Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Armadillo 2018

As part of my ongoing "training", I traversed the Armadillo Ultra (for me it was a half ultra.) This ace at Osage Hills State Park is such a diverse combination of trails and terrain, that any trail runner should experience it. I have been a part of this race for the past 4 years, and the past two I have been able to RUN it.

I left out of Tulsa plenty early to chat with friends, get signed up, and ready myself mentally. AAs you can see from the above picture, I had not gathered myself mentally just yet. More coffee was needed.

My friends Gwen and Johnna are poised and ready to go. Gwen a 6'6" gazelle, graciously squatted down so I could get both her and Johnna in the same frame.

Thee long photo-arm of James captures the transformation of a zombie coffeed up. It's almost go-time.

Well, the usual crawling out from the start line was with me again. I should try actually running the 1st quarter mile in a race for a change. But here, I knew there would be a log-jam when we reached Sand Creek Falls. I also knew I would take some pictures, so I let the race go. I buried myself so far behind in tme that I was guaranteed a lonely solo run. Funny thing is, I kind of like that.

I have always wanted to rappel, and Roman was here to photograph my change of mind the moment my feet started dangling off the edge of an 80' drop.

Next was a run down to the old ball field. It was really just a field--should have been called a deer field. Today I saw four, but they were much too elusive to be caught on camera.

After the ball field loop, we made a loopy out and back and ran by another Danger Cliffs area. These were about a 30' drop to the water. I have seen people jumping off here but you couldn't pay me enough to do that. (Oh I probably DO have a price.)

A mile or so of flat double track with zero elevation gain. It was also a tunnel with thick tree cover. A tunnel, but not a wind tunnel. I had to hold my glasses through here because they were fogging up so bad.

To make the distances right, a series of out and backs had to be added, I have no problem with that, although those doing the whole loop twice for the 50K, these get to be a drag. I just love someone's sence of humor with this turnaround sign.

This access road is usually unfindable. Whoever mowed or weed-eated it is a hero in my books, The worst chiggers I have ever had (and maybe the worst case of chiggers in the history of the Earth) happened at this park to ME a few years ago.

Another out and back led to Lookout Lake. This road took us up a nice little hill and made for a brief bit of non-technical running. If you absolutely must run on roads, they should be like this one.

This lake is a postcard. If I fished, I'd fish here. They also have kayaks to rent, but I have kayaks, and I am positive I'll bring them here. And maybe fish.

I always take pictures of the aid stations and volunteers, and God knows I had time for that. I hit the first one twice since I left my phone in a campground bathroom and a camper brought it back to the aid station and I made a 2K detour to get it. and remembered to get a picture of Krystal and Lisa. The second aid station you hit three times, and I was so intent on eating that I took no pictures there. But thank you Philip and Sara!!

The reason I hit this station three times was because it was the beginning and ending of the two loops on the mountain bike trailz. These trailz winded around and had several switchbacks, It was like they had 10 acres to cut 5 miles of trailz, and they actually did a great job of it--whoever planned the construction of this playground.

Most of the way was shaded, but there were a few places where you could catch some rays. I actually ran these stretches faster to get through to the next shady area.

James Canfield caught me poking along through the woods. He had finished his 25K and was back out on the course taking pictures.

When James is not taking pictures, he kills zombies with the jawbone of an ass.

I finished in 6:32 and change. If I had only been just an hour faster, I might have been next to last place. But remember, I did add 2K running back to get my phone. But other than that, I just had a slow day. And took some pictures. And just about fell off a cliff. And had a poop stop (TMI !!!) All in all, I felt great, and kept my electrolytes balanced, and stayed hydrated enough to pee a couple of times. 

OH! And I beat a few 50Kers.

Justin Walker aka Jwalk did a super great job RD-ing this race. He marked the course better than I ever did. And, he never seemed stressed out although I am sure he was at some point--it comes with the territory.

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