Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Geocaching--cleaning up loose ends

I finished up with work a little early today, and decided to break a long ugly streak of NOT geocaching. I decided I would give Chandler Park another try. I had several DNFs there, and it was time to right the ship. The three with pink circles were ones I had spent time searching for with no luck. Despite the tickiness of the woods holding the caches (and where there are ticks, there are chiggers!) I had a good feeling about finding these. There had been logs of recent finds,m so I knew they were there, plus the geocaching app recently had an update and it seemed like it might be a little more accurate.

The pink circle on the right was my first search. This was Oklahoma's 100th Centennial cache,. Jake and I stomped around in the woods for about an hour a few months ago. At first, it seemed like the same old song, but on the way out, I saw a mini-cave that looked like a good place, and sure enough, there was an army ammo box nestled under a rock overhang!!

The center pink circle was Drunk Slide. This is one where the GPS says it's 160 feet away, but it's also 160 feet DOWN the side of a steep nearly vertical descent. There are a few tree roots and scrub trees and rocks to hold on for dear life, and it was slightly muddy. Every 30 feet I went, the GPS would bounce around saying I was further away. Maybe it was the fact that I was on the side of a bluff, or the thick tree cover. How can I be 61 feet away, scrap my way towards the target, and then be further away? But before I stumbled downward another 60 feet, I saw it hidden practically in plain sight, but on the edge of such a steep drop off that no one would even stumble onto it. Drunk Slide captured!

The third find--the left pink circle--was Sober Up. This seemingly is a sequel to Drunk Slide, and it was dangerous in another way. It involved a journey through the halls of the Chandler Labyrinth, and then a short descent to a HUGE boulder hanging on the edge overlooking Avery Drive. I rounded the perimeter, looking for what was supposed to be a micro-cache. No luck. I then climbed on top and looked all over, hanging over the edges, looking in every nook and cranny. I put my hands in places that only a mouse could go (or a snake after a mouse!) I finally gave up, but spotted one more possible place, and it meant sticking my hand way up into what could have been a home for a rat rat or sleeping viper, but I scored the cache. This was one of the best days caching ever--three for three in less than an hour--and they were all hard ones!! Kinda has me stoked to go for more. I have two more to find in the main part of the park, and there are two or three more further west in the Wildwoods. Another day soon.

Tuesday on Turkey

The Tuesday trail running assembly was huge yesterday, with 60+ runners mulling around at 6:30 ready to swarm the trailz and sweat. It was in the low 90s--perfect July weather, but what was not perfect was the 90% humidity to go with the warm temps. In less than 50 feet of trekking, my shirt was certifiably icky--the pungent aroma of zombie perspiration. The trailz had a feel of the jungle, with all vegetation in hyper-green mode. We divided the slower group in half before we even left the parking lot. There was a fast group led by David, a medium group led by Matt, and the slower group morphed into two packs before we even left the parking lot. Edward took the zombie shufflers, and I led a group of walkers.

 From left to right--Tonya, Erin, LaTonya, Kayla, Katelynn, and Dusti. These were no ordinary walkers. They had the power-walking thing going on, and it was all my short dwarf legs could do to stay ahead of them--I stealthily snuck in a shuffle-step every few seconds or so to keep from being perceived as a pitifully slow walker! We ran a serpentine route that I like which includes a climb to the top, a bit of blue, possum skull, more blue, a good dose of bunny, and a yellow finish. Most of the trailz were clear, but there is still a good sized tree down on the eastern side of the blue trail.
Snakes seen--0.
Chiggers--6 for me.
Pesky flies--5000.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Saturday in the park

I didn't race this last weekend--in fact, I didn't run long really at all. But I did get out for a few miles early with Dana and Melon.

We were up right at sun-up, and did an easy seven in such cool temps for late July that is seemed just plain wrong.

We ran the Zink Lake loop, and went south to 41st st and back, and burned off just enough calories to justify bacon, eggs, hash browns, and homemade toast.

Melon took our pic near Zink Dam. Clearly, I was coffee deprived at this point.

