Sunday, September 30, 2012

This fall has been busy for racing. But there is a trail race this weekend that you should not miss. Turkey and TATURs was Tulsa's first ultra, and it is the race that started the trail running BOOM in the area. This is the 7th year for the race, and the format has not changed--choose your distance between a 50K, a 25K, or a 10K.
This race uses most of the trailz on Turkey Mountain, making six passes on the east mountain, and winding all over the west side on the pink trail.

You'll run along the shores of Lake Logan before venturing onto the Pink trail. The 10K course stays on the pink trail, and the 25K and 50K cross over onto the east mountain before returning on the pink.

Since moving the race date from mid September to early November, we have been treated to great fall foliage. It is the absolute peak time of the years for brilliant autumn leaf colors.

There are a few technical sections on the east mountain and the pink trail, but it's mostly quite runnable.

Bring your iPods if you like. For back-of-the-packers like me, I run most of my second 25K loop alone.

Bring your camera too. Most of the course is a postcard scenic.

Like wooden bridges? We got em.

TATUR has the best aid stations, bar none. Come hungry, leave happy. (and tired, probably.)

This is Pepsi Pond--the Lake Tahoe of Turkey Mountain. This is early in the race for all distances, and also late in the race for the 50Kers.

This year, we are providing awesome tech hats instead of shirts. TATUR shirts and memberships will be available at the start/finish. Plus, BBQ, and other goodies will await those who have worked up a good appetite running. Click here to sign up!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A good friend running for a worthy cause

My good friend Ken Saveth of Know No Boundaries is running Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd.

Ken has one 100 miler finish to his credit, and will be giving it 100% in trying to earn his second belt buckle. Ken is never afraid to try races that seem improbable to finish, which fits in with his philosophy to push one's self beyond any self imposed limits they might set for their self. His website documents his continual quest, but there is a lot more to Ken than tooting his own horn. Know No Boundaries is a non-profit organization which raises money to help the handicapped. His foundation has raised money to buy wheelchairs and other items for folks who could otherwise not afford them. According to his website, "The recipient of our fundraising is a young man from Sapulpa, Oklahoma named Jason Bowlin. Jason has Squamous Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer) in the lower face and neck area and has been undergoing radiation & chemotherapy and will also be undergoing reconstructive surgery. As an ex-construction contractor, Jason does not have medical insurance so the financial burden has been on "mom & dad". This "financial boundary" is where our Fall 2012 funds are going. We are looking to get donations of $1.00 per mile. On the larger scale, a $100 maximum x the number of donations WOULD help the Bowlin's overcome this boundary."

Ken is seeking people to pledge a dollar per mile that he finishes. And of course, he would like everyone to root for him on his endeavor. I am jumping in on that dollar a mile, and hope I have to cough up a C-Note for him. For details on pledging, check his website.

Ken is also looking for a pacer or two in his later laps. Helping him in the final miles is also helping Jason Bowlin.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Purple Stride Trail Run Preview

Can't wait for another trail run on Turkey Mountain? Wanna see how well you can do on a fairly easy 5K trail run? Put the Purple Stride Run on your calendars. October 6th, a Saturday, is the day for this event. Sponsored by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, this trail race may attract hundreds of serious runners, casual runners, and walkers. The proceeds go to fight pancreatic cancer.

There is a timed event, an untimed event, and a one mile fun run. For my friends who want to run it for time, be there early and line up near the front. I suspect that since the race is mostly single track trail, there may be a bit of a logjam in places. For the casual walkers, I would suggest taking it easy climbing the first hill, and then enjoy 2 full miles of easy trail before descending to the finish line. My TOT group ran the loop this evening, and I'd be glad to give anyone the tour on Tuesday evenings or Sunday mornings at our TOT runs.

(Click on the map to enlarge it.)
To give the runners a bit of time to get spaced out, we'll start up the Powerline Trail. Have no fear--we are not climbing Lipbuster. The race will tuck into the woods and follow the Blue Trail for a while. Then, we'll run the Enchanted Forest Trail aka The Bunny Trail to some. We'll finally pop out on the upper Yellow Trail aka the Ridge Trail and followit all the way back to the Parking Lot. I may need to do a moinor tweak here and there to get it as close to an exact 5K as I can.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keep It Wild--from a runners perspective

I feel like I'm a day late on writing this race report--the Keep It Wild Trail Race and Mountain Bike Race. It was a Cat 1, Cat 2, and Cat 3 mt bike event, with a trail 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon. As I mentioned in a previous post, I selected the route, and marked the trails. Wednesday of last week, I put 90% of the pink ribbons on the course, heavily marking the intersections. I heard at first that people were easily able to follow it, then a day later heard reports that people were unsure of where the course went, that it wasn't marked very well, and maybe I wasn't through. Saturday afternoon, I went out to put yellow caution tape at all the intersections, and noticed there were two different areas where ALL the ribbons were pulled!!! It is not uncommon for some of the ribbons to be torn down. Sometimes I think people think they're on Fear Factor and are collecting flags. Sometimes animals shred them. Oh well, I had plenty of time to right the ship.

