Thursday, August 29, 2013

A recycled Do-Wacka-Do post. This'll whet your appetite!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Do Wacka Do

I missed doing the Do Wacka Do race last year, due to it being the same day as Flat Rock where I am going for 10 finishes in a row and knighthood into the Flat Rock Hall of Pain. This year, due to Turkey and Taturs being postponed, Do Wacka's RD Joel Everett was able to move it a couple of weeks earlier, and I had a green light to go to the badlands of Western Oklahoma to run!! Maybe "badlands" is not the right word. This land is sort of a desert climate, and had rolling hills, canyons, cacti, tumbleweeds, and rattlesnakes!! A big bunch of TATURs made the trip over from the Tulsa area. It's about a four hour drive, and most spent the night in nearby Erick, or camped near the starting line. I had to work Friday til 8:00 pm, and so good friend Susan Westmoreland and I drove over and arrived at the starting line around 2:00 am.
Sleeping in the car as best we could and waking up at 6:00 left me groggy, but still excited to run. Thanks to somebody for having a pot of coffee at the starting table!!! As is always the case for me, I barely made it to the starting line in time after slathering Dana's anti-chafe concoction, and the magic foot goo all over my feet and toes. Chip in place, number pinned on, bandana and suncreen in place, and I made it just in time to get a few pre-race pix.

Flat Rock RD and his honey Polly were 50K-ing it. Once upon a time, I could hang with Polly on a run, but somehow she has gotten FAST!! She finished a couple of hours ahead of me and WON the ladies division of the 50K!!! Long-legged Erick ended up third overall--I think.

Trail friends from OKC--Peggy and Julie are all grins as they await the starting gun.

The masses ambled on down the trail, and I laid back and took it easy at first. Susan and John were near the back but walking a brisk pace. They were both in the 25K and enjoyed their miles before the heat of the sun moved in.

Diane and Shelly head out at a steady pace. Diane was doing the 50 mile--WOW! This was her first attempt at 50 miles. I feel like a goober--I asked Shelly her name after the race, and on the way home it hit me--DOH!! I know her--she has done several of our TATUR races. Maybe she has changed her hairstyle. Maybe the heat had fried my brain.

This was a blurry pic, but I thought it made a good black-and-white.

This course has a lot of ups and downs--running along the tops of the ridges and then dipping down into the canyons.

And then back up. And then back down. Fun stuff--really!!! I ran with Charlotte and Caroline for the first 10 miles or so.

The running surface was all either nicely packed dirt, or fine gravel. Other than on the steepest ups or downs where there were a few loose rocks, it was real runable. I was thinking PR possibilities for a while, and Charlotte and Caroline thought that was silly. Turns out, they were right.

Another climb. We actually had to duck under the sun at the top of this hill.

This was the only water on the course. No chance of dipping my feet in this pond. The water looked toxic--the vegetation around looked like it had been poisoned with acid, and the algae was worse than blue-green. Maybe brown-green. It was devil-water.

Somewhere around mile 9-10, I slowed down. These hills could have had something to do with that.

We went 7 miles before we hit our first aid stop. I was glad to see it. We showed we were about half way through the loop, but the workers maintained we should be around 11 miles in. It took a while to find out the discrepancy--it seems that early on the course, a sign had been removed and we had all gone the wrong way. Many of the front runners actually took a route that meant they ran the loop backwards. We headed after them, but went straight when we should have turned and in effect, cut off 4 miles of the course!! When we hit the start/finish, we were told what to do to make up the difference which meant tacking on 4.5 more miles after our finish. That worked for me. I watered up, ate a bite of something (I don't remember) and headed out on my next 16 miles + 4.5.

I met Brynna on lap two. She had borrowed Joel's mountain bike and was cruising the course. This looks like a super place for some easy mountain biking!!

I really was not eating much of anything, and the water at the aid stops was hot--I know, I'm spoiled. I just like cold water. I suppose I was slowly getting dehydrated as well as running out of calories. I decided to take it slow and take lotsa pictures. I fell behind the runners I was hanging with, and just enjoyed being out in the middle of this running paradise all by myself.

