Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cavanal Killer 2018

For the third consecutive year, I ran the Cavanal Killer in Poteau, OK. This paved race is an 8K(ish) trek up Cavana Mountain which is affectionately called the World's Highest Hill.  Wikipedia explains it best:
Cavanal Mountain
Cavanal Hill, OK.jpg
Cavanal Hill viewed from the southeast side
Highest point
Elevation2,385 ft (727 m) [1]
Prominence1,775 ft (541 m)
Coordinates35°04′15″N 94°40′46″W
Cavanal Mountain is located in Oklahoma
Cavanal Mountain
Cavanal Mountain
Parent rangeOuachita Mountains
Topo mapUSGS Cavanal Mountain
Cavanal Hill (officially Cavanal Mountain), located near Poteau, Oklahoma, is billed by a local chamber of commerce as the, "tallest hill in the world", because the elevation of its summit is 1,999 feet (609 m).[3] The actual summit elevation is 2,385 feet (727 m) above sea level;[2] the difference in elevation between the summit and the Poteau River 3 miles (5 km) to the north is 1,960 feet (600 m).[4]

The billing is based on the delineation between a hill and a mountain, that being if the geographical feature were 2,000 feet or higher than its base, then it would be classified as a mountain instead of a hill. However, the Geographic Names Information System listing do contain several summits with "hill" in their names which are higher than 2,000 feet.

The Poteau Chamber of Commerce puts on this event, and from the number of sponsors listed on the website and on the back of the shirt, it must be a good fund raiser. 58 sponsors?!?!? WOW!! Pumpkin Holler needs that kind of sponsorship.

Two years ago, I was a couple of minutes past 9:00 arriving, and had to beg/reason/nag to get my packet. As race time approaches, they pack the crap up and get out of Dodge. Last year, a few friends came early and ran op and back down before the race. The faster ones in our gang got back barely  in time to get their numbers and shirts. I was slower and did not get mine. No provisions, no apologies. This year I was early enough and got my packet. But true to form, seven (7) minutes before the actual race started, the remaining packets were boxed up and put away. Anyone running late would have been out of luck. A few extra minutes would be courteous--just saying. Other than that, all the volunteers were awesome--friendly, great crowd support, and 4-5 aid stations PER MILE!!!

No I did not have a drone. But someone did. I borrowed a couple of screen shots from last years video. This year, we had nearly identical conditions. Cloudy and quite comfortable for the first hour or two.

I saw Russell Bennet and Arnold Begay before the race. I saw Arnold trotting back to his car just before the race started to get the chip for his shoe from his packet. No one told anyone about it, but us stupid runners are supposed to know that. I had noticed someone else with the yellow loop tab on his shoe, and had to go back to get mine. That, with a lengthy wait at the porta-pot (I just can't pee in a crowd) so I was starting out a little late. That's nothing new to me at all, and Arnold and I ran together for about three miles up the hill.

The first mile is flat for a while and then starts to ascend. After that, it's steep. I can shuffle the incline, but I can also walk it just as fast.For me, it's not really a race, but for most it is never a run. I'd say well over half of the entrants never run a step. The race busses the finishers back down to elementary school where packet pickup was staged. Most of the runners skip the bus ride and run back down. It's FUN. 

Arnold pulled ahead and finished 14 minutes ahead of me. But he ran back and paced me in the last quarter mile or so. I picked up my pace in the last 200 yards, and managed to pass 4-5 runners.

Instead of hot dogs, they had sandwich quarters. They were good. Fresh. But I was all set for a hotdog with a gross amount of mustard. Am I being whiney? I'll shut up.

Swiped a pic from Arnold's FB page. This even kind of looks like Cavanal.
Arnold and I went for a little reconnaissance run on some dirt roads that stretched across the ridge of the hill. There's lots of shortish gravel roads going left and right off on a mile long road that runs east and west. Picture fish bones. It was nothing earth shattering. Nothing amazing to see. No waterfalls. No caves, although I hear there ARE caves somewhere. There was one overlook, but it was less impressive than the one near the finish line. Basically we got in 4 miles on some boring roads, and picked up a few ticks.

Since we hit the finish line aid station again, we ate again. And refilled bottles/bladders. The run back down was glorious, but I was not able to hit it as hard as I did last year. Of course, I did do a 50-miler the week before. The sun had came out, and it was getting into the mid 80s. Just like it should in May.

And since I set a precedent for picture swiping, I swiped another.

The finishers medals were good. I am not one who even expects a finisher medal for 5Ks and other short races. It was nice to see they were heavier cast medals though.

The shirt was good. It's a cotton blend shirt in a good color. The artwork was good. I have got a few raised eyebrows wearing it since the first thing they see on the front and back is KILLER.

Since I am officially training now, I always try to find some aspect of my race that shows improvement. My finish time for the ascent was 1:31:51. I started 8:14 late. So my actual race time was 1:23:37. That would have made me the 91st finisher out of 206. I would have been the 53rd male finisher. I would have been 3rd in my age group. This time was a couple of minutes faster than last years time, although I had ran an up and down last year before the race. My average pace on the ascent was 16:44 while climbing over well over 2000 feet.

On this same day, there was a race in Arkansas that I'd love to run sometime. The Mount Magazine Trail Run--around 18 miles and much more elevation gain than Cavanal. Probably gonna do that one next year.

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