Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Pumpkin Holler Fun Run

The TOTs took to the roads to run on some new dirt. The destination? Pumpkin Holler!! 25 peeps made the trip, including a couple of our Arkansas friends.
We met at the Turkey Mountain parking lot, and carpooled and caravaned to Eagle Bluff, then regrouped followed the race route to the Nickel Family Nature Preserve. Some were wanting to run long--20ish, a few ran the whole 27 mile loop, and another group ran 6 miles across the 25K course which crosses the nature preserve.
This area is 17,000 acres of paradise, completely undeveloped, with just a very few gravel and closed jeep trails there. It is home to elk, deer, and probably black bear, mountain lions, and big foot.
I led the shorter distance runners. We were shuttled to the far end of the preserve, and then ran 6 miles back to our cars. There was no way to get lost, so I told the runners to run their own desired pace and not to think they had to follow my pokie pace. You can see from this picture that they readily took to this suggestion.
Atop the preserve. It was a misty overcast day, and in fact rained hard for a few brief periods.
Shorty, Nedra, and Travis are cooking along a long gradual downhill section.
There are no bathrooms anywhere. Or there are bathrooms everywhere. Just depends on how willing you are to get close to nature. Shorty, Nedra, and Mishelle used the shelter of this trail for  rest stop.
Only appropriate that this was the Wetlands Trail. LOL
This run started with almost three miles of climbing, then a couple of flat to slightly downhill running and a mile of super fast decent. Our group made it to the nature center just before the hard rains commenced. The longer runners got a good soaking.
We hung out under the wrap-around porch of the center. This building is a very cool facility, but I havce NEVER seen it open.
K2, Mitch, and I went out for some bonus miles, running on the main course to East of Eden, and then we did the Great Gourd Challenge Hill.
This optional out-and-back in the race is flattish for 2/10 of a mile, and then climbs 250 feet in .3 miles. Runners choosing to take this challenge will add a mile to their race, and will get a pin that states they completed the Great Gourd Challenge. This is a super steep climb--a real character builder.
Upon getting back to the nature center, Stormy and I walked out a half mile to see if a certain jeep trail looked like a good possible run. It does look like there could be a good out-and-back run here. This jeep road crosses some nature trails that I have ran before. They are short trails, and quite ticky during the warmer months. Good winter runs though.
In the back of the maintenance barn, we saw these bear traps, affirming that there ARE bear in this part of the state. I ended up with 11 miles for the day. I felt great--it was nice to have a run that felt good.

About a dozen of the gang staggered into Sam and Ella's Chicken Palace--for pizza. This restaurant server the best pizza around, but no chicken.
I probably would not order the chicken here anyway, but with pizza like this, why would you order anything else?
This was "the Big Sloppy Pie", and if definitely replaced any calories I might have burned while running. Any run in Tahlequah should be rewarded here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

night run (walk)

Dana, Jake, and I went for an outing after dinner (in which I are to much Rib Crib and felt bloated.) I took my headlamp, and we walked the neighborhood and then down the westside paved trailz at the base of Turkey Mountain. As it got dark, I fired up my Petzl Nao, which is the best headlamp on the planet. However, one billion gnats saw it as a call to party and started dive-bombing the beam and my vision was blinded much like being blinded by a snowstorm--except snowflakes melt in your mouth whereas gnats squirm a little. To remedy the unwanted in-gestation of minute particles of protein, I turned the headlamp into a handheld and brought the swarm from eye to waist level.

Getting Jake's leash and my headlamp in the optimal placement in my hand, the beam zeroed in on glowing eyes.
I was glad I had Jake leashed, as a large raccoon bounded across the trail and under a culvert. We continued onto the railroad tracks and turned around, running some and walking some. About the time the long climb began, more critters came out to play.
A centipede raced us for a few yard uphill. He had a decided advantage outnumbering our legs 38 to 8. I have since read that they have a painful sting. Glad I didn't pick it up.

No more than a tenth of a mile later, another crawler with a whopping stingzigzagged across the asphalt.
I've seen several scorpions lately on Turkey, and a couple in my house. None have been all that big. Left this one alone.

We had commented earlier that we needed to look out for snakes, and almost did not see this one as we climbed the last incline to the parking lot.
Jake probably came 3 feet from walking right across it. It coiled right up and intended to strike. The trail was wide--wide enough, and we gave him space. Of all course this made the remaining trip home a bit more cautious.