Every now and then in the first part of my 2nd loop, I'd see some of the runners coming backwards finishing their loop. Eric had done all of the 16 mile loop, and here he is lapping me.

The only wildlife I saw was this. A majestic buck bit the dust and was no doubt coyote food. Around 18 inches of his spine was still attached.

Miles and miles of road lied ahead. In the early going of this loop, there was actually quite a bit of fairly flat road. But more ups and downs awaited me.

RockStar and Kate were about 3 miles away from being done with their 25K. Lucky them.

What the heck was this?? A real live redneck-mobile??

It was none other than Joel, the RD. He had just seen a rattlesnake stretched across the trail, and showed me pictures on his iPhone.

Then, it was up one canyon wall and back down.

Lotsa cattle guards to cross.

One could mess up an ankle here.

A nice runable downhill. I made up a minute or two through here.

And then--the steepest climb of the day.

Whew!! I stopped halfway up to catch my breath!!

The climb was worth it as there was an awesome aid station at the top. I needed water, and I started drinking a little Gatorade from here on in. I also ate an orange. The heat was rising--it felt like it was nearing 90°.

I thought this was probably where I could find a rattler, but I did not check it out. I was too tired to jump back up and out of the way. It was getting hard to make myself drink my water, and the Gatorade was hot and burned my throat. Mile 24-27 were really rough. I hit the start/finish, and then I still needed to go back out for my final 4.5 miles. Here's what I did: I got another water bottle, and iced them down (YAY--they had ice), and I doused myself--clothes and all down with water. With the steady north breezes, I felt cool and comfy.

The final push up the last hill to the finish. My pace was pitiful, but relentless forward motion was winning the war.

The finish line was such a welcome sight. I made a slight detour to my car before crossing, dumped my water bottles and grabbed my lawn chair and then crossed the finish mat. Sitting down was a priority. A bottle of water, a cold beer, and a visit with my buddy Mike Adams, and I was feeling alright. Mike was heading to the finish line as I went back out for my final 4.5 miles. Turns out, he was finishing his 50 MILES. He must have been around 8 hours.

I mentioned Diane earlier. She came from Tennessee, ran her first attempt at 50 miles on a hot desert day, and went further than any other lady. Joel had these awesome trophies for the winners.

I'll be back next year to do this race again. I really think the 25K might be a good fit for me though. Finishing before the afternoon heat kicks in, and relaxing the afternoon away--sounds like a plan. Joel and company did a great job with thie race. It's a beautiful place to run.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday at Lake Bixhoma

Kathy and I ran a flattish run at Lake Bixhoma, which included some bigtime hill work. How could this be so you ask? The gravel road circling the lake have a few minor ups and downs, but the road coming down to the lake is a beast!

This is one of my favorite places to run. There's not much in the way of single track, but its scenic and quiet. The gravel roads around the lake are ones you can zone out and put in the miles.Run as far as the road/trails go in each direction, and you end up with 3.6 miles. We added on some extra out and backs.

The road on the south side of the lake is gated off, and the weeds tall grass have enveloped the route--so much so we decided to not bushwhack through to the end. I have fed chiggers all summer long, and I've had enough.

Kathy agreed that cutting the south leg short was a good idea.

I ambled down the boat rand and drowned whatever chiggers that might have been dangling from my hairy legs.

From there, we climbed the hill out of the lake area and ran all the way to HWY 64.

We decided that if you had to live under a bridge--this would be a nice one.

Or if the bridge wasn't adequate housing--this might do in a pinch. If you click on the pic, you might see that my truck is already parked there!

We ended up with 10.67 miles, and over 750 feet of elevation gain. The hill out was 189 feet and steep. From the top down to HWY 64 was long and very runable down and not too bad running up.

