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.


  1. Looks like a fabulous trail to run! Love their signage…fun times!

  2. Great to see you and meet you TZ! Team Ruhs always speaks highly of you. I am going to have to latch onto them and catch a Tatur race soon!

  3. Ken and Dana, it was wonderful to have you come up to Omaha and run with us. To be honest you were like a celebrity to me I had heard so many good things from Ron and Bobbie. My only experience with the TATURS was at Post Oak this year, consequently, that was also my first ever keg stand. Sounds like a good relationship brewing. Pun intended.

  4. Great post! I saw you out there numerous times, and you always looked strong!

  5. Thanks, my GOATz friends. You seemed like family--that's a good thing too.