Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bridging the Years

Where in Tulsa, OK can you run a 1/2 marathon outside in the shade with a breeze in July?

And, there's no concrete, asphalt, roots or rocks.

It's the "Bridging the Years" run that Ken Saveth and I did today @ 4:30 PM.

We celebrated our 52nd birthdays by making 52 crossings of the Pedestrian Bridge.

At 1400 feet across, 52 crossings is 13.78 miles!

Sounds all good--right?

But not on a 107° day!!
I love this bridge. It is one of Tulsa's treasures and I'm sure a lot of runners and cyclists agree with me. This bridge also doubles as a locale for a romantic walk in the evening. You can not go wrong taking pictures here!

The old railroad bridge converted to a foot bridge is right above the Zink Dam, a low water dam that currently is in need of repair, as the main gate is stuck open. (The two above pix are a few months old when the gates were not broke.)

Ken aka K2 and I have our water cache stationed at the east end, and are about to embark on a 2 1/2 to 3 hour run. I had 26 pennies in my pocket and left one on the table after every out-and-back. When I ran out of pennies, I was done. K2 also brought a board and grease pencil so we could keep count, and of couse we had our Garmins.

.265 miles out to the far west side, we slapped the rail and turned back. We would do this over and over until we crossed the river 52 times.

The super cool thing was we had a LOT of friends come out to run with us. Stormy ran all but the first two out-and-backs with me, and Andy (pictured above--the fast looking one) ran 9-10 miles as well. Edward ran a bit with me, and a while with K2 and a few laps with Pat, who was running 45 crossings as he is a wee bit younger than us old guys. I think that's Derek tucked in behind Andy. Drafting.

Sandra ran a bit with Pat, and ended up with 6-8 miles, I think. Darryl took an early start because he had to get through in time for work and I don't know how far he ran, but he was doing three crossings to our two. Of course he'll win his age group in most races. A lot of the RW group came by to cheer us on or run a bit with us. Thursday night is their regular training night, and most of them run right by this bridge. Bobby, Guy, Kelly, and Wilma ran an out-and-back before finishing their normal run. Aaron ran a couple trips with Stormy and I before heading back up the west side towards Turkey Mountain. Debra and Chrystal ran maybe 5-6 miles out there. (This is a great run on a hot day!)

I ran nearly all of the time, walking just a few steps before the very end of the bridge and a few steps back out while I guzzled water and Gatorade. I took two SaltStick caps and a big pinch of salt after 9 miles and really had no cramping or fatigue. I finished my 52 crossing--13.78 miles-- in 2:30. My buddy Tom brought a six-pack of Blue Moon all iced down, and that made for the most excellent rehydration after my run. I ran the last few out-and-backs with K2, and upon our finish, we met the RW gang at Jason's Deli. Stormy had brought a cake for us birthday boys.He swore it was hamburger flavored, but it was chocolate--and insanely good. After a good running buzz followed by a sugar buzz, I was happy. Very happy. This was a good idea.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Few TOT Pix

I think I can do this--from left to right: Trey, Brenda, Molly, Christopher, Melinda, Rachel Vibram Girl, Mimi, Superstar Edward, Bodi the amazing Corgi, and Cat.

Nearing the end of a Sunday morning run--walking the plank.

Tuesday groups have been HUGE. The group I led had almost 30 runners. I need another person who can lead a group so we can (if we need to) split into 2 groups so we don't get too spread out. It's been super hot and I don't want anyone to get separated and lost.

A nice descent into No-Name Holler.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Here's sum stuff about that Redneck Race

Aw, Heck--I guess as how I oughta tell you-uns about the lil' Redneck race we had las night.See, those TATUR folks have this here race whur they go up topa that big ol hill up on Turkey Mountain, git all lined up and run like a buncha wild indians down the hill. A lot of those city folks whut lives round these parts git all dressed up like they waza country folks and make a big shin-dig out of it.

An WEE HAW!! There waza whole messa purty women out there!! Here's me, ol uncle KenBob gittin his pitcher took with one of 'em. This here's my cuzin Dasiy. Don't she look purty fast?

An here's my 2nd cuzin Kate. I like her cuz she brung me sum beer.

An here's sum more of those good lookin redneck girls. Miss LeAnne whut lives down across a couple of cow pastures wuz totin one kiddo and had another un in the oven. Cuzin Rachel somehow musta borrowed one of my shirts--one of my best sunday-goin-ta-meetin shirts too. Her friend, well I don't know her much seein as how she weren't no relation nope, I figerd it out--that's cuzin Christina, but I don't recognize her cuz she's a bit more civilized and must be from the inlaws side of the family--2nd or 3rd cuzin maybe.

