I gave thought to riding my bike this evening--but I worked a little bit to late to meet up with my friends--and besides, I am concerned that my unconditioned tush would be hamburger--since it has not been plopped down on the bike saddle for over a year. Good excuse to run.I treated myself to a circling of Lake Bixhoma. There are a few hard-to-find geocaches there, but with my legs being chigger-bite ridden, I decided to stay out of the deep woods. These caches will have to wait til late fall for me to find them.
I love this run. Even on an overcast day, it is a postcard view from any point around the lake. I took the south route first. Mitch and I had found that someone had started extending the trail--maybe all the way around the south end of the lake. That was back in December--might they have finished their project?? No. This was the end of the line. It is rugged terrain from this point of. Lots of rocks, lots of briers. Bushwhacking around is doable, but it's tough. I did not have an hour to kill, so I headed back to run as far as I could on the west side. I did not go far when I saw a furry little guy lallygagging across the trail. I could have steeped on him. But if I had, he probably would have tossed me to the ground.HUGE. This was the biggest tarantula I had ever seen. He must have weighed a pound or more. There was enough fun on him to make a pair of gloves. He just laid there and looked at me. I am guessing the black shiny circle near the head were his eye(s)? He jumped and exited quickly when I reached down to pick up the dollar I had placed beside him. I picked up the pace on the way back. With the added bit of trail, an out-and-back up the south route and the west route nets 3.6 miles. I added a hill repeat (well, maybe a one-peat) to get an even 4 miles. The fishing here is good. There are a few picnic areas, and even a beginning photographer can look like a pro with pix from here.
I have a lot of friends who have been battling poison ivy recently. I also notice that a lot of people are not sure what poison ivy looks like.
Some think any green vine is the dreaded plant.
Others say leaves of five are PI.
Serated leaves-yes or no? Click here for the best website I have found identifying the plant (what is and what isn't PI), the symptoms, the differences between Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac, and also several remedies AND remedies to NOT USE. Bookmark this website for future reference.
I also recommend these drops from zombierunner.com.
I used to get poison ivy if I looked at a Field and Stream magazine with a picture of the vines. I'd itch for weeks, and always ended up at the doctor's office to get shots or steroid packs. It was awful. I started using these drops a few years ago, and I have never got so much as a blister. (I wish they had something like this for chiggers!) I use the drops from early spring to late fall. One bottle lasts all year. I do not have any financial interest in this product, other than I want them to ALWAYS make it.
1. On The Run (end of Red Trail)
2. Pathfinder (1/4 way down Lo-Chi Trail)
3. Climbing (base of I-Want-My-Mommy-Hill)
4. Now You Can Cry (top of I-Want-My-Mommy-Hill)
5. The Long Walk (mid way back on the Yellow)
6. Dean Man Walking (under the last wood bridge)
1. Heart of the Night (Ezekiel saw the ______)
2. Voices in the Night (Toss a penny, Make a wish)
3. Walking toward Your Fear (The troll left a mess!) (EEWWW!! DEAD FISH!?!?!)
4. Book was missing when I went to pick it up (No troubled water here)
5. The Dying Place (Walk the line--but not this one)
6. Fatal Amusement (Death of many bikers)
7. Spell of the Mountains (Another bridge and aid station)
8. Midnight Memories (No more Pepsi deliveries)
9. Crack of Doom (Old Homestead)
10. The Gates of Hell (Me Caveman)
11. The Torment of Others (In deep dark places--Say NO to Crack!)
12. Cliffhanger (Cave City)
13. Fatal Terrain (Going UP!)
14. Marathon Man (Top of the morning mountain--but going down)
15. Midnight Run (Down Down Down)
16. Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (You've never been this far south)
17. Devil Take All (Old Homestead)
I was amazed that over half of the night runners found all the books.
The book at the YMCA was missing when I went to pick it up, as were books 14, 15, 16.
I am pretty sure that the titles listed on 13 and 14 are correct--might be switched.
I am less certain that I am remembering the correct title of book 16.
I had an even dozen ticks yesterday and today. Anyone top that?
