but had fallen back a lot by the second time through. More on K2 in a minute.

Next was Mitch and Arena. Stormy comes out to meet them.My dear friends Arena and Mitch were also doublers, running 25K and the half marathon.

It was a bit of an uphill to our aid station, and most of the mid packers walked the few hundred yards to our oasis.
And we were blessed with volunteers.

Another friend, Mike, ran the 10K in aqua shoes. These seem to have even less substance than VFFs or the NB101s. Not for my feet! Can't wait to run some more trails with you, Mike.

I had to snap a quick pic to catch Ashley. She floated through on her way to the 10K finish line.

Wilma was not too far behind, but was in a more relaxed pace. She seemed happy to be out there, and was reeling the finish line in at this point.

More good friends--Teresa and Paula. It's so awesome to see these girls out on the trails.

Here's an old trail dog. My friend Alan, had inquired as to whether or not we might have an adult malted hydration option. I had told him we did, and he enjoys his Boulevard Wheat Gatorade.

It slowed down quite a bit at our stop, and I calculated when the fast 50Kers might be back through our stop, and decided I could get in a little running. Stormy and I headed over to the Botanical Gardens aid station which was about a half mile away, but about 4 miles away by the course trails. We timed it about right, and got there just before a few TATURs rolled through.
Here comes Mitch and Arena, all smiles. Both of these dear friends have done their training--a lot of it right out on these trails. K2 was not to far behind, and we decided to run a 3 mile loop with them.
This loop took us through the northern part of the course, and even though it was late in the morning, the fog was showing no signs of lifting.

Mitch and Arena along with Stormy, pulled out ahead, and I hung back and chatted with K2.

We got back to the pond by the Botanical Garden headquarters, and K2 and I parted ways.

On the far side of the pond, I met randy Ellis, who was on his return trip, many miles ahead of where K2 was. Randy is just fast. He had just taken a fall and had bruised his hip. But that really didn't slow him down. He went on to a 5:39 50K finish and a 3:58 finish in the road marathon on Sunday. WOW!

By the time I made it back to our aid station, the boss was there. Johnny Spriggs, the RD was there, pitching in and helping out, and trying to find out where the later runners were and how they were doing.

After a while, Tom made his way back through on his return trip. He was ready for a beer, which I had brought. Watered and fueled, Tom seemed ready for his final 5 miles. I decided to run with Tom to the finish, which meant a trip up and over Holmes Peak.

They had cut a new trail for this race right up the back side of the hill. This was one of the steepest climbs on the course.

This is the highest point in 3 counties, and usually has a great view of downtown Tulsa--but not today.

A trio of runners flying down the other side. Would we catch them? No.

I just had to take this picture. Not sure what animal this used to be.

Tom knows he has it in the bag. This was his first double, and he pulled it off. What will he do next???

I did not run this race this year because of the run I have on tap next weekend. It was probably a good call to sit this one out, but I sure wanted to. I'll probably be on the starting line at Post Oak next year.

I ended up with 12.2 miles for the day--nothing fast, and with the 14 on Sunday, I had a marathon in 2 days. It is truly time to taper.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Invasion of the TOTs--Osage Hills Chapter

Sunday morning, the TOTs had another field trip/ road trip/ trail trip-- whatever ya wanna call it. We went north to Bartlesville, and then westward toward Pawhuska to the Osage Hills Sate Park to run the awesome trails in this secret getaway. About 22 trail runners made their trip, and as is usually the case, we split into groups based on pace. Stormy led the speedsters, I had the Supermediate group, and Catherine led the walkers. The folks at the park office were nice and friendly, as was this bear guarding the door.
We parked by the office, and found that the bathroom near there was closed for the season, but at a nearby campground, there was a bathroom open. Rather than driving over, we ambled over that way. We goofed around, took a few pics including this group shot. Brian gets credit for this picture since the ones taken by him with my camera made me look fat.Brian's new camera is amazing. He takes the pix in "raw" format. I'm not sure what that actually means, but he is more able to edit them, enhance them, and add special effects. Maybe, if I even need another camera, I'll look into that.
Russel ponders--should I stay with the walker group, or run with TZ's Supermediate group?

Here's a bunch of speedy trail runners. Shannon, Brenna, Tim, Amelia--they all run circles around me.

Ford came over from Bartlesville to run with us. This was his first trail run, and he hung well with the fast crowd. (And yes, he drives a Ford.)

