Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Removal of the horn

Maybe you have noticed lately that I have been wearing a hat a lot lately. I have a growth on my head. Here's the story: When I was 6 years old, I got in a rock throwing fight with some neighbor kids. BAM!! I was decked with a good sized jagged rock dead center in the forehead, and blood splattered all over me, my clothes, the yard, and then the car while being sped to the family doc in Sperry to get sewed up. It left a small invisible scar and was no biggie until 1997. Right around Christmas, I got what turned out to be a HUGE zit or boil right on the scar. The slight raised up area gave the pimple a good head start to being a real beauty. It was tight, red, and painful. Christmas Eve, I was looking in the mirror and picked at it a little despite the pain, and the gift emerged. It was huge, and in two waves, it was excreted. The next morning, the place was practically healed. I do not know if either of these events had anything to do with the growth that popped up 4 months ago. Today, I had it removed. The doc called it a Lipoma--a growth of fatty tissue and it's rarely ever cancerous. They shot the area up with Lidocaine, and then cut into it. It was not really painful, but was uncomfortable. There was a lot of snipping (imagine the sound of hedge clippers--the scissor kind), and tugging (imagine a huge hoop earring through the meat in your forehead and pulling and tugging every which way.) The darn thing just would not let go. They they got out their sewing kit and stitched it up. The incision is supposed to be horizontal and on one of my forehead wrinkles. (HMMMPH!! I don't HAVE any forehead wrinkles!)

So now I'm home with an ice-pack, a headache, a dose of Tylenol in me, and thinking about some better pain meds. Googling around, I have learned a little more about head lumps. This is sort of like the bumps on a young buck deer. Those little nubs are just what mine looked like, and you know what they grow into. But could humans grow horns?? Oh yes they can!!

The pic below is one of many on Google. Over the centuries, many people have had horn-like growths. This gal looked the most believable. 

I'm glad I got the thing fixed before it got this far. I would be catching that thing on every low-lying limb on the trail. Plus, it would make wearing a headlamp feel like hell. (Actually, with the lump I have,  a headlamp is not my friend right now anyway.

Monday, April 28, 2014

FlatRock 101K from an aid station assistants point of view

This could very well be a continuation of the previous post. Dana and I worked an aid station at the FlatRock 101K--touted as the toughest mile-for-mile course in Mid-America. I can attest to the difficulty of the course, and while I did really want to run this year, I saw the pain and heat exhaustion the runners faced, and was actually happy to be on the other side--helping Dana. We woke up before the sun came up and pulled our trailer to the trail head at Oak Ridge, and then sped back to the starting line just in time to say hi to a few friends and see the runners off. Then, we loaded up drop bags, food, and a good supply of water and headed to our post to set up shop. A ginormous box truck followed and dropped off tables and a cook stove, and my job, as assistant cook at Dana's Aid Station, was to fix pancakes and bacon. I cooked around 20 lbs of crispy bacon, and ate fully 20% of it myself.

49 runners had signed up, but only 37 showed up--it thundered and stormed an hour before race time, and the forecast for the day was pretty iffy. 37 runners get pretty spread out over 15.5 miles of rugged trail, and we had quite a bit of down time. Still, the faster runners were coming back through while the zombie-paced one trickled through. We never had time to catch a nap.

I did get a little antsy, and took a short run down an old abandoned road that dead-ended into the lake--or at least a finger of the lake. As many times as I've ran here, I had never been to this part.

Did I mention that Jake was with us? This was a new thing. Jake has camped with us, and enjoys running with a group of runners. But being at a race--guarding his home turf while runners barged through and took food from his table--well, he did growl a time or two. We had a talk and he decided all was cool. And he loved the swim breaks--we took several.

I tried to find the least muddy entry/exit points, but when a wet dog--clean or dirty--lays down in a gravel parking lot, he is dirty no matter how clean his swimming hole is.