Heck we even had sum famous folks comin out down here to these parts. Miss Ellie Mae an her brutha Jeffro dun showed up. I figerd her to just go on and whup all these other gals down that hill. But it turns out she brung her pet possum, and turns out that lil critter dont run all that fast.

Cute little booger, ain't it. I reckon it'd go right nice on my bbq grille.

I don't know these folks here. Must be from over Coweta way. I didn't really make much acquaintunce with em, seein as how he mighta been the baby-daddy to both gals, not sure. This gal totin the baby and fixin to drop another one wazza just about as slow as Miss Ellie Mae with her possum!

Somebody shot off there shotgun and we all commenced to a runnin down the hill. I like to go fast, and git some practice ever now and then chasin them goats that git outa my back yard. This here hill made it sure easy to git goin.

My cuzin had one of them movie camera things and gave me this. Poor old dude bout made me throw up justa watchin this. He was thrownin up later after eatin a buncha twinkies and chasin em with some Keystone Lite.

We wenta runnin and when we got down at the bottom, we runned through that parkin lot down there, and went to hurryin on down this lil road what was mostly used for bicycles and those joggin types.

This here little gal went and won the race--at least the girls half of it. Turns out she was the same little lady who came up here and won this race a couple years ago. She's jess fast. Her name's McKale Davis, and I'll never be able to keep up with the likes of her. Clay Mayes runt the whole way and hit that there finish line gittin there in 4 minutes and 21 seconds. WOO WEE, that's fast!!!!

Shoot, once we waz done, we had to climb durn near halfway back up the hill, but it was sure nuff worth it. They had a whole buncha games like we rednecks like. Heck, we're even dang good at em!My half sister Kathy she came up with all these games. If weda just had some sheep to rope or a greased pig to chase, it'da been perfect.

This here dude is Paul Bodet. He lives way off there in Louisana in the bayou and came clear up here to party with us. He done good in the race, but went ahead and won the redneck olimpix. Here, he's throwing these javlins knocking critters off a table that was a good hunnerd yards away.

That boy's got an arm on em, and shoot, all the gals were jess talkin about his mussels and such. I like his hat ok.

We had a few other things that those olimpic folks got to do. We tossed some hubcaps plumb through a big ol set of lips cut in some wood whut Kathy took off the back of that old spare bedroom on her house.

We found an old toilet and Kathy hit a bunch of QuikTrips and brung a buncha rolls of toilt paper so we could toss em into the stool. There's gonna sure be a bunch of mad people who aint got nuttin to wipe with, but we sure nuff had fun.

We had a ring toss with these here tolit seats. I brung them up from a few old houses over by Sapulpa. I am pretty sure no one was livin in them houses seein as how most of the windows were done broke out. Here in this here pitcher, my ex cuzin-in-law Amber almost hit her target.

After that, those folks doin that olimpic thang had to bob for apples little baby ruth bars, whut looked like somethin purty sick. My cuzin tried out that movie camera again and heres a pitcher show.
Doggone if that cajun dude didn't snatch up all those baby ruth bars with his teeth faster than any of the girls. Bad thing is they spit em all out in the grass, and besides, they were all soggy lookin so I didn't eat any of em.

But I did get in the next contest--the twinky eatin contest. They gave us 2 minutes to eat as much twinkys as we could shove down. But dang it, we couldn't wash em down with beer! I got a big ol bite all wadded up in my throat and ended up eatin 4. Heck, I was tryin to keep my belly from gettin much fatter anyways since I can hardly get em buttoned anyways. There was a three-way tie for the winner, and they ahd an eat-off. This here round, whoever ate 2 the fastest was the winner.

Uncle Kirk just mowed down them 2 twinkys and took furst prize. I here he threw up durn near everthing he ate right after that.

Shoot, we sure had a whole lotta fun, and we stayed around after that and just talked about stuff, and drank the rest of the beer. Good thing I don;t live too far off. Miss Dana well, she came up and took me home--at least that's how I think I got home.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ya gotta come on out and run this here race

What do you get when you cross some good old country REDNECKS........with some really fast runners?Well this Friday, you will get to find out!! TATUR, famous for putting on new and inventive races, is presenting The Reckless Redneck--a one mile DOWNHILL race.
This mad dash starts at the top of Elwood at 61st Street, and screamzzz down Elwood, turns into the Turkey Mountain parking lot, and then streaks down the paved bike trail. This downhill is less elevation descent than Pikes Peak or Mount Everest, but for around these parts, it is quite a steep downhiller.
Why the redneck theme?? Well, why not? This IS Oklahoma! Anyone wearing some sorta redneck garb gets a discount on their entree fee.For a lot of my friends, all that means is they might wanna not put on that Sunday-go-to-meetin shirt and come on in their regular goin-out-ta-eat shirt. Some of my friends just need to flash a toothy grin
and that'll be proof enough that they are rednecks. (A tip: Nascar hats work for costume accessories, and might add to your aerodynamics, besides making Junior proud.)(NOTE:anyone wearing #24 will be escorted off the durned mountain,)