I had also heard reports of a fallen tree across the trail. These reports were not exaggerated.

At this point, all was well, and I was about a half mile from my car with plenty of daylight to mark things and be through by dark. On the start of the Snake Trail near the iron gate, I saw a dude walking toward me, and he had A HANDFUL OF PINK RIBBONS!!!! As he saw me coming towards him, he hid his stash behind his back. He had longish greasy hair and was wearing a half shirt. Nice. When he passed by, he maneuvered his hand in front of his flabby body. I stopped and said "Hey, are YOU pulling ribbons from the trail?" He replied quickly that "We need to clean up our trash. I've been coming out here for over 20 years and he's always picking up trash we leave out here." I piped up "Hey, we will clean up after the race is over, and we always do." As he walked away, I heard a muttering "Just clean up your damn mess." I stopped and glared, wondering just how much of my course marking had he ripped down, and headed on toward my car to finish my marking, but I stopped and glared again, and he turned to see if I was watching or following. I marked a couple hundred more feet, and then turned to follow this asshole--he might have been pulling ribbons as he went along. I got to the upper parking lot, and looked down Lipbuster. I thought I saw him at the bottom, and decided to run down to have a chat with him.

I caught up with who I thought was him--it was not, and I quickly scanned the parking lot looking for this creep. I asked a group of mountain bikers if they had saw a tall dude with long reddish hair--looked like a slob. They said they hadn't, and I was talking with them about the race the next day when one of them said--is that the dude? Sure enough, Mr. ribbon puller was walking across the parking lot toward his car. I ran over and called out "Hey man, we need to talk." I asked him if he realized that he was undoing what had taken me hours and hours to mark. He stood right there and told me he only pulled down ONE RIBBON--but that he was always picking up the trash we leave up here.
I let him know that I was race director of three races on Turkey Mountain, and help out with several others--and that we always pull our course markings after our race. And that there are a lot of races, walking events, people hiking, boy scout troops, etc. How could he know who left what? This race was benefiting Turkey Mountain and the proceeds was going to provide security lights for the parking lot. I told him my name and asked him his. "I don't have to tell you shit." He is ~6' and drives a blue PT Cruiser. When I mark another race, and see his car, I will assume it is him if any course markings are vandalized.

Well, on to the race. I was up early Sunday morning, and took a once-around putting up signs with arrows. All the course was fine. I hung out and took a few pics as a couple hundred cars filed in.
It was partly cloudy, and about 60°. Every now and then, a couple drops of rain would find their way out of the sky, but the day ended up dry.

There were tons of bikers.
Little guys like this, who are tough little cookies riding the trails here.

But there were mostly seasoned mt bike crazies. The Cat 3 riders breezed around the course, but there were a few stragglers.

Of course my main interest was not in the bike race, but the run. The 5K started right after the cat3 bike race started. The 10K followed the cat 2 start. and the half marathon followed the cat 1 start--at 1:00 PM. Good thing the day was unseasonably cool.

This is the last wave of the cat 3 bikers.

The 5K runners await their start. I had Brian's megaphone and barked out the course description and directions, hoping everyone remembered. After the start, I ran an ice chest up to the top of Lipbuster--an unofficial aid stop with bottled water and barley and hops flavored Gatorade.

The 5K was over in around an hour. This foursome were beat, but enjoyed the race. With the hills involved, I wondered if I might be lynched.

I did not get any pics of the start of the 10K, although it started the same way--after the last wave of bikers.

