Sunday, January 29, 2012

a huge confidence run (for me anyway)

Cheating winter once again, this morning was splendelicious running weather. 30 something degrees, bright sunshine, no wind. Mix in good friends and trailz, and it is as good as it can possibly get. The TOTs met on Turkey Mountain, divided into our group, and another group that takes less breaks. Off we went, with the Snowman leading the way. I played caboose, and took a few pics. Most were blurry, since I had set the Canon to capture more color. This group shot, where everyone held still for a second, turned out good.Notice the yellow sign above our head....
Signs like this usually indicate good trailz. Actually, the Westside Y had put these up to scare off someone--but not us. Seriously, it does not apply to Mt bikers and trail runners.

Snowman and I traded places, and once I was leading the train, it seemed like everything clicked into place. While I was not blazing fast, I did pick up the pace somewhat, and ran longer stretches at a time. I ran up hills, and felt light on my feet--like I might just maybe be able to run all day and all night and some the next day---which will come in handy next weekend!!!
I'd have to rate my run a 9.5 on the old 1-10 zombie scale. A bunch of us migrated to Panera for bagels and such--and good coffee, and stories and plans for future runs and fun stuff. Life is good!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Obeying the taper??

I have a home and garden show this weekend, but still managed to get a short run with RunnersWorld Saturday morning. I am a better representative for my company after a good run--even if it's just five miles.My running nemesis Kathy gives out the 300+ runners their marching orders just before we all take off. Some of my friends were doing 10, and some 14. I had to hurry to get through in an hour so I could get home, shower, shave, dress, and drive to the fairgrounds.My first mile really sucked. The knee was ok, but my right leg ached--like it was compensating fore the left knee. But crossing the pedestrian bridge, and the 1/4 mile of wood planks seemed to breathe life into my legs, and I felt like I was tuned up and ready to run well. Just after crossing the bridge, and heading northeast on the Midland Valley Trail, I turned to take a couple of pics of my posse of running friends. Jogging backwards and shooting photos proved to be a bad combination, as I stepped on the side of the asphalt, and was on my butt in a nanosecond.
Still managed to snap a picture on the way down though!! My body hit the grassy slope but my butt hit the edge of the asphalt, and I feel like I have a nasty bruise. I rolled out of it and was on my feet instantly, and in my mind, it looked like an acrobatic maneuver worth of Olympic consideration. Reality set in when I realized the only "10" I got was the 10 goat-head stickers lodged in my derriere.
Still, I felt good and the remaining 3.5 miles was decent. I feel like I have not violated my taper. We'll see if I can behave tomorrow.
Just after mile 3, I passed my friend Robert Ray, who also was doing five miles. Robert usually takes a bit of an early start, and when I'm lucky, our paths cross on Saturday mornings. Robert has a very inspiring blog--you should check it out.

At this writing, at 10:30 pm, I am contemplating my future of this time next week at Rocky Raccoon. I should be somewhere around mile 60-65. Hopefully I will be moving well, and alert. If I have a good loop 4, I'll have a successful race. I'll have lots of company, as Kathy, Stormy, and Charlotte are doing the 100 as well. Russell and Dirk are doing the 50. We plan on bring home a buncha buckles.I hope to be posting a picture similar to this one.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Props to Lindsay

For the past year or so, I have been seeing Lindsay Sager when I need my hair whacked.
Yes, this is Kathy's daughter, and she cuts an amazing head of hair. (
Of course, she had a good subject to work with...;-)
I started going to her when she was at Clary Sage.
The first time--she was so nervous!!!
It took almost an hour to get my hair cut, and she was so careful to not make a mistake.
Little did she know that I would not spazz out if she did--unless of course she cut my ear off!!!
Lindsay worked at Supercuts for a while, and now is at Ross Edward on 41st just east of Peoria.
It's a laid back studio, and I rarely have to wait. 

Haircuts now take her around 20 minutes, and this includes shampooing and blow drying.
I can almost get a nap getting my scalp massaged, but I'm sure if I did, I'd get a nose full of water.
In the time I'm in the chair, we talk about running, Aiden, Kathy, Brian, and if you feel your ears burning, we're probably talking about YOU!!
I told her I'd give her props on here, and I'd love it if she picked up some extra business among my our running friends.
918-749-2002 will get you an appointmfnt and a great haircut every time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dumping on OUR Playground !!!

