Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Double helping of Turkey

Sunday morning, I rolled out of bed and found my way to the Turkey Mountain parking lot to run with the TOTs. It was a slightly smaller crowd, due to it being a holiday weekend, but we still ended up running 4 groups. My group had 7 runners, and we ran at an easy zombie pace. We did crash through Cat's Corgi-guided group, and had a couple of defectors join us from her contingent.The Oklahoma Rock, a national treasure. From left to right-- Jessica, Linda, Tim, Matt, Russell, and Mitch.

It was a nice morning for a run--a little warm and a little humid. The sweat glands were in top form.

A quarter mile from the end of our run, I unknowingly ran right over this trail slitherer. The second runner behind me also made it over unaware. The third yelled SNAKE, and then the whole train screeched to a halt. The copperhead was not a grumpy snake and was happy to slither off the trail and into the thicket. Not sure if we I had crunched my OBOZ size 10.5s on it's body if it would have been as docile.

Monday morning, Dana and I ran north on the bunny and yellow trail, and then took some pink and headed up Jelly Legs to Rock City. From there, we took the Snake Trail back around counter-clockwise. This was through the burn area, and you almost cannot tell it had ever burned. Everything is so green!! The leaves on the trees might have been hindered somewhat by the fire, but all is looking great.

Dana and I have had less than stellar runs, but yesterday and today, I thoroughly enjoyed my outings. They were neither fast or long, but the enjoyment factor was high.

Luv me some smooth single-track.

Well, the long weekend is over. This next Friday, we'll head to Arkansas and probably stay in Eureka Springs. Saturday morning, we'll run the Tail Twister. I plan on 50K, which will be a real test. Dana plans on either the 25K or the 8.5 miler. Should be fun.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Welcome to the world, Corbin!!

This past weekend has been jam-packed. After the Joplin trip, I was at St Francis Hospital for a few hours welcoming my newest grandson Corbin Bruce into the world. This makes 3. Makenna was the first grand baby (she is baby Corbin's big sister) and Beckett (from my oldest son Kenny and his wife Lynnsey).It's a happy day for Jason and Jessie. We are all ready for the new arrival.
This is the look of a proud grandma. Just after this pic, they rolled Jessie away and we went to the waiting room. I had several crossword puzzles, and did not even have time to finish the first one before they called us to see Corbin. (It was a C-section delivery.)
Jason attends to things as if he were the assigned RN. He's a proud Daddy.
Big sister Makenna looks on, taking everything in.
Makenna turned to ask Dana "What's that thing on his bottom??" Dana grinned and ignored the question, but Makenna persisted. "Grammy, what's that thing--there on his bottom?" Dana conservatively explained that Corbin was a boy and that's what makes him a boy. Makenna advised, "Well, they need to take that thing off his bottom." This story has been told and retold and will be for years to come.
I got my baby holding time. He fits nicely across my arm. A day later, it seemed to me he had gained weight. He's a healthy little guy.
Two days later, the family is home and things will get back to normal. We had dinner with J & J Sunday night, and Corbin never made a peep. He'll be sleeping all night soon, and then walking, talking, and running (maybe on trailz?).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Joplin Delivery

I had posted last week about how I felt about the tornado victims in Joplin--how I ached for them, and wanted to help but did not know how. Funny, the people I work with mentioned on their Facebook page taking this huge box truck full of relief supplies to the area--if we could get it filled.We decided we wanted to make the push and collect what we could. Jeff and his wife Sarah reached out to their friends, and I reached out to mine. I got RunnersWorld in the loop, and with the help of Brian and Kathy and some FaceBook blitzes, we accumulated lots and lots of needed supplies.We had lots of pet food, big plastic containers, trash bags, lawn chairs, first aid stuff, cleaning supplies, new and used clothes, towels, bedding, sleeping bags, and of course, running shoes. I want to thank Brian and Misti Stanton, Ken Saveth and Know No Boundries, and Mike and Diane Snyder for very generous cash donations. With this cash, Dana and I in turn stimulated WalMart's economy buying two very full shopping carts full of more stuff. Diana's daughter-in-law Darla brought by several bags of food stuff. Another friend of mine--Jennifer Bailey, a rep for a distributer we do business with--brought by 4 huge RubberMaid tubs full of new baby clothes, cleaning stuff, toiletries, flashlights and batteries, and I don't know what all. I do know I almost got a hernia hoisting them into the truck. So many other people helped by bringing prepaid cell phones, brooms, shovels, and pre-packaged food. My running buddy Mitch Drummond brought his Jeep LOADED with lots more relief items he had collected from his work. Jeff, Sarah, and I were amazed.

