Thursday, June 27, 2013

A crusade through the night

I'll find myself stumbling in the dark in a place familiar yet mysterious, following a narrow beam that turns as I turn my head. There's an urgency to find something but I don't know where it is. But somewhere within miles or less lies a hidden book hidden guarded by terror or at least by the thickness of midnight.

A partial moon reaches through creaking treetops, and I catch a glance of movement ahead--someone passing quickly as if fleeing the scene of a crime. I hear voices saying "Hurry, keep your light off. Don't show him where it is." I know they have found it, found  what I was looking for, and they have torn a part of it and stuffed it in their nasty pockets. But they have given me a clue--their trail is hot and I can feel it. My focus is clear for a time. I find a book--this time an old classic haphazardly covered with leaves. Four pages are ripped out, and without a thought, I flip through 60 pages and rip one out and cram it in my pocket.

Such a crime to destroy old books, yet the fever of the hunt drives me on. I'll repeat the process 12-15 times well into the late hours past  midnight--crossing steep ravines, boulder fields, briers and thickets, and sometimes trailz. A crew of like minded hunters who have joined me, and we'll catch those ahead of us, and maybe plunder their cache, or at least cast ill-advised directions their way. A cut-throat quest this is, the Barkley Book Fair.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Here's what happened

This is kind of a post and kind of a test post. First off, I think I am 98% through with the blog probs I have been having. The last post on my old tried and true blog was June 9th. At my previous job, I created a blog for them to showcase windows and installation procedures. Then along came Google+, which was supposed to rival and even overtake the Facebook empire. (I never got the hang of Google+. I could Facebook someone, but were you supposed to PLUS someone??) Well, one of G+'s great ideas was to group all associated emails together under one main primary email. No harm in that--right? My login to was then listed under the primary g-mail account associated with the blog I made for my employer. After I left to start my own company, they changed the email password, which locked me out of all the blog accounts under the primary email address. I could not log in to my blog!!! I am not upset that they did that--I expected it. I quickly over-road that and was back in business, and I tried to clean up the matter by eliminating the work email from my account. That didn't happen, and in adding another email as a back-up, I accidentally deleted my main sign-in to I worked feverously for days and days trying to regain access, but I guess we can put a man on the moon, but cannot recreate a sign-in email address, although I tried every which way. Google was not very much help, although I did get with some tech support that headed me the right direction. After crying in my rice crispies, and drinking all the old cheep beer out of the fridge in the garage, I decided to gank all of the content out of my old blog and copy it in a new A long and hard name to remember. Then, I got with GoDaddy and eventually found they could redirect my domain to the new site, which after a few tries (due mostly to my ineptness) they got it to redirect. But, all it did was forward it, and the site showing in the task bar was the blogspot address, which I did not like. So, I messed with it again and goofed it up. But GoDaddy is awesome, and they did the steps to get it back just like I wanted it and said to wait 48 hours, which I did and then I got impatient after 52 hours and I called again. They always are so nice, and they found one minor IP address that needed to be changed and said to give it 24 more hours. Five minutes, everything fell into place. All is almost back like it was!!! And I have to admit that most of the mess I caused. And my stubbornness paid off in finally getting things fixed. The only things that need to be added are all the stuff on the right side of the page--race schedules, PRs, which are more for me than the viewer. I also need to add my list of blogs that I like to read. Posting my friends blogs gets them readers, and I love it when the posting links is a reciprocal thing. Also, copying and pasting 980 posts and back-dating them on the dates they were published was taking FOREVER, so I copied several posts at a time and now they are in the order they were written, and I copied the dates they posted, but they are not individualized and I am not sure they can receive comments. But the new ones--after June 9th can.  
Now for a few pictures. RiverParks with the help of Garden Deva have out up some trail signs on the Red Trail at Turkey Mountain.
I am told that eventually there will be similar markings all over the mountain--probably yellow signs for the Yellow Trail, and you guessed it--blue signs for the Blue Trail.

And then pink signs? I am thinking we will see more and more changes on the trailz all over.

Thanks for reading, and being patient while I have worked through this mess.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Dizzy Goat

Well here it is Monday morning after a race. Surprisingly, I am not too achy. I've consumed far less mega-doses of Vitamin I , and I actually feel like going to work today. The race: the Dizzy Goat, put on by the G.O.A.T.z (Greater Omaha Area Trailrunnerz), a new trail running group in Nebraska. I met a couple of the charter members Ron and Bobbie Ruhs at Pumpkin Holler and Past Oak, and we've became good friends. The inaugural Dizzy Goat is a 12 hour/6 hour/3 hour event ran in Schramm State Park near the Platte River. The format is much like the Snake Run. We made the seven hour drive to Omaha, and stayed in a Super 8 under a freeway. But on to the good part of the trip.

