Tuesday, June 28, 2011

midweek runs

Tuesday nights are becoming my favorite night to run. The TOTs, in the past month, have started a weeknight run on Turkey Mountain, and folks have been coming out in droves. Tonight, we had over 70 runners--some fast, some faster, some pokie runners like me, and a few walkers as well.I've made a few new friends, and am trying to sharpen my name remembering skills. Tim is one such new friend. He ran with us last Tuesday night, and was back for 4.5 miles on a huge loop that took us to the Westside Y and back.
Brian and Stormy were there tonight--which meant I did not have to give instructions. Brian's booming voice needs no megaphone!
My group had 23 this week. Last week, the number was over 30. We stop at most of the major intersections to let everyone catch up. (It gives me a moment to catch my breath, and get a couple of pictures in.)
Around halfway through our run, we stopped for a group pic. Brian took the pic and instead of saying "Say CHEESE,", he blurted out something about "grabbing Ken's butt!" The effect varied from a snicker to a look of nausea. Maybe saying "cheese" would have been better. Leading these runs gets me 4-5 miles that seem so easy. Visiting with friends while running trailz is as good as it gets.

Monday, June 27, 2011

taking it to the next level

I have really gotten into videos lately. For a long time, I have wanted to make a video of me running--you know, one where I jump over rocks and run over rugged terrain. After several tries, I saw that I really needed a stunt double. I could demonstrate to him what I wanted, and could get into more of a directing role, and my stand in could emulate my running moves. Besides being a spitting image of me, my stunt double does a great job. (This stand-in double is Superstar Hans VanBorgschleg. I hope to get his video up to 2,000 views.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A great commercial

You GOTTA watch this. I love the wild boar. The song is great!! (Don't Give Up, by the Noisettes) 
I'd buy the shoe just because of the commercial.

Sunday morning trailz

This morning, despite some syrupy humidity and light-toast heat, a smaller than usual crowd met at Turkey Mountain to run trailz. After dividing into the usual groups, we tool out for a hop-fest over roots and rocks.My gang of hearty trail trompers. I knocked down the spider webs as we did a red loop, and headed down the lower (lo-chi) trail. I managed to duck under a fallen tree, but Edward behind me should ducked just a little lower.
He was careful to not wipe the blood off before I got a pic. And actually, he wore his bloodstream for the rest of the run. I offered to super-glue it back together--it could have used a stick or a butterfly bandage.
We climbed the BIG hill at the end of the trail. By my calculations, this is the 2nd worse climb on Turkey Mountain.
 We ended up with 4 miles in about an hour although my Garmin was set on auto-pause from the other day when I biked.

Speaking of biking, Dana and I are heading out for 15-20 in the saddle here in a bit. Then, I may take my mountain bike to the east trailz on Turkey. Somewhere in there, the back yard needs to get cut and bailed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

2 pix

I just barely made it out of Boston Deli to catch this spectacular Oklahoma sunset. A couple of minutes earlier--before I got to a high point above the trees, there were spokes of rays, and it was too amazing to even seem real.This shot was pretty good though.

Turning just to the south, I was impressed by the light off of this building. The pic turned out a little blurry and was disappointing.So I doctored it up, and while it was far from how it actually looked, I like it a lot. It reminds me of my life--sometimes I don't like it, but by redirecting my focus, all seems well again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's a TOT?

I mention running with the TOTs. Most readers know--I think--what a TOT is, but I'll explain for those who don't. Our trail running club TATUR (Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners) has group runs on Sunday mornings and Tuesday nights. Originally, we called the training group the TATUR TOTs, with TOTs standing for Training On Trails. The name was shortened to T-TOTs, and finally just TOTs.We started out small but the numbers have grown and the Sunday crowd has had 70-75 runners at times. We break up into sub-groups--walkers, the super fast group, and the relaxed pace runners (the best crowd to run with!!) I lead this contingent, and we lope along, waiting at the top of a hill, or at a major intersection to make sure we have everybody. Our pace is one where you can chat and actually take in the sights along the way. I think it's fun going at a pace that does not wipe you out. Evidently it's fun enough that we are pushing 75 runners on Tuesday evenings too.My Sunday Supermediates stop for a photo-op by the washing machine. (I know, it's really a dryer, but it is more commonly referred to as the Washing machine.)
Occasionally someone stubs a toe and bites the dirt. Not much damage done here, but this WAS a first fall.
Sunday morning, Kelly took a tumble not once but twice. Dirt AND blood. Impressive!!
Our Tuesday run is winding down. We stopped for a short breather and a pic before we hit the final half mile to our cars.