Kathy was awarded the silver redneck award for completing the Bixhoma Challenge. I was jealous--I didn't get one. We got in some good Arkansas Traveller training.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Upper Keystone near Terlton

Made a work-related road trip--a profitable one--and stopped on the way back to take a few pics and play with a couple of camera apps.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mud Sweat and Tears Adventure Race

Sunday I competed in the Mud Sweat and Tears Adventure Race. This was my second time running it, and my 5th adventure race, if you include Port to Fort twice, and this past years Barkley Book Fair. This event changes up every year, with some years venturing more to the urban side, but this year it was planted exclusively in the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness.

Specific details of the course are kept secret until race day--actually a map of the bike and run course leaked out on Facebook a day or so before race day.

Mitch and I rejoined this year looking to possibly improve on last years time--where we managed to get through with the mountain bike trail portion upright and happy and ran and biked well for the rest of the race to finish right in the middle of the pack.

I took a few pics beforehand while sizing up our competition. Don't think we could beat these guys.

Hmmm--we might be able to keep up with the men of steel.

These guys looked pretty solid. Even with our trail knowledge, I conceded our defeat.  I decided they were probably not in our age group anyway.

I bet we could hang with this team though--and in fact we did!! Roman and Kathy stayed with our team for most of the day. We had fun.

RD Scott Herbst gives some pre-race instructions, and prepares to send us off.

Promptly at 9:07, we got started. The first running section had 5 check points, along with three challenges.

The map issued was really a secret. I normally do very well getting around--knowing all the shortcuts.

The swim event was first. Mitch took this diving head first into the pool to retrieve a ring which was turned in for credit later in this run.

Mitch and I took off like a shot after his dunk in the pool, and found check point one and two very quickly.

Roman and Kathy caught up with us, and I led the group on what I thought was a good shortcut.

The CP was just south of a pond, but the pond on the map I mistakenly thought was the smaller of two ponds, when in fact it was the bigger. This meant we were 30 years or more south of where we needed to be and in a deep thicket. When we figured that out, we thrashed our way through the dense overgrowth to a trail we should have taken. The CP was easy to get to and in plain sight. (5 minutes at least wasted.)

The next, and last check point we needed seemed to be reachable by wading through a creek bottom. In fact, a team of buff cross-fit-looking dudes told us it was the best way to get from where we were to where we needed to go. So, we bushwhacked our way down to a small creek and waded our way through it. The going was tough.

We all picked up many stick-tight burrs, and I knew another major chigger-feed was going on with my legs.

The creek we were wading through dumped into Mooser Creek. We were close--but which way was the CP? Mitch and I went west, while Kathy and Roman went east.

 Then we heard them yell that it was over there--so we backtrackedback east.

A quick punch of our card, and then it was a long wade back to the start/finish.

I asked Roman if this reminded him of Costs Rica. He seemed to have the creek-running thing perfected.

We trotted into the S/F and got 5 marbles and headed back to the shooting range.

I just BARELY missed the target 4 out of 5 times, and missed the last shot way right! No extra raffle tickets for us.

Then we had a quick zipline ride to attend to.

Roman went first. Seeing him do it gave me confidence. I climbed the pole like a pro, acting fearless.

Roman got unhooked, and they returned the apparatus to the launch-pad. I opted to not sit down and scoot off the platform. I jumped. I did not want to seem tentative (read that scared shitless), so I just jumped and dealt with the fear later. There was no fear though. It was a thrill, albeit a short one.

I'd like to go again. Maybe a longer ride?

I could not make myself go upside down, but I did let go of the rope.

Cool stuff. Next was the first of two bike rides.

The blue was the bike route--supposedly 6 miles. It seemed further, but that could be because of our newby status on the mt bikes. We pushed our bikes up nearly every hill and across anything technical.

Mountain biking is so much fun. Both Mitch and I said we need ride trailz more. Roman also admitted wanting to do more mt biking.

This was at the base of Jelly Legs. It is a 1/4 mile technical downhill, that a lot of expert riders fly down. I rode some of it, but pushed my bike for most of it.

Mitch takes a spill and looses his brain in the process. Actually, there were LOTS of huge white mushrooms all over the mountain. Weird shapes. Kathy posed for a picture with an unusual mushroom that I though about posting. I could possibly be talked into sharing....