Saturday was my birthday, and I spent the remainder of the day mowing grass, and then dinner with a few close friends. I also have the matter of my 54 somethings to do, which I'd like to do next weekend.My friend Ken Saveth and I usually do something crazy together to celebrate another calendar year conquered. Stay tuned....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Warrior Princess Angel Run

Mark this on your calendar--the Warrior Princess Angel Run is August 3rd at Chandler Park. My awesome friends Chrissy and Michael Whitten are moving the annual Warrior Princess Run from April to August, and giving it a new twist. This new race is sort of like the Snake Run in that it's not a prescribed distance, but a prescribed time. Whereas the April run at Keystone was 10.3 miles or 10.3 kilometers, this race is for 103 minutes. It'll be run on a loopy out-and-back through the maze of boulders at Chandler Park, which is an amazing place to see and run through!
 From the starting line near the rec center, you'll descend onto the trail from the west, and run alongside these amazing rock formations that are popular with rock climbers, rappellers, and boulder hoppers. You';; pop back out on top of the bluffs, and then descend again to a turnaround on the lower level of the park. From there, you'll return and you'll see your friends and competitors along the way. You'll run on top for a while, and then descend into the maze and we'll send you back up a hidden staircase where you'll get to traverse the Leap of Faith, a narrow crevice where sure footing and a little momentum will come in handy.

Run as many of these 1.03 mile circuits as you can in 103 minutes. You can stop at one, of crank out 10 or so of them if you wish. The trailz are a bit rocky in places, but runable most of the way. Near the end of the race, if you finish a lap and still have 13 more minutes to go, you can start another lap, and have the lap count even if you are a little over the 103 minute cutoff.

The medals have never disappointed. There are a few people who have them all, and seeing them all side by side makes me wish I had the whole set!

Another friend, Lauri Biby, put together this video which is worth a watch.
Don't miss this fun event. I am pretty sure there has never been a running event through these trailz, and it'll be an adventure!! CLICK HERE to sigh up.

Sunday TOT Run

Somehow, it rained last night and I woke up to run and looked out my front door to see puddles and remnants if a huge cell that had been drifting across NE Oklahoma. My Sunday morning TOT run looked to be amazing.

It was. About 12-15 runners were huddled under the small canopy in front of the bathrooms, and after a short debate as to whether donuts or a run would be best, we took off in one group with Stormy leading. His usual zigzag down this trail and that where after running 2 miles, you were still only a half mile from where you started from. He seemed to take all the trailz with the clay mud. This particular type of mud is super slick, yet clumps up to provide six lbs of added weight per shoe. Steep downhills are ski slaloms and Rebecca took a slide/buttslide which was not captured by camera, but would have been interesting.

After ~two miles, Rebecca, Brodie, Bill, and I got dropped by the Stormster, and we made our own route. Brodie had ran like a champ, and led our group (with a little direction here and there) and we made the trip up the Jelly Legs Trail to Rock City and headed back on the Snake.
Whereas normally we are well into the upper 80s to low 90s by the end of our run, it was still a cool 71°. We finished just ahead of a heavy downpour, which did a great job of washing the filth from the pack of speedier runners as they came jogging in.

John N did his first run since having his boot off, but made his trip a short one, He greeted Brodie with a medal honoring him for his first trail run.
Good times!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Port to Fort

I did this adventure race last year and said it would be on my to-do list for years to come--and I made good on that promise. I was on the Dream Team last year with Iron Horse and Mr. Rob Philip, and were it not for me being so pathetically slow thrashing through the water with an industrial ski vest, we might have snuck into the money. This year, there was a little jockeying for team members, and I wanted to ask my friend DJ to join my team, and it turned out that Channing was also looking for a team--so the team "Sexy and I Know It" was born.

There were more than twice as many participants in this years run, due to the fact that this is one of the coolest races in Oklahoma.

Our team--Channing, TZ, and DJ.

