Sunday, November 16, 2014

23 runners brave .23 inches of snow

With a forecast of an Oklahoma white-out (which can mean as little as a dusting of snow) my buddy Brian Hoover put out the call on FB:
"Snow Run. Come join us at 11am for a fun run in the snow. All paces welcome. We will run/walk/play 3-5 miles, make snow angels and have a snowball fight. Then we will all eat a hot lunch and tell lies. Meet at 11am at the main Turkey Mtn parking lot at 6808 S. Elwood Tulsa OK 74132 bring warm clothes, any type of shoes and a camera phone to take pictures. Please post here to RSVP."

A buncha peeps RSVP'd and we had about 23 snow bunnies show up. Getting all of this group scrunched up enough for a pic is about like herding cats, but somehow someone snapped a quickie and then we were off and running shuffling.

The roads were fine, and the trailz were still mostly dirt, beginnings of mud, and some were powdery sand with powdery snow to make brown powder. We could have made chocolate colored slushies (that might have tasted better than Quik Trip's).

I led the group, and the zombie-shuffle was a good pace.

We stopped at major trail intersections to let everyone catch up. Most of the conversation was centered around Brian and how he has dropped 23 lbs in 15 days. The real answer lies in that little adjustment knob on the underside of the scale. Just a 1/4 turn of the knob knocks off a couple lbs, and he only has to adjust it once a week to drop 7-8 lbs a week.

I stepped on a mound of red ants, and did my best to shake them out of my skin tight tights.

This pic was taken after the run. Honest--I think we made it out of the woods with everyone, although this picture does not prove it.

We ended up with about 3.5 miles. In my books, I earned 3 strips of bacon, and pecan pancakes. And that's just what I had!

There was no blazing speed on our run so it was only fitting that we'd have no blazing speed on our brunch. That was all good, cuz we swapped stories, run plans, and serious ribbings for nearly three hours at Cracker Barrel. But what else could we do on such a snowy day?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

4 Mile Hike

Saturday afternoon, the crappy cold weather subsided--a little. Dana and my friends Bobby and Susan cooked up a little trail hike plan, and when the new was relayed to me, I readily agreed. We brought Jake in on the idea, and he approved too. 

We left from our house which adds a whopping .4 miles to any Turkey trip. 
Bobby and Susan are coming off nagging injuries and ailments. Dana is getting her running legs back after being a little bit sidelined, and me--the knee is 0.5% better each passing day. We seemed pretty well matched this day, and the trailz were glad to see us.

We climbed the hill, visited the pond on the Blue Trail so Jake could swim, then headed for the Snake Trail. Susan snapped the above pic as we headed down the Snake.

It felt good and right to walk and chat--catching up on the goings on of our friends, running plans, injuries, and such. I imagine in 20 years we'll be discussing much the same, except maybe more references to Geritol, Metamucil, dentures, bowel movements, and who's been shipped off to the old folks home.

It had been a while since Bobby and Susan had been up here, but they're no strangers to the Snake Trail, having ran the race a time or two in years past.

Somebody had the friskies. Jake is always silly on the trailz. 

Place random sun shining around old tree picture here.

Somebody has new shoes!!! I had ordered a pair of Asolo hiking boots and they came to my door just before we left out. I just HAD to give them a try. I doubt they will be the best things to run in, but for what I CAN do now, they are perfect.

We finished with 4 miles. I'll take that. 
Dinner was next at Ted's. Many chips, beers, margaritas, and sopapillas were consumed.
Can't top a day like that!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

trailz for lunch

I was working near Ft Gibson today and had a bit of down time--enough for a quick lunch anyway. As I rounded a sharp turn on HWY 80 and started the decent to the dam, I saw a turn off. I screeched to a halt, threw the Ford in reverse and scooted onto a gravel pull-off.
A path headed right over to a cliff, where you could see for miles in either direction. To the north--Ft Gibson Dam.

To the south--the river below. The Neosho.

Crossing the dam, I was in full blown trail hunting mode. A turn-off  to the north looked enticing. I headed right down to the water's edge for a shot of the waves. The water actually seemed much warmer than I expected. It was 34° outside, and I bet the water was 20° warmer.

From there I drove north--there just HAD to be a trail there--but no. Returning to the highway, I crossed and entered a park along the river shores. My friend Jeremy Wiley had posted on Facebook about seeing a bridge that had a trail beyond it. He did not get to explore it, and me being a trail hound, was here to do the job.

Just like the picture he took, this bridge called out--come on over. See and conquer. How could I not go?

This was hiking trail was a little hard to follow being totally covered by newly fallen leaves. I shuffled a little and walked most of the way--taking pictures as I went. (You're saying, "That's what you ALWAYS do.")

If not for the round metal hiking signs, I probably could not have found my way--but they kept my curiosity up. The trail stayed along the bottom land below a huge outcropping of rocks and bluffs.

But soon enough, a switchback sent me right up the hill over craggy rocks. I climbed probably 150 feet in a couple tenths of a mile.

Then the incline lessened and headed to a building of sorts. A house? I lost the trail but kicked through leaves to find a nice restroom at the dam overlook. 

