Friday, July 22, 2016

Osage Hills write-up

Last Saturday the Osage Hills Relatively Flat Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k went off almost flawlessly despite 96 degree heat and 107 heat indexes. We had a huge increase in runners fur in part to adding the 10k.
The half and full took off at 7:30. Most half era got the job done before the heat was out of hand. But the full had a tough battle. The full was pretty accurate but the half was s little over a mile long. The 10k also was more mileage than what was bargained for. The reason for the inaccuracies is last minute changes that had to be made to the course due to bad overgrowth, multiple fallen trees, and ticks.

Like last year, runners sampled Sand Creek Falls. Ample opportunity was given for foot soaking, and a few did just that on their second and third loop.

After leaving the falls, a short climb led to the sign. Jodee and Candy were up to some shenanigans.

The course ran right at the top edge of these steep bluffs.

Good ground could be gained back on the Creek Trail. And this section was painfully flat.

A short rocky climb from the campground led to the LookOut Tower. Then a scamper through the woods dropped the runners off at the spider aid station manned by Shorty, RJ, and Johnna, and runners hit this stop three times per loop.

Most people liked the out and back over LookOut Lake Dam. It was just a half mile out and back, but is like to see a trail going around the lake. Not sure how to make this happen.

150 medals. 146 finishers. That worked out great. Congrats to all who ran. Special thanks to Matt Markel, Elisha Bell, and David West should helped me all day Saturday marking trails. And thanks to Jana, Lisa, And Krystal who worked the campground aid station. And to Shorty, Travis, and Johnna who worked the crazy intersection did station. And to Lynna and Dana who worked the start/finish. Thanks to Clint who did some course marshaling, and Chris's from Tatur Racing for doing a flawless job with the timing.

Click HERE for full results

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Crewing/pacing Lynna at Honey Badger

After Port to Fort, Mitch and I drove to Cheney Kansas and then followed a lonely flat paved farm road westward until we found our friend Lynna Gilstrap. Lynna had ran all day and into the night--54 miles no less--and was over half way to her goal of finishing the Honey Badger 100. Honey Badger is the brainchild of one Eric Steele--an old friend from FlatRock. Eric wanted to create a 100 miler that was tough--in the way Badwater is tough. Put it in the middle of July, on an all paved road, with no shade and no trees. The running gods were kind to Lynna, and instead of 98 degrees, it was only in the low 90s. A good breeze made even the hot hours of Saturday afternoon bearable.

We joined the team at mile 54-55, and I assumed pacing duties while Mitch crewed us--driving ahead two miles while I shuffled and Lynna power-walked. My shuffle felt good even after my adventure race earlier Saturday morning, and I ran around 20 miles. Mitch and I switched somewhere around 4:30-5:00. When the sun came up, I took a few pictures

Lynna kept steady during the night while a few other runners seemed to slow down--a natural occurrence in a 100 miler. Lynna was in good spirits, and seemed like she was none worse for wear after 24-25 hours of relentless forward motion. I Facebooked her progress, and the well wishes flooded in. I saved these comments and encouragements because I knew they would be great motivation just when she needed it the most.

We chatted with friends in other runner's crews along the way. Most of the crews were experienced ultra runners, which is important in a race where heat exhaustion and electrolyte deficiencies can kill a runners race. Runners have lows and rebounds, more low spots, and grand recoveries. As a crew/pacer team, it was our job to try to keep the lows brief, and ride the highs for all they were worth.

Lynna's van was basically a food truck. There were a variety of cookies,  Gatorade, of course water, pop, Pedialyte, Pop Tarts, Pringles, Popsicles, PBJs, pizza, and beer. 

At every turn (there were few turns) there were warning signs for the country folk who might be hurrying so as to not be late to church.

 This little guy couldn't get out of the way of a speeding F150.

After Mitch got in 20 miles, we switched places again. It had warmed into the mid 90s, and any wind was hardly felt at our backs. Mitch and I had been pushing salty foods. Lynna had fueled herself with pizza during the night but once it was gone, nothing sounded good to her. I talked her into a stack of Pringles, a Popsicle, a small dose of Naproxen.  
Then, I began reading her the Facebook comments. She had over 400 LIKES, and 113 COMMENTS wishing her well, voicing confidence, and it worked. Lynna kicked it in gear, and the rising temps were not a factor from that point on.

