Sunday, December 18, 2016

TATUR Christmas Party Recap

The 11th year of TATUR brought the 11th TATUR Christmas party. This year we had it at the Westside YMCA--why didn't we think of that before??

Dana supplied slice ham, Turkey, and rolls. Everyone else brought potluck offerings, and it was good eating. I sampled a couple of vegan dishes that were outstanding. But I canceled that with seconds and thirds of ham and pecan pie. (The pie has eggs--I saw it being cooked.)

Thanks to Laurie Biby for the majority of these  * TATUR * Christmas * Party * 2016 * pictures
TATUR rented tables and chairs soIknow there were 96 chairs, and the Y had 15. Nearly every chair was taken, so it's safe to say we had over 100 people--a big crowd for a Christmas party.

Our usual crew of emcees was 3/4 absent, so I got more than my share of microphone time. We really missed Brian Hoover, Stormy Phillips, and Edward Snow. Kathy and Victor chimed in though so no one had to listen to my melodic voice for a solid hour.  

The first presentation was to the Oklahoma Dirt Trail Series winners. Victor Brown won the men's side, passing season long leader Clay Mayes in the last two races. Clay was nursing an injury, but still took a close second, and vows to be back strong next year. I was third--competing in 6 of the 13 races, volunteering in 6 other races on the list, and missing one.

Jennifer Dennis from Edmond led for most of the year, sneaking in a top 10 every now and then. Christine Fisher was a close second. Christine had a 100-mile finish at Pumpkin Holler to her credit. Johnna Ellison was only 10 points behind for third place. Johnna ran or volunteered in every race in the series. The top 5 ladies were so close--only 85 points separated first and fifth place.

The top three men and women received a book I have had for years--How To stay Alive In The Woods. It's a good bathroom read--just a few pages at a time, but it had a wealth of sensible information on how to make fires out of wet wood, what plants you can and shouldn't eat, how to build a shelter out of tree branches and mud, and how to hopefully find your way out when you are completely lost.  But the one thing the book did not cover was the important issue of how to poop in the woods--but it just so happens there is a book that addresses that dilemma. So I included that in their prize package. The top three also receive permanent discounts for all TZ Trail Runs, and a year's subscription to TrailRunner Magazine.

And then we presented the Silver Spuds. A survey was put out on facebook to gather nominees for the nine categories. Then an unbiased panel discussed and voted to determine the winners. 

Rookie of the Year went to Amanda Lynch. Amanda has stepped up her game this year contending in every trail race she's entered. I look for her to be an ODTS contender next year.

Victor Brown won Most Inspirational TATUR. Victor is the trail Jesus on Tuesday night with the TOTs. Victor is a wealth of knowledge on veganism, training, injury prevention, short shorts, long beards, and speed. It's actually kind of weird seeing him with clothes.

Chris Schnell was Most Improved TATUR. Both Hr and Amanda had similar qualifications, and I see Chris finishing on the podium a few times next year.

Stormy Phillips received the award for Best Performance in a Race. It's hard to decide what his best race was. Western States, where he ran like a champ, hit a bad spell, and toughed it out and finally finished strong for the most coveted belt buckle in the world. Or was it for his easy win at the land Run 50K? Or maybe for his race last weekend where he came in second in the Daytona 100 finishing 1n 15:50?!?!? either way, he won this spud fair and square.

Arnold Begay won Most Beat Up Feet. This award can go to a trail runner who had mangled his feet, and Arnold has owned that qualification in the past. The award can also go to a trail runner who has had a workman-like year running a ton of races, especially back to back runs. Arnold ran four4 100-milers in four consecutive weeks. WOW. (Kathy Bratton duplicated the feat with him, and she was also nominated.) However, Arnold has won this award before and presented this award to another nominee--Polly Chate, who has racked up a lot of racing miles this year including a couple of 100-mile finishes.