Our competition--Team RunnersWorld. Russell was oozing with confidence--learned from none other than TZ himself at last years race. Kathy viewed this as a chance to one-up me again, but I was not gonna let that happen. 
The race started on time, and the first portion included a run to the lagoon, and a short swim across. It was shorter than last year, and I gave thought to trying to swim without a flotation device, but wisely opted to swim safe. (I use the term swim loosely.) I had a boogie board, and I planned on putting it under my chest and paddle like a surfer fixing to be shark food. This was an epic fail, as my whale-like body barely stayed above water and I had to use one hand/arm to hold on tightly to the board and pitifully paddle with the other arm. I held on to the foot of some guy who thought I was weird, and made it to where I could stand up and walk out of the water.

See the rocks on the left/ We came out there, and ran up the hill, and then back down to the dock where we jumped into the water again for a 15 yard swim. If we had been allowed to dive, I might have made it across quickly, but we had to go feet first.

We had the option of going straight across and climbing up these nets, or going back across the slightly longer way. I had figured there would be a huge log jamb at the netting, so I had planned on going back the way we came in--but everyone must have had the same idea. The netting actually was hardly used, and I climbed right up like a wet monkey. DJ and Channing were ahead of me, and I managed to find them easily in the transition area.

Next was a five mile trail run. This trail is awesome--much of the way was in the shade on wide soft trailz, and I ate em up like good Halloween candy.

Possibly the only part of the route that was less fun--couple hundred yards of loose gravel.

Channing borrowed my camera and took a pick for me.

More trail--kind of a jeep road, through the jungle.

We caught quite a few runners who were faster than me in the swim, although I was not actually in super-competitive mode.

Like last year, the trailz were marked flawlessly with zero chances of getting lost.

I turned around to check on DJ, and an army or runners had caught me. Oh well.

DJ scrambles up a 30 foot climb with the help of ropes.

about a tenth of a mile later, we had a steep decent that had to be navigated with ropes. There was about a 10 minute wait while some people rappelled down quickly and others held on for dear life.

The triple threat girls had caught us--could we hold them off?

We swapped photo-shoots while waiting for the ropes

Channing makes the jump and skidded down like a pro. I was a bit to cocky though, and was descending quickly and got my foot hung in a root and spun around hard slamming my arm into the loose dirt wall--no harm done except I ground my camera into a bunch of dust and grit. The lens would not open and I thought my picture taking was through.

This was the next section, and this was one of my pics from last year. DJ was back behind taken by the triple threat girls no doubt, so Channing and I walked to let him catch up. I worked on trying to free up my lens, and finally got it open and just left it that way to I could get a few more pics.

This was a dicey section where you could run on a steep side slope or through shoe sucking mud.

Channing ducks through some ginormous roots.

DJ blinds us with his white legs.

On our way to the fort where we had to answer some trivia questions, someone gave us a tip. "The answer is Abraham Lincoln!" DJ took it seriously although I thought it was a trick. 

And a trick it was. DJ blurted out his answer before the question was finished, and was punished for his error.

Next--the canoeing. We had five miles to go across non-flowing water, and into a stiff wind. But it was a beautiful day.

It took us a few minutes to get our paddling figured out. I knew paddling on the left sends you to the right, but we seemed to over-correct a lot, and saw both banks for the first 1/4 mile, or so it seemed.

But we finally got a good system going and cut across the water in fairly straight lines. A large tugboat plowed right down the center of the channel at one point and sent a wave of water our was about eight inches higher than our canoe, and we hauled that water all the way to the finish. Rowing into the wind was a workout, and it seemed like we would never get there. I doubt a Garmin would even have registered movement as slow as we were.

We made it in, getting passed by probably everyone we managed to pass on the run. But we were not last in the men's division. And we beat a bunch of chick teams and coed teams. Best of all, we had FUN!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Midnight Madness 50 miler

Tulsa's longest footrace was ran yesterday--the Midnight Madness 50 miler. This jaunt on bnoth the east and west sides of the Arkansas River between the RR pedestrian bridge and the 71st St bridge is a 10.3 mile loop, ran 5 times. (Do the math--it's actually 51.5 miles--BONUS!!) This is the 4th year for this race, a brain-child of one Brian Hoover aka Head TATUR. This race always seems to attract media attention. Running what adds up to almost two marathons in the middle of the night and finishing in the heat of day in what is often the hottest part of summer just seems crazy, yet each years there has always been over a hundred runners crazy enough to do it. Check out the Channel 6 story on the event.