Anyone who knows me knows I hate controversy. And also that I hate litter and dumping.But I really think some controversy needs to be stirred up a bit to get the dumping problem fixed on Turkey Mountain.

A year ago, a large group of volunteers cleaned up a lot--almost all of the dumped trash on the west side of our playground. This is where the gas-line has an easement so they can maintain their pipeline. Some lowlife losers had been using that road to dump their garbage.We got the gas people to agree to barricade the road, and they did so a few weeks later with large rocks. But that was not before two more piles of garbage was dumped--the two above pictures to be exact.

Since that time, more of these stupid clods have taken their pick-em-up trucks and made new roads into the woods just feet away from the rock barricades.And now, there are LOTS of roads, nooks and crannies to dump more trash. We just as well put up a free dumping sign, because that is what is happening.
Welcome to the westside trailz of Turkey Mountain. This is our newest batch of trash.
An old mattress so nasty I would want protective clothing and a mask to even STAND close to it.
Lots of splintered furniture, a smashed TV, and lots of papers. And yes, I did rummage through the papers looking for names.The top two pics are from the latest pile of garbage. The bottom three pics are from last years batch. Can these people be questioned? Of course they might not be the ones who dumped the trash, but they surely have an idea who did!! (Double click on the picture to enlarge them. Let me know if you know these people.)

I asked on Facebook if pursuing this crime was worth doing, and the overwhelming advice was to blow the whistle for what its worth. (Double click to enlarge the Facebook conversation.)

If this trash were being dumped at LaFortune Park, Woodward Park, even Mohawk Park, the Police and Sheriff's department would be all over it. They should be all over this area too. The Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness is a major attraction for Tulsa.This area has several trail races and mountain bike races and a LOT of out of town and out of state people come to these events. For the most part, they are amazed at our little slice of wilderness right in the middle of the city. But I am saddened that they have to see this. We should all be saddened.

What can be done? Already a clean up day is being organized, and I am confident that in a month, every morsel of trash will be gone. But how do we keep this from happening again?
1. Catching the idiots who do this would be AWESOME!!! I wish it were a priority for the TPD, or someone to do this.
2. Put up NO DUMPING sings with posted fines. Kinda sad that we have to do that, and even the signs would look trashy.
3. Put up a fence--chain link, barbed wire, more big rocks? Whatever is done, needs to go the whole length of 61st Street--especially if it looks like a truck could bushwhack through.
A hot-line where these low life people could be reported--and maybe even a reward for ratting them out. That's a stretch, I know. But I'd sure turn them in.

I intend to send this, along with a letter and pics to the TPD, Sheriff Dept, RiverParks, YMCA, and possibly the TV stations. I may be alone in this, but I doubt it. Let's all do what we can to fix this problem forever.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Looking for 100

Probably my second favorite outdoor past time is geocaching. Usually, no athletic ability is needed, although there are a few hidden caches that require some scrambling and bushwhacking. I started this hobby about a year ago, and after last Sunday, I knew I was nearing 100 finds. but first, watch this video for a brief explanation of what geocaching is. If it's boring, just skip it.

