Monday, October 31, 2011

other misc Sunday stuff

I guess you could call yesterday a rest day. After relocating a raccoon, Dana and I went for an easy run on Turkey.With no mind to pace (although I was wearing my Garmin) we meandered along the Ho-chi and the Millinium Trailz. The colors of the leaves are about as good as they are gonna get this year, and those fortunate enough to be running Turkey and TATURs next Sunday are in for a treat.

There were many stops along the way for me. Some of these stops were for picture taking. I'm usually not a flower person, but these girls were too nice to ignore.

We would up with just under 4 miles, and Dana was the better runner today. My legs, shoulders, and back feels like I have been put through a grinder. I am sore all over, and I don't know why!! Surely 15K on roads Saturday did not do this to me.

On a side note, I had a milestone event yesterday. For years, I have had almost a 100% FAIL rate in plumbing. But Sunday late-afternoon, I changed out our kitchen faucet, and absolutely ACED the test. No probs, no leaks. I am stoked. (Please don't ask me to come fix yours though!!!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

unwanted visitor

Living where we do, near Turkey Mountain with deep woods beginning right across the street, and miles of wilderness trailz a mere 2 blocks away, we have lots of critters visit us--squirrels, opossums, skunks, deer, even coyotes, and recently, raccoons. The opossums frequently crawl under our garage door and have their way with the contents of our garage. We have caught and relocated many of these enlarged rats to nearby Turkey Mountain. Recently, something has been removing the hinged lid of a large wooden box where we keep our dry dog food, and my theory was that it was the work of a masked bandit.So, I set the trap last night and sure enough, we caught the guilty party. He/she looked so ashamed, and maybe a little scared. But when I lifted the cage it let out a loud squall and a hiss that gave me cause to change my shorts.

So here we are, loaded and rteady for a ride.

Over the mountain, at the trailhead by the pepsi plant--seemed like a good place. There is a good water supply there, and it's far enough away that it should not be able to find it's way back to our house.

Mr. Raccoon wasted no time scampering to freedom. Not a look back, not a thank you, not a snarl. Have a good life, Raccoon.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tulsa Run

Today was the 34th running of the Tulsa Run--Tulsa's premiere race. The 15K showcases a revitalized downtown Tulsa, Trendy Cherry Street, a glimpse of Woodward Park and some of the beautiful homes in the Mapleridge area, a tour of Riverside Drive alongside the lazy Arkansas River before turning up Denver Avenue and the testy hill, and finally finishes in front of the BOK Center. Over 10,000 runners do this 15K along with the 5K making it Tulsa's largest race and possibly the second largest run in the state. Some come to run hard--there are not many 15Ks around, but this course is a good one for a PR. My 15K PR is here (I have only run one other--the Muskogee Run) and in 2003 and 2005, I ran 1:14:xx. Since then, I have had a couple of 1:25s, and some slower times when I was goofing off wearing costumes and such. This year, I was running it for time. I wore my Asics Speedstars, which was a good choice since my feet were still a little tender from pounding rocks last Tuesday in my NB Minimus shoes.

I got there in plenty of time and actually found a super close parking place. :-) I met up with my friends from RunnersWorld and hung out, took pictures, and shot the breeze. The crowd gathered for a group pic, and rather than try to stitch some photos together, I just videoed a pan shot. It's a 21 second film clip--not really Oscar material, but give it a look.

Soon enough at 9:00 sharp, the gun was fired signalling the start of the 15K.It was heel to toe, elbow to elbow for the first mile or so, but such a thrill none-the-less.Seeing blocks ahead at a sea of bobbing heads and feeling the energy of thousands of runners thrilled about running on a cool crisp autumn morning is like no other experience on Earth. The runner's buzz starts early, and hours after the race, I am still all grins.

I was running for time, not expecting a PR or anything, but wanted to blow out the cobwebs, so to speak. I did take a second or two here and there for a quick pic.Hayley, home from college for the first time since August, was running with her mom Meg. Hayley would have been a contender to win the women's 15K, but was doing the pacer thing. Today was RARE time when I actually passed her. (OK, a secret here--once Hayley gets through college where she is a cross-country superstar, I'd love to see here come over to ultras. She could win nearly every trail race she entered if you ask me.)