Another checkpoint, another punch.

We finished the bike dog tired. Roman decided to call it, seeing as he had zero carbs for the past week or so. It was warming up too. I ate 2 pieces of pizza, and downed a beer. Give me my carbs!

The run was the pink trail, or so I thought. I was banking on a 6 mile run, but it actually seemed like 4-4.5 miles.In the deep woods, there was little air moving, and the going was slow.

We had not missed a single CP, which I found exciting.

Kathy is acting weird. Did she eat that mushroom?

We finished the run at just over 4 hours. We could have easily been 20 minutes faster, had we not wasted minutes on the first run. We had taken it easy saving energy for the second bike leg, and missed a cutoff that we did not know about. :-(

Mitch and Kathy wanted to go ride anyway, and I was good with that--so we rode the route again. Our second leg seemed a little faster than our first, but maybe it wasn't. When we pushed our bikes, we were crawling. I was so glad to have the bike ride down, and proud that we continued. Scott and his volunteers did such an awesome job with this race. I could see myself doing this every year.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Saturday night, I joined friends again for a little night run. A mysterious post about a hilly run had circulated around Facebook. The course was a straight line, and the elevation profile was one that looked like it could be deceiving. In fact, it looked like a big lie. My kind of run!! The plan was to meet at RunnersWorld and caravan to Terlton, where we would run 5 miles out and back on Beknight Road. So, we carpooled and caravaned 30 miles or so, got our packs filled, fired up our Garmins, and away we went. The hills greeted us warmly and right away.

For trail runners in Tulsa, all hills are expressed in relation to Lipbuster, and it was said that these were not as bad. But a couple of them had more ascent yet were longer than the actual distance of our beloved Turkey Mountain standard. There were many more hills like this.

Thomas took off like a shot. My thoughts--if he was thinking about going 20 miles or more, he had blown his chances by running hard out of the chute. This pic was taken with the sun at my back., We had climbed 150 feet or so, at this point. I wanted a pic of Lake Keystone.

The puny looking elevation profile posted looked harmless. I copied and corrected the graph, and this more accurately conveys the task that was before us. Shark week was this week on the Discovery Channel, and this amazingly resembles the mouth of a Great White.

I also had concerns of this road being a semi-heavily traveled thoroughfare with Bubba buzzing by over hill and dale at 70+ MPH. There was no shoulder and diving into a ditch to keep form being ran over seemed like a probability. But that never was really a problem.

This was taken right after Russell had found a box that had once contained an adult toy. And I don't mean a remote controlled car. Kathy was still giggling.

I spotted a long lost GOATz tribesman, happily munching grass. I did put a notice on the GOATz FB page that one of theirs was missing.

Nobody splained this to me. Not sure what it meant.

We made it from a little quickie store on HWY 48 to the metropolis Terlton just before dark, but not before Sally's closed. Such a shame. Pie would have been so good!

Arnold had his truck stashed here. Read that--mobile aid station. We all refilled, and then made a side trip directly to jail.

This is it. Back in the day when this was used/needed, if more than two inmates were held, or if one of them was portly, overcrowding was a real issue.

This jail was the real deal though. The massive iron bars and reinforced concrete walls did not lend to the likelihood of a jail break.

From there, it was a west-to east return trip. We actually had a nice eastern breeze in our face for much of the way. A car stopped us about halfway back, and is was none other than Trail Goat, Thing Two, and their dad. They had ran the Waterloop in Muskogee, and then drove 80 miles to find us on the run.
They had ran their 5K, and then ended up doing 12-13 more miles with the likes of us, making them the only people in the history of the world to run in Terlton and Muskogee in the same day. I bailed after one out-and-back, having ran in the morning, P-90-Mow all afternoon, and knowing I had the TOTs the next morning. So, I had 23 for the day. Yay me. Most of the group did one more out-and-back, with 2680 feet of gain. Studly.

Next week, the Western Hills Endurance Run Invitational. 19+ miles with 1939 of gain.