The half marathon readies themselves for their journey. I had predicted a 2:30 to 2:40 time for the Plate boys. They felt dissed at my prediction, and Cameron had said they were gonna LAP ME!! I figured they probably would--and there was nothing I could do about that--maybe hide in a porta-potty while they passed. I was taking pictures while the runners left me behind. I was tired and running slow. I actually stopped at my car, joking to the crowd that I was gonna just drive to the top of the hill. I actually grabbed a Five Hour Energy. I never caught anyone on the first 3.3 mile loop. After a mile, I was running good--the Five Hour had kicked in. Near the end of the first loop, I saw Tom Robinson on the down and back on Lipbuster. I was about a half mile behind him, and ran hard to catch him by the top of the hill. We stopped at our beer station, and while I usually don't like Bud Light, it tasted good. Tom and I ran the next 2 1/2 laps together. But in the last half of lap four, Tom started having stomach problems. He told me to run ahead, and I hung with him for a while, but lost him on the climb up the Fairy Dust Trail. I just ran after that, picking up the pace as best I could. I finished with a 3:09, which is a little better than I thought I would have finished. This gives me encouragement about running FlatRock this weekend!!

Most everyone who said anything about the course said they liked the route. Oh--they griped a little about having to climb Lipbuster four times, but hey--it was a great challenge. The winning time was 1:45--a very good time. I had said that I did not think anyone could break 2 hours on this course, but six people did--including Cameron Plate with a 1:59:38. Brandon ran a 2:05:57. Click here for race results.

A friend on Facebook posted this course elevation profile for the half marathon. I suppose this looks grizzly to some.
I'd say there might be 1000 feet of climb in the race. But to me, the course profile looks more like a crosscut saw. Can you pick it out in the pix below?

And yes, I did pull all of the course markings for my run course Sunday after the race.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Keep It Wild Preview

This Sunday at 9:30 am is the inaugural running of Keep It Wild, which is a mountain bike race and trail race going on at the same time. The mt bike is divided into cat 1, cat 2, and cat 3 divisions, and oddly enough, the trail running portion is also divided up into cat divisions, with cat 1 doing a half marathon, the cat 2 doing a 10K, and cat 3 doing a 5K. Then there's the junior divisions for runners and bikers 18 and under. The cool thing is that 100% of the proceeds will go to improve and save Turkey Mtn from development. Proceeds for 2012 will go to funding security cameras for the parking lot to help decrease the amount of vandalism/theft that has been happening.

The bikers stay on the east side on the mountain. The runners go up Lipbuster and do a figure 8 course on the west side.
The black lines going up Lipbuster and heading west is the running course. I bet there will be a few people cussing the designer of the running course. For those who wonder who in the hell designed it--well, that would be me. Those doing the 5K will enjoy one loop. Those doing 10K will get to do the loop twice. Yes, that means two trips up and down Lipbuster. And you guessed right--the half marathoners get to do the loop four times. The course is not flat further west either. Yes, there are some nice long gradual downhills, and some flat sections, but you will have a few short steep climbs on the far side of the western loop. My advice for a good finish time--try to make each loop a little faster.

There will be aide at about mile 1.4, and an unofficial aid stop at the top of Lipbuster.

The biking section is already marked with white and pink polka-dot ribbons. I'm marking the running portion with pink ribbons Wednesday evening. I'm running the half, and hope for a sub 3:00, which I believe will be a good medium-range time. I think a 2:30-2:40 will win the half.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mud Sweat + Tears Adventure Race

For years, I have wanted to do the Mud Sweat + Tears Adventure Race, but was a bit intimidated by it. Usually, an adventure race has a water event, and if that event was swimming, I am at a severe disadvantage. I sink, and I am very afraid of drowning! I faced my fear at the Port to Fort race, and with a life vest, thrashed my way 100 yards and went on to have a fun time. The MST has usually had a canoeing event, although a couple of years they have had a swim/wade portion through nasty pond water. This years even was some trail running, mountain biking, riding the mt bike on pavement, some road running, more pavement riding, and a couple easy challenges.
My partner, long time running buddy Mitch Drummond, is a multi-year veteran to this race, and had represented the mid-to-back-of-the-pack, a place where I also fit right in. Mitch created our team name: 100 Acre Wood Runners. Very Pooh-ish. We were both riding on borrowed bikes. Tom Robinson had loaned me his Giant mt bike since my modified hybrid was equipped more for road riding The first bike segment, about 2 miles, was on trails, and I would have trashed the hybrid. Thank you Tom. Old Blue did me proud.
RD Scott Herbst gave the pre-race directions, and what we took from this, was to study the maps, and MAKE SURE we did not skip any check points.
We started at 9:00 sharp, and we headed uphill, opposite of how most of the teams went. The first check point was easy--in plain sight. An elite team led the way, and all we had to do was keep them in sight to find the first one. The second check point was not easy. From the map, it seemed to be right at the end of the dam between the ponds at the Y, but I think it was at the head of the smaller nearly dried up pond. We had to get 4 of the 5 checkpoints, so I made the call to skip this one. The other three seemed easy, and they were. We seemed to blaze right through the first portion of the race. We were ahead of a lot of very strong looking teams. I even heard one team say they had only found one check point when we were heading to our last. I was accepting of the probability of being DFL in the race, so this was encouraging to see we were doing well early on.