The view was great, but another set of trail markers pointed me a different way. I thought there might be more trailz--maybe even miles and miles of them, but it seemed to be a loop that tied back into the trail I came up on. In fact--it was probably NOT a loop but I had just lost the trail near the top. Oh well--it's all good.

I love finding faces in rocks. This was staring back up at me and I did not dare step on it!

This trail was less than a half mile one way. About .9 out and back. I was disappointed that it was not longer. I'd call this more of a nature trail--pretty, but not worth a long drive to run it. It's steep enough and technical enough that those wanting a leisurely stroll would be challenged. Maybe that's why there were a few benches along the way to stop and rest a bit. 

I'll call my outing 1 mile. Not long at all, but I'm not doing much running right now anyway. After all--I just had time for a quick lunch. It just turned out to be a short hike.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Fall day, an awesome trail outing, and six girl scouts in tow!

It was a gorgeous fall day Sunday, and I squeezed a bit of mileage in before a 3:00 appointment. Having only 20 mins before my assignment, I did a jog around the red trail. This red ball floating in the sky signals the turn onto the red trail--right?


Fall colors are in nearly full flame. If you have been cooped up inside--GET OUT!

My assignment at 3:00? Leading a troop of girl scout on a hike on Turkey Mountain!! I felt most honored by being asked!!

Six young ladies joined me (along with their parents) for a jaunt northward on the yellow trail. The plan was to visit the overlook, and then decide whether it would be a simple out-and-back, or maybe we'd add a bit of mileage.

One of the best vistas on Turkey. I have joked that this would make a good place for a Starbucks--a nice deck where you could enjoy a frappucino or espresso--but that kind of silliness rubs elbows with a hot topic like retail shopping in the wilderness--so my Starbucks idea is now scrapped.

Maddie, Elise, Mary Anna, and I can't remember the rest hung precariously close to the edge of a drop-off. Closer than I would have gotten for sure. 

Returning, they climbed every rock of any size for photo-ops.

Leading this group, I kept hearing "ramp, ramp, ramp, ramp." I asked WHAT was a RAMP? Mary Anna explained that meant they were jumping over a rock or a root. Now I know.

The idea was to have half of the girls pointing and saying That-a-Way, and the other half saying Nope--That-a-Way, and one saying I'm lost.

The moms and dads took lots of pictures, and the girl scouts finished with way too much energy left. All in all--it was a fun day.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Turkey and TATURs--Pros and Cons

Ninth running of the Turkey and TATURs 50K
PROs and CONs

Con--having only 60 people registered 2 weeks before the race.
Pro--having 144 by race day!!! :-)

Pro--you got an extra hour of sleep due to the time change.
Con--you negated that extra hour by forgetting to set your clocks and added insult to injury by getting up before the butt crack of dawn to get to the 6:30 start.

Pro--beautiful fall foliage.
Con--the leaves covered up the rocks which lay waiting to trip every trail runner they could.

Pro--race course is marked well and almost no one got lost.
Con--15 miles of ribbons to remove.

Pro--running with your friends.
Con--following your friends after they made a wrong turn and getting in a couple of bonus miles.

Pro--being alone and at one with nature.
Con--getting caught by a runner while on a potty break.

Pro--nice single track trailz for which Turkey Mountain is famous.
Con--you're running right through the future parking lot of the damn outlet mall.

Pro--running 50K on trailz.
Con--where did all the roots rocks and hills come from on the second lap?????

Pro--great aid station food every 3 miles.
Con--gaining 6 pounds by the end of the race.

Pro--Enjoying the scenery.
Con--getting chicked.

Pro--the darn race is over--got my my shirt, medal, and I'm done.
Con--already thinking of an upcoming longer race.

Congratulations to everyone who ran. Special high fives to the winners, and especially Mark Thompson who shattered the 25K course record. Results can be viewed here.

Special wam emotional thanks to all the super volunteers. 
  • To Susan Melon Westmoreland for filling in for Dana at the start/finish--besides her work with the shirts. 
  • To Brian/TATUR racing for doing such a good accurate job with the timing.
  • To Michelle Bates who helped out from early til late with signups and the finish line food
  • To Amelia Elbert for helping out with the food.
  • To Cindy, Wes, and Dana  for making chili.
  • To Jessi Wiley for manning the aid station at the start/finish--she had to deal with those rascally 50Kers between loops.
  • To Scott Smailgo who helped with signup and helped Jessi all day
  • To Bobby and Susan who manned the aid station at the lower parking lot. This is their 4th or 5th year doing this!!
  • To Charlotte and Bill for manning the aid station at the split. Charlotte has racked up a few years of aid station service herself.
  • To Pumpkin Holler 135.6 mile legend Jbob Jones and his girlfriend for manning the station at the top of LipBuster. 
  • To Edward for helping me set up aid stations at 3:00 am. (It was supposed to be 4:00 am, but someone forgot to change his clock.)
  • To Lynna, Arnold, Thomas, Stormy, Phillip, Wes, and Jeremy for helping me mark the course.
  • To Lynna, Arnold, and Russell for pulling course markings, (LOVE YOU!)
  • To River Parks and the West SIde YMCA for letting us hold our race each year. (We will be able again to donate to the YMCA to help kids go to summer camp.)