Monday, March 6, 2017

Post Oak Challenge

Years and years ago, Johnny Spriggs--a good marathon running buddy, told m about a possibility of a new trail run at some lodge NW of Downtown Tulsa. Post Oak Lodge. He told me there was already some trailz there, and many more miles of trail could be cut, and he wanted to have a new trail race there. As his little pea sized brain got into gear, he approached me with the idea of having it the same weekend as the Snake Run. The idea was runners from all over the united states would flock to Tulsa to get two marathons in two days. Now Johnny and I had done a few doubles, andI understood the fun insanity of this, but after some consideration, I told him I thought that was a bad idea--that having both the same weekend would hurt the attendance of both races. He disagreed, but to honor my concerns, held his new race on an earlier weekend. So in February of 2010,  the first Post Oak Challenge was ran. And now, 8 years later, the race is booming.

Post Oak Lodge is on a huge acreage and is a splendid mix of elegant and rustic. Runners--mostly out of state runners--can rent one of the guest lodges, sleep in the same bed for a couple of nights, eat gourmet meals, and best of all--walk right out their door to the starting line. I did the double the first year, running a slow 50K, got lost, and got bonus miles, then repeated the fun the next day in the marathon. I have run a couple of the shorter distances since then, but never the multi-day. In 2012, I volunteered to work an aid station, and have been back every year since then. It's a whole weekend party and has been more fun every year.

This year, the RDs at Post Oak added a third day, giving runners a chance to triple--run a marathon/50K/marathon, or any combination of shorter distances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For those who felt two days was enough, or those who had to work Friday, the double was still an option.

Post Oak has had to scramble each year to come up with new trailz. They share property with the Tulsa Botanical Garden, and part of that land is heavily fenced off to keep hungry deer from eating the botanical displays. The RDs have turned into trail-cutting gurus, and from what I've heard, this year had the best trailz ever.

Our aid station--Meego's Cantina-- and the other aid station ran by Stormy and the Snowman have evolved into state-of-the-art buffets. All three days, we had 6 tables of treats, a variety of drinks (more on that later) and a kick-ass sound system.

I had plenty of volunteers and had intended to spend a lot of time taking pictures of the runners. But to my shame, I spent a wee bit too much time socializing and snacking. I did manage to get a super quick shot of Victor as he streamed through our area. Victor did not run Friday but won the 50K setting a course record with 3:57. The next day, he won the marathon running a 3:30.This is on a fairly tough trail with some serious hills.

I eventually got time to run a little and jogged the course backward for a few photo moments. Here I caught Deborah Burkhart and Janet Holland cruising on a gradual uphill grind.

One of the staples at our oasis was PECAN PIE. My friend Abby brought a gorgeous pecan pie to the Half and Half last December, and I decided we need it at all races. 

We cut it into small piecess, and I just could not leave it alone. I should have just went running. Saturday, I ate the LAST PIECE, and minutes later, Chrissy Whitten bopped in and was so excited to have a bite before climbing the final Hill from Hell. We,, I felt about two inches tall telling her I had polished it off.

I made sure to NOT make that same mistake on Sunday.

A few random pics. Brandon is holding a leash and has Miss Taylor, a white greyhound, dragging him up and down the hills. Is that cheating?

On the left is MikeRives--bartender extraordinaire. We had a dozen different mixed drink options as well as a good selection of beers, whiskey, and Fireball. William and Carrie had no shame in having the slowest time on the course each day. They spent 30-45 minutes at every aid station--especially if they had drinks.

A lot of crazy drink/food inventions pop up at our aid stations. In a past race, William created the "meat shot"--a pinch of bbq brisket dropped into a shot of Fireball. It's actually quite good, although many people were repulsed by the very idea of it. But at Post Oak, we had no brisket--but we did have bacon. Many tasters felt the bacon shot was better than the meat shot since the bacon was a little chewy. I agreed.

We had tortillas and cheese-->Cheese quesadillas! We also had Nutella--Nutella quesadillas. And we had crazy aid station workers-->Nutella&Chees Quesadillas dipped in Fireball!!!! This creation meets the zombie seal of approval!! It was amazing!!

As with all the pics, click on them to enlarge. Stormy published a collage of photos from his place. I wanted to go over to visit. (They would probably say I was spying.)  Having Wes Rupell in their camp meant a plethora of gourmet hors d'oeuvers. 

Watt Design Photography was the official photographer and took tons of great pictures. This one of Victor topping Holmes Peak captures the only place during the race that he walked.

Post Oak posts results of all the races and all of the doubler and tripler awards. Lael Wever won the big triple having the best combined time for all three races. 

And the awards abound. Besides medals for finishing each race, there were age group awards and huge wooden plaques for displaying the medals. If you were fast enough, you needed a wheel barrel to haul your bounty to your car. Christine Fischer had an armload Sunday after her race.

I had put out a notice on a couple of weeks prior to the race soliciting volunteers and had an overwhelming response. Mike Rives, Lynna Gilstrap, Alicia Bell, Deana Jessy, Alecia Cartwright, Ken Saveth, RJ Chiles, Summer Chiles, Leaha Kopp, Misty Roland, David West, and Angela Childress volunteered for one or all days. There were several others who ran one of the shorter distances and volunteered at our aid station after that. At one point Saturday afternoon, we had 14 people pitching in at our aid station. The task at hand was never a drudgery. Many thanks indeed. I am sure I'll repeat this insanity next year.

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