Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Come play in the creek. Mooser Creek. Join us at the Westside Y this Saturday.

This Saturday, you have an opportunity to do something you've probably never done before. It's a clean-up day sponsored by the Westside YMCA and Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. The turnout for past clean up days at Turkey Mountain has been phenomenal with truckloads of litter and debris removed from our beloved trailz. But this Saturday, it's different. We get to clean up a creek.

Mooser Creek runs along the northern boundary of Turkey Mountain, and alongside the YMCA. It's a beautiful creek, and many if not most of the trail users do not even know it's there. Sadly, there is a fair amount of trash dumped in and along the banks of this beautiful stream.

Mooser Creek is unique in the Tulsa Area, in that it is the only free flowing stream that is not altered by flood control plans. It flows unobstructed, almost like it has for thousands of years. Most creeks in Oklahoma are muddy--not at all clear, but this water is clear enough to see the bottom, to see every perch and minnow as they dart around.

It's Jake's favorite place for a swim, and I prefer him taking a dip here over the Turkey Mountain ponds as he doesn't automatically need a bath after a run. He'll drink Mooser Creek water whereas he turns up his nose at pond water. (Can't say that I blame him.)

This picture is downstream from the YMCA, past the Pepsi Bridge. I think there should be a loop trail to this vista. Maybe we can make that happen.

I'd love to see a good turnout for this clean up day. Wear shorts and old running shoes that you won't mind getting wet. Come play in the creek, pick up a little debris, take some pictures, and tell everyone how beautiful it is. Turkey Mountain is our treasure, and this is one of the most brilliant gems in the wilderness.

This Saturday morning the party starts at 9:00 am at the Westside YMCA Pole Barn. Join us!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why I love Turkey Mountain

This is my 1000th post on ....miles to go before I sleep....
I write a lot of posts about Turkey Mountain. Anyone who follows this blog does so for reading trail race reports, or for reading up on what's going on with the proposed mall development, or for just seeing pictures and commentary of what I find in Tulsa's magical wilderness area.

I have been running here since 2002, and moved here (literally) in 2008. I can run right out my front door and be on the trailz in three minutes. For the past few years, I have sworn off pavement, running around 90% of my miles on Turkey Mountain. Why do I love Turkey? For a thousand reasons.

Turkey Mountain is beautiful at sun-up on a cold February day with a group of friends going nowhere in particular, running a route of minor trailz trying to get lost--occasionally showing new trail runners a wilderness they never knew existed.

Or joining 150 other friends for a 3 or 6 hour Snake Run with no chance of getting lost. I am race director of three different trail races here on Turkey Mountain, and love the thrill of seeing people stretch themselves going distances they never dreamed they could do.

I like the greenness of summers, and views of valleys and ponds, home for beaver, deer, raccoons, coyote, squirrel, rabbits, armadillo, possum, a variety of snake (some friendly, and some to be avoided), and turkeys (Yes I have seen turkeys here) and mountain lion (Yes, I have seen them too as have a few of my friends.)

Turkey is beautiful in the snow. While most runners would write off a snowy day and opt for a treadmill for their run, lots of trail runners see days like this a rare privilege. The woods are clean and pristine on a snow day. And on most snow days, the trailz are well trodden.

My running buddy Jake vouches for the fantastic swimming holes on Turkey Mountain. My Jake-routes include a pond or creek every mile or so.

I mentioned winter, summer, spring, but the fall on Turkey Mountain my favorite. Colors explode on a cool crisp November morning. 

There are so many secret places that few people know. This view along Mooser Creek is off the beaten trail but is a short jaunt from Pepsi Bridge.

This pond is on the west side and is now full to the brim. It's a good place for a sunset, for some perch or bass fishing, or for a swim if you're a Labrador.

Just so you know, I'm not the only one obsessed with trail running on Turkey. You'll find characters like these on any given day.

And yes, I was here today, running with my wife and Jake. It was a slow day for me, and stopping to take what might seem to be a perfect \picture gives me a minute to catch my breath, and be at one with my playground.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

3-Days to 100K? I think you SHOULD!

Running 60-some-odd miles in a race may sound ludicrous to some, although in actuality, it may be no big deal to seasoned ultra runners. But how about breaking it up into three days--well that's what this event is all about. 3-Days to 100K--the Oklahoma Way is a stage race. You run different distances on three consecutive days. On Friday night, you run a 25K (15.5 miles) and it's an easy course. 

NSU in Broken Arrow to 96th/Riverside near Jenks--all on the paved bike paths alongside the Creek Turnpike. It's all pavement, and nothing but a few miles and a few hills and a few aid stations between you and the finish line. While some may run it hard and fast, many will take it easy saving energy for the next day where they'll face a 50K on good old fashioned dirt trails.Running 60-some-odd miles in a race may sound ludicrous to some, although in actuality, it may be no big deal to seasoned ultra runners. But how about breaking it up into three days--well that's what this event is all about. 3-Days to 100K--the Oklahoma Way is a stage race. On Friday night, you run a 25K (15.5 miles) and it's an easy course. It's all pavement, and nothing but a few miles and a few hills between you and the finish line. It's ran at night, and with aid stations every 3 miles, it's a nice little warm-up run for most. While some may run it hard and fast, many will take it easy saving energy for the next day where they'll face a 50K on good old fashioned dirt trails.