I, TZ, thought it might be a good idea at 10:00 pm to lay down and catch an hour long lap. I woke up at 11:45, and despite doing my fastest moving in recent weeks, arrived at the race just as the starting gun sounded.

Picture courtesy of Tom Love
I did not have my race number or ship, so I filmed the runners as they took off. 125 of them. It was a nice night--80-something degrees with a mid 70s low forecast and a decent breeze all night.

I had no desire to push the pace anyway, and got checked in, and took off at a slow trot.

The throng of runners were about a mile ahead of me when I got going, and I planned to pick them off one at a time if things went right.

The course went west on the RR pedestrian bridge--one of my favorite stretches to run. The surface is decked and it is soft on the feet. A good cross-breeze is always a treat during the hot days (or nights) of summer.
After three miles, I caught up with Eunsup Kim. His race strategy is start very slow and then speed up. He was in last place for laps 1 and 2, and then started running at a much quicker pace and moved up in the standings. I also caught up with Rachael, who was running this race for the third year determined to get a finish. We chatted for a while and then I moved on ahead a little.

The big party was at Turkey Mountain, where Marty Odom, John Nobles, Matt Carver, Bill McGee, Kristina Leihberr, Jenny Sanchez, and Danielle Martin waited on runners hand and foot.

From there, I ran the last half rather lackadaisical, and with my 10 minute delay starting, finished in 2:40 about a half hour slower than what I thought I'd be doing.

I refilled my water bottle and headed on out. Somewhere near 61st Street, I turned around and headed back to the start/finish. Maybe I lacked motivation, maybe I was just tired from working all day on a 30' ladder, maybe I was just sleepy, but one thing was certain--I was first quitter. I thought I would help out at the s/f aid station, and after checking in, left to make a coffee run and ended up napping in my car until 7:00 am. This concluded the personal side of this race (non-race) report.

I was awakened from my slumber at 6:51 when Brian was whooping it up about the men's winner approaching the finish line. Picture courtesy of Tom Love
Nick Seymour crushed his time last year by clocking a 6:51 this year. Aided by the cooler temperatures and a horse race for the first three laps with Katie Kramer, Nick just rolled.

Jennifer Overmeyer won the women's race, running 8:50 with the help of the slave-driving Stormy Phillips. Stormy would have easily won the women's title if he had followed through with that gender-change procedure he was considering.

The finish line buffet was being assembled. Darcy Carson and Venus Fulghum slice watermelon and prepare sandwiches with a smile. Hope they got good tips!. Maggie Cooper also pitched in serving food to weary finishers. Shorty Jennings worked all night and most of the day at the aid station at the end of the timing chute.

I headed out to grab some coffee and some non-aid station stuff to eat, and dropped by the Turkey Mountain oasis to see how they were doing.
Bill was still standing. Matt was catching up on his beauty sleep.

Picture courtesy of Tom Love
The weatherman said we were looking at mid 90s for midday, where the mortal runners would be finishing. But we had partly to mostly cloudy and an awesome south breeze which made it closer to bearable. I was given chair duty. Part of the paved trail was under reconstruction and was closed, but RiverParks was allowing the race to run through it over a half mile section that was on packed gravel. No problem there. But a stipulation was that we had to monitor the traffic so ONLY our runners were in the construction area. This was a futile effort as many bike riders felt they should have access too. Every day since may 28, and every day until mid October this portion was and will be heavily fenced off. But on a brighter note, I got to see many of my friends in their finishing mile.
Ken Saveth, paced by Darcy Carson, jogs by with happy feet. Great job, K2!