I use the iPhone app. It cost $9.99 to download from iTunes, and is the best $10.00 I've ever spent. Well, the best $9.99. Anytime I have a bit of downtime between appointments, I will do a search and find a cache or two. Last Sunday, Russell and I found nine. Yesterday, I found another nine. So I was sitting at 98. I asked my friend Yogi what a fun/good/interesting cache would be for my 100th, and he provided me coordinates for a couple. One was in Bixby, and that worked out for me. In Washington Irving Park, there are three geocaches. One of those is a virtual cache, where you just have to find it and take a picture of it--and in this case, you have to email the pic to the person who hid the cache to claim it. These virtual caches are usually super easy, and I wanted #99 and #100 to be a bit more challenging. I found #99 fairly easily, scrambling down an embankment and after a brief search, I spied it. Open, rummage through the trinkets, sign the log, and I was off to find my 100th.
The sun was setting as I neared the old railroad trusses which was where I was sure the cache would be. The video below is 23 seconds--not long enough to be boring, so give it a look. 
Somewhere in this series of timbers was a hidden container. The hider, M5, is reputed to be a tough character, hiding his caches in such a way that they are nearly impossible to find. I have only searched for one other of his creations and came up empty. My iPhone brought me within 5 feet of it, and then it would say I was 34 feet away in another direction. I'd move that way, and it would jump again. I KNEW I was within 8-10 feet of it, and put my phone in my pocket and started looking. Climbing up these diagonal timbers looking on ledges in the top, in hollowed out posts, between a brace and a post--I came up empty-handed. My street shoes skidded on the slick wood planks like they were ice. I failed to find this hide, and I was actually not surprised. I am sure my friend Yogi is snickering as he reads this.

So, I COULD have opted to just take a picture of that virtual cache for my 100th, or find an easy park-n-grab on the way home, but I think I'll give this one another go. Or, I may find one of Yogi's hides. His are usually fun.

Finally, I found the video below on YouTube. It's kind of dorky--you'll be doing good to last through it, but I like it. The nerds on the video are a lot like me. And they are having fun. That's what it is all about.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Where Crawlers Crawl

It's just fun--this running thing. Especially at night with crazy friends.AND--especially if you have NEW SHOES!!! Susan was sporting some new Saucony Razors with the built in gaiters.
Her and Roman got in a leg pulling contest before we got off on our run, but it didn't turn into anything real serious. No injuries involved and we did not have to call the law.

The air was clean, the temps warm, and the lights of Tulsa brilliant. It was a great night.
Can I get an AMEN??

Monday, January 23, 2012

Osage Hills State Park with the TOTs. Trail running, eating, and geocaching.

Sunday, Stormy and the TOTs and I meandered northwestward to Osage Hills State Park. Why??? To run trailz, of course!!I counted 19 of us. There was the person behind the camera, and her husband, who didn't feel like they were a part of the group (pish posh!) and volunteered to take the picture.

We had not made it a half mile before there was a scenic stop--the observation tower which is really a concrete platform with a rock wall around it atop the highest point in the park. Had the sun been in the right part of the sky, there could have been some impressive pics.
 Stormy took the opportunity to make this his stage for a lesson on proper trail running form. Seriously, he should write an article for Runners World Magazine as his advice is dead-on.

A coldish day with a warmer but windier forecast actually panned out great. It was a perfect day for shufflingtrailz.

About every mile or so, the train of runners would stop to let the caboose (me) catch up. I was going slow because 1.I AM slow. 2.I am tapering for Rocky Raccoon in less than 2 weeks. 3.I stop often to take pictures 4.I am also nursing a knee problem.

Next we passed through the car graveyard. I found out later in the day that there was a geocache near here, although I left it unfound.

The trail runs right above Lookout Lake. This is my favorite part of the trail.
Such a scenic place--would be a great place for a picnic, although one might pick up a tick or two in certain times of the year.

There are some interesting structures in the next half mile.One sign warned of blasting caps stored in these buildings.

Another sign warned of skinny stick people with canes. (Not me!! Although I felt like I needed a cane.)

I had lagged way behind the group--too many picture stops. So I picked it up a little and a mile later, I caught up.The clouds had all but vanished, the sky was a deep blue. Sometimes, I tweak pictures, but there was no need to. Besides, Osage State Park is beautiful.

There was not a lot of water running over the falls, so the group skimmed right on by what is usually one of the highlights of the loop.

These bluffs are cool. Many a daredevil has dived off these bluffs. Not me. I'm a skeerdy cat.

Stormy lead the group along the edge, thinking the trail led that way. I just hung back and took pictures, knowing they would have to double back.

The last mile or so of the loop is through some bottom lands. This trail started out as a brush-hogged road, but each year, it seems more like a trail. It's pancake flat, and not at all rocky or rooty. A good trail runner can really pick up the pace here. I found the only root sticking up, and took a rolling fall. It's not truly a good trail run unless you fall.