Join us!! Sunday at 7:30 am, and Tuesdays at 6:30 PM.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I have been in sort of a funk lately with my running. I'll have an occasional evening run where I feel strong and actually like I belong out there running, but most times, I feel like a slacker, slugging along at a worthless pace. I have been cutting long runs short, staying in bed on mornings when I promised myself I would get up early and run. The only time I am up early to run is Saturday and Sunday, when I am leading a group with the TOTs or helping with RW. Those mornings, I have a little motivation to get out the door, and therein lies a possible remedy to my stagnation. I need a race to put on my calendar to point towards. Right now, I just don't feel driven--like I'm "training" for something. Last year, I went to Kettle Moraine in June and Lean Horse in August. Both of those were DNFs, and while I was disappointed with the result, I was not super disappointed with my effort. This summer, my race schedule is non-existent. I have a 50K cut to 25K at Tail Twister and two shortened long runs (both were decent but abbreviated.) The Midnight Madness 50 Miler is a possibility if I decide to tackle it again.

I pulled up my Google calendar (turned into a race calendar) and counted 13 weeks until the Flat Rock 50K. HAH! Here is my goal race. This race is a big deal to me. It was my 1st ultra, and that year, I witnessed three ultra runners being knighted into the Flat Rock Hall of Pain. This honor is bestowed upon any runner completing 10 consecutive 50Ks on these rocky technical trailz along the Elk City Resevoir in Independence, KS. This September will be my 10th completion. My PR for the course is 7:53 in my first endeavor. I was a light and fit 155 pounder then, but I have gradually filled out and got older and slower. Last year, I barely finished due in part to a sprained ankle. I would love to nail the race this year, and PR for the course in my 10th attempt. Lofty goals, I know. But I NEED lofty goals. I also would like to finish with a few vapors left in the tank, as opposed to my usual post-race rigor-mortis, as pictured below.

Check out the video of the Flat Rock 50K. I looked closely but my presense in this film evidently is laying on the editing room floor.

As a side note, I would LOVE it if as many of my friends as possible would come to Flat Rock this year. The knighting ceremony is a hoot, something not to be missed. These are beautiful (but hard) trailz, and it is one of my top three favorite races. It is on the same day as the Warrior Dash, an event of which I am not really a fan. The same race entry spent on Flat Rock will yield many more hours of delightful trailz, great fellowship, and some of the best pre-race and post race food ever.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tots, Faces in the Rocks, Bike Rides, and other misc stuff.

Every now and then, the TOTs plan a trip somewhere other than Turkey Mountain. Sunday was one of those occasions and we met at Chandler Park to run some of the semi-undiscovered trailz in the westlands. I almost overslept, waking up at 7:04. Thankfully, I am a quick throw-on-the-clothes guy, and the only thing I forgot was my ankle brace(s). As I was heading out, there was a light rain falling and distant thunder--a bad sign for Chandler Park running. Some of the worst mud on the planet can be found in this six square mile area. Red mud, clay, epoxy mud, and quicksand. A small group made the trip. This weekend Tulsa Tough was going on, and a lot of our bunch were riding a 100 miler on road bikes. Many others rolled over and snuggled under the covers, which would have been a great idea. There were 4-5 fast runners, Me, Nick and Sarah who run a little and have also went with the walking group. And there was Brian. We sent the fast runners out on their own and wished them luck. Brian tossed out the notion that the trailz might not be all that bad--HAHAHA! I knew better. These trailz turn into instant leg weights if someone spits on the ground. In short order, we were squishing and slipping, trying not to fall.Somewhere along here, Brian turned back. I thought he might have donuts and coffee waiting for us when we were finished, but no such luck. But after a half mile, my route took us into the woods and on some better mud. It seems that dark brown mud and of course rocks and roots are better to tread upon.This out-and-back has a couple of loops to keep it interesting, and is part single track and part ATV trail. On a drier day, it is a pleasure to run. I played the part of tour guide to Nick and Sarah, which suited me just fine. We took our time and managed a good outing with no falls. We did get in some serious leg work at times with 10-12 lbs of mud on each foot.We'd pick up six loads of mud, and tote it down the trail and scrape it off on the first available rock or root.We repeated this process several times and had a good time in spite of the gooky mud.
These were bright pretty shoes an hour earlier.We got back after an hour, and called it a day. Nick and Sarah seemed to enjoy it.

I thought I'd do a little geocaching since there are supposed to be some interesting one in Chandler Park. But the mud and slippery slopes was a major snag. I was hanging on and scratching and clawing on a near vertical mudslide between the top and Avery Drive below, and finally gave up on one called "Drunk Slide." So, I just ran a little.This is a good place to do a little climbing, rappelling, and boulder hopping. I have done two of the above.
I followed whatever trailz I could find, looking for a new one or one I did not know about. But I found nothing new. Good stuff though.
This little guy was the highlight of my bluff trail trip. He scurried around, and it took several pics to get one that was good. All of the above pics were taken with my iPhone.

