Sunday, December 29, 2013

Coin shooting and canslaw

I had mentioned to Fiver that I knew of an old house--maybe over 100 years old--that might be good for some MDing. Saturday would have been a good day, but I had Sunday open--so we bundled up and made a trip to Pumpkin Holler.

This is a route I have ran, and unless I was totally enamored with swinging the tector, I planned to tack on a few miles on here, and maybe do a little exploring.

Fiver brought Gavin, his son with a sharp pair of eyes, and a rationed amount of enthusiasm. We parked and walked about a mile mostly down a steep hill to a hidden gem of a house.

Fiver brought a spare machine for me to use, and I scanned the south side (the side that sheltered me from the cccold north wind.) My hopes were high when the beeps and buzzes lit up the air, telling me that a great treasure was merely a few inches below the surface, and a couple of shovel scoops away. I was a treasure hunter--a dirt fisher, a coin shooter in the making. A quick scoop into what turned out to be more rocks than dirt, revealed the inevitable--tin that once was the roof of the house. My detector was doing what it does best--signaling that there was buried metal--but not quite what I had dreamed of.

Meanwhile, Fiver and Gavin found a penny, a couple of pieces of a pistol (toy ones I think), a gate hinge, a gate latch, a few nails (he was well on the way to building a fence), and the face of a pocket watch. Hearing of his success gave me renewed interest, and I decided to go into the depths of this multi-level-by-decay house. Carefully I high-stepped my way around what was the crawl space, watching carefully for overly rotted rafters and pointy-side-up rusty nails. Near what was the clean-out for the fireplace, I hit the mother lode--I thought. Turns out, it was massive chunks of iron, but still, I dug around a little. Then, I SAW IT!! A round shiny silver disk--could it be an old quarter??? No.  It turned out to be a foil seal to some kind of bottle, and it chipped-tore as I picked it up. Damn!

Fiver pondered where a hundred year old house would have an outhouse, and we were looking around when he spotted moving objects  deeper in the woods. He said it was pigs. I thought bears. But since bears normally travel in packs of 15 or so, I agreed they were pigs.

SO, I put the metal detector and my digging tool down, and turned on my camera app. I didn't want to get to close, but still wanted a good pic. I took several, and most were too blurry. I was quiet, but when they noticed me, they ambled quickly away. There were 5-6 piglets, and momma pig(s) might have been protective, so I let them go. (I remember the Hannibal movie!)

Walking back, I noticed a road heading east behind the old house into the deep woods. BONUS!!

My Garmin was running on fumes, and I took off at a jog. Garmin died at .8 miles, and I continued on for about 4-5 more minutes. It seemed like each turn in the road invited me to see what was around the next bend. If this goes where I think it does, it'll hook into the road that goes north from the nature center and make a 6-7 mile loop. WINNING!!

Gavin was ready to go, and the three of us headed back up the hill to the truck. We did make a stop at an old abandoned campsite, and swung the tector for a few mins here. Dug two holes, found a piece of tin foil. Covered the holes back up and spread pie needles over the dirt. Leave no trace.

I decided to take the Pumpkin Holler loop via the NE side back to Eagle Bluff to show off our beautiful race course. Fiver--eagle eye that he is--spotted this natural bridge. I was astounded as I have drove by it maybe 100 times and not noticed it. Could be that there was not water in the stream before.

Cross with dry feet. Neato.

But the journey home was not yet underway. These structures (I thought the big one was a barn--and it probably is now) could have once been used by farmers with holes in their overalls pockets. Since I had found mostly canslaw for the day, I let the master do the detecting, and I stuck to taking pictures.

Would a barn have a level rock foundation and a raised wood floor? It might.

These boards wold not hold up a horse or cow. Yep--there's hay, but not a big door to load stacks of hay through.