I did not take a ton of pictures of the runners as when they were there, Dana and I were filling bottles and hydration packs, getting drop bags, and talking them into eating, and checking on how they felt. But for a TON of race pictures, Mile 90 Photography took hundreds of awesome pictures.

A quick plug for another awesome race coming up. Thanks to Eric for letting us promote our Oklahoma races while here.

By nightfall, most of the runners were on their last leg of the race--the return trip of their second 50K. And many of then had succumbed to the heat, to nausea and fatigue. of the 37 started, 15 dropped. We had figured to see our last runners by 2:00 or so. The cutoff was 2:00 am, and every runner still in the race made it by the cutoff. Dana made sure they all ate a little before going on. The next aid station was 6 miles away, and since most of the group by this point were moistly walking, it could have easily been 2 or more hours before they'd see more food. Dana had a huge pot of potato soup that really hit the spot--and probably was the very fuel needed for a finish. Despite not running, I had several helpings myself.

Dana had put a few decorations out on the course. She had planned on making it a Hawaiian themed course, but the fierce winds (25-35 MPH all day and all night) made the fake palm trees and tiki lights a bad idea. We did hang a few Japanese lanterns in the trees. I vetoes wearing a grass skirt and coconut bra. My boobs are too sensitive for scratchy coconut shells!!

I was so proud to see my friend Melissa Bruce tough out the 101K. She has ran more miles on this course than probably anyone in the race, having lived in nearby Elk City for years. Her race report is entertaining. Read it here.

Results of the 22 finishers can be viewed HERE.

Mr Eric "EPIC" Steele puts on a great race, and I hope this race is always on the calendar. Next year, I'll be one of the grouchy back-of-the-pack finishers here.

CLICK HERE for my FlatRock 101K race report. More grizzly pics and a ghost sighting!!

CLICK HERE for the Inaugural FlatRock 100K race report--where I battled hard and finished 3rd!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My upcoming weekend

This weekend, while lots of my friends are at OKC running on pavement, I'll be in Independence KS on the trailz of the Elk City Reservoir watching my trail friends run 101K on one of the hardest trail races in this part of the states. FlatRock is the twisted brainchild on one Eric Steele.
Mr Steele has RD'd a 50K here for the past 19 years (and I am a proud and knighted 11 time finisher) and has put on two previous double crossings (100 and 101Ks). This will be the first year I have had to sit one out. :-( My knee is good enough to do it, but I'm trying to be smart.

As I said--this is no easy race. It is a grinder. Keep your eyes on the scenery, and you'll be thrown to the ground by an embedded rock put there since the beginning of time to flatten runners. Throw in some rain, and you'll be praying for more rocks to escape the relentless mud. This year, we will likely have mid to upper 80s to deal with. 49 brave souls are toeing the line. How many make the full 63ish miles--we shall see.

I'll be at an aid station made famous (I kid you not) by my beloved wife. The aid station formerly known as Oak Ridge is now known as Dana's Aid Station. These fine aid station volunteers will be RUNNERS this year. Jason and Melissa will not be any threat to the leaders in the race, but my monies on them to finish. Melissa has ran more miles on this course than probably anybody in the entire race, having once lived practically on the trail-head. Jason is just brain damaged enough to not quit.  I really look forward to briefly hanging out with them as they pass through our oasis four times during their race.

Eric's EPIC ULTRA finish lines are amazing. Years ago, finishers were greeted by a train whistle, air horns, and people beating on trash can lids. The air horn still honks loudly and obnoxiously but the race has graduated to a laser light show at every one's finish line crossing. Knowing this is in store for every finisher, how could anyone DNF?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Eight piles of trash and eight legged creatures

It's spring! It's turning green. Trail running is a good as it gets. I must say that I am happy that nearly every month a litter clean-up/trail maintenance group tackles Turkey Mountain, resulting in new well planned trailz, and the existing ones groomed. More on that in a future post.
But have no fear--some low-life A$$h0L3s have replenished the litter on our playground. The treelimbs are a lesser sin, but an old car bumper--really? Could they have not hauled this to the scrap metal yard and got a few bucks for it?

