Thursday, January 31, 2013

Places you've never seen on Turkey Mountain

I have known of this place for a few years.
It's hard to get to. Briers are thick, and treefall is everywhere. If it's not the ice storm, high winds, or tornadoes, these trees just fall oover from old age.

T here are several old sheds in a place not far at all from a trail that is ridden and ran a lot. But these ruins have gone undisturbed and unexplored.

Who do they belong to? And are there stories behind them--waiting to be told?

Was this an old home at one time? Or out-buildings belonging to a nearby homestead?

I think they were used for pigs, goats, or sheep. Notice the low roofs. There are 4 or 5 different structures within a 50 yard area. I'm still doing research.

My story of the old homestead I mentioned yesterday is still in the works. I am getting some conflicting information, but will get to the bottom of it soon. By this weekend, I'll have news to tell.

Just when I think I have seen everything there is to see on Turkey, I found something new. There are some new trailz showing up here and there, that a genius of a mt biker has cut. These loops in and around Rock City are winding twisting single track, and fun to run. I plan on taking the Sunday TOTs on a tour of places they have never been. Too bad a lot of them are at Rocky Raccoon.They'll be having their own fun while we have ours. :-)
This is paradise is on Turkey Mountain. Oh yes it is!!!

While tromping around with Jake, I found this bluff with nice deep water at the base. It looked good enough to swim in, but I passed. Jake plowed right in though--swam around, and said the water was fine.

Maybe this summer, we'll take dares to jump off the bluffs. Umm--maybe not. This place is awesome, and there NEEDS to be some trailz cut to get there. It would not be all that hard to do.

Come run with the TOTs this Sunday at 7:30 and we'll check it out.

A final story--and yes I know--I do tell some slightly stretched stories from time to time, but this is true. I popped out on the north end of the mountain and intended to take the upper yellow trail back. It was almost dark, and I noticed two people over by the wooden kiosk by the Spider, looking at the map. Lauren and Taylor from Glenpool were out for their first outing on Turkey and had chosen the Yellow trail. They had a small dog--a Schnauzer I think. I asked them if they were lost, and they giggled and said they were. They needed to get to the parking lot, which was fully two miles away. I told them of a way they could get down to the lower paved trail, but that involved going down the steepest most treacherous hill on Turkey, and it was no doubt muddy--so I thought it would be best if they followed me out. I walked the two miles back to the parking lot on the upper yellow, taking a shortcut or two to get them out a little sooner. I loaned them my headlamp, as I can actually run in the dark. There were no cars in the parking lot other than theirs--even the mountain bikers had packed it in. A strong north wind brought the temps down to 32° and the windchill a lot lower, and two miles of stumbling around in the dark would have been bad. I was in the right place at the right time, and was so glad to help. Taylor and Lauren--if you read this--come out and join the TATUR group on Sunday mornings at 7:30 or Tuesday evenings at 6:30 for some trail running.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Geocaching, night running, and a fascinating story in the works

I went out for my mandatory run, and rather than taking the safe route on pavement, I hit the trailz--mud or no mud--I didn't care. I also was thinking about tidying up some geocaches on Turkey Mountain. I have found all but two, and Tom's Turkey Mountain Homestead has had me stumped ever since I took up the hobby. Instead of just giving the coordinates or making it searchable on my iPhone app, you have to figure out a long puzzle which includes the most geekiest bunch of geocaching trivia. After wading through the many steps in the puzzle a couple of times I had given up. I have always thought I knew where it was, but wanted some sort of reassurance before I spent a lot of time searching for something that may or may not be there. Recently, my friend Alan akaYogi told me that the old homestead where I thought it might be was NOT the location. He has not found the cache either, but has been to the correct site. I visited his blog and viewed a picture he had taken while there, and with that pic and two other pics some other cachers had taken, I felt I could at least be sure I was in the right place IF I could find that place.

A couple of weeks ago whilst on a walk break, I thought I saw some old rusty tin off in the woods. Normally, it would be hidden due to the thick undergrowth, but with the leaves off, I had caught a glimpse. If I could only remember where that was.

Jake and I slowed our pace to a walk once we were near the area where I thought I remembered. Then, I saw it. Not sure if this was the place, it sure merited some checking out!

This is Yogi's pic, taken about a year ago.