It's pouring down rain right now. Tomorrow, we'll have pics and a post from Pumpkin Holler.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thirty minutes between appointments afforded time for a little exploration. I was near the Ray Harral Nature Park where there were several geocaches and lots of trailz!
I found the first one easily, and thought I'd just mop up, but three of them were most difficult.
Just to the east of this trail, I found the second one--an ammunition box. But the lure of the trail was too strong, and the drive for rummaging around in poison ivy for the remaining three waned.
This small park in Broken Arrow has maybe two miles of trail. About a third of it is paved, but it's all either up or down. I think if you could establish a route that covered most of the trailz, and then ran it in reverse, you could have a great four miler with enough climb to make you break a sweat.
Even the paved portions are great. Much of the paths are heavily shaded, and despite it being 92 degrees, it was cool in the urban woodland.
A highlight of the area is an old rusty iron suspended bridge. If you have a heavy step (or jump up and down) the bridge bounces a lot. I'll be back in the winter to find those other three caches. And I think I'll make sure I have my running shoes and see if my four mile idea works.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

midweek 20 miler

Kathy and I got 20 miles in Wednesday morning. She is prepping for back-to-back hundred milers this October. I'm tuning up for FlatRock 50K, and another hundred--either Mark Twain or Traveller. I am in a place where the heart says YES and the brain says GET REAL!! But ignoring logis and getting in a fun long run (or in this case, a medium run) is one step toward the goal.
And the run was fun. We stopped in the baseball park in Jenks where I sometimes eat lunch from Reasor's Deli. I took pictures of this tree a couple of weeks ago, and have decided it's my favorite tree. It was once a huge giant, and someday, it will be a huge giant again.

Inspirational--well it is for me.

18 miles were good miles--right at 12 m/m including walk breaks. Our last two miles were a tad slower, as the sun was getting after it. Turns out, it was only 86° at the finish, but in the sun, it felt hotter. But I'm not complaining about 86°. Good times!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tulsa Swim

Back around the Barkley Book Fair, I was visiting with my friend Robert Ray about tri's among other things, and he told me of his plans to do the Tulsa Swim, a new event at Lake Heyburn. This was all swimming, and featured a 500 meter swim, a 2K, and a 4K. Four kilometers is 2.4 miles, and is the distance you have to swim in an Ironman. Robert told me we was very comfortable in the water, and intended to do both the 500 meter and the 4K. I was skeptical, but told him I would come cheer him on. Well, today was the day!!

I also became better acquainted with Danny Gassaway, who is the RD of the Tulsa Swim. Danny has helped me in some of my events timing in the Snake Run, and course marshaling at Lake McMurtry. Danny asked me if I would consider doing the swim, and I actually did consider it for about two seconds before laughing out loud. See, I am a sinker. My legs are like lead, and I would be a bottom dweller as soon as I hit the water. Look no further than my swim portion in the Port to Fort Adventure Race, where I wore a hefty life jacket, and nearly panicked anyway, and was the last one out of the water. I told Danny I'd talk it up, and would volunteer doing something since I would be there as a spectator anyway.

Lake Heyburn is southwest of Tulsa, west of Sapulpa, and basically nestled in the center of a triangle from Sapulpa to Kellyville to Drumright. Trust me, it's in there somewhere, but is hard enough to find that a few people were late getting there.

There were patchy spots of fog  all around this Sunday morning, and the lake was calm I'd say the lake was down 3-4 feet and it was said that you could actually stand up in many places on the route.
Brian and TATUR timing were performing their craft. There were around 100 entered, in the three events, with five doing the double. (Robert was one of those five!)

I helped out at the signup table, fixing timing chips to the ankle straps, then as Danny had to leave to send off the 500 meter race, I handled signup, packet pickup, chips and straps, and writing numbers on arms. Fortunately, it never got too hectic, but I did miss seeing all of the 500 meter event. Something amazing (to me anyway) happened. The 500 meter was almost over when a guy got out of the water fairly close to where I was, and ran up to me and asked if he could get his packet. I thought he had finished or was at least in the 500 meter, and did not have his chip, BUT, he was late getting to the race because of goofy mapping on his phone. He ended up on the other side of the lake but he could see where he needed to be. Since it was nearing the time for his (4K) race to start, he parked his car and simply swam across the lake!! And after his finish, he swam back.
Here, the swimmers have left, and a few friends and family awaited their finish. The water was still pretty still. My new assignment was keying in finishers numbers on a keypad. I wanted to get a few pictures of finishers, but entering numbert and hitting enter was important.
The swimmers swam a big triangle loop. One kilometer per loop. It was impossible to tell who was who standing on the shore.
RD Danny Gassaway awaits the first 2K finisher. I have to hand it to him--the event went smooth, everyone seemed to have a good time, and I heard zero complaints. :-)
I had some downtime near the end. Robert was the final finisher and was maybe 20 minutes behind the swimmer ahead. For many, the last 50 yards in squishy mud was as much of a challenge as the swim.
Robert stayed steady and never gave up. He jogged across the finish line and I was impressed. He was one of five who earned two medals, and swam close to 5K. Way to GO!!
Results can be found here.