The 6th running of the Barkley Book Fair snuck in and out of town on the sly. Friends and privileged friends of friends gathered at the urban wilderness to do a little book collecting Saturday evening. We had 10 runners in the day run, and 22 runners in the night run. I never want this event to get big. This is about the perfect size, so keep it a bit of a secret, and share with your best friends. My day Saturday started at 7:00, when I gulped down some excellent coffee and powered up. I met Robert Ray, who got ribbon and directions and charged into a challenge of his own--conquering the LoChi and I-Want-My-Mommy-Hill. Robert marked the trail like a pro, and I followed him an hour behind after picking up a few supplies, and I began stashing books.My DrawSomething friend Nedra came out to help, and we hid a book on the red trail, and one on the LoChi. Robert called me to check in while midway up the monster climb. Here is a short video of your truly huffing and puffing up the said hill. By the time I caught him, he had topped the insanely steep climb, and was resting on the best sitting rock on the mountain. I was proud of him for facing this challenge. Robert will amaze me again--he is driven. He took the HoChi back to his car, and after marking northward, we caught him just before he made it back to his car. Day course marked, and six books stashed. No one would get lost on the day run. Thanks so much to Robert, and Nedra, for helping me with the chores of setup. I owe ya big time!!
My afternoon consisted of hiding 17 books for the night race. The night course is not marked. I have ribboned it in years past, marked only the turns, given crudely drawn maps, given slightly better maps with written directions, and it seems that people actually like the race better when it is less than perfect. The struggle and even the failure of finding books makes it more fun. I think staying in groups makes it fun too, and I prefer that--just in case someone breaks a leg, gets snake bit, etc. The plan was this year to issue good professional maps, and mark where the books were on these maps. Then, instead of insisting the book seekers follow a specific course, I let them pick and choose the order they wanted to hunt their books. I placed small cheap glow sticks near the books, which could be seen IF they were close. I also used a few cheap clip-on book lights. Thanks to the local Dollar Store! Would this work? Only if someone in each group could navigate around the mountain and tell on the map which trail was the book actually on? I knew the night runners could definitely get lost, but hey--it's the Barkley.
At 5:30 PM, I had 13 of the 17 books placed, but I had to get to the start/finish to send the day runners off. 10 runners tackled the day run--a little smaller crowd than we've had in past years, but I like a smaller crowd. As soon as they took off, my chore was to get back to EVERY night book and snap the glow sticks. Had I done that earlier in the day, they might have gone dim before the night runners found the books. I got books 1-9 lit up. It was still light, and I hoped the sticks would be enough--otherwise the night wanderers were in for a long one. I hurried back to the start/finish to see my day runners come in, and to my surprise, EVERYONE had made it back!!Vicky Arterburn won the race, covering 4.5 miles in 48:19. I missed seeing her finish, and did not even get to congratulate her!! This picture is from a BBF a couple of years ago--when she also did the night run. Congratulations Vicky for the win, and thank you for bringing the watermelon!!! Rafael Robles narrowly edged a charging Candice Brown, the two finishing 2nd and third in 59:07 and 59:09 respectively.
Other finishers included Wes Rupell, Huni Badgierre, and Mitch Drummond. Mitch rehydrated and began focusing on his next task at hand--the NIGHT RUN.
Kate gives a lesson in hydration. Take the prescribed liquid container firmly in hand, tilt bottle back, and glug.
The night run turned out twice the crowd. 22 runners accepted the challenge of searching for books at night on unmarked trails by looking at hand written marks on a map and quirky clues. I seriously doubted ANYONE would find all the books.
