Saturday, September 26, 2015

Red Shirt Shuffle Review

Last Saturday was the second running of the Red Dirt Shuffle, a Half and Quarter Marathon at Lake McMurtry on the east side mountain bike trailz. We had about 10 more entrants than last year, so at least it grew a little. 

I marked trailz for most of the day Saturday, tackling the easier south trailz first. I rode my bike and marked the intersections with arrows. I had a pretty decent bike wreck, flipping my bike and flying over the handlebars landing on my back with my head against a fallen tree and a stick from the tree piercing my right ear lobe. Wasn't clean enough for one of those giant hoop rings, and it's healed up nicely in the week since. I found the north side trailz had quite a few downed trees over the trailz. By the time I'd rode 1.5 miles and fixed a flat tire, I had climbed through 10 or 11 trees. I talked to two different mountain bike couples and a few hikers who told me the whole trail system was a mess--no way possible to get through some of the sections. I was also gathering plenty of seed ticks and chiggers, and made the brilliant decision to have the race use only the south trailz with the half marathon running the course twice.  

picture by Jodee Whitworth
 We started about ten minutes late since I led my aid station workers out to their post. No worries. I did explain that this was an ish race--as in halfish marathon, and quarterish. The south loop is marked on the signs as being 6/5 miles, but by my Garmin, it was 7.2.

picture by Brian Lamb
 We sent about 2/3 of the runners out on the half, and the quarter started a half hour later.

picture by Tammy Cryer
 It had rained like crazy Friday, about 10 miles east of the campground, but did not rain more than a few drops at the race site. About 4:00 am, the sound of a rumbling thunderstorm woke me, and I thought for sure we were gonna be in for a muddy day. And it did rain a little, but the trails were damp at the very worst, and really the rain fixed the problem where the trailz had so much loose dirt. They were perfect.

picture by Tammy Cryer
 Thanks to the summer of rain we've had, the lake was FULL for the first time in years. I knew there was a pond somewhere on the course, but this year there were several.

picture by Jodee Whitworth
 But the best watering hole was the aid station in the dead center of the figure 8 course. Other than a soy pumpkin latte, you could order ANY drink known to man here. Runners hit this aid station at 2.5 miles into the loop, and then again around 3.5 miles later where they were a mere mile to the start/finish. Half marathoners ran this loop twice--and some were--well--loopy.

picture by Jodee Whitworth
 Jodee found this sign amusing, but it did keep a few runners from following a double-track trail out of the park.
picture by Jodee Whitworth
 I sure hope I collected all the chiggers and seed ticks on my own hairy legs. In my thinking, the brief light showers before the race might have messed up those itch-bastard-bug's plans of latching onto any warm blooded legs that passed through.

picture by Brian Lamb
 The aid station at the start/finish was manned by Dana. She watered and fed the halfers and sent them out for another loop.

picture by Jodee Whitworth
 Now I did say this was relatively something--flat maybe? I did say the course was relatively dry, and had no one disagree. Relatively long was mentioned. I'll own that.

picture by Brian Lamb
 The second loop passed by Meego's pub twice. Where else do you find this kind of craziness than in a TATUR Trail Race? What the heck is a PickleBack Shot?? It was a small shot of whiskey followed by a pickle juice chaser. It was awesome. I realize this is not for everyone, but pickle juice is the wonder elixir.

picture by Brian Lamb
 Brian Lamb was waiting at the finish line handing everyone their very own vial of red dirt--corked and hung from their neck with genuine cowhide leather strips

 The quarter marathon featured a fast trio that battled hard for the win.  Skylar Turner (in the center) won the race after coming in second last year after getting of course because of a sign marking a turn had been knocked down. I was glad to see him get the win. Robert Rice (on the right) was second, while 15 year old Hayden Wolford was 33 seconds back and took third.