Turkey mountain--right by the NO DUMPING sign--a good place to throw off your nasty carpet and whatever other trash you have in your truck.

Got an old TV you don't want--bring it right on by and throw it in our paradise.

And don't forget to leave your bottle of pee.

To my friends--be on the lookout. If you see someone dumping--make a mental note of the car/truck. Get a tag# or take a picture--if you can do so discreetly. I do think that confronting someone dumping their crap illegally like that would likely NOT be a person with whom you'd like to have a confrontation. I'd blunder right into it and probably get stabbed. If you get a tag#, report it to the police. Give the info to me and I'll make a nuisance of myself to the authorities.

And finally--it's time to dust off the old "tickometer". The 2014 count stands at ONE so far.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lake McMurtry post race ponderings

Sitting around sorting out pictures and thinking about what to put together for a race report for this past week still has me smiling. Sometimes RD-ing is as fun and rewarding as running and finishing a race. This years Lake McMurtry Trail Run was one such run.This was the 16th running of this trail race held annually about 8 miles NW of Stillwater, OK. It might be Oklahoma's oldest trail race, and even if it isn't, I'll still say it is. I have been at the helm for the past six years, taking over when my friend and mentor Earl Blewett turned it over to TATUR.

Lake McMurtry has such sweet single track trailz, and views of the lake that are postcardseque. Another friend Laurie Biby, owner of Beyond Ordinary Life Photography, took thousands of pictures and posted the best of the best which can be viewed HERE.

LMTR has a 50K, a 25K, and a 12K with a staggered start. An early start is available, giving these early risers 10 hours to make the trip. I also allows a finish that beats an hour of heat--for hot years. The high was 87 this year, which is definitely a hot year.

I made the announcements before each race--pink ribbons, yellow cation tape, signs signs everywhere there's signs, cones, LEAP O' Doom, no littering, eat, drink, have fun. I missed getting a picture of the 50K regular start, but took several of the 25K pre-race.

And away they go. The 25K and 50K had 80+ each, with 35 tackling the 50K. 

McMurtry had trailz through natural tall grass, through scrub oaks and cedars, and a little bit of gravel road.

But the most dangerous feature of Lake McMurtry is the Leap O' Doom. We have a healthy respect of the canyon--putting up ample caution tape, warning signs, and advice tor jumping strategies including PRAY and SCREAM. Laura Bloxum stretched it out, flapped her wings, and just flew right over it.

50Kers run through a native tall grass field, heading to the Peninsula Aid Station.

Front runners Brandon Purdeu and Justin Franklin flew through the first 7.6 miles in 58 minutes. 
Pic by Roman Broyles

We always try to have aid stations with EVERYTHING a trail runner might need. Table number one had H20, Gatorade, Coke, Mt Dew, Sprite, and Ginger Ale. 
Pic by Roman Broyles

Table number two had any junk food a runner could ever want, and then some. 
Pic by Roman Broyles

A group of early starters gave volunteers Roman Broyles, Susan Melon Westmoreland, and Cindy Metcalf a double thumbs up. Our other aid stops were manned by Earl Blewett and Chuch Streit--two guys who have worked this race every year for the past 16. The north aid stop was manned by John Nobles, and Jordan Christy. And Dana, who has been fighting a sometimes losing battle with a nasty head cold and near pneumonia, handled the start/finish, and organized all the aid station food. She had Enlow helpers (Avery, Ethan, and Noah) at the start/finish until their speedy mom finished the 25K.

Arena tackles the steepest incline on the course--a scramble down and then up a ravine. There is a flat bypass that skirts around this huge gorge, but where's the fun in flat trailz?
Pic by Laura Bloxum

Two girls I have had in a trail running training group Barbara West and Laura Bloxum both were doing their first 50K. This was early in the race and they're all smiles so far.

