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.