Finally, because this is a real fast course, and some of you-uns will be running faster than you ever dreamt possible, please be careful and don't fall, don't trip anybody, don't step on anyone's pig or chickens. There just might be some good suds waitin for ya at the finish line.Here's a few pitchers of this race from a couple years back. CLICK HERE

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A change of plans, and a run that went bad

I had a change of plans today. Instead of maybe sleeping in, or just running a few (maybe 5) miles with RW, I ran 10. The first 5 felt good, and even the next 3 of lap two felt good, but then the wheels fell off. The air was thick, and while I did not blow up, I did do a lot more walking. My buddy Tom who could have put the hurt on me, walked when I needed to, and we limped on in. I spent 15 minutes in my car cooling off (and playing Words with Friends) and then went to eat breakfast with Pat, Kate, and RockStar Ed. Coffee, orange juice, bacon, and a piece of toast was all that I could eat/drink, but it fixed me right up. I did decide to NOT go to Arkansas to run the 50K. I just did not feel like fighting the heat and humidity, lack of wind, and abundance of dust. That, and then driving home. It was a good call, but I need to get something long in next weekend.

I had a sales call in Collinsville at 1:30, and I took some running clothes to change into so I could either geocache, or run trailz at Oologah Lake.There was a geocache somewhere out on the trailz here, but I felt like running.
As I do whenever possible, I took a picture of the map. I would refer to this a couple of times, but it did not do me much good.
Notice the peninsula? The trail (the dotted line in the map above) runs the perimeter of this sometimes-island. I have made the trip out, around the loop, and back a few times in years past. It was a treat--back then.
This chunk of wilderness in the lake has some significant climbs, with over 100 feet of climb in two or three places. There are no houses, campsites, or any civilization there--just some equestrian trailz that work nice for my purposes.
I was wearing my New Balance Minimus shoes--something I thought I'd NEVER do. I felt that to honestly oppose the minimalist movement, I should give them a try. I actually like them! I am much lighter on my feet, and trail running seems even more fun.
The trailz started out nice and wide, hard packed, and bone dry. The first half mile is at times muddy, and the horse hoofs beat the trail up pretty bad, and then when the clay-like mud dries, it is very rugged. But it only is that way for a short distance.
I took a spur trail to bypass some of the chewed up horse hoof sections, This trail was a little bit overgrown, but I knew it tied back into the main trail pretty quick.
There were several tree-falls in the area. Most were a nice hop to bound over, but there were a couple that were hard to get around/through.
Back on the good trailz. This looks like it might have been a road many years ago. This road has about a quarter mile that is underwater if the lake is up.
After the lowest point, the trail begins a gradual climb onto the peninsula. I knew to keep an eye out for a left turn that would run the perimeter.
Here's where it got "interesting". It really looked like this trail gets no use whatsoever. I don't mind a few plants/weeds/briers slapping my legs, but it was far worse than that. I am sure there was a healthy growth of poison ivy, and I'm really gonna be putting my chemically induced PI immunity to the test.
Beside the overgrowth, the trailz did not seem at all familiar. I have a good sense of direction, and it seemed like the trail snaked back and forth up and down the mountain, and not at all like a big perimeter loop. Did I say SNAKED? No, I did not see any snakes, but I could have easily have stepped on one without even knowing it.
The conditions of the trailz got progressively worse. Had I missed a turn?? Maybe I had. It did not seem like the trailz I was on were traversing the perimeter of the peninsula. I definitely think there were some trailz that were NOT on the map.

The trail I was looking for, as I remember it from a few years back, eventually got to the west side of the peninsula and ran right along the shore and at times on a series of bluffs.
This is a pic I dug up off of an old disc from 4 years back or so. The views are well worth the six mile round trip. But this time, I will admit to being lost--on a 103° day with a 22 oz water bottle that was less than half full. Luckily, I stumbled onto a trail that looked familiar, one that headed downhill and west toward the bluffs. But 1/4 mile down this trail, a huge tree had fallen, and the only way around was through a massive amount of briers and poison ivy (not to mention ticks and chiggers.) The best decision was to turn around and head back. At least I was now sure of where I was. I found a bypass trail that took me straight down the wooded hill to the end of the loop that I had not been able to find--a relief, to say the least.
I knew this was spot was only a mile from where my car was, and I had a few swallows of water to spare.
The Tick-o-meter tally took a hike upward. I ended up with 10 of these spotted ticks, and about half of them latched on.
These roving freckles are seed ticks. I found 5-6 of these guys. Not sure if any latched on, but quite a few chiggers made their mark.