And would a barn have a storm cellar nearby?
Just outside the cellar, Fiver was digging away. He had got a solid consist ant hit, and just knew there was something good just 8 inches down. He dug, scanned, dug, scanned. Fin bally, when it seemed he was about to dig another cellar, he struck what was a large metal object. A dig, a tug--and he unearthed an old rusty propane bottle. Not the treasure he was wanting, but he did take a nice haul home.
A few coins, a belt buckle, some unknown thingies, a face to a pocket watch, a key and a ring. He's good.

So, I thought I'd show pictures of my treasures as well.
It was still fun.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas on Dec 26.

Ok--the day AFTER Christmas, I had my kids and grand-kids over for way too much foods, and a gift-opening frenzy. It was a good time.

My oldest son Kenny and his wife Lynnsey, with my grandson Beckett hanging out. (It just occurred to me that Lynnsey and frenzy rhyme.)

My middle son Chuck, and his wife Stephanie--along with my newest grandson Wyatt Bear Childress. Wyatt is a whopping 9 days old.

And my youngest son Jason and his wife Jessie.

I am blessed with 5 grandkids. Here we have (from left to right) Makenna, Ryan, Corbin, and Beckett.

Rig up the tripod, set the timer for a 10 second delay--push the button, dive into place, and hope. It took about four tries to get a good picture--which was a more successful process than getting the grand-kids to hold still for their picture.

There was much food, and many excessive consumed calories for me to burn off. After we ate, gift-opening-frenzy commenced.

I used to love this--as a kid. Now I love it as a grandpa.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How I spent my Christmas

Christmas day, and I spent the day at home in my underwear (actually pajamas) and I got a lot of race stuff done. Registration is open for the Snake Run--this year on March 22nd, and also for Lake McMurtry. I know what I want for the shirts on Snake. Medusa, as pictured to the left, will grace our shirts. I will probably have to tame the detail down, or there will be way to much ink on the shirt, and no one likes a shirt that sticks to their sweaty chest. I think a blood-red shirt would be good--but I am always open to suggestions. After I linked signup to Facebook, someone said they were stoked about the medals--and I'm pretty sure they thought the medals were gonna look like the shirt emblem. WOW. That WOULD be cool--but it might be a tall order to pull off. We'll see.

Online Ticketing for Lake McMurtry Trail Run powered by Eventbrite
No changes in routes, distances, or format on Snake Run or Lake McMurtry--but we're gonna trick out the aid stations. We always have a big party with a little running thrown in, but this year, I want more music, costumes, and dancing. (twerking is optional) I hope we have a HUGE camping contingent this year. I'll be there Thursday night, and of course all day Friday and Saturday. I could be talked into staying over until Sunday as well. I was happy with last years trophies, and will try for trophies of the same variety. Still mulling over the shirt design. With Badwater being halted this year due to a government mandated study of the safety of endurance events, I fully expect an investigation of the our race course traversing the Leap O'Doom. I have an ace up my sleeve though. Bill Ford has demonstrated each year that simply flying over is completely safe. Susan Westmoreland also perfected the flying technique on a jump in which a mountain lion was lurking below. I also have footage of a runner doing a back-flip over the chasm. We'll keep the route open--even if we have to issue crash helmets and parachutes.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


There is a secret trail I know
with signs that said I should not go
But I'll tell you where it is. It's down a long winding dirt road, and then a turn on a road into the sun. A long climb leads to a turn where the road is smooth with the sun peeking between the trees.
"You there! Yes, you!! It is ok to come this way. There is still light enough before nightfall. Bring your camera and come!"
"You've come this far--won't you come around the corner, over the gate and beyond?"
"For here is the house where I once lived. Stories were warm, and food was plenty. But years have slid by, and timbers fallen."
"Times were spent upon this porch telling stories and singing songs of old. Listen, and you can still hear the lingering chorus in the breeze of the early autumn winds."
"Look not upon the shambles, the decaying wood, but admire the stone that stands strong."
"Come, there is another sight to see beyond the next wood."
"It's but a walk, but you may run."
"Over a hill and around a bend--not much further."
"For years my barn was full, but in this field now, it is home for an old owl and not much more. But you should go--the sun is setting and there are miles to go back to your world. But come again to this old road with no name. More stories are only a little further beyond the next grove of trees. I'll be here."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Black Toenail Society's first Sunday run