The first challenge was to toss a disc into the basket. I've played a little disc golf, but from this distance (about 30 feet) it was easy. My first toss missed by about a foot. The second was buried in the chains. And the crowds roared. (not really)

Mitch and I were fairly quick through all the transitions, since we were not clipped in, and did not have to switch from running to bike shoes. I almost left without my helmet though but Mitch caught me in time. The first bit of riding was on sidewalks, and then the trail was pretty tame--a short rocky section here and there. We were loving it. About a quarter mile in or so, Mitch thought we might have missed a check point. We stopped to look at the map and 3 or 4 teams passed us. We asked if they had seen a check point, and they had not. (They could have been fibbing.) But we noticed that just around the next bend, they all stopped. DARN! We were 100 feet from the spot, and had let several teams pass us. We hurried up there, and got ahead of one team who was having bike chain trouble. After that check point, there was a long hill. Some teams ahead tried to ride it, some pushed. Mitch and I pushed our bikes up, and actually passed another team on the way up. At the top,a large group consulted their maps, and we buzzed by them.
When we crossed the Snake Trail, we remounted and road the rest of the way. We played cat and mouse with another team, and I finally let them pass. We were near the upper parking lot, and in a section that I run all the time, there was a short technical spot where I intended to hop off the bike. But I had been doing so well, I thought I could pop my front wheel up and hop over an elevated root. BAD IDEA! Something went wrong, and my front wheel hit the root and I was thrown over the top of the bike and landed in a no-hands headstand with only my helmet and forehead breaking my fall. My bike followed and landed on top of me. I immediately reached for my head to see if I had cracked my helmet. No crack, but I did find some blood. The padding on my helmet scraped my forehead, but I seemed alright. I quickly got back on the bike and things were fine--but it was a scary crash.

At the top of Lipbuster, We talked about strategies for riding down. I have rode down it before a few times, but today it was muddy. I told Mitch it would be ok, but to ride the brakes on the steeper sections. He chose to walk his bike down, and I inched my way down. On a steep section where the trail sloped sideways, my tires slid sideways and in slow motion, I went down and my bike climbed right on top of me. Sliding about six feet, I picked up some mud, and left some skin from my elbow. Not a good trade!

Finally down the hill, the rest of the race was on pavement. Mitch tended to a low tire, and we were off. A check point near the lower parking lot, and we were off racing down the 71st street bridge. I suspect I was going about half the speed that I usually do on my hybrid bike, but still we were speeding along. We rode medium and furious to 51st street where we picked up the next checkpoint. It was one where a few people were sure to miss it, but we nailed it. Then we made our way to Runners World, another checkpoint and transition area.
Next was a three mile road run, with 5 checkpoints to find. This was easy, and Team 100 Acre Wood Runners ran like champs. Mitch said we averaged 9:30 m/m and that was with our Camelbacks. We hit the next checkpoint and had to guess several celebrities based on their hair styles. We eked our way through this, and headed to Zink Park for the next one.
I have played tennis here, and have ran on the road by here many times, but have never explored the wooded area. It was beautiful--very zombie-trailish, but it's a small park. My friend Shorty was here taking numbers. She's a great volunteer. Thanks, Shorty!!

Then, we basically retraced our steps, picking up two more checkpoints on the way back. It was really seeming easy. We actually passed another team on the way back.
Another challenge at RunnersWorld was tossing shoes into a tub--about 20 feet--BACKWARDS! We failed miserably, using our allotted time with zero baskets. But we did not lose a place. We sped off, and rode at our bikes max pace for the rest of the way. The next 3 check points were right alongside the trail, but were not overly marked. If you were not looking out for them, it would have been super easy to blow right by.

We rolled across the finish line in 2:09:30. I was super stoked about our time--I seriously thought we would have been 4-5 hours. Maybe it was an easier course than last year. I actually thought it was easy.
We were 9th overall out of 19 teams (proud of that too) and 8th men's team. Pizza was served--and we even beat the pizza delivery guy! First time EVER I've finished a race and had HOT PIZZA! Mitch and I hung out and watched the remaining races come in. We beat out some much more capable looking teams. We decided that they must have missed checkpoints, or gotten lost. And we just had a good day.