This is my pic taken tonight. I was standing on the south end looking north, and Yogi's was taken from the north looking south. One of the picture taken by someone who actually found the cache has a tree with an odd crooked branch in the background, and I clearly saw that tree. It was getting dark, and my find was postponed, but I do know this is the place.

Jake and I finished our run, taking some easier trailz on the west side, then circled the mountain on Taken for Granite, down Jelly Legs, then back on trailz just west of Powerline.
I ended up with 4.9 miles. Jake probably got an extra mile surging ahead and then coming back to check on my slow arse.

I couldn't stop wondering WHO would live in an earthen shelter with a tin roof like that. How old was the "structure"? Sitting in front of the computer with Google, and I discovered the answer. There is an interesting story to this structure, and it ties into a couple of other landmarks on Turkey Mountain. I know enough about this to seem slightly uneducated, but with a bit more research and a few specific pictures, I have a great story--one which has some historic significance, and may or may not tie into my mysterious acquaintance Eldridge. Stay tuned!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Contemplating the Streak

Somewhere near the end of the year (2012) I began a running streak. I'll skip over the har-hars of nekked runner jokes, although I will admit that googling the subject gets a few eye-opening stories pictures. Since I began my streak (every day running) I have ran 31 straight days and covered 234 miles, with my longest being a 27 mile training run and 5 runs that were less than 2 miles. I used to not even bother with running if I could not go at least 3-4 miles, but I have changed my reasoning for this endeavor. There have been a few days when at 11:30 at night, I have headed out the door or hopped on the TREADMILL (ugh) to keep the streak alive.

Streakers love company. My friend Bobby Michaels started his streak at Thanksgiving, and planned to end it at the end of the year--but he has not stopped. My streaking might have been a part of why he is extending his, or it could be the Facebook group called Streak Running.

I have a couple of friends (Ron and Bobbie Ruhs) who have been extending their streak for 247 days now.
These are sick people--Bobbie just ran a 24 hour event on a TREADMILL, and gave that machine a 100 mile beating.
That's averaging 14:24 minute miles--including rest breaks, pee breaks, and feeding frenzies.
Fortunately, since the run started and ended on different days, she got to count it as two, but she hopped on the mill again for another mile the next day to keep it going.

I am training for a 100 mile race on March 23rd--the Prairie Spirit 100. To properly prepare for a 100 miler, long runs in the 30 mile range are a must, and weekend back-to-back long runs are highly recommended. The second day starts out grueling, but after a few miles, you find that yes you can run on tired legs. But one negative thing that running every day has caused-- my energy levels are zapped for that second long run on the weekend. Of course, making yourself DO IT ANYWAY is excellent training, and provided I don't wimp out in the next 5-6 weeks, I'll be ready.

Pros and cons of Streak Running
1.It gives you a great sense of accomplishment. I'm doing something that not every other runner is doing (or wants to!) Having the Facebook page where we check in daily gets a lot of atta-boys and encouragement.
2. Once you have a few days in your streak, the desire to keep it alive is strong. I am far less likely to blow off a midweek run now even if I'm a little tired and work was stressful.
3. It feeds my love of running. Of course, I keep it fed pretty well anyway.
4. For some, running every day would help with weight loss, if that was something they wanted/needed to do. I started a new years resolution-ish diet and with my allotted daily caloric intake, the activity has helped keep me in a slight calorie deficit. So far--12 lbs lost.
5. Misery loves company. I have quite a few friends who have jumped on board and joined the craze and Facebook page AND I have made a few new online friends!! :-)

1. Getting the run in is sometimes tough. I have been on the treadmill at 11:30 at night for a token mile--and I HATE the T-mill.
2. There is a risk of burnout. I always said since I started running--when it quits being fun, I'll probably quit. But so far, it is still fun and enjoyable.
3. The risk of injury. I am very fortunate that I have only had very minor setbacks in my running. I had a few cases of nagging shin splints, a bout of plantar fasciitis, an IT band irritation, and a couple twisted ankles. None of those kept me from running. I run more on trailz than on road, and I believe I do not beat up the same muscles in my leg on the various trail surfaces like I do using the same muscle group while pounding pavement. Still, I suppose there is a slightly greater chance that I could have an overuse injury by running every day and not having "rest days." I, however, consider the occasional 1-2 mile run days a rest day. But truly, if I felt I was slowly grinding myself into the ground by running every day, I'd stop.
4. This con has my attention, and I mentioned it earlier. Running every day may not be the best thing for a runner training for long distances. That could mean the marathon distance, 50K, or longer. This is the only reason that I think I might halt my streak in the coming weeks--so I can rest up between long running weekends and get my proper training done. A well placed rest day here and there might be beneficial to my weekly training regimen.