  Scott Giddings, RD of this first year event, aced it like a boss. He seemed relaxed and was there at the finish line every time I came through. He had recruited a small army of exuberant volunteers and the whole race was flawless, as far as I could see.

  This race sold out, and it will from now on, even if they raise the limit. Around 70 runners lined up for the 12 hour event to run 3.25 mile circuits. Unlike the Snake Run, there were no small finishing loops when you no longer had time to complete another 3.25 miles near the end of your 12, or 6, or 3 hours. But, provided you came in with 30 minutes to spare, you could go out for one more as long as you finished it in one hour. Make sense? I thought it was a great idea.

The course was ran clockwise, and then counter clockwise--so you got to see and greet runners all day long. I said "good job", and "looking good" probably 1,000 times. These Nebraska folks are a friendly sort, and if I had a nickel for every high five I gave/received, I could have bought my gas on the way home.

The one and two mile-ish points were at the center of the figure 8 course, and that's where they had an aid station. There was water, ice, and cold wet sponges here. I never needed anything other than topping off my water bottle, as the start/finish area had everything a runner could ever want to eat.

I have been told there is 600 feet of elevation change per loop, which means 300 feet of gain and 300 of descent. If so, I did 42.25 miles and climbed 3900 feet. I have a friend whose Garmin registered 1000 feet per loop. Hmmm....I think it must be closer to  600 though.    
My friend Ron Ruhs flashes some gang signs. I think it was a good stuff though.

  We started right on time (even a minute early by my watch.) The first 1/4 mile was down a paved access road, which allowed the crowd to space out a little.

  I really did not know what to expect out of the trailz. I did know there were a few hills, but as to how technical?? I was pleasantly surprised. There were no rocks at all. A lot of the route was wide, and some was chat covered. There was a little bit narrow single track, a short section of rutted out jeep road with some waist high grass to wade through, a 1/4 mile of a hellacious hill, and a grassy area between fish hatchery ponds.

 The route was marked with pink and green ribbons and flags, with caution tape making off the unused trailz. We were given pink wrist bands for clockwise loops and green ones for counter clockwise loops, and seeing the wristbands, the course marshals knew which way to send us.

  After a short climb, we crossed a clearing where there was an archery course, and then we began a nice descent to the first of three bridges.
  I borrowed this pic--from Scott Boje I think. My pics of the swinging were not this good. Some people ran across, but I usually walked. Sometimes, people would be running the bridge both ways at the same time, but I advised people approaching the bridge when I was on it, that it would not be wise to enter the bridge with a fat man on it.
  The next two bridges were steel bridges with no bounce when I jogged across.

  After the third bridge, we hit the jeep road with the tall grass. I pondered briefly how many ticks and chiggers I'd get during the day, but I guess all the fast runners knocked them off their perches. I am itch-free today.

  This is the aid stop in the center of the "8". I was greeted with "YAY TATUR" for much of the day, but they eventually asked me my name, and then it was "YAY TZ" from then on. Luv me sum cheerleaders.

  I liked this sign, although this day, the sun behind us and the wind in our face would have been better.

Coming down off the hill, another zany volunteer sent us the right way.

  I did not realize these were hatchery ponds until I saw a man and his young daughters feeding bread to dozens of ravenously hungry lunkers.

I hit the turnaround at 44-ish minutes, and headed back out.

  The paved 1/4 hill that I went down on lap one had to be climbed on lap 2. According to the race officials, the ascent was 150 feet. My Garmin registered 158 feet. It was steep enough that I could not let it loose on the way down, and it was a walker on the way up. I used the uphill to drink well and take my electrolytes.

Lap two, I had shaken out all the aches and pains from my zombie-bod, and just relaxed and stretched it out a little. It seemed like there was a lot more gradual downhill since you climbed 158 feet early on.

Bobbie had set a strong pace, but somewhere along the second loop, I caught up with her. One of several on-course photographers snapped our picture. I looked pretty focused and fresh here, but the later pics I looked much more zombie-esque.

Ron was not to far behind.