Day two is a 50K and starts early Saturday morning on private land at a secret location. If it's anything like last year, you'll have your work cut out for you. Last years course was scenic, and tough enough to make you forget about the scenery.

Last year, we had 10 miles to navigate on gravel roads, then hit the dirt and tackled more hills than you could imagine. 

Two 10 mile loops up and down steep hills, crossing several creeks and streams, leaves you wiped out, but in a good way. Smart strategy would be to keep it slow enough to be steady, pushing the pace only in the last third of the race.

It's good to run with a friend, as the day can be a long one. Dips in the various water crossings are optional.

Expect aid stations every 3 miles or so. Eating is half the fun. Be sure to thank the aid station volunteers, who have gave up their entire weekend to help you have a fun race.

Day three again is at a secret location. Not even I know where it will be. Part of the fun in this race is not knowing just WHAT you're getting into. The first year, day three was hellaciously hilly and muddy. Last year, day three was scenic, fairly flat, and a fast course. Something tells me we are in for a surprise this year.

There are awesome medals for those finishing all three days, and awards for those opting for just two of the three, and also for those just running one of the days. Best of all, the cookout after the Sunday 25K is superb. By then, everyone has worked up a giant appetite, and a burger and a cold brew fits the bill.

And as RD Kathy Hoover put it, 
"Wanna know the best way to train for a 100 miler??? Run three days in a row!"

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lake McMurtry Saga


Lake McMurtry just flew by me faster than the speed of a flying fish. I am as tired as if I had run the race--well, I guess I did the distance but just not in racing mode. 
This was the year of the fish. Green fish have served as trophies last year,. but they cropped up as medals and on the shirts this year. 

My LMTR started Thursday when all the aid station stuff, tables, tents, water jugs, and most of the stuff I am bad about forgetting made the trip. I only forgot magic markers, which Wal-Mart had.

Friday morning, I rolled out of my camper to greet the day. It was beautiful, but I quickly crawled back inside for more coffee. It was COLD!

My weather app said 35°, and a few minutes later is read 33°, with a slight breeze. My plan was to ride the course on my newly purchased Marin mountain bike. More clothes were in order--not running tights, not wind pants--all I had was blue jeans, and they worked just fine.

Me and mountain biking just seemed to agree. I rode all of the trailz on the west side, including a few back-and-forths to check to see if the route was marked well enough for both directions. These trailz are so well maintained that marking is really not needed except for when you get near the start/finish. I had a blast on the bike.

My friend from Stillwater, Bill Ford came out at noon and helped me set out the aid stations. Brian TATUR-Racing Hoover set up the timing mats and arch, and headed home to work on timing abour 8 road races over the next two days. Many thanks to my old friends.

Picture by Danielle Huddleston
There were four race starts--the 50K early start, the 50K regular start, the 25K start, and 12K start. Before each wave, I mad a few announcements--the Leap O'Doom warnings, turn here, don't turn there, follow cones, don't step over caution tape, eat, drink, remember to breathe, etc.

Picture by Danielle Huddleston
This was the 50K regular start. Six super-contenders right here at the front, and the runaway winner was a few steps ahead. Notice all those clean white shirts!
Picture by Danielle Huddleston
Earl Blewett runs the 50K, but had his first DNF here. Earl is the founder of this race, starting the fun in 1999, cut a lot of the trailz here, and is to LMTR what Gordy Ansleigh is to Western States.

Picture by Danielle Huddleston
Here come the 25Kers. This was the largest wave, with runners covering the course in 2-6 hours.

Picture by Danielle Huddleston
The 12K does the south loop only. 12K is a sprint distance for many, and a great way to try out trailz to those who have never ventured from the safety of paves sidewalks and asphalt roads. Welcome to the dark fun side.


25K and 50K runners go no more than a mile before reaching the LEAP O" DOOM.
Picture by Alan Bates
Everyone knows about the Seven Wonders of the World. If you do the research, you can find out what the 8th Wonder of the World, the 9th, the 50th, and yes--the 72nd Wonder of the World.--the LEAP O' DOOM.

Picture by Alan Bates
We take safety very serious,and post warning signs, string caution tape, and have 911 on speed dial.

Picture by Laurie Biby -- Beyond Ordinary Life Photography
Some runners come to a dead stop, contemplating the best trajectory to traverse the span. Others peer into the abyss below and fret over the fall into the dark chasm.

Picture by Arena Mueller
Some runners just focus on the task at hand and make the leap. Others choose to take a bail-out route and play it safe. Where's the fun in that? (Congrats Michelle for your first 50K finish!!)

Picture by Laurie Biby -- Beyond Ordinary Life Photography
The exhilaration, the feeling of great accomplishment make the Leap worth the effort.