So what do I do? My answer for now is to run a mile or two on my rest days--and call them cutback days. (You already knew that, didn't you?)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jake's Life

Jake's Dad has been ramping up miles, and Jake has been right on his heels. Jake ran 5 miles Saturday, and a little over 6 on Sunday. Last night, Jake's Dad headed out for a last minute run to keep some streak thing going, and Jake wanted to come along. Jake thought the pace was a little slow, and he pulled Jake's Dad the whole way. Nothing like a tempo run at 11:30 pm. We got in three
So when Jake's Dad got home and was getting ready to run with the Tuesday Night Crawlers, Jake's Dad thought he should take a rest day. But Jake would hear none of that. So, Jake got to run the trailz at the Oxley Center at Mohawk Park.

Jake got a couple of breaks while his Dad stopped to take pictures. This one was taken on the run. and is a little blurry, but was one of the few that turned out.

This is from the high banks of Bird Creek. Jake wanted to go for a swim here, but his Dad said no. It was about a 20 foot drop-off down to the water.

Jake led the way around the Bird Creek loop, and then headed on down toward Recreation Lake. Here, a trail runs right along the northern bank, and while his Dad was taking another picture (and sucking air), Jake plowed in for a quick swim.

Jake is typically a five mile dog, occasionally getting in six miles. But Tuesday, he ran a spirited four miler, and then another four miles when the Night Crawlers showed up at 6:30. Thomas brought his dog Callie, and Jake was in top form showing off, leading the pack even though he was out of his comfort zone. (Jake has a girldogfriend!)

Jake talked his way out of a bath, since the water in the lake was really not all that dirty like the ponds at Turkey Mountain are. He just laid around and grinned all night. Runner's buzz? Thinking of his new friend? Probably both.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Warm Weather = Happy TOTs

It's January 20th. Instead of having sub freezing temps and snow, it's been more like spring. 64° for the high means you HAVE to be outside!!
So, at 7:30, the TOTs were out in full force. We had more than 30 runners, and we divided up into two groups to run for about an hour or so. Our group ran part of the Snake Trail, and then visited the freshly plowed gardens of west Turkey.

We stopped at the second most popular attraction in the wilderness--the old washing machine. (The first most popular is Lipbuster. Third place is the Oklahoma Rock, and a distant 4th is the Stink Plant.)

I took a picture of a deer carcass over where the land is being plowed, but decided to NOT post it, because the death of the deer was more likely caused by Wiley Coyote than by the Caterpillar Crew.

Both Venus and Maggie are taking home souvenirs. They both fell, and sopped up a bit of mud. If there were some ripped clothing and/or some blood, these might have been certifiably awesome falls. Better luck next time. :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

After a week of clearing....

The area leveled on the west side has not gone much further north, but has widened almost to the Pipeline Trail. The dozers were inactive Saturday--they needed the weekend off.
Piles of brush are larger and higher, but as promised, they have left plenty of good trees. There are small unmarked yellow flags on the northern edge of what they cleared, and that might be as far as they're going.

I am changing my views on this ever so slightly on what has been done. Most of what they cleared was completely unusable land. From where the Old Boys trail turns north, everything west was deep dense briers and deadfall. Most of the trees were choked off from the thick scavenger undergrowth. We really had no trails in most of what they cleared, other than Old Boys.

A few years back, I had the bright idea of cutting a loop through this area--but after hacking and clipping for an hour and a half, I had got about 30 feet and ditched the idea. It's flat land--nothing all that interesting.

These were meat-eating thorns too. I shed some blood there, and ripped my clothes. Boo hoo. The fact that prospective buyers could not see what was for sale is basically why this land was cleared. If these folks finish they job they stated they were going to do, they'll smooth the dirt and seed or sod. The place will end up looking like a park.

I'd still rather it be more wooded, but what they've done IS an improvement. One of the equipment operators has said that they'd smooth the path where the unearthed trail was for us. A little bike traffic will bring this trail back in no time. I would like to see another trail created to loop through the cleared area. We might even gain a quarter mile of trail out of all this. The best thing we can hope for is for some generous somebody to buy this land and set it aside for park use. The next best thing--if it is developed, that they only utilize a small part of it and do the best they can to keep it "green." I really do not see how they could develop the land that heads down hill into the ravines and washes. We have trailz there, and we may get to keep these. The worse that could happen is if they fence it all off.