Once the night runners were set off, I still had books 10-13 which needed the glow sticks broken, and 14-17 placed and lit. I was sure I had plenty of time though. I drove to the far north side of the course, and parked by the railroad tracks. This gave me fairly close access to the three caves and the books hidden there. I made those three caves even though it was pitch dark. But finding the entrance to the faint trail head that led back up the mountain onto the trail the runners HAD to take was nearly impossible to see at night. I passed it once, and nearly twice. This is the one place where I used a glow stick as a course marking. Did I make it too easy? Maybe. I got book 13 placed, and then ran back to my car, and entered again at the top of Lipbuster where I ran to SOB Hill to hide a book at the top and at the bottom. It's actually scarier going down the hill than up. All was well. Just two more to place. The 16th was not actually on trailz, but down a gravel road to a place where I bet none of our runners had ever been. I gave thought to going another half mile out, but decided that running on gravel roads SUCKS when you've spent hours running on single track. SO, I made the find easy by plopping the book in the middle of a road in the shadow of the bridge above. Turns out, this book was so easy to find it was hard. Some people just did not believe I would hide it in the middle of a road.
On the way to place the final book, I met EIGHT LIGHTS screaming down the hill running toward me. I cold not believe the group led by Stormy was this far along. Stormy had speedsters John Noble and Tim Eraker with him, and the other five were not pokie either. I had to turn on the jets to get the final book placed. The final book was again at a place no one knew about. At the far NW corner of the red trail--between there and Elwood, there is an old homestead with the remains of some old barns. It is so heavily wooded there, and protected by thick briers, that despite running within a few feet of these ruins, no one knows about them. The problem--in the dark, I could not find them!! My legs were getting shredded, and I was probably collecting ticks in grand fashion. I finally had to settle for a spot that was very near where the mark on the map would lead them. A glow stick placed high in the tree would have to suffice.I placed the book, and added a clip light on the book, and got out of Dodge. But I nearly got caught!!Just as I was nearing the Red trail out of there, the group crashed through the brush. I hit the ground til they passed, and quietly tiptoed out to some quiet dirt trail and then hot footed it back to the start/finish.
The group led by Stormy, which included Brynna, Tim, Rachel, John, Karrie, Eric, and Chrissy--found all 17 books!!! They did it in 2:43, covering around 7.8 miles thanks to a couple of shortcuts that Stormy knew about. Mitch, Kathy, and Russell also found all the books, running closer to 9-10 miles in 4:35. Danielle and Scott were the last to finish, and despite having trouble with the book right in the middle of the road, found them all in 5:28.
Kate, Chrissy, Rachel Selph, Kathy and Troy Moore, John Parris, Wilma, Derk and Barbara made it back but fell short of finding all the books. Still, 13 of 22 found every one. GRRR!!!! Next year!!!!
Thanks to Brian for furnishing and setting up the TATUR tents, tables, sound system, and timing clock. To Kathy for helping set up and take down all the aid stuff, to Russell for his pictures which I borrow from time to time and who always helps pack things up, to Mitch, who always pitches in a hand when help is needed, and who also bought us breakfast at IHOP at 3:00 am. And to Edward and Chrissy, who furnished and painted the coolest Barkley Book Fair Shirts for the runners. They were all different, and all great.
Many years ago, Brian and I were on the way home from some trail race somewhere, and were tossing ideas around. The Barkley Marathon had recently been ran, and somehow the idea of having a race at Turkey Mountain so hard that no one could finish it seemed intriguing. The depravity had began.We have shamelessly copied and modified the format of the infamous Barkley Marathon, a 100 mile race where there are several books hidden in the rugged mountainous wilderness that serve as checkpoints. Runners must tear out the page in each book that corresponds with their race number to prove they went the route and distance. This race is so hard, that most years there are NO FINISHERS. I like that!! The race is comprised of 5-20 mile loops with nearly 12,000 feet of elevation change per loop. A 60 mile fun run is also on the slate, and few even make it that far. Our Barkley Book Fair has a slightly higher finishing rate. Our run consists of two separate races. the day run begins at 6:00 to 6:30--whenever the RD gets the whim to send the runners off. It is ~4.5 miles long, and only has one hill--one BAD hill that is. The course will be adequately marked, and those wanting to run it like a race are welcome to do so. Those wanting to take it slower and enjoy the ride, are encouraged to do just that. Take pictures, have some fun, stay hydrated. Along the way, there will be 5-6 books planted--semi hidden, but they will not require any digging tools, ropes, or scuba gear to find. For some, this will be trailz where you run all the time anyway. But for some who are newer to Turkey Mountain, the day race will be the hardest thing you have ever done. And since I have a sick since of humor, the book titles have a demented relation to the adventure, excitement, and torment you endure while traipsing through the woods. Find all the books and make it back to the finish line, and you are an official finisher. Miss a book, and you're a DNF.