Our run was done. We had about 5.6 miles. Had we ran an out-and-back down to a flat called the ball fields (where there is always deer grazing), we would have had six.

It was time to eat. We debated a little as to our dining choiceBartlesville has a couple of great choices--Murphy's Steakhouse (which is actually a family restaurant with burgers, fries, breakfast, and HOT HAMBURGERS) and Dink's (a world famous barbecue joint.)

We decided on Murphy's.. We arrived 5 minutes before they opened, and they seemed surprised at the wave of patrons as we invaded their parking lot. The Sunday lunch hour usually brings in the church crowd, but half the restaurant was filled with sweaty trail runners--but they did not seem to mind.
And yes, I got the hot hamburger. It is an 8 oz burger on toast, covered with french fries, and smothered with brown gravy. It is a major chore to finish it. I did my best but came up short. This dish is what the diner is famous for--at least half of the customers order it. Thanks to Russell for the pic of me seconds before my feeding frenzy.

Russell and I went back after lunch to hunt for some geocaches. We quickly found our first one, an army ammo box hidden in a bluff. The second cache was called Bugle Bird. The coordinates took us right to a grove of trees, and after not finding it in the larger trees, I noticed this fowl in a small cedar.When it did not spook and fly away, I discovered it was a clue in finding the cache.

Next we hunted for Medusa's Head. This involved a water crossing, a steep uphill scramble, some bush whacking, and an unsuccessful search.This critter offered no clue to finding it either. I did find a small clump of what I think was Medusa's hair. I am thinking the cache has been consumed by a wild animal.

Russell and I found our next eight caches. He would find one, I would find one. He has an uncanny eye for finding things that are out-of-the-ordinary in the woods.Our next to the last cache took us across the dam at Lookout Lake.
It's somewhere down in those rocks--are you kidding me?!?!?
Atop the bluff looking down. A picture never illustrates the seriousness of the fall--if one were to slip and fall. It was a good 40 foot drop.

Eagle-eye Russell found this one, although I was closing in on it fast. These nifty glasses were in the ammo box--stuff to take, leave, or swap. We just took a picture.

We found one more cache for the day and ended up with nine. We also covered about nine miles for the day.

Our next TOT trip is in 4 weeks--we're going back to Pumpkin Holler to explore some new trailz!!! Join us!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trailz, geocaches, bridges, trains, and ticks

After a Sapulpa appointment was short and done, I took advantage of about 45 minutes of remaining daylight to hunt for a geocache. This excellent time wasting activity often takes me places I'd never go, and sometimes spills over into new semi-trail-like places that lend themselves to further adventures. This day was one of those days.I suppose it is a bit misleading top show this picture, because this is where I parked. However, the geocache was on the other side of the road. Still, this could be another adventure. Google maps show this dirt-ish road winding around for about 2 miles. Can you say "out-and-back?"
Down an embankment, over some rail road tracks, and down another embankment, through a creek, over a fallen tree, through a barbed wire fence, and WALLA!! I was within 7 feet of the geocache!!

Ahhh--there it is!!! I wrote the date and my name in the log, along with a TFTC. This old dead tree was right beside a TRAIL!! Of course, there WAS an easier way to get to the cache than the way I came.
The trail called, and of course I followed.
I'd love to tell you the trail meandered along the stream, winding over hill and hollow--but it just led to a bigger creek, and under an old railroad bridge.
An old it was. This bridge is older than Betty White!! This bridge looked like it might have been drinking headquarters to some of the locals, and no doubt they were the trail groomers. And quite an artistic bunch too. I took a few pictures of some of the graffiti, but decided against posting them as I don't want a "graphic material warning" on my blog.

But wait--do I hear something? Could it be?? YESS!!! A TRAIN!!! I edited out most of the video as it was a looooong train. I headed under the bridge, and climbed the embankment on the other side to the road and walked back to my car. This journey of ~1/4 mile was done in street clothes, and Rockport Loafers. What do you think? Log the mileage, or not?

In a sick yet exciting way, the best part of the trip was when I got back to my car. I had a couple of stickers on my jeans, and noticed one of them was crawling.WOW!!!! The tick-o-meter has started. On January 18, I have my first tick of the year!!!!