I had given thought to suggesting a TOT run here, but that will have to wait--until after a hard freeze (or maybe when hell freezes over.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Birthday Challenge

It’s July, and each year I do something to challenge myself on my birthday. A couple of years back, Ken (K2) Saveth, whose birthday is also in July, and I ran 50 miles to celebrate our 50th birthdays. Last year, I spent 51 days doing nothing—or so it seemed.

This year, we wanted to do something a bit more of a birthday challenge than holding down a couch so after a wee bit of brainstorming, we came up with the idea of running 52 times across the pedestrian bridge north of 31st Street and Riverside.In case you don’t know the bridge, it’s an old converted rail road bridge that has springy wood decking for a quarter mile across the lazy Arkansas River. The route is shaded, and a good breeze is always blowing down the riverbed. Given the long string of triple digit temps, the shaded breezy route will be like running in air conditioning!

A quick bit with my Walgreen’s calculator shows the total mileage right at 13 miles (maybe a bit more since it actually measures .265 miles end to end. The plan is to start at 4:30 pm, and finish in time to go to eat with the usual RunnersWorld crowd. We’d like to have a few people join us along the way for an out-and-back or two, or heck—maybe 26 out-and-backs. We’ll have an ice chest at one end, and plan to make it a party atmosphere.

Now let me say—this is not an earth shaking accomplishment. I know running 52K or 52 miles would be a lot more impressive. 52 trips up Lipbuster would be much more impressive. 52 miles in the 4th day of a stage race is much more awesome! Running your age in hours like Catra Corbett does each year blows our meager effort away, but this is what us two old guys have to bring to the table at this time. Besides, I will be coming off a 50K in Arkansas this weekend. (Maybe I should tack on a couple extra while there?)

We may add in a few other “52s” like 52 pushups, 52 beers 52 ounces of beer, or maybe 52 bad jokes along the way. Any ideas? Join us if you can! Thursday July 21st 4:30 PM at the Pedestrian Bridge.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hot TOTs

The TOT runs have been cooking right along in the mid-summer heat. Our Sunday totals are a little off, but Tuesday nights are getting bigger every week.Stormy has done a great job encouraging the newbies, and making some very official sounding announcements before the runs. Gotta give Brian some props for blitzing his multiple FB pages with TOT promos.

I used to spazz about having too big of a group, thinking 10-12 was the max. But it has seemed like the 20-24 that I end up with works great.

Stay tuned (check FB) for an upcoming Sunday field trip. Stormy and I are kicking around a few neat locations to try some new dirt.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Chuck and I played in a golf tournament this past Saturday. Getting up before the sun comes up is nothing new for me on a Saturday, but doing so to do something other than running is a rarity. Emerald Falls in Broken Arrow was the venue, and you'd never know we are in a drought.Well watered, well manicured was this championship caliber course. We were in for a long day, but a beautiful one nonetheless.
We hit a few balls before our round. I usually don't like to pound out a buncha balls and wear myself out before the round. I hit six--two seven irons, two sand wedges, and two drives. All were very crisp and clean shots. Maybe I was gonna have a good round? Unlikely, since I play only 2-3 times a year. Years ago when I played 2-3 times a week, breaking 90 would be a sure thing. Chuck--the lefty, hit shot after good shot. I tried to get focused after my six shots. (No, that is NOT me on the right.)
This course was tough. Several of the tee shots were blind shots--meaning you could not see where your landing area was, and that element of doubt played very negatively in my driving. Plus, missing the fairway meant your ball was lost in knee-deep rough. The tournament format is often a scramble, where the team uses the best shot between the 2 or 4 players. This tourney was a 2-man best ball, where each player played out the hole, and the best score between the players was the team score. I expected us to use Chuck's score on most if not all the holes.
I ended up not having an A-game. I played alright, considering my infrequent rounds, and hit a few good drives, hit a few good fairway shots, hit a few greens, and made a few putts. Chuck was good off the tee, but had a few errant shots as well, but the course gave us few breaks. We drowned a few balls, lost a lot more, and had probably a dozen penalty strokes between us.
But we still had fun. It's funny how golf always throws a be-back shot in near the end of the round--a spectacular shot that is as good as the pros--one that brings you back.
On our last hole (a par 5) I hit a nice straight drive. The ball was on a slight uphill lie, and sitting up nicely. I took a fairway driver and spanked a nice rope with a fade that ended up 30 yards from the green right in the short grass. For those two shots, I was beaming. A chunked and a skulled shot later though and I was brought back down to earth. A possible birdie turned into another bogie to finish my round. We needed that birdie too. Chuck rolled in a par putt and we finished with a nice round score. Let's just say we shot a buck. 

The heat (104°) was a factor late in the round.

I was not focusing on making wise shots, and just chumped it up.

Still, it was fun.

I'll play again next Wednesday on a much easier course.