As it has been mentioned, awareness is so important. It needs to be made known that there are tons of people who feel like we do. Calling all outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, bikers, trail runners, and tree huggers. Make some intelligent noise. Our Turkey Mountain clean up days are such good PR for our cause, but keeping things clean in the first place is also key. Pack it in and pack it out. Pick up a bit of litter as you head back toward the parking lot. Maybe we'll not lose a thing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chia seeds, coconut oil, ground flax, Magic Bullets, etc.

After reading Born To Run, and how the Tarahumara Indians from the Copper Canyons in the most jagged mountains of Mexico used concoctions made from chia seeds for rocket fuel, I have given much thought to trying them. Five Hour Energy drinks work for--well--five hours, although it seems they lose their effectiveness after the third or fourth dose. That could be because of the enormous amounts of caffeine I consume in the 1.5 gallons of daily coffee I drink. And no, it's not that light brownish watered down crap you get at the greasy spoon either. I like coffee with an attitude--coffee that you can smell in the air the night before when you set the timer the night before on the Cuisinart Automatic Grind and Brew machine we got from JC Penney two years ago with that gift card from the in-laws--we forgot to send them a thank you card??? Wait, where was I? Coffee. I like it strong. Coffee that takes two teeth brushings and one flossing to get the taste out of your mouth, although why would anyone want to do that? Oops, actually, I was talking about chia seeds. I was reminded once again of chia seeds when I was reading the instructions on a Chia Cat Grass Planter we got our cats for Christmas. See, Sassy eats grass when we let her outside, and promptly comes in the house and throws up. An attempted suicide? A kitty anorexic diet plan? An attempt at vegetarianism? Well, to appease her, we thought this chia grass would be a better roughage choice for her since it was designed for cats. In going through the Chia Cat box, I found the sack of seeds. Hmmm...might be worth a try. I should have got the scissors to cut a slit in the bag, but instead tried to open it like a bag of chips, and when it ripped open, 1/2 of the contents were instantly planted--right in the dining room carpet. So, hurriedly (before Dana got home) I cupped up as much of the seeds as I could and put them in a fake-Tupperware bowl, and vacuumed up the rest. Poor sassy will have less chia grass now, the carpet got a free vacuuming, and I got a taste of chia seeds, licking up what was scattered across the dining room table.

I then sat on the couch, turned on the TV, looked at my watch, and waited, thinking in a matter of minutes, I'd experience an amazing transformation--energy levels rising, slow twitch muscles becoming fast twitch, a pre-run runner's buzz at least. But nothing, except a funky taste in my mouth. Maybe I had not eaten enough, so I wandered back into the kitchen for another dose. Then I read the WARNING: NOT RECOMMENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. Yikes. A day later however, I am no worse off; so hopefully no harm is done.

Dana had read some articles on the benefits of coconut oil. I followed up with a Google search on the subject in between reading email, beating Danny Gasaway in Words with Friends, and drinking my 5th, 6th, and 7th cups of coffee. So, on our date night, we visited Whole Foods and stocked up on miracle foods. I was nearly out of Udo's Oil anyway, and while there, bought a small jar of unprocessed unrefined organically grown naturally pressed virgin coconut oil because that's what some Google website said to buy. And wouldn't you know it--right over in the bulk dry goods wall, they had chia seeds. So, I bought some. I only wanted just a little, and put the 3 gallon plastic bag, tried to get it opened up and spread out under the hopper, and very slowly pulled the lever down. WHOOSH!!!! Instantly I had nearly filled the bag full with enough chia seeds to plant a couple dozen of acres of it. Lucky for me, chia seeds are cheap at only $1.99/lb, as the things are surprisingly light. I had better luck getting a smaller quantity of flax seeds (another thing Google said I needed.) Snagging a bag of frozen organic fruit and we were headed for the check-out counter, gave the checker $76.89 for two small sacks of health food, and we were on the way home to make a SUPER-SMOOTHIE!!