Oh, I almost forgot. Nick, Sarah, and I found some faces in the rocks on our trail. Check out the ones below.

Well, when I got home, Dana and I headed for Turkey Mountain so she could get some miles in. It had evidently rained all night here, and after .4 miles, we decided to go back home and ride our road bikes. We rode 15 miles and cruised through where the Tulsa Tough crit races were going on. It was the Cat 2 finals, and I was amazed at the fierceness of the competition. Wish we could have stayed to watch the Cat 1.Here we are about 11 miles into our ride. We had a fierce wind on the way home, and 15 miles ended up being all the workout I wanted.It was a good Sunday. No ticks, no chiggers, and no snakes. Two other things I did get done: Hosed off the patio and bathed our dogs. Two things I did not get done: Visiting grandkids :-( (My bad!) Mow grass (it was wet so I kind of have an excuse.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Science lesson, with gory picks

The past couple of days, I have had more than enough experience with ticks and chiggers. It's not unusual for me to pick up a tick or two while running on Turkey Mountain this time of year. I have a reputation of being a "tick magnet." My trip to Lake Heyburn yesterday yielded a much higher total--24 to be exact. Not all of these little blood suckers got to feast on zombie blood, but two did manage to latch on. Their dinner was quickly interrupted and they immediately hit the pool (toilet) for a swim. The bites itch and will keep itching for a couple of weeks.There are several species of ticks in North America, but the Lone Star Tick is what I see most often. I do frequent checks, and it's always best to remove them before they burrow in.

Chiggers are much more of a nuisance. They are much smaller than ticks--nearly invisible to the human eye.They bite and feed at a hair follicle or a crease in the skin. They do not burrow in, but bite and inject saliva that dissolves skin tissue and hardens into a tube (like a soda straw) and they'll feed on the skin fluids as long as they can hang on. The corrosive nature of the enzymes injected causes major irritation (itch itch itch itch!!!!)Even in a tick infested area, you might get by with no actual bites or one or two at the most--provided you CHECK. But get into some chiggers, and you can have hundreds of bites. This was my leg after bush-whacking in Osage County last summer. I probably had 200 bites, and they itched for three miserable weeks.

The two links below have some good information about these critters. Good reading--if you're wired like I am.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sheppard Cove Trailz

I visited these trailz back in the fall and did not have time to give them a good exploring. This evening, I trotted around for an hour or so and I think I need to go back.This is Sheppard's Point on Heyburn Lake. These are equstrian trailz, but they are not at all beat up like a lot of horse trailz are.
From this map, I couldn't really tell if there were 6-8 miles or 15-20. I even had trouble determining where I was on the map. After scratching my head for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, I decided I was right on the black dot where the orange and red trailz were knotted up together. I really didn't care--I just wanted to run. So I took off on whae turned out to be the red trail.
Just nice single track. Not a lot of rocks, not a lot of roots. A few months back, there was not grass brushing your legs, and already I was concerned about little hitchhikers.
Most of this was very runnable. This would be a great place for a TOTs run--maybe in the fall. Maybe after the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd.
I ran out on the point--there was water on both sides and great pictures were there for the taking. Heyburn Lake was evidently a popular camping spot in years past. There were lots of scenic campsites with level gravel pads and electric hoolups, but they have been abandoned for years, overgrown with weeds. Do people just not camp anymore?
Heyburn Lake is beautiful--a little muddy, but still scenic. Across the lake, there were a few people swimming in what must have been a beach area.
I was just under 2 miles out, and had burned almost 40 minutes taking pictures and checking for hitchhikers. While I wanted to get 5-6 miles in, I decided to head back to the car. As I almost always do, I went back another way.
Something you don't see in the woods every day. Chances are, any horseman knows this as a major landmark.
The sun was getting lower, and I picked up my pace just a tad, No danger of being caught out after dark, but I wanted to have a little time to drive around to see if I could find another trailhead. I did see another trailhead north of 141st (not on the map) called rattleSnake Trail. It was fairly overgrown, and I'll check it out maybe next timeout.
This little friend was out for an evening trot. I was either treading lightly, or he was hard of hearing. I got within 20 feet of him, and he saw me and truned into the woods in a hurry.
And the hitchhikers--I ended up with 24 of them. Most were big enough so as to be easily seen. The tiny seed ticks are a little tougher to spot. I am very aware of mysterious itches, and a couple of the little buggers have chomped their pinchers into me. Another visit to these trailz will wait until tick season is over.