A noble group (minus John Nobles) ran 6.8 miles on Turkey. This was the first "official" Sunday training run for the Black Toenail Society, the Ultra Training ensemble at RunnersWorld. These weekly runs will happen every Sunday in training for Three Days to 100K--although I take trainees for other ultras as well. The plan is to run with the TOTs, especially since they're a lot of the same people anyway. A perk, is I'll get my miles ramped in the process as well. :-)

From left to right, Jason, Jana, Wes, Steve, and Meredith joined me for a scheduled 6 miles. Seemed easy enough.

I had came prepared to scratch my way around on ice. Made sense what with the ice storm we've had for the past two days, and the nighttime low of 28°. Pictured above are 10 #10 3/4" hex sheet metal screws with 5/16" heads systematically inserted into my Hoka One One Stinson Evo Trail shoes. (Luv em--I'm on my third pair, and I'm THRILLED that RunnersWorld is now carrying them!!)  I chose heavy duty slightly longer screws for the extra thick soles, thinking they'd stay in--the Hokas have a pretty soft  marshmallowish sole--but I played it safe and kept the insertions at the outer perimeters of the shoe. No likey ouchie things poking my footsies.

This ingenious preparation, however, was useless. Seems perhaps the ground was still too warm for ice to stay frozen, and we were treated to soft slightly muddy trails. Hokas are mot the best mud shoes, and the hex screws were not a factor.

But ice on the trees WAS a factor in our run. We were parting the branches as soon as we lit out. Turkey has taken several hits in recent years. The ice storm of December 2007, the fire of 2010, the drought years of 2011 and 2012, and high winds from micro-bursts and tornadoes has left all of the mountain with an population of struggling and dying trees. It's just nature's way I suppose. The strong trees survive, and the week ones lay over. In places, the trailz were completely missing, buried by tons of ice on the twigs and branches of victimized trees. But it was a fun adventure plowing around and through them. In an eerie way, it was beautiful.

TOT regular Bill McKee met us at the north end of the mountain, and offered his picture snapping skills so good old TZ could be in the group pic.

Maybe it's just because it different, but even the more drab sections of the trail seemed spectacular.

When the alarm went off at 6:30, I wanted so bad to burrow down under the covers and skip the run--which of course as a group leader I won't do. But seeing the mountain on ice made this such a great albeit slow run.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

TATURs party at the annual Christmas get-togetheri

The Christmas party like no other was last Tuesday--and you missed it (unless of course you were there--logical, right?) If my ciphering serves me correctly, this was the 8th TATUR Christmas party, and we're gracious to the Westport Apartments for letting us use their clubhouse again.
This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver
There was the usual finger foods, a veggie tray , cookies, yummish peanut brittle, two red velvet cakes, and CARAMEL BROWNIES!! We had BBQ catered in, which was also outstanding.

But the real reason for coming is to witness the awarding of the Silver Spuds. Our TATURs, who have had amazing years running, or just being awesome.

This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver
Stormy, Edward, and I along with newly drafted presentationist Russell handled the distribution of the trophies that outshine even the Oscars. Justin Franklin wins "Best Performance In A Race". He won Turkey and Taturs 50K after being talked into bumping up to the 50 instead of the 25K. He also smoked the course at Half and Half last weekend, and ran more ups and downs at the Lipbuster Challenge than anyone else.

This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver
And for "Newcomer of the Year, the Oscar Silver Spud goes to Phillip Berry.

This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver
Scott Smaligo takes home "Most Improved TATUR. Danielle Martin earns the "Comeback Kid" award. Matt Carver wins "Most Improved TATUR" although Stormy deemed him the best TATUR movie producer. I would agree.