Stormy and I go over the proposed route. Of course we could go any way, but I thought it best to find a route that took in all of the park trails and also hit all the scenic spots--there are several.

The speedy group took off with the Supermediates not far behind. But because of their blazing speed, the fasties ran right by one of the best destinations in the park--the Tower. This rock structure sits on the highest hill in the park, and affords a great view to the east. But, Stormy and crew made a second smaller loop after the 5 miler and visited the tower. In true gang fashion, they posed for this bad-a$$ pic.

And then our group arrived at the tower. Rob and Kate pose for a father/daughter shot.
Russel and Kathy, on the other hand, act out a sacrifice to appease the sun god. It didn't work, as it stayed cloudy and cool all day.

Osage Hills has a mix of all kinds of trails. You can run on smooth pine needle covered track, rocky craggy trails, big rocks, little rocks, sand, and just grass. This section featured scrub oak and hickory leaves lining the trails.

It WAS Sunday, and we stopped and had a short church service at the amphitheater.

Next, we stopped by the Osage Hills Autoplex. Kathy is in the market for a new vehicle and took this coup for a test ride.

The northern end of our loop brought us right over Lookout Lake. This lake gets it's name from the trail above where if you are not "looking out," you'll trip on one of the millions of rocks and fall down.

A little further around on our loop, we stopped at a rock formation that looked like it might have a cave. It did not, but we regrouped and took a few more pictures. Rob heads around the corner to make a....err....a phone call.

Kathy recently got new glasses, but they did not help here here. She blindly blew right by the Wrong Way sign.

Bridges. They don't build them like they used to. Bridges in Tulsa last maybe 10-15 years. Often, they have to be re-decked, or dismantled and rebuilt from scratch. This bridge has been here since the 30s, and is as strong as the day it was built.

Yes, there are some easy trails here. Here, you could actually take your eyes off the ground 10 feet ahead without worrying about tripping.

Quite possibly the best part of the trip was visiting Sand Creek Falls. This creek--really a river--cascades over a rock shelf and several huge boulders. When the water is a little lower, it is breath-takingly beautiful. The water is not always this muddy, but with the recent snow melt-off and the couple of days of rain, quite a bit of water was roaring through.

Brian disguises a pee break by acting like he's taking pictures.
The sound of running water does a number on me--I needed a pee break! I think Brian knew that (this is his from his camera) and I did not give him the chance to snap that pic.

A swim, anyone? I could have plowed the crowd and took them ALL in, but I restrained myself.

A last look at the falls, and then we moved on.

This is a little further west. Here, the river is some 30 feet below, and we're atop some huge bluffs. Might be a good diving place, but no one was willing to test that out.

We're nearing the end of our run. There is a long out-and-back with a lollypop loop that is a well maintained grassy wide trail. Looks like maybe they just mowed a swatch, and it became a trail, but I like it a lot. You can make up some time here as it's flat and rockless.

My usual tree against the sky shot. You've seen this one a lot. No sunset pics today.

Our group met the speedy group, and we swapped stories and lied about our distances--I think it's a given that they ran a LOT further than we did. I like it that way. We had more fun goofing around along the way.

We met at Murphy's in Bartlesville for what was supposed to be breakfast. I had called to make sure they were open on Sundays and IF they served breakfast. I was told they served breakfast all day, but when we saw the menu, there was hardly a breakfast menu at all. They did have eggs, and ham, and could make some toast. Hmmm.... But they do have one thing they are famous for--the Hot Hamburger.This is an open-faced burger on toast, topped with a generous helping of hand cut fries, and smothered with brown gravy. YUM!!!!

Brenna has a castrophe. For whatever reason, her ketchup bottle exploded. Ameliam was quick withh the camera, and took several pictures. Good blogging material.

Then, she turned and snapped the snapper. It was a war of the papparazzi.

We had an awesome trip--maybe the best field triup so far, in my opinion. Our next planned trip is to Greenleaf in 4 weeks.

Just a note--I have had a busy weekend. Look for a post that coveres the adventures Stormy and I had after breakfast. We made a return trip to the trails and found some wild stuff.

Also, on Wednesday, I'll post my Post Oak Trail Run report. I did not run, but worked an aid station. (Oh, I did run actuially quite a bit, jumping in and unofficially pacing a couple of friends. Check back tomorrow and Wednesday for these write-ups.