This past weekend, I ran the third Midnight Madness 50 miler. This race is in the most ridiculous time of the year--JULY?!?!? 50 miles--starting at midnight, and finishing whenever you can muster out 50 miles (actually 51.5 miles) on the paved bike and pedestrian trails around the Arkansas River between the 31st Street Railroad Bridge. It's pancake flat, except for a brief climb up to the Turkey Mountain parking lot, and the climb across the 71st Street Bridge toward Elwood Ave.
In 2010, we had unseasonable cool weather, although it was very humid. I remember I had sweat pooling in my shoes, and blisters beyond belief. It rained for the last three hours of the race. The medal was a huge left foot--very cool. I decided once was enough for this race. Last year, it was right in the beginning of the hottest summer on record for Oklahoma. No worries--I was not doing the race. But then I heard the medal was a matching huge RIGHT foot?!?!? I had to have one. I finished with a much slower time in 103° heat. I swore I would NEVER EVER do the race again. This year, the high Saturday afternoon, when I would most likely be finishing, was to be another 103°. And dog-gone it, the medal was going to be two feet--a medal even bigger than the previous two. So, I signed up again.
It's always good to run with old friends. Ken Saveth aka K2 was grinning and gunning for a finish. Dennis Crosby also was prepped and ready.
My friend Susan Westmoreland wanted to help in the race, and would have volunteered all night long, but her father had passed away, and she had a full plate with that. BUT, she and her daughter Paige made a Zombie Kit for me--an ice chest with cold water and two Frog Togs, and a tupperware container of mint and peanutbutter brownies!!! Food from HEAVEN!!! Susan, YOU ROCK!!!
Always looking for a good picture, here I get in the way of the professional photographer as he does his job. Tom Lane took many great pictures, and shared them with TATUR, and TATUR shared them with me. So all the ones with the TomLanePhotography label are courtesy of Tom Lane and TATUR.
At the stroke of 12:00, we were sent off. A group of 5 or 6 fast guys set a torrid pace. I was not one of them.
Thanks to Tom Lane, you get to see me trotting by. My friend Leon Curry is just ahead in the red. We run quite a few hundreds together. I am always encouraged by him, and sometimes he beats me and sometimes I beat him. I thought he was from California or Arizona--don't know why I thought that?--but I found out he is from Lawton, OK. Cool!!
I usually feel awful for the first 1-3 miles of any run, but this night, I felt energetic from the very start. I planned to run whatever pace my body allowed, and maybe run most of the way with my buddy Ed. Here, I sprinted ahead to get a pic of my friends.
Crossing the Pedestrian Bridge was possibly the best 1/4 mile of the course. The wood deck has a nice springy surface, and throughout the night, there was a good breeze coming down the river. It was almost like running in air conditioning.
There was aid stations at the start/finish, at Turkey Mountain, and water drops about halfway in between the aid stations. But WAIT! Stormy and Wes manned a full service aid station on the sly on the lonely section on the west side. Water, Gatorade, salty snacks, and BEER!! I partook of BEER every time I passed through. I also had a good race. Coincidence?? I think not.
Here's some of the front runners coming up the steepest part of the course. Top this hill and they've reached the oasis manned by the Oklahoma Trail Runners--David and Peggy Wood and friends. You guys are awesome!!! Ana a shout out to Lori Enlow, who was gonna use this as a tune up for the Leadville 100, and because of a minor injury setback had to sit the race out. But she came out and worked at Turley Mountain all night long. Thank you Lori!!!!
The Turkey Mountain oasis was well stocked, and they had chars for runners to sit in while they accessed their drop bags and tended to their feet, etc.
Poor David looks tired. Maybe he was nipping a little to much Gatorade? Wink wink. The folks working the aid stops in a race like this are as wiped out by the end as the runners. Could not have a race like this without them.
There was another unmanned aid stop around 65th Street on the east side of the river, but there were folks there at times. I didn't get any pictures or names there--my bad.
This was the start/finish aid station, and although I hit it 5 times, I am not sure who all was here. My Tuesday TOT friends Nedra and Shorty worked here most of the night. Thanks Nedra for taking a few pics for me. I think Cassy also was here some of the time, as she snapped a embarrassing pic of me while doing some chafing maintenance (see pic below.) I know Travis Owen worked this stop for three of my laps, but then he paced me for a lap and a half. Russell Bennett, who finished the 50 at Angel Fire last week, worked all most of Friday evening, and then all night, and all day Saturday doing everything needed in the race. He is a machine!! He gets the MVP in my books.
I did a double duct tape job on my boobies, but the tape fell off after two laps. So Shorty (I think that's who it was) wiped the sweat off, and put jumbo bandaids on. (Quit laughing!! They're PECS, not man-boobs!!)
I met Travis Owen at Rocky Raccoon a couple of years ago. We've been Facebook buddies ever since. Travis ran the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd, and has been a valuable friend since, advising me of several new trailz for my trail guide. I had not intended to have a pacer, since I decided at the last minute to run this race, but was glad to have his company. He kept chatting away through my 4th loop, and half of my last, and kept my mind off my aching body and feet. I had intended to change socks (prepped with Happy Feet) at mile 30, but Dana and I did not hook up until mile 41, By then, I had a good painful blister on both feet. The change of socks at that point probably kept them from getting worse, but this evening (Monday) I am still having trouble walking. Dana then crewed every 3 miles for the remainder of the race, which was appreciated. Luv me some cold watermelon.
Meanwhile, Nick Seymour won the race in 7:25. Nathan Sicher finished bout a minute behind. Stephanie Stewart was the women's winners, clocking in at 9:28. I ran a slow but steady 4th lap, but for some reason ran a little better on the 5th lap. Once I hit the pedestrian bridge, I ran most of the way to Stormy's Station. Travis bowed out at that point, and it was just me an my tunes, as I tried to pick up the pace. I ran all of the hill coming up to the Turkey Mountain oasis, and then pushed hard all the way down the long 71st Street Bridge. I thought I could pick off a few runners, but there evidently was a huge gap between me and the runners ahead. I would pass someone, only to find out they were just out for a recreational run, or walking their dog. I think I might have passed ONE runner. At about 3/4 of a mile out, Dana walked out to pace me in. Since she had came from the finish area, I asked her if there were any runners ahead I could catch. She told me my friend Bee Sting Bob was just ahead, and I took off like a shot. I felt like I was running 8 minute miles, but it was probably only a 10 minute pace. It just seemed fast. I like to hotdog a little at the finish line anyway. Bob was sitting down at the finish drinking a beer, and he finished a couple of minutes ahead for his first 50 mile effort and finish. And Dana had fibbed just a little to get me to hurry my butt up. She's like that. ;-)
So, at the end of the day, I have all three of the medals. I hope they have a butt-ugly medal next year!!