Lori Enlow won "Female TATUR of the Year", for finishing Leadville again, winning Pumpkin Holler 25K, and for being an awesome volunteer. Lori even brings her entire family out to work aid stations. She and her fam helped for 24 hours at Pumpkin Holler after her 25K victory, and they even brought 3 generators out for our aid stations to use. (That's a BIGGIE in my books!)

This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver
John Nobles won the "Male TATUR of the Year" for being tough as nails in gutting out a finish in the Prairie Spirit blizzard of 2013. John also is heavy into the volunteer scene.

That concluded the Silver Spuds, but there was one more award to be given. It needed to be something exceptional--if possible even better than a Silver Spud. So this year, the Pink Spud was created and awarded to Kathy Hoover.
This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver\
Besides running everything, helping hundreds of people get off the couch and into running, race directing I don't know HOW MANY races--she ran and finished THREE 100s IN THREE CONSECUTIVE WEEKS!! Arkansas Traveller in 29:12, Heartland in 27:38, and Pumpkin Holler in 26:59. You read right--every week was faster. I think she was surprised with the Pink Spud, and she certainly deserves the honor.

Some people had to work the next day, and the crowd dwindled somewhat. But a good crowd stayed and just chilled for another couple of hours. We had the building until 10:00 though, and had to pack things up and call it a night.
This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver
Stormy polishes off the LAST BEER, so the part was over.

This picture was swiped from the talented Matt Carver\
Even in the darkness, Edward is a ray of light to those around him.

And me--I ate too many of those caramel brownies. I had an incredible sugar buzz, and gained all 10 pounds I have spent the last month trying to lose. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

my favorite pics from the Half and Half Marathon (Trail Version, of course)

I posted a photo album on Facebook with 497 pictures. They can be viewed HERE. But this post has my favorites. I took a few pics pre-race before heading to my course marshaling location.

Ignore the legs. The pic is for the gaiters. Tom Robinson always goes for style.

Brandon and Cameron Plate--the phenom kids. As usual, Cameron has his game face on, and Brandon sports a smiley face.

My race duties consisted of directing traffic at the Funky Intersection, a name Roman and I came up with. The Snake Loop is utilized in the trail race. The runners come up the Jelly Legs Trail, run the west side of the Snake Loop, then north on a straight-as-an-arrow trail that bisects the Snake Loop to the north end, and then back on the east side of the loop, and they return to the intersection where they headed north--this time turning south. Confusing? Basically, it is sort of a deformed figure 8. It was well marked and had signs with arrows, but it needed a traffic director because if one runner went the wrong way, everyone behind him/her would follow.

I took the opportunity to snap lots of pictures--526 of them to be exact.

I missed getting winner Justin Franklin the first three times he passed through. He was just too fast! But I caught him on his last passing. At this point, he was around 10 miles into the race, and was a mere 64 minutes into the race. Do the math--sub 7 minute miles on trailz.

I liked this picture because it was one of many long trains of trail runners. On one particularly long train, I put the camera down and got 23 high fives as they passed.

Mile 10, and taking it to the house. Everyone seemed to be having a blast.

Not all my pictures were of runners. When it slowed down, I took a few of the surroundings.

Frozen bike tread marks, and my long skinny legs.

Follow the pink.

A perfect day to run. Yes, it was in the high 20s at the start, but it warmed up nicely as the sun did it's job.

Do you see the deer?

I don't mind people tossing litter near the aid stations, or in this case by my post, but tossing them out on the trail is NOT COOL. I pulled course markings, and picked them up for you litter bugs.


The day before when marking the course, the trailz were damp, and 95% mud-free. But hundreds of pounding feet whipped the mud to the surface--not to mud-fest conditions, but slick and splattery in places.
Thanks Russell Bennett for this pic
Barbara helped me pull course markings after the race, and it's once again, a clean mountain. Thanks to RunnersWorld-Tulsa for putting on what in my opinion is Tulsa's best marathon.