Making the turn on 15th Street, and the downhill continues--until the little hill up to Cherry Street.

A nifty part of the race, the ramp onto Riverside. This is so cool--it's over the river, and it's banked. You can really lean into the turn and pick up speed. I heard a couple of different people who were new to the area comment on how cool it was.

I took a pic of the dudes taking the race pics and told him I'd swap out with him, but I don't think he saw what a bargain I was offering him. From here, it was about 2 miles, and I put the camera away and focused on not fading/blowing up before the finish line. I finished in 1:25:10 by my Garmin, so I am thinking my chip time will be close to that. Not a PR, but it could be my 3rd best time--or my 5th best time depending on the seconds. I felt like I ran at a 98% effort, running every step except a few steps through two water stops. From talking to folks after the race, it was agreed that it was a great year, spectacular weather, and most everyone was happy with their times, including me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday TOTs

Tuesday Nights are my faves--it's the TOT night. Several--sometimes over 70 runners--meet to run trailz. I usually lead the group that can't stay up with Tim, Stormy, Cole, or Brad. My pace allows for a few breathers along the way, and ALWAYS a photo-op or two.We visited the Oklahoma Rock. before returning to the top of Lipbuster. At that point a few headed downhill to call it a night with 3 miles to show for it. The rest of us ran a half-Snake via a reopened trail that cuts the Snake Trail in half. This is a long gradual downhill if ran south to north. It's non-technical single-track, and fun. I did not have my Garmin on, but I'm pretty sure we had 4 1/2 miles on our feet.

The Tuesday runs have been moved up from 6:30 to 6:00. The sun is setting earlier, and unless you like night running (which I do), we need to get an earlier start. See you next Tuesday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Call to action

Today I was reading the Runner's World Online Forums and found this thread about states with the best trailz. I knew no one would consider Oklahoma among the best although we do have some cool trail systems here and around. Colorado, Oregon, California, Utah, Virginia--and a few other states were mentioned repeatedly. Do you like mountains, even with the technical rocky sections and nose-bleed altitude? Trailz graced with miles of lush green? The solitude of the open prairie? A postcard pretty view of a lake or a river or a canyon? All of the above?

If I were to move to a different part of the states, having great trailz to run on would be a major part of my decision. I might even relocate based mostly on the proximity of miles of sweet single-track. But don't think I am dissatisfied with my dirt and rocks here in Oklahoma. I LOVE IT here. My trail radar is keyed up, and every week or so I find or hear of another trail just begging for me to run it. Pumpkin Holler, while not technically a trail, is such a great place to run. So much so, that I plan to submit myself to a 101.5 mile beating in a few weeks. (Whip me, baby!!!) Now that tick and chigger season is past, I will explore a few possible gems that I have marked for exploration. I am in a good place.

But tonight, I found something that turns makes my head boil. Running on the west side of Turkey, I found something that I knew would probably happen all too soon. After Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness got the gas utility company to barricade off the access road they have for their pipeline maintenance, some low life plowed their 4-wheel drive pick up into the woods making another road for ignorant stupid inconsiderate slobs to drive in and dump their trash--AGAIN!!!To the right you can see the large rocks that were placed to barricade the road where too many imbeciles were dumping. A few months back, a group of volunteers spent a long Saturday afternoon cleaning up tons of their dumpage, and before the gas company could put the large rocks in (they said they were going to install an iron gate), some billybob dumped a load of rubbish the day before the rocks were placed. That pile of garbage has been there ever since--right by a major trail where Turkey and TATURS runs by, and several mountain bike races ride by. What a great thing for out-of-towners to see. In the above picture, to the left is the new road Bubba cut for his trash buddies. and here is Bubba's new pile of trash.Know this--one riled TZ is gonna bug the crap out of the Tulsa Police, the sheriff's dept, the gas company, The Tulsa World, Channel 2, 6, and 8. I'll rally the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness group, TATUR, the mountain bike groups, and anyone else I can find/bug. I am SICK of idiots thinking it's ok to dump trash in our playground. And another thing--the mile between HW 75 and Elwood along 61st Street is where a lot of soulless people drive by and toss trash out their windows. Hurricane Malt Liquor cans, Bud cans, McDonald's sacks full of junk food trash, diapers, QT cups, plastic bottles, meth labs, and more misc kinds of trash than you could imagine. Several times a year, either friends of RiverParks, mt bike groups, trail runners, prison inmates walk the road and pick up several bags of trash--I'm talking 20-30 large bags. I walked the mile once all by myself and picked up over 10 bags. How long does this last? Only a day or two. A week later, the mile is litter strewn.