After the day runners are through, the night runners are sent off. While the day course has stayed basically the same each year, the night course is different every year. Some years, the course has been marked heavily with ribbons. Some years, I relied on signs and arrows. In the last running, there were very few markings but maps and written directions were issued. It seems to me--the harder I make the course, the more fun people have?!?!? To be sure, there will be some major climbs For sure, someone will get a few ticks. A bit of rock climbing may be in order. If these particular climbs are really tough, I'll have some ropes to assist you in getting to the top. It is highly likely you'll visit one or two (or three) caves along the way. Maps will be issued and the book locations will be marked on the maps. Once you are close, there will be some sort of lure to get you to the books. There will be a suggested route, but since you will have a map with locations of all the books, the route you decide to take as a NIGHT RUNNER is up to you. I do REQUIRE you to stay in groups, carry a water bottle or hydration pack, a headlamp or flashlight, and for each group to carry a cell phone. Nearly every year, someone has got lost and with a call, I can get you back on track. While this is not the course elevation of this years race, it is a good indicator of what it COULD BE. If I can manage to throw in a few more wicked spikes o that elevation chart--well--you know. Every year, there has been some sort of quirky twist to the course. If I can get you turned around, I'll think I've done a good job.
The race is free. There are no entry fees, no t-shirts, no medals, no belt buckles, no post-race massage, and no whining. You can expect great refreshments at the finish line, one aid station on the course for the day runners, and two aid stations somewhere for the night runners.
Please RSVP, email me, Facebook me, text me, call me, write me a note on my driveway with a piece of chalk. I need a rough head count so I have enough race numbers and enough aid station grub for everyone. (There will be a coffee can/Tupperware canister/wal-mart sack, or something for donations is anyone would like to kick in a buck or two to help with the aid station food. Put this on your calendar--it's a run you'll never forget.
I took the advice of a good friend Mitch Drummond and checked out some trailz he found while on a weekend camp out. I had business in the area--a sales call to a good repeat customer, so technically, when he buys his project, this will be a "paid" vacation for me!! I can write my Gatorade off as a business expense!!!This is Lake Eucha Dam. I drove over to look at the other side, and obeyed the KEEP OUT signs prohibiting anyone from walking across it. Another time perhaps....
Same river, just looking downstream.
Spavinaw GMA (Game Management Area?) has miles and miles of semi-maintained jeep roads. Some are better than others--meaning that some are overgrown (and teaming with ticks I bet.) I stayed on the better roads. I tried to drive into the area, but the first hill was to steep for my Prius to make it up. The instant the tires start slipping, it's like it goes into neutral. Loose gravel and steep hills means Prius parks at the bottom. That's good--another monster hill for ME! :-)
It was a g-g-gorgeous day--maybe a little bit hot, but the crazy wind blowing came right through the trees, and kept me cool.
The loop I had hoped to run was about 6.4 miles, according to Map-My-Run. But from where I had to park, it looked to add about a mile and a half.
All of the course was gravel. I think if you get off on some of the unmaintained roads, they might be dirt--which is why there are overgrown.
I took the low side of the loop going out, which followed a dry creek bed for about two miles. Much of this way was in the sun, but the wind was awesome.
The dry creek bed is to the right.
Soon enough though, I came to the intersection of Groundhog Hollow and Tower Road. Tower Road headed straight up the hill. I climbed for 1.2 miles, and it was probably a good 300 feet. A lot of walking--and some running.
Luv a sun-through-the-trees shot.
This is at the top of Tower Road. I did not see a tower through.
I was treated to about a mile +/- of downhill after that. Real gradual stuff. I made up for my pokiness climbing.
One last little uphill at the end of my run....