 Lexi Hastings (on the right) won the quarter marathon. Elisha Adams (in the center) took second while Sarah Ellers finished third. 
 Daniel (aka Ryan) (the shirtless dude) won the half marathon. It was close for a while but somewhere in the second loop he poured it on and put a little distance between him and second place. Rey Waldestiand (on the right) finished second in just under two hours. Michael Tupper was just a couple minutes over 2 hours and finished third.
 In the women's half, Ruth Loffi (on the right) got the win. Erin Cardin (in thew center) was second. Jana Graham was third. I probably will get roasted for saying, but I'm thrilled that the ladies in their 50s ruled the podium. Congrats. CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

picture by Brian Lamb
Hats off to a sleepy Brian Hoover, who has been running himself ragged lately with a super full slate of races to time. Our results were flawless.

Thanks to my sweetie Dana for running the start/finish aid stop. She also makes the trips to Sams and Wal-Mart for aid station supplies. 

Big-time thanks to those who worked at Meego's Pub. Mike Rives, Jason and Sue Ann Bement, Michelle Bates, and Jbob Jones--you guys are rock stars. I know you picked up some help during the day from runners who wanted to just come hang out and help after their race. 

Thanks to Shorty Jennings, who helped get people signed up, and then did double-duty with the finish line and the start/finish aid station.

And to Dennis Hotson, who helped with pre-registration and packet pickup, and then ran the course while picking up the markings. A HUGE help.

Susan Melon Westmoreland has my gratitude for making these awesome awards and trophies. I rounded up the red dirt and glass vessels, and she put her magic to it.

Kevin Lemaster from Ultra Gator did our shirts. He always jumps through hoops to get my shirts to me. 
picture Clint Green

Finally, thanks to all my running friends who came and ran. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Meet Roxie and Zeke

A post of the new member. of our family is overdue. Meet Roxie and Zeke. We got Roxie August 9th. She is half Great Pyrenees and half Chocolate Lab--a Labranees! She is a sweetheart, but has an ornery streak that keeps things lively around here. We found her on Craig's List in Stroud. A family brought her to a specified location in Stroud (McDonald's) and we knew she belonged to us the moment we saw her. 
 The owners had said she might have a few ticks, and we found several on the hour drive back to Tulsa. Upon getting home, we had our friend Susan Westmoreland come by to see her, and Roxie's transformation began.
 She was no fan of baths, and still is not. But after a 4-step bathing process, we began a thoirough search for ticks. They were hard to see in her black fur, but just about any place you looked, there were several. Between her toes and way up in her feet were a hundred or so--many fully engorged and hatching baby seed ticks. Dana and Susan picked ticks for 3 1/2 hours, and Dana went over her a few more times the next day finding close to a hundred each time. We took her to our vet the following Monday and we got her a dose of Next Guard as well as her first round of shots. Whatever ticks we had missed died and fell off. She is tick and itch free now, and happy and mischievous.

A week later, Zeke joined our family. He is an AKC Chocolate Lab and comes from a long line of hunting dogs. I doubt we'll ever have him out duck hunting, but he'll find his roll in life as a trail runner. He is about a month younger than Roxie, and she outweighed him by 4 lbs when we got him.
 They were instantly friends. They romp and tear, wrestle, and chase each other, and help each other get into all kinds of trouble. We'll sit them down and explain why they shouldn't chew on the kitchen cabinets, chase the cats, carry off my shoes, and they pay attention and cock their heads like they fully understand--I think they understand more than people give them credit for. But they are still busy puppies--and so much fun.

 When they're not using my shoe laces or arms for teething, they cuddle up like lap dogs. At 12 lbs, this works. At 92 lbs it may be a bit uncomfortable.

 This is Zeke's first doctor visit (since we've had him.) Roxie also came since she had a sore foot. (I accidentally stepped on her paw!)
Zeke got his round of shots, and Roxie got a laser treatment. A couple  days later and she was the rowdy romper again.