This is NOT ACCEPTABLE. If this were happening at a "more prestigious" area, say around Woodward Park or along the river parks along the east side, there would be a huge police movement to catch the slobs who litter, and the trash would be immediately cleaned up. These slobs who litter and dump--if someone threw trash out in front of their house, or dumped garbage in their front yard would they not be furious? Anyone would be livid, no doubt.

Turkey Mountain is one of Tulsa's treasures. It has the best trailz in the area, and is truly a draw bring in lots of out-of town visitors to run, hike, and bike. Trash laying around makes Tulsa look bad.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Odd happenings, strange cravings

Usually a great literary work ends with a main character dying. Sometimes it's the bad guy who gets it in the end. Other novels have the heroine dying for a great cause. This story starts with death, or just after it. My first remembrance was vague. I knew I was dead, yet I was regaining a foggy sort of consciousness. My whole body felt jumbled--like a cross between the worst case ever of the flu, and complete numbness.I seem to remember hearing voices, and smelling something. I was sooo hungry. Ever have a strange craving for something you would never dream you'd like?? Well, I just had to have BRAINS!!!!!!

Like a fallen toddler getting back to their feet to continue walking, I managed to get upright and walk--well, more of a shuffle. My left leg had no movement, but I could drag it and edge toward food. People were everywhere, and even a long bite of flesh sounded good. I was not quite sure how to crack a skull open to get to BRAINS, but maybe a large rock would break a head open.
I was at Turkey Mountain--a strange place to wake up dead, and there were hundreds of people ambling around, and despite my hunger pains, I figures I would be restrained and not get to enjoy a meal--even a fast bite. So I discreetly snuck over into the woods to hopefully ambush some wandering trail runner. Where is a good flesh eating contest when you need one? I was puzzled at the sight of skulls along the trail. Seems someone had beaten me to the punch as there were several small skulls along the way--children's skulls no less. I picked one up, and whoever ate here left not a morsel of flesh. Curses!!
Another adult skull--and no BRAINS!! Whoever placed it here had the sickest sense of humor, leaving their dinner napkin draped around it. I was hoping they would get full soon, and maybe leave me a bone or something.
I found out later that this cowboy and cowgirl were dead--and walking around, eating BRAINS no less. Gross--but it strangely sounded sooo tasty! This dead cowgirl, Amelia I hear, even took pictures of their feeding frenzy, as well as the last three pictures.
After seeing this redhead skull and you guessed it--not even a lick of flesh left, I collapsed in a low spot somewhere on the red trail. But I heard feet running behind me, and voices, and the smell of live meat--and BRAINS!!! But try as I may, I could not get a good hold on any of them. I decided to lay real still so they might not notice me, or just think I was a collapsed runner and stop to help me, then I could grab them and get a bite!! I did scare a few of these folks running through in the night, but I went hungry. Curses!!!
So, I managed to drag myself up, and drug my leg down the paved trail all the while thinking of where I could hide to have a good chance of overpowering somebody so I could tear away at their arm, or neck.Ah--just ahead I could see people moving about in the dark. They were women, and they were not runners--at least they were not moving any faster than I was. (Dang this bad leg!!)They were nurses--odd to see nurses in uniform out on Turkey Mountain on the trailz at night. I thought they were concerned about my bad leg, but instead grabbed my arms and started feeding like piranhas. I wanted to bite them, but they --well--they were DEAD!! As hungry as I was, I really wanted fresh flesh. Do you ever order food and have them give you old food? A McDonalds hamburger that has sat under a heat lamp all day, or 5 hour old movie popcorn? You want it fresh--and warm red blood, and nice chewable muscle tissue sounded so good. Medium rare--no make it raw!!! And for dessert--BRAINS!! One of them, Susan Martinac--the one chewing on my left arm, took my picture as I staggered down the trail.