Mitch Drummond is here so very near the finishing line en route to his first 50 mile finish. Kathy was a half lap ahead of him, and waited for over an hour at the TM aid station to pace our friend home. Barbara Pinkerton was Mitch's official pacer for lap five.

This is what it's all about. 14+ hours of pain (with some fun mixed in) gets you to the finish line and to a milestone that few people ever see. 50 miles. Picture courtesy of Brian Smith

133 people signed up ... 125 showed up ... 8 people stayed home .. 19 people succumbed...and 106 FINISHED ! Here are the results from the 4th Annual Tatur's Midnight Madness 51.5 Mile Race.

From Head TATUR Brian Hoover:
Volunteers for Tatur's Midnight Madness 50 Miler ! Words cannot describe how proud we are of all of those who compete in the race ! However we want to thank each and every one of the INCREDIBLE Tatur Volunteers. Many of them were out in the heat for over 31 hours with no sleep, literally running to keep the water, food and Gatorade stocked and iced, setting up all the equipment, marking the course, making sure the results were correct, cheering, setting up the aid stations, serving food, cooking bacon, cleaning the restrooms, handing out medals, patrolling the course, staying for hours after the race was over cleaning up trash, packing away the aid stations, etc etc. You folks are also TRUE HEROES !!

And a few comments....


* You guys are the BEST!!!!

* Those volunteers were AWESOME!!! Seriously! They were the best ever. Thanks to all of you!

* THANK YOU!!!! The volunteers at the aid stations were amazing!! I was too exhausted to even really how them my gratitude but they were so helpful and really made sure I had everything I needed when I was too tired to even think about what I needed. Thanks to all of you!!!

* Thanks again to the volunteers....
4 hours ago · Like

* I only completed the last 10 miles as a "pacer" with my husband and I agree......the volunteers were awesome!

* Wow that was fun! Can't wait for next year!

* Thanks to Tatur Racing and all the volunteers. Another great event. Your hard work and sacrifice is appreciated by many.

* Great race yesterday! Thanks to Tatur Racing for hosting another great event.

* Finished! It was freaken' Hard! Thank you Tatur for making it fun as well! BTW- when will I be able to walk again:))))

* Tatur Racing rocks! All you runners rock!

* It was brutal....I cant walk now.....but I liked the challenge...

* Another awesome race pulled together by you and the crew again, Brian. Always have a great time out there at MM making me want to torture myself yet another year again. And my left foot has found it's home right next to the left one. YOU ROCK!!!!!!

* Thank you Tatur Racing for putting on such great races! I love the running community, they are all so positive and encouraging! I wasn't able to complete the entire race, but everyone still made me feel like a winner! You guys are awesome!

* This race was first class and the volunteers were a huge reason. Great job guys!!

Great group of volunteers! They made the race even better.

* Huge thanks to the volunteers. Especially everyone at the turkey mountain station it was my oasis out of the darkness. The bacon was just what I needed.

* Thank you SO much to all of the volunteers. Races like this couldn't happen without your. I am very, very appreciative for the blessing you were during this run!

* The volunteers made it for me.....Especially that one guy at Turkey Mountain, "pushing" for us to eat the bacon.....That bacon was good. A Great bunch of people made me laugh and kept encouraging me to keep going......
5 hours ago · Like · 1

* Yes, yes, yes! Thanks so much to the volunteers and organizers. You made this a first class event! Well, you guys and the bacon...

* I always believe volunteering is more difficult than competing

* Great job by Taturs timing and All the volunteers! As a slow runner I never had any doubts that anything I needed would be found. The encouragement and positive words were timely. Thanks again from the caboose.

* Thanks to all the volunteers, especially the ones who made sure Brandon made it the last few miles to the finish!

* There are never enough Thank you's for volunteers. You guys make it happen for us crazy runners

* Thank you all very much!! y"all are what makes this event GREAT!

* Thank you volunteers, you were great as always!

* I had a great time yesterday. The TATUR's know how to put on a race. The volunteers were great. The t-shirt says it all.

* BACON???? Did someone say BACON????