I was in a good place, and my high lasted for much of the day. The 3.25 mile course had a lot of landmarks along the way. First, you had the first aid station, then the three bridges, then the high grass trail, the aid station again, the section of trail with logs building up the side, the steep hill, the fish ponds, the coyote poop on the trail. Yep, I am sure every runner used that pile of black poop as a land mark. I was bummed after a few loops when I saw that someone had kicked it. :-(   My OCD side almost stopped and scooted the clumps back together--kind of like preserving a landmark--but I refrained. (You can thank me for omitting the pictures.)

The 6 hour race started at 1:00 and the 3 hour started at 4:00 so all distances would finish at 7:00. Dana was doing the three hour race, and it seemed like I would finish 10 laps right about the time she started, and I would be on a clockwise loop, so I could run with her. After lap 9, I had a brief session in the porta-pot that turned out to not be so brief, so I had 55 minutes to get lap 10 done to get back in time. It was super hot, and while there was a good breeze, it was pretty still in the woods. I ran as hard as I dared, and hit the paved section of road with just a little over two minutes to spare, and finished the loop 30 seconds before the 3-hour race started. Dana was glad I made it, but I had nothing left. She was nice enough to walk a little with me, and then when we hit the trailz, she ran ahead. I eventually recovered and ran barely fast enough to stay within sight of her.

This sign was my mantra. I was sucking down water and Gatorade like there was no tomorrow, but not peeing. But evidently it was enough. I never quit sweating and never felt the effects of dehydration.

Dana did great. She felt like she did not have the training in to get 3 laps done, but she never really slowed down. We hit the end of lap 2 (for her) and made the cutoff to continue. Those finishing by 6:30 could go out for another lap, and I thought they had to finish that last lap by 7:15. It was gonna be tight. I felt better, and I kept Dana focused and pushing on, although I do not think she actually needed my help.

We finished at 7:11--4 minutes ahead of the final cutoff--and then I found out we had until 7:30!! Oh well. We collected our medals, and I enjoyed a beer or two as we sat around and cooled down. Dana got in 3 laps for 9.75 miles. I did 13 laps for 42.25 miles. I am thrilled with what I was able to do.

We scored a lot of great swag. The race shirts are awesome--a North Face with the bug-eyed bewildered goat shown at the top of this post. I got a nice GOATz beer glass, GOATz wristbands, and we bought the GOATz club shirts below. The medals were cool--might be my favorite!!

Anyone thinking about doing this race next year--and I highly recommend it--had better get signed up early. Next year--14 laps for me.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I have been super busy lately. Lotsa stuff going on. I've started my own company, where I focus on basically what I have done most of my life--but instead of working for the man, I AM the man. My running friends will no doubt notice a little TZ in the name. Business is good--could always use more as I need to stay busy and steady. Right now, I sell, and also do most of the labor associated with my jobs. I like doing it, having total control of how things go, expecting and getting A+ work, setting my own hours which includes a little bit of running and biking time and hopefully a little more in the future. Friday, I'll be heading to Nebraska to run the Dizzy Goat 12 hour race. Dana is doing the 3 hour, and we hope to have a buncha fun. This artwork will be on the shirts--which makes it worth the trip if you ask me. This race is formatted a lot like the Snake Run, and it looks like it is a lot hillier. Here's a bit of their course description:
Course Description The Dizzy GOAT course is a 3.25 mile combination of park roads and nature trails. Each loop contains approximately 600 feet of elevation change - the equivalent of 5723 feet for a 50k. You will spend approximately .75 miles on asphalt and 2.5 miles on trails. The trails wind through the park, which includes mild climbs and descents – nothing that the casual runner can’t run or power-walk. The nature trails have portions of dirt (watch for roots and stumps), crushed limestone, wooden bridges, and grass. There are a number of flat stretches to allow your legs to recover on the move, and benches scattered along the trail in the case that you need to stop to catch your breath. One of the more challenging parts of the course is a stretch of asphalt on the east edge of the park. We call it “What the hill?” Hill. This road will be open to 1-way vehicle and 2-way GOAT traffic and has an elevation gain/loss of 150 feet in just a quarter mile. I am an honorary GOATz member, and hope to score some GOATz club shirts as well.
And on another subject--the fear that the end of the TrailZombie blog was a probability  has lessened. I have copied ALL of my posts and copied them on this new site, and will continue to tweak this so it is much like the old one. It might end up being better. There was just no way to regain control of my blog that I have posted to over 980 times in the past six years. After my work change, my former employed changed my email password. It was a Gmail account, and after Google+ came into existence, it grouped all emails under a primary email, and my blog address was snared into that holding pen. In trying to regain the ability to post (which I temporarily did do) I also tried to remove the work email from my blog. In doing so, I also removed the sign-in email that I had used from day one. We can put a man on the moon, but we cannot restore a deleted email to a blogger account. So, this new is what I have to work with for now. But the good news is that the domain I bought ( is through GoDaddy, and I have got them to unlock it and I have transferred it to this new site. In a few days, you can go to just like always and all will be back to normal. Most of my past posts were copied in bundles, so 5-7 posts are actually one post--but as I have time, I will back-post them individually, and index them. Very time consuming, yes, but I am OCD about stuff like that.