I never thought I would sleep with dogs. That was just a flat NO for me. But these guys whimpered, and seemed to settle right down in bed. They never had an accident in bed, but we do occasionally have to get up to take them out for a 2:00 am pee.
 This is a queen size bed. Yes, we are shopping for a bigger bed.
 How could you tell this guy he has to sleep on the floor?

 Zeke and Roxie do stay outside some of the time. Roxie has taken over one of our lawn chairs. She did not see the need for the cup holder and is making the necessary alterations to her chair.

 Zeke is happy to be a lap pup when we sit out in the yard with them. Now, 4 weeks later, Zeke outweighs Roxie by a pound. Roxie is taller and more agile, but he is a freight train. Most of their day is spent chasing and wrestling, chewing and swiping chew toys, eating and sleeping.

 The Trail Twosome has had two trail sessions on Turkey Mountain. It was new-smell-overload for them--especially Roxie. Zeke had moments where he was leading us like a trail boss. He led us in tow with his leash like he knew just where he was going--until a new smell was detected. I predict they will be addicted to trail running soon, but for now, we are mostly just walking.

 We drive from the house even though we live close. Crossing Elwood with them on leash might be a little dangerous. Plus, they are only going a half mile or so at a time.

 A good nap follows their trail adventures. They play hard and sleep hard.

Dana has really worked with them with their tricks. They know Sit, Shake, Stay, and have just about mastered Down (where they lay on the floor.) We are also working on Rollover. The dog biscuit on the nose thing--I dunno if they'll get that.

Do Wacka Do Wacka Do Wacka Do Wacka Do Wacka Do Wacka Do Wacka Do

Last Saturday I did the Do Wacka Do trail run again. My buddy Joel Everett puts this race on way out in western Oklahoma at the Sandy Sanders WMA some 12 miles south of Erick Oklahoma (the last town on  I-40 before you hit the Texas state line.)

Where did Joel come up with this weird name for a race? It's named after the Roger Miller song of the same name. Roger Miller grew up in Erick and one of the town's feature attraction is the Roger Miller museum. 

Here's the song.

Aren't you glad the song is only 1:49?

I had planned on taking my camper to the race, but ended up working late Friday. so I slept in my own bed and left out at 3:30 early Saturday and made it to the race 30 minutes before go time.

Packet pickup was brisk, and I  gulped coffee, slathered on stuff to my feet and chafing areas (Happy Feet and Sac-So-Soft), and filled my water bottles. Shorty had picked up my packet the night before, which saved me a few needed minutes.

Julie Dunbar from TATUR Racing timed the race--solo--and did a spectacular job. Toward the second half of the 14 hour day, she ran out to greet the finishers as they neared the finish line, often running the last 1/4 mile with them.

Polly and I posed for our annual group shot. Polly was running the 50 mile, and kept the pace and won the the race. I was signed up for the 50K, and had given myself full permission to stop after 25K if it got too hot.

So, at 7:00 we were sent off at the sound of a shotgun blast. The sun had just came up, and the 25K, 50K, and 50 Mile runners cruised down some nicely maintained gravel roads.

Twin sisters Mishelle and Alecia were hanging together for 25K. Mishelle must have had OSU football on her earbuds and was celebrating a TD.

There are great views the whole way at Sandy Sanders WMA. This looks like a sunset, but was a sunrise--about one mile into the race.

Shorty and I were at the back of the pack. She was out for 25K at an easy pace, and we just decided to hang together.

I had seen a couple of these black beetles along the way. At first I thought they were dead, but after seeing 3-4 of them, I stopped to take a picture. I googled them today and found they are called Clown Beetles, Head Standing Beetles, and Desert Stink Beetles. I read that it stands on it's head probably for two reasons. These guys are the skunks of the insect world. They spray nasty chemicals from their rear. By assuming this posture, they are warning predators that they are about to spray. I had got pretty close to get this picture--I guess I'm lucky.

