Despite dealing with hellacious horrifying hideous hammering horrendous heat, our TOT runs have never let up. Sunday morning, as I drove to Chandler Park at 6:30, I noticed the reading on my car said the outside temp was 88°, a record for the warmest low temp ever in Oklahoma. I guess however, it must have been one degree cooler at the airport, where official records are kept, so the actual record did not fall. (That record DID fall the next day when the official reading was 88° for the low.)
But do these gurlz look hot? (well, yes they do. Just ask Mitch!)
So a little after 7:30 22 of us broke into 2 groups, and toted plenty of water and Gatorade with us around the hills and valleys, canyons and streams dry creek beds in the wildwoods west of Chandler Park Proper. Who would dare to go beyond the gate?? They all did! Twelve went with me, taking a winding yet deliberate route through steeply descending single-track mountain bike trailz, rugged jeep roads, sharp climbs up the side of never-ending hills only to descend and ascend again. Can you say "hillwork?" But the pace was easy, and the conversation good. My leading skills were never criticized, although I thought I felt a muttering of curse words directed towards me--or maybe it was at a pesky horsefly?
After the ups and downs and ups, we came to a series of spectacular rock outcroppings. The whole line of trail runners ventured through the keyhole to the other side.
It was a scramble--watch your step, watch your head, watch for snakes Actually, it didn't seem that snaky, but one never knows for sure.
Ruben seems glad to have made it through unscathed. I am glad he's back running with us.
Mitch stops to examine something. It seems as though he's staring at skeletal remains of something(one), or maybe he just had gas?
Rachel seemed to be having a blast. She and Christina soaked in every square inch of the scenery along the way. From a recent Facebook post, I think I have helped her become more acquainted with a foam roller. (Just trying to help! :-) )
We had the pleasure of Rafael running with us. There is no need for an iPod when Rafael comes along. He provides non-stop entertainment, complete with segments of health information and coaching, IRS horror stories, tails of Florida and Miami beaches, interludes of reminders that we Okies don't know what humidity is, and on this trip, an account of him meeting the love of his life. Rafael MUST be my pacer in a 100 someday. We trade insults back and forth more than the Hatfields and McCoys, and his exuberant dialogue on the totality of life might be enough to keep me awake when I'm fighting falling asleep on my feet at mile 75. And lest you think I am complaining, I actually enjoyed the run with him.
We are entering some of the tallest bluffs and rocks in this part of the state. I truly believe that this could be a state park, but I'm quite happy for it to remain undeveloped.
Rachel took this pic, and it has been said that I demonstrate my zombie traits here. I have no idea what I was saying (or thinking) at this point.
There are several slots passing from one chamber to another. Each of these rock faces are excellent for climbing and/or rappelling. A few climbers come here, but it looked like non had been here in a while.
Pausing for one more group picture, we headed back to the parking area. Yes, there were more hills, but we seemed to move along a little faster. I think we got stronger as we went.
Rafael, Krystal, and I headed out for another 3 miles after refueling, They finished with 7 miles, and I with 8.2 due to a short warm-up before everyone got to the park. Stormy's group enjoyed the Powerline Trail, which is an insane roller coaster of jeep roads with about 500 feet of climb. They spilled into a neighborhood, and opted to "road it" on back. We lost no one, and I've heard a couple of remarks hinting of a return trip. Good times.