Happy trailz for now,

Monday, June 17, 2013

LipBuster tales told here

Sunday morning, 69 runners came out to Turkey Mountain for a little 1/4 mile run. Up a hill. Then, ran back down. Then up. Then down. and repeated the madness for an hour. And all for the slab if metal above. It was the first year for the LipBuster Challenge. Many trail runners missed out, but the ones who came out have some serious bragging rights. Brian and I met up at 4:00 and began setting up the starting line, timing mats, and aid stations. This was actually a pretty easy race to put together. Course marking was a breeze. And the aid table at the top of the hill had only a table and a water jug. It actually had a couple of canvas fold-able chairs--Wal-Mart specials--that some PEOPLE OF WAL-MART stole right off of the table. Thank you, jerks! But We had spectacular help from Elise and Michelle, and also from Andrew who I failed to get a picture of. Arnold Begay ran the race and helped tirelessly in packing things up. At 7:00 am, Brian and I sent the early heat off. These folks thought they were playing it smart by running early to beat the heat, but the humidity was 99%, and there was not a hint of a breeze. Sweating was the norm, and you coulda peed your shorts and no one would have noticed or cared.
Dannielle Huddleston took these pics of the ambitious throng of 7:00 am runners. They got spread out pretty quick, with only the first lap having any significant bottle-necks.
I headed up the hill myself to take a few pictures. My plan was to do the 9:30 heat, and didn't wanna overdo it. Eight of the 29 runners in the first heat ran 10 laps. That's 1,360 feet of climb in 5 miles. And that's with almost all of that climb in the second part of the way up. Eleven runners were in the 8:15 competitive heat. This heat was for those who were intent on hitting it hard, and there was prize money for the top three males and females. Seeing as there were only three women entered, it was a payday for all of them.
Video courtesy of Bob Doucette. Justin Franklin ran like a machine, and turned in seven miles and over 1900 feet of hill climbing in less than an hour. 14 laps. 14 repeats. There were two runners who managed 13 laps each. Zombie-friendz Edward, Christy, Stormy, Bill, Kristina, and John manned a cheering station with a quick hand-off-beer-swig for anyone who wanted one.
Here's my competition, and this trio of runners all beat me.

This is Elizabeth, who came over from Arkansas to get in some Pikes Peak training. She ran 9 loops in the 7:00 am heat, and then added 8 more in the 9:30 heat, making her the queen of repeats.

I started out near the front of the pack. That's me with the blue bandana. But by the time I got to the steeper climb, most of the field had ran past the shuffler. Thanks to my friend Bob Doucette for the above pic and the two videos.

I jogged all the way to the base of the climb, and power-walked the rest of the way to the top. About 50 feet from the turn-around, I'd start the shuffle, and then bomb the downhill hard all the way to the start/finish, and then jog back to the climb. all but one of my splits were under 7 minutes, and my last split was close to being my fastest. I crossed the finish line for the 8th time and had 5:51 to get in another one. I was bummed but just a little.
My 6th lap was 7:09, because I had paused to drink an extra couple of gulps of a beer, and a quick cup of water at the top. Then my last two laps were progressively faster--but I would have to beat my fastest lap by 30 seconds to get one more in. If the gun sounded and you were even 10 feet short of the finishing mat, the lap did not count. I was kind of glad it was a mathematical impossibility to give it a go.
Bob ran the 7:00 heat, and stayed around to take pictures and movies. Read his report here. The awards were well received. Blingus extremus. These almost need to come with a wheel barrel to tote them around. I almost got a hernia toting the boxes of them around. Most everyone seemed to like this--paying money to come out and suffer running up hills for an hour. I think this race is a keeper.