My head was not scraped as bad as I thought, but it does feel bruised.

No neck pain.

I still have this silly grin though.

And things just got better.

They had door prizes, and I was drawn second, and had a choice of several prizes.

I chose this Kuat Vagabond roof-mounted bike rack--something that costs about $300 if you were buy one.

I hope it fits my Prius!!
How do you top a day like this?!?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Two Januarys ago

Was sorting through pictures for no particular reason. These photographs were taken a couple of Januarys ago with my Olympus camera, the one that seemed to give me fits. But this day, it was doing a good job.
Taken in Sapulpa at an old forgotten cemetery--it's cold quietness seemed to call to me. I listened, but all I could do is breathe and admire. Russell and I revisited this spot a month or so ago, and plundered 2 or 3 geocaches.

I'd like to say this is from an old abandoned farmhouse through the remnants of a fence set by early settlers, but it's from my parking lot at work--a shot of the canvas of a mid-winter sky.

This was from the Botanical gardens on one of our Tuesday Night Secret Society runs. I miss those days.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I've had a change of direction in my running--for the fall season anyway. My desire to run long is there, but it is not the intense run-til-you-drop sort of desire. I am not ready to stop running 100s, but I am putting it off for a few months. A lot of things are on the front burner, and all night training runs have taken a back seat.

What I DO have planned for the next few months is:
1. Paying a bit more attention to my job. My job is as good as I make it, and by being more diligent, the rewards would facilitate more running, vacations, and relax time in the coming months and years.
2. Moving. If all goes well, we will close on our new(er) house which is CLOSER to Turkey Mountain in a couple of weeks, and the long process of moving will begin.
3. Plotting and marking courses for Keep It Wild, Purple Stride, Terrifying Turkey Trailz, Turkey and TATURs, and the Half and Half Marathon.
4. Running each of the above races. And enjoying shorter distances.
5. Finishing my 11th FlatRock 50K within the time limit.
6. RDing Pumpkin Holler and having the best ultra event in Oklahoma.
7. Get through the holidays with minimal issues.

I do have a 100 miler in March in the cross hairs.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Feast your eyes on these pics.

It is time to get serious and get off the fence if your thinking about about the 2nd Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd. This stroll through the hills of eastern Oklahoma, and along the shores of the beautiful Illinois River is a virtual art gallery, with miles of well maintained gravel roads.

There are a few changes for this year--fine tuning a great race into an even better one. We are adding a 25K option. The hunnerd mile, hunnerd K, and 50K will all start at 8:00 am, with the hunnerd milers getting their extra out-and-back out of the way early. At 10:00 am, the 25Kers will be turned loose. The staggered start will help the start/finish aid station traffic. The 25Kers will enjoy the secret "Waffle Stop " aid station that only the hunnerd milers got to see last year. They will also see another aid stop at the Nickel Nature Preserve before turning back for home.

Another addition is to the ultra distances is the Great Gourd Challenge. This is an "elective mile" you can choose to skip, or do. At the East of Eden aid station, you can turn and head east, and up a nice hill to a table where you will be awarded a special pin/medallion you can wear with pride--station that you conquered theGREAT GOURD CHALLENGE. Remember--this adds a mile to your race. You do not HAVE to do this detour--it will add to your race time--and you can skip it if you wish. If you're in the 50K, and you accept the challenge, you will finish with 32 miles. But you'll have some extra bling to show off!

We are adding one aid station for the ultra distances, and moving another. There will be an aid stop at Bathtub Rocks, and another ~3 miles later on the banks of the river. This allows more aid in the later miles of the race--when it was getting a bit warm last year in the afternoon.

Finally--the best advertisement for this race is pictures. Enjoy.
Enjoy the bridge crossing. There is a sad possibility that this bridge may be removed next year. It's possible that it might remain as a pedestrian bridge--we're working on making that happen.
You'll run along the shores of the Illinois in several places.
Approaching Savannah Corner.
The party here never ends.
Bathtub rocks is a major landmark. I recommend a foot soaking here.
There's some good crowd support along the way.
The above pic is the site of the newly relocated Last gasp aid station.Seeing this bridge means you're finishing a lap--or starting another.

The healing waters of the Illinois. It'll take the ouchies right off of your feet.

I hope you join us this October 20th, 21st. We will be posting more details via email, Facebook, and here as the date arrives. We will probablu have another training run in the upcoming weeks. Click here register.