....and a STEEP downhill screamer to my car.
I rank this trail a solid 9. Good hills to climb. Some large loose gravel, but most is smaller and runner-friendly. I'd give it a 10 if it had a view or 2 of the lake. I'd love to schedule a run here some Sunday. I bet that happens.
My addictions have changed over the years--from rock-n-roll to golf to running--but food has always been right there too. When my friend Bill Ford suggested a Run for Bagels, it seemed to be the dream combination. Get your run on, and eat.A group of us Tulsa crazies made the trip to Stillwater to Bill and Sheila's house, and hung out while everyone arrived. Bill and Heston Richardson from Perry came, Kathy, Russell, Cassy, Simone, Candice, Dee, Vicky, Arnold, and I were the Tulsa bunch.
Bill goes over some course directions with us before the run.
It was actually an easy course to follow. Go west til the road teed, then south until the road curved, and then another mile to the turnaround, and come back. Rinse and repeat.
At straight-up 8:06 we took off. Bill and Sheila have a running club with a lot of newer runners in Stillwater, and a lot of them cam out to join in on the fun. They ran distances from 4-15 miles, with many of them going further than they ever have. There were even a few spouses who came out to see just what their running thing was all about, and jumped right in. This is how addictions start. It was kind of funny to me how at the start, the new runners took the lead. Probably thought we were just a bunch of sloggers.
I locked in on a good pace--10 m/m or there-abouts. I was messing with my camera when a couple of sloggers caught up with me. Russell, who is killing every race he enters, and Kathy, who is stealthily ramping up her miles in prep for Angel Fire caught up and blew by me.
I had good reason to be messing with my camera though. The sunset was spectacular. A huge storm to the northeast reportedly had golf ball sized hail, and as it got darker, there was a good light show.
The road east had sidewalks for 2.5 miles, and when the sidewalk ended, the hills began. Hills. commented on how they were not really HILLS, but on the second loop, they definitely had grown.
I caught up with Candice, who was wearing her Vibrams. I had not ran with her in quite a while, and was surprised she had jumped in the minimalist bandwagon. Had she goofed up by not wearing more substantial trail shoes?? Hmmm.... The running surface thus far was ok, but the dirt roads ahead might be a bit more technical.
Actually, the miles of red dirt were soft and cushy. Powdery even.
More hills. Ups and downs. I was running most of them, only walking very short segments on the ups. I had no time goals at all--even if I took 10 hours, I just wanted time on my feet. I caught up with Simone and Cassy just in time to find Simone having a bit of nausea. I gave her an electrolyte and a pinch of sea salt, as that usually fixes me right up. She still had the queasiness, and said she had a donut earlier and it was coming back to haunt her. AT the next aid stop, we met Sheila and Alix, who were heading back, and Simone went with them.
I ran on and caught Candice right where the nice soft re3d dirt had turned to course gravel. Her light-footed gliding turned into a pick-and-choose-where-to-step routine. It was a dark and stormy night, and I stayed with her. We caught up on all that had happened since we had last ran together, and I enjoyed the night.
Candice had angry feet by the time we hit the pavement again, and even the pavement seemed to grind on her dogs. When we reached the smooth sidewalks, she took her Vibrams off and went barefoot for about a mile, and then put the toe slippers back on, and found new life. She ran the remaining 2 miles at a sub-9 m/m pace. WOW!
We met Kathy on the way back as she was heading out for her 2nd lap. Kathy wanted me to turn around at that point and run with her, but I really needed to get to the start/finish to eat something and take a 5-Hour Energy. SO, Kathy ran with us to the S/F again, and then she and I did another easy 15. Another big storm had sprung up to the southwest, and it seemed like we were SURE to get hammered, but it seemed to stall out, and other than a light sprinkle, we never saw any rain. Kathy ended up with close to 33 miles for the night. Sneaky!! I had a great run. I feel good, and am hardly even sore. My training is going good.
Thanks to Russell for a couple of the above pics!
Thanks again to Bill and Sheila for hosting this fun fun event. You are amazing friends.