I ran in to the finish ahead of Lynna to incite the crowd to wild applause for our runner. But it was a small race and a tired small crowd. So, Mitch, Eric, Trevor and I clapped. Lynna finished in 31:17--8th overall and 3rd female.

I would have crashed and slept for hours, but Lynna stayed alert and just took it all in. 

She was buzzing. 66 years old, and finished her 1st 100 in her 1st try. Mitch and I think she may be the oldest female to have completed her 1st 100 miler. 

 Showing off the swag. I'm super proud of her and honored that I got to help.

Ok--this picture was taken a week after her race, Lynna is nearly fully recuperated, and helped run an aid station at Osage Hills. I really like this pic. We could be brother and sister. But we're just great friends. 

Port to Fort--the adventure continues.

The 5th annual Port to Fort was held a couple of weeks ago, and the team of Mitch Drummond, Channing Wendt, and I came into the event raring to defend out next-to-last place title. My buddy MC Hammer sent us some shirts to wear, and a box of cassette tapes to use as give-aways. I liked the shirts, and in fact I wore mine during the swim. It soaked up so much water, that my life jacket barely kept me afloat. 

This was my best swim ever in this event. I am always quite nervous about it, since I am a bottom dweller in the water. My strategy was to jump right in and worry about it later. I bobbed right out of the water, and after a few unfruitful breast strokes, I flipped over and did the back stroke, and made it across the harbor in about 7 minutes. It took the lead swimmers maybe 30 seconds. We were not the last ones out of the water though. (I believe the teams behind us started a few minutes late.) I was re;axed in the water, and was ready and loose to begin my run.

The three Forks Trail runs along the Navigation Channel for around 5 miles. It's pretty flat with just a few ups and downs. We passed a few teams along the way before then next wave of teams who were NOT doing the long event (which included some mountain biking.)

I thought we ran very well. I stopped every now and then to take a few pictures. Channing insisted on taking a few pics of me.

There was not much wind moving, and although the temps were in the low 80s, the humidity made the air thick. I was almost wishing for another swim.

Notice the lack of red cotton Hammer shirts. Our tech shirts served us much better. My buddy MC needs to step it up a little for next year.

Our second aid station was manned by none other than Lisa McManus. Lisa was signed up to be part of a team formed to take us down! But she has had some knee issued and has a new Tritanium Di-Lithium powered bionic knee on order, and will be back racing soon.

One of my favorite parts of the course is climbing ropes out of this steep ravine. There is usually a long log-jam here, but we were ahead of the masses and did not have to wait.

What goes up must go down. This rappelling is the most fun on the course. Some people are more scared doing this than I am of the swim.

But the Can't Touch This team breezed right  through.

This was nearly a second swim. The water was so high that the narrow pathway along the shore was actually under three feet of water.

Another scramble that was unexpected. Road construction was a mere obstacle, and the runners enjoyed the challenge.

Our bike ride was a 15 mile modified out-and-back. I measured it more like 16 miles. The Jean Pierre Choteau Trail was the same course we took two years ago when we had 8 flat tires and only 5 tubes.

But this year, we had no flats. The section near the turnaround which was mud from hell two years ago only had a few semi-muddy spots, and it was easy to navigate around the mud pits.

My lack of bike riding in preparation did not hinder my performance. I felt good--the bike was rolling well, and I was comfortable riding even over some of the rockier sections.

But there's  certainly no shame in hiking a bike when fatigue takes over. Mitch and I had one ride in preparation, and Channing had spent some time on his road bike.

For almost the whole race, we were treated to overcast skies, and the wind was picking up out of the south. Wind in the face would certainly cool us down, but canoeing into the wind would suck. Mixed blessings.

Not all was single track. We road on dirt roads on the edge of fields. We made up a little time here.

Channing appeared to have been run over by a truck. He did take his annual roll in the dirt.

I did not get any pictures if the canoe trip. I was too busy rowing. We seemed to do well in this leg. The current was moving a little better than in past years. We had a smaller ice chest, and maybe less weight. The south breeze was not as bad as I had feared. We kept the canoe in a straight line most of the time.  

If there was anything to be disappointed about--it was that we didn't pass anyone on the row. We were about 9 minutes behind the team ahead of us. We did manage to beat three teams. We are getting better.

RD Joel Everett does a spectacular job in putting this race on, maintaining trailz, creating super shirts and medals. This race is my favorite. I cannot imagine ever not doing it.