TATUR MVP Volunteer went to MikeRives this year. A lot of good and qualified people were nominated, and Mike earned the nod. Mike, along with his alter-ego Meego have been a fixture at our aid stations this year. Meego also has a way or roping more volunteers, and has a knack of making people sign up for races late at night without even realizing what they are doing.

The Comeback Kid award goes to a trail runner who has been out of the running/racing scene for a while nd then has come back with a vengeance. There were a few good nominees, and I was one of them. The panel voted, and I was selected. I was flattered and appreciative but was torn on receiving the award. I really thought someone else deserved this award more than I did. So in my acceptance speech, I made my case. 

Chrissy Whitten has been practically 100% out of the running scene for quite a few years. She lost her first child a few years ago, and then organized a trail run for 4-5 years in her honor. Chrissy then had a brain tumor and had it successfully removed. I really wondered if she'd ever run again, or would even want to. 

But A year ago, she began her way back, setting her sights on running 103 miles at Pumpkin Holler to honor the 103 days that her daughter lived. I mentored her along the way, and she put together a series of races as part of her training schedule that was so grueling, I doubted that she could do it. But she did. She ran marathons, 50Ks, 50-milers, night runs, heat runs, and completed every one. Then two weeks before Pumpkin Holler she came down with pneumonia, and it looked like her journey was over. But through prayer and a good doctor's care, she was released to run just days before her goal race. She waltzed around the long lap and two subsequent shorter laps at Pumpkin like a pro. Her crew was very organized, and she was dialed in. She earned her Pumpkin Holler belt buckle with confidence. 

But that was not the end of this presentation! Kathy grabbed the mike and I thought she was going to give away the next Silver Spud--but I sensed something fishy was coming up. She began a story about the sadness of seeing a friend kinda fall out of the running routine due to injury, and I felt my ears turning red. She then told of a runner who dug deep and faced his dilemma and dug his way back, running a little at first, then a little more, then a couple of 100s, and now he's back and doing great things again. Ok, I was blushing. She then ducked down under a table and started digging something out of a box.

And OMG! I was handed the most awesome award I have ever dreamed of. A Nickle spud lamp, with a Trail Zombie lamp shade!! 

Justin was nominated in a few categories but was best suited for male TaTUR of the Year. Justin competed hard in every race he entered and finished Wasatch 100--one of the 5 or 6 hardest 100s in the nation. Justin works at RunnersWorld, and does a lot of work with runners on their form, and running routines. He is the first man I ever saw wearing a man-bun, but I don't think that had any bearing on him winning the Silver Spud.

My running buddy Johnna won female TATUR of the Year. I think she was surprised and elated. Johnna is a back of the packer who never DNFs. She always has an incredible smile and is cheerful and chatty which makes her a good running buddy and pacer. Her being involved with every trail race in the dirt series carried some weight in the voting, but especially how much she volunteered. This award was well deserved.

Each year, TATUR and RunnersWorld have donated proceeds from Turkey and TATURs to the Westside YMCA. This year they doubled last year's gift, which sends a half a dozen kids to summer camp. I did not have much to do with T&T this year, and deserve no pats on the back, but RDs Kathy Bratton and Mitch Drummond deserve some love for their hard work and generosity, as does the YMCA for graciously letting us use their facilities each year.

From a Facebook post:
A day later and I'm still just giggly about the TATUR Christmas party. My friends--people who love me, people who understand me--gave me a special award: the Comeback TATUR of the Year. 2016 marked the return from a nagging injury--a knee that kept me out of the running scene for well over a year. The knee still nags but lets me run. I seem to be .001% better every day, and 14 races later including two 100 milers and no DNFs, I think I'm on the mend.

Friends like the ones I'm blessed with keep me so focused and encouraged. Thank you, Bryan Carpenter for creating my most prized award. Thank you, Kathy Bratton for never giving up on me. Thank you, Dana Childress for loving me and putting up with my trail addiction. And thanks to all of my trail running friends who seem to follow me up and down (mostly up) every treacherous path I explore.

I truly am blessed.

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