For those who have fallen into the abyss, search parties have been commissioned in years past and have returned with horrific tales.


Due to a portion of the course being closed because the trail users and the gun range users should be good but not close neighbors, the course would have been more like a 23K or a 46K. Theron Wolford and I got together a couple of weeks back and mapped out a route to replace the lost mileage. 

Picture by Arena Mueller
This old car has a history, and I'd love to hear it. How bout those bullet holes. My friend Alan says there's a geocache here. I didn't have time to hunt for it, but will be back.

Picture by Alan Bates
This short section of gravel road is a good place to pick up the pace. Lake McMurtry is a good PR course, and you can run your 5K pace downhill. I imagine that is a lesser opportunity for those 50Kers on their second lap, as somehow the hill gets taller, and the downhill seemingly flattens out.

Picture by Laurie Biby -- Beyond Ordinary Life Photography
Mitch has it on cruise control. He's heading out on his last loop, en-route to a shiny new PR.

Picture by Arena Mueller
More nice red dirt single track on the south loop. No, you do not have to crawl through the culvert. 

Lake McMurtry has great aid stations. Edward and Wes ran the Peninsula aid station and Shorty ran the south oasis. Colin and Erin manned a water drop at the turnaround, and all were great and I owe them a debt of gratitude.

But a group of insaniacs got together and had a party in the woods at the South aid station.
Picture by Jana Graham
Curiosity was tickled a few yards from the aid stop. What is a flushy?

Picture by Laurie Biby -- Beyond Ordinary Life Photography
Two tents--one with every aid station food known to man, and the other with a full open bar??? There are two types of runners--those who can't imagine drinking alcohol on a run, and those who say HELL YEAH! 

Picture by Johnna Ellison
And being conscientious servers, Jason and Mike sample every drink offering to make sure it tastes good. There were several craft beers, Fireball, Jack Daniels, home made bourbon, strawberry vodka, and I'm not sure what all. 

Picture by Laurie Biby -- Beyond Ordinary Life Photography
Betcha never had one of these on a run--Bloody Nipple Band- aids!! This was a graham cracker with marshmallow cream and strawberries. I'm a trooper, but I couldn't eat one. But I DO love Oreos with a pickle slice.

Here's a Flushy in progress!! 

Jana swears by them. They were refreshing, but I could not quite figure out what was in them. It had a little bit of a citrus taste --maybe grapefruit??

Picture by Laurie Biby -- Beyond Ordinary Life Photography
Everyone at the table was of age. Make a Flushy strong enough, and it'll make your hair stick straight up.

Picture by Danielle Huddleston
William aka Dirty Sanchez was cooking up BBQ. I had smelled the smoke since Friday night, and got to take an early sample just before noon. William had brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, and chicken. He just gets better every year. We had PLENTY of meat, BBQ beans, cole slaw, Chipolte black bean burgers, and brownies. And some cold suds to wash it down.

Picture by Danielle Huddleston
Ceramic green fish awaited the top three male and female in each of the three distances. 

Picture by Danielle Huddleston
Julie Ladehoff receives a trophy for second place in the 12K.

Picture courtesy of Johnna Ellison
No trophies here, but finishes and smiles for Johnna and Arena. This was Johnna's first 50K, and Arena's second  LMTR 50K finish.

Pictures courtesy of Eric EPIC Steele
Eric ran his course PR here, and seemed to have not even broke a sweat. However, in the second picture, I can attest that he did indeed break a sweat.

Picture by Laurie Biby -- Beyond Ordinary Life Photography
Victor won the 50K making this his second TATUR win in a row. Victor leads the Oklahoma Dirt Trail Series and just makes winning look easy. Hi Brandon, you little photo-bomber!


This race could not happen, and won't happen without volunteers. TATUR--my best friends--are the greatest. I mentioned help from Bill Ford, Theron Wolford, Edward Snow, Wes Rupell, Shorty Jennings, Jana Graham, Jason Bement, and Mike Rives. Sue Ann Bement and Alan Graham were also part of the party at the South Aid Station.  We also had help from Angela Childress and her family, Colin and Erin Tawney, Chuck Streit and we needed everyone. Thank you so much!! 

Dan Zeroski always brings out several ice chests of ice, which is needed and very much appreciated. Another word of thanks to Dirty Sanchez and Kimberly , as I munch on a piece of cold leftover brisket. Yum. 

Thanks to Christy Davis for helping with signup, Russell Bennett, Jbob and Jonah for helping out in getting things picked up after the race.

Andrew Runfola, who timed the race for TATUR Timing. Dude you were so patient, calm, and collected. Made my job easy.

Susan Melon Westmoreland for stencilling the green fish, and giving me advice on every race. Laurie Biby and Danielle Huddleston for taking pictures.

Now I'm gonna exercise my intelligence and not forget my wife Dana who bought all the aid station supplies, packed all the tubs, organized all the other stuff we need to bring to the race. If everything runs smooth with the aid stations, it's because of her.