This course has some flattish areas, but is more noted fore steep descents into the canyons, and very steep climbs back out. This hill was a toughie--but was nothing compared to climbs later in the race.

It's easy to take a good picture at Do Wacka Do. The wet summer had kept the area much greener than in years past. Yes, that hill was where we were going.

I have been here when there was no water to be seen, but this year, there were three different ponds. As it heated up (close to 100°) I thought about wading it to cool off--but the mossy scum near the shore (that probably was home to water moccasins) kept me from doing it.

After a 200 foot climb, we reached our second aid station. Most of the aid station workers were not runners, but friends of Joel and his family--but they were GREAT. Most of them have been at this race every year, and they seem to know what us hungry trail runners want and need.

Pond number two (or was it three?) They all looked alike.

Some people make jelly out of prickly pear cacti. All I knew is that if you had to trip and fall--just don't fall here.

I am always on the lookout for critters. I wanted to see a snake--particularly a rattlesnake. but just like last time here, we saw a couple of tarantulas. I was taking pictures of this enormous creature, trying to get a closeup shot.
I had my phone hovering at ground level Mr. Eight-Legs took it upon himself to help out and made a run right at my phone--actually tried to climb right over it!! I probably screamed like a girl, and I know I did a wild-monkey back-up dance. Now if Shorty had videoed this, we'd have a winner!

This was the aid station at mile 8. I told Shorty to drink up, and we filled our bottles to the brim with ice and water. The aid stops were further apart later in the loop, and it was getting hotter by the minute. I took some pretzels and cookies with me--after feasting on cold watermelon.

We were in cruise mode now--just trying to not be stationary. The scenery was still awesome, but it was getting to the point where we didn't care.

25K would be Shorties longest run in a few years, and even at 10 miles in, we were running a little here and there.

The steep climbs were zapping us though. Usually, in the low spots, there was no wind and climbing 200 feet ascents in full-on sunshine was melting Shorty down.

It was somewhere along this stretch that Shorty noticed what looked like a battle of a beetle and a tarantula.

Upon Googling this strange orange winged insect, I learned it was a Pepsis Wasp. So now, I realize I am lucky to not be squirted by a stink bug, bit by a tarantula, or stung by the most painful stinging wasp on the planet.

At this point downhills were not even fun. I was careful going down not wanting to aggravate my questionable knee. I know--I'm such a wuss.

Besides the aid stations, there were volunteers riding the course in reverse on ATVs and they had drinks and first aid for whoever needed it.

A few shout-outs:
John Nobles lined up and ran the 50 miler--and finished 2nd. He was a distant 2nd after two loops, and made up a lot of ground on the final loop. Dude looked strong every time I saw him.

Jeremy Wiley signed up for 50K, but caught a ride near the final stretch of his last lap. He was dizzy, and had taken a fall. I thought he was pretty dehydrated after talking to him after the race, After a couple Gatorades and a beer or two, he seemed fine. He reported seeing a few snakes on his last lap! 
Check out this video of a cranky rattler that Jeremy Wiley made. He saw 4 of these guys and must have been pretty close to a den. 
Jason and Sue Ann Bement kicked out a good paced 25K and finished before 100° set in. Here, Jason is cruising with Mike River who toughed it out for 50K.

Travis Jennings, sporting his Pumpkin Holler shirt, just kept going and going--and finished his 1st 50 miler. Travis is training for 100 miles at Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd this October.

Shorty and I held it together--at times scrounging for any kind of shade--which meant cozying up to scratchy cedar trees hoping there were no rattlers with the same idea.  We finished what my Garmin said was 16.25 miles in just over 6 hours. We collected out finishers medals, and spent the rest of the day re-hydrating and cheering for our friends as they finished. 

I grabbed a couple of pictures from Polly Choate--of the medal, the age group awards, and her first place trophy.

And I got a nifty medal hanger in a drawing!! Happy trailz!!