Meanwhile, back at the start/finish, William Barnes aka Dirty Sanchez, cooked up 80 lbs of brisket and pulled pork. William cooks all night and most of the day. This is award winning BBQ, and he has cooked for the past four years. Yummy stuff. There was a little leftover and I got it!! Munching on a sandwich right now.

Melon did the stenciling on the trophies--awarded to the top 3 dudes and chicks in each distance. 
In the men's 50K
1. Brandon Purdeu
2. Justin Franklin
3. Aaron Ochoa

In the women's 50K
1. Jana Graham
2. Jill Bates
3. Polly Choate

In the men's 25K
1. Richard West
2. Mike Kelly
3. Brandon Blakely

In the women's 25K
1. Lori Enlow
2. Jenn Bailey
3. Dan'yel Swafford

In the men's 12K
1.Jason Cook
2. Jack Morrow
3. Ben Lake

In the women's 12K
1. Lindsay Temes
2. Robin Schmidt
3. Julie Ladehoff

Full results can be found here.
Brian Hoover aka Tatur Racing did the timing, and unless there's something I'm missing, did a perfect job. 

I get to hang out with WINNERS!!
Pic by Laura Bloxum

Can you name these feet?

These men have the distinction of representing three generations of Lake McMurtry competitors. On the left Adrian Wolford, with his grandson Hayden Wolford, and son Theron Wolford. In case you were wondering, youth won out.

Three days later, all the race stuff is sorted and put away (thanks mostly to Dana) the results are up, the bills are paid, and I can relax. I had a great weekend, with almost flawless results. Now, I'm ready to run one myself.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday and Sunday Trail Runs

With spring weather oh so slowly easing in, trail running has been awesome. My training has gone from nada to a little here and there. I am cleared to run smart, and Turkey Mountain and I have become buddies again. The TOTs group has welcomed me back as their super-mediate leader, and 4+ miles each Tuesday evening and Sunday morning has been the norm.
The news at Turkey Mountain this past week has been interesting. Some hikers (looking for mushrooms) found a piece of a human skull on the north end of the mountain near Mooser Creek. KJRH posted a picture of the upper teeth in a skull. I am not sure if that is all they found. Our group Sunday ran to the end of the mountain and ambled through a homeless camp, that had tons of filth and trash. We scurried through because I am pretty sure someone was sleeping in the tents. Then we did a little bone searching of our own. Finding bones in the woods is like finding a needle in a haystack...

 but Bill thought he had found one. It turned out to be a stick. OR was Bill taking a squat???

Well, Bill is not so coordinated when he takes a squat in the woods. Like He wore his dirt-stained shirt with pride.

Our Tuesday group ran to the Pepsi Bridge, and then did a little bush-whacking between the bluffs of the north end of the mountain and Mooser Creek. The briers were thick, and I almost had a mutiny just before we reached the low-water dam. On our return trip, we discovered that the gas company has cleared the undergrowth 30 feet either side of the underground gas line. All of the bush whacking was unnecessary, but if there were bones to be found they would be in the undergrowth. 

Paul, Steve, and Leaha approve of the route chosen for the return trip. Another couple of weeks the ticks and chiggers will take over the area, and treks like this will be foolish without a dousing of DEET.

On the way back, we dropped by the Blue Roof Inn--another former homeless camp. This is an old homestead where all that is remaining is a storm cellar, the footing of an old house, and a well. Several times, homeless people have pitched tents, and when I started running Turkey, there was a HUGE blue tarp tented over the top of the open topped storm cellar. Several years back, the camp was torn down and much of the debris was burned in the pit. The trash here is awful.

These homemade hammocks are new. I would like to see this area patrolled a little better. Who knows who these people. I am sympathetic to people who have fallen on hard times, but this gives them no right to camp where it is clearly prohibited and then trashing the place up. There are several litter cleanup days put on by River Parks and other organizations, and these well attended endeavors haul out LOTS (even tons) of trash. It pisses me off to see my mountain trashed up by homeless people, litter bugs, or assholes dumping. 
(rant ends here. sorry)

For another take on the litter and skull discovery, read  Proactive Outside.