Dana is an infomercial sucker, and we got us one of them Magic Bullets. We had the first one that was out a few years ago, and used it so much it fell apart. This one is a new bigger improved one, that actually does a great job. So, I started with Flax seeds, and used the grinder blades pulverize the flax seeds to powder. Then, I added orange juice that somehow through miracles of modern technology has only 50 calories, and then added the chia seeds. Next, I tossed in a couple handfuls of frozen fruit, and finally a glop of the coconut oil, which was in a solid form kind of like wax. It was moderately difficult to scoop the coconut wax out of the jar, and in fact I read that some people heat it up first. This all blended together made a sorbet that tasted like tropical sherbet which was very tasty, and the flax seeds gave it a very slight nutty taste which I like. The coconut oil produced subtle hints of a great pina coloda I had in Playacar Mexcico a few years ago (which probably was only good because of the warm Dos Equis I had drank just before and anything would have taken the foul taste out of my mouth.) The chia seeds seemed to swell, and were a bit chewy and slightly slimy--not in a bad way though. I actually liked them a lot.

The energy boost? I slept well last night in spite of downing the super-drink before bed. I woke up feeling refreshed, and this morning had a good run. The ingredients do have other effects. The expanding chia seeds gives you that feeling of being full--so much so that I really did not want a bag of Kettle Corn that Dana offered me as we watched the rest of the OU massacre. And one more benefit: the oil coupled with the expanding seeds have paved the way for more bathroom time. I'm all caught up on reading the last three issues of Trail Runner, and have started an old issue of a Women's Health. At the risk of TMI, let's just say I feel cleaned out.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


As a frivolous New years Resolution, I decided to be a streaker. Not the kind that gets nekkid and bounces through public places, but one who runs every day. The general rules for streaking is at least one mile per day. That's alright by me, since I usually like three miles before calling it.

This was inspired by Bobby Michaels, my favorite running buddy, who started streaking right after eating too much turkey last Thanksgiving. He decided to run every day til the end of the year. I think there must have been seconds and thirds of pie involved! Bobby started as a couch to 5K runner 5-6 years ago, and had now ran several marathons, a couple of ultras, and is doing his first 50 miler at Prairie Spirit. Bobby intended to stop his streak after the New Years Eve run, but upon hearing I was beginning a streak, decided to add to his current 42 day run.

But there's a little more to the story. Another Bobbie--Bobbie Ruhs, along with her husband Ron Ruhs are from Nebraska, and have ran quite a few of our TATUR races. They're zany Facebook friends, and when I mentioned my intentions of streaking, was invited to join their Streak Running group. Bobby Michaels was also invited, and then I find out that Bill and Sheila Ford are also there--so we're in good albeit questionable company.

I actually had a 70+ day streak going a few years ago. But one night, I looked at the clock and it was 12:30 am, and CRAP!! I realized I had forgot to run. Bobbie assures me the group will make sure that never happens. (Now that's a scary thought!)

How far will this go? I dunno. I will have a logical place to take a break after my 100 miler, although I HAVE ran a little the very day after 100s before. I'm on the horse, and I'll just see how far we go.


I wondered what the longest running streak was, and Google gives quick answers. Mark Covert, a runner from Lancaster, CA, has ran for 44 years, or 16,075 days in a row as of December 31, 2012. During that time, he has 158,900 miles. He's in an elite club, as only six people have streaks of 40 years or more. 

There's even a very official website--Streak Runners International, Inc. that governs the requirements for streaking. They have applications and specifications and such that I will probably bypass since I am way too old to challenge a 44 year record.

Mark Covert's 158,900 miles is incredible, but there are a few crazies who supposedly have more miles. Amby Burfoot's website lists several who have ran more. Darryl Beardall--280,000 lifetime miles (not well documented according to Burfoot), and Fred Herbert--242,000 total lifetime miles (well documented according to Burfoot). There is mention of a Charles Hart, who ran "nearly a million" miles. Umm---sure.

Most miles ran in a year?? It's hard to say. Google seemed to stall out on this. There were articles touting some dude who ran 250 miles in one week and surely he held the record. (yawn) The winner of Across the Years 72 Hour ran 332 miles in less than 71 hours. Another article told of a Belgian runner Stefaan Engels who set a new world record after completing 365 marathons in as many days running 9569 miles. I am certain these were 365 days of running at least 26.2 miles, not 365 actual sanctioned marathons. That record belongs to a friend of mine--68 year old Larry Macon who ran 157 official marathons this past year. Macon's lifetime marathon count as of December 31 is 980, and I bet he sets yet another record total in 2013. I also know that some of Larry's marathons were actually ultras, putting him way over 4,100 miles. I don't even like to DRIVE that far!!!