This pasty white lady, came up and for a second I thought my food was just waking right onto my plate, but nope--turns out she was a vampire!! Just did not sound good to me, plus if she bit back, she had pretty wicked teeth. And being dead, and a vampire at the same time?? Not a good combo. Her name was Susan, and like me, a few days ago, was among the living, with warm red blood flowing through her veins. What was happening??? She did take a few pictures (like any good vampire should) and the last 4 pix in this story are from her camera. (I'm not sure how she showed up in her picture--since DUH, everyone knows you can't photograph a vampire!!
And finally!! I managed to get a few good bites on this tart. I did not get filled up, and still wanted BRAINS!!! But at least I had an appetizer. Very shortly thereafter, she turned an ashen gray, and was hungry for BRAINS herself. Hmmm.... What was going on?? I wandered north a while, and collapsed in the middle of the trail. I could not move. A storm had moved from the northwest to the northeast, with thunder and cloud-to-ground lightening. A perfect night. Soon rain began to hit me in the face, and I did manage to get back on my feet and shuffled south--just to go anywhere. I found myself under a small tent as the wind howled and the rain flew sideways. I actually was not too hungry now, and was afraid as the grim reaper was there, and a wild-eyed guy with a meat cleaver. He had chopped off several human arms, and could split my head right open. (Hmmm--wonder if he could just crack open just ONE skull for me???) I did manage to sneak a severed hand off the table and nibbled on it trying to be unnoticed.
Earlier, back up at the parking lot, hundreds of people converged on Turkey Mountain. There were witches, monsters, super heroes--weird. I even heard there were (gulp) zombies. Could it be true? Something had happened to Dana. She had met this guy--Frankenstein, and was getting MARRIED to Him?!?!?!? And at the wedding party, the best man opts for a bite rather than a kiss.Somehow I don't think I'll have to worry about her biting me though.
By the time I made it back to the parking lot, The hundreds had diminished to tens. RunnersWorld's Witch and Moan/Zombie Chase had a great showing. The torrential rain kinda messed things up, but it did help out by washing all the rotted flesh and dried blood from my decaying body.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On a foggy Sunday morning, I stumbled out of bed and headed for the trailz. It had rained a lot the night before, it was foggy, and it even seemed a heavy dew had settled onto everything.This survivor lay in waiting for a morning delivery of food. From the looks of it, it has been a good eating season.
Since I was a bit winded from running a 1/4 mile uphill, I disguised a breather as a picture op. My little friend didn't seem to mind a closeup shot.
A setting change on the Canon, and the lens a half inch from the fur on his back, this arachnid held its pose. Maybe it was waiting and hoping--"If this idiot comes just a little closer--I can eat for a year!!"

I am sorting through pics of the Witch and Moan run, and the Zombie Chase. Hopefully a post later tonight.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Hills Have Eyes

Have you ever been alone and had the feeling someone was watching you? I love running alone, but I often have that feeling on Turkey Mountain. Sometimes I stop and look long and hard--closely, listening, wondering.Sometimes I find the eyes following me as I run by. They are there--mostly unnoticed, but recently I have been more in tune to these silent voyeurs.For the most part, they just observe, seeming to approve of my running through their domain.
Some, like the one above, seem puzzled that I take the time to observe it.
Some seem almost human, but some seem like animal eyes. This one and the one below seem to be feline.

Lots of people know the turtle rock.

This fellow is right around the corner from the turtle.

This guy seemed a little testy of my finding him. I backed off and gave him his space.

This guy was laid back--didn't seem to mind me taking his picture and probably had a lot of stories to tell, but was a little shy about speaking.
This seems to be the likeness of an alien, or what we assume an alien life-form would look like.
This one creeped me out.seeing faces in rocks is one thing. Seeing their teeth is a bit more unnerving.
I noticed this one right after finding a geocache not far from the turtle rock. He was guarding the cache, and did not seem happy at all that I had found it. I turned to go north and found another face glaring at me from the other side of the trail.
Two unfriendly faces was enough. I finished my run via the powerline trail, and saw no faces there at all. Just hills.