Below are several pictures posted in the order they were taken. I took around 70 pics, and each one of them leaves me dumbstruck. It is sickening to view them, but I still feel the need to post them. It was no thrill to see this area, but was very humbling. It is far worse than a picture can convey.The edge of the the tornado path left extensive damage to the houses and trees. Some of these houses can be rebuilt, but down the block a few houses, the damage to the homes left them unsalvagable.
Jeff and I stopped to see a friend in the storm path whose house was totalled. The exterior walls were standing, but leaning in places. Bits and pieces of the roof were gone.
Their back patio door was exploded into the back yard.
A view out their back door. I asked Al, who was home during the massacre, how long the tornado pounded on his house. He said it felt like an hour, but was actually at least 15 minutes. They were so fortunate the walls stayed up. Thier lives were spared, unlike so many others in the nearby area.
Two houses further north and beyond. Devastation was an understatement.
The path of the storm was at least a mile wide, and it left a 6-8 mile long gouge out of the life of Joplin.
During a storm, without a storm cellar or safe room, the best place is in an interior bathroom in the tub, or in an interior closet or hallway. But when the house is completly flattened, or a car is slammed through the house at 200 mph, you are helpless. It is by the grace of God that anyone survived in these houses here.
Obviously, a car is not a good place to be in a storm like this. You cannot outrun a mile wide EF5 tornado.

In the midst of such obliteration, this house withstood the storm.
In finding the best place to deliver our relief supplies, we were directed across town to the VFW. This meant we had to travel from south to north on business &!, where the mall, WalMart, and Home Depot were destroyed as well as many restaurants, gas stations, and motels. This area may never look the same.
The folks at the VFW were a little overwhelmed by the mass amounts of donations, but they had the manpower to receive it and get it organized.
Several tables were used in the main hall to display the different clothing and food items.

This disaster has tugged at the heart of many people, and the donations are flowing. Through this calamity, Joplin is being helped.

But it will take months and months of continued help to overcome this disaster. Keep an open ear and an open heart to the further needs of Joplin. Besides the obvious food and clothing, they will need the physical help of many to restore the remains of their city. The Boomtown Half Marathon nthat was to take place in Joplin an a few weeks is obviously cancelled, and a movement is underway to head to the area anyway and donate a day of clean-up work. As I hear of more details about this, I'll post it here.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I was all set to write a blog post about our run at Pumpkin Holler with pix and tales of all the fun we had. But I just cannot get myself to post of such frivolous endeavors when our neighbors in Joplin are devastated.

While we were on our way home from our all-day run, Joplin, Missouri (as well as a couple of Oklahoma communities) were flattened by a huge (possibly an F5) tornado. From the pictures (these two borrowed from Google), it looked like a huge lawn mower had ran over the town. It is reported that a half mile wide swatch 6 miles long was demolished.The latest death count just in Joplin is 116 lives lost--as of 3:30 pm Monday. I have always been fascinated by the weather--storm clouds, thunder and lightning, and yes--tornadoes. But this beast of a storm was intent on taking lives. The lives lost combined with the lives persecuted is enormous, and sad. I sit here wondering what I can do. Pray? Well of course. But how can I help?

Visiting Pumpkin Holler

Visiting Pumpkin Holler

Early Sunday morning, a combined group of T-TOTs and the Midnight Madness training group caravanned to Pumpkin Holler for a run. Some intended to run the whole loop, while some were out for 4-6 miles.Stormy and I had decided the best plan was to not run from the starting point of the race but rather we would take everyone to the Nickel Preserve.Those wanting to run a short distance had the choice of running a couple of loops on actual trailz, or taking the road that bisected the preserve. Those wanting to go longer could do the bisecting road (big hills) or do an out-and-back on the actual course. Those wanting 18-20 miles could do the course and cut back at the halfway point on the bisecting road, and those wanting 27-31 could do the whole big loop.
We all headed out around 9:00 am.There were 10 of us going long. Brian and Susan chose a shorter out-and-back. Russell took the sag wagon in at some point during the run. Travis, Michael, Cassy, Cheryl, and Kirk went the full loop, omitting the out-and-backs that will be in place for the race. Mitch and I sagged in at the 19 mile point. I was impressed with Cheryl, who ran her longest run to date. Her and Cassy trotted in like they had just finished a Saturday morning 6 miler. Kirk also finished strong and seems to be tougher each time he runs. Travis and Michael--well you are already tough. Good job, you guys.
My run started out at a very sluggish pace. I was running like I had ran a marathon the day before--and that was about half right.
The group pulled ahead........and after a bathroom break, they were out of sight.

I almost forgot--Mitch and Susan were behind me. I DID have someone to run with!! :-)

Susan spotted this cute little snake. He seemed a friendly sort.Susan captured the little guy sticking his tongue out. Nice.

We met Brian on his way back, and Susan joined him and they assumed sag duties in Mitch's Jeep.

This cemetery will be a little eerie during the night for the 100 K-ers and 100 milers.

Bathtub Rocks is one of the highlights of the route. I really thought this would be impossible to get through with dry feet, but with careful selection of where each foot should land, dry tootsies were indeed possible.

Before the summer is up, my feet will soak in the healing pools of Pumpkin Holler's Bathtub Rocks.

The course was so green--what with the abundance of rain of late.
There will be lots of crowd support along the way.These horses have always come to the fence to visit us--every time we have passed through. Notice the debris on the barb wire strands. That is how high the flood water was a few weeks back.

This section of the course was about mile 16 for Mitch and I. It will be early in the race in October, since we start at Eagle Bluff instead of the nature preserve headquarters.I was surprised to find that you can see the Illinois River so much during the race. The river was still high, and I thought it was only visible in three locations, but you can actually see it in 5-6 sections of the course. It will be a visual treat for the Pumpkin Holler runners.
For more pictures from Brian's collection (with his high dollar camera)