Category Archives: Running

Last Long Run Before the Race

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Saturday I made my last long run before the Tulsa Run 15K coming up this next weekend. My training is not going like I thought it would.

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Basically I have been running only one day a week because i have a sore back every morning. Weekday mornings is generally the balance of my training where I do my resistance traiining (essential to successful running) and my shorter runs.

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My back is killing me in the morning in one particular spot about midway down my left side.  And it disappears about 20 minutes after I wake up in the morning. No, the bed is not uncomfortable but the pain is not quite excruciating in the morning.

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So I get up and make coffee and read the paper and check up on what is going on online.

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So anyway, the Tulsa Run is 15K and I’ve only trained about 11. Things will be okay though. I know how to stretch things out. I first ran the Tulsa Run in 1994 and ran it every year through 2014. Last year I injured a knee and so I walked the 5K but I’m running the 15K again. It will be my 22nd time.

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How about you? I bet you know how to stretch things when you have to.

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The Slowest Runner in the World

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I went running Wednesday night, I was planning on doing eight miles but it was just so cold and windy that I couldn’t stay focused. I had my camera (of course I had my camera, you know that) and started playing with the timer.

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So this was my first take. Hit the button and count to five and turn around and come back except I must have a slow count. As you can see I’m still moving away. Not very far for ten seconds I say. You know, we have a whole industry devoted to fast runners. Every four years we have the Olympics and get really get excited about the fast runners. Well, what about us slow runners, nobody cares. That is not very inclusive is it? There is a whole bunch of us slow runners who are marginalized by society. Sniff.

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How about a hash tag like #SlowRunnersMatter. And you folks who say, “Well what you are doing is not technically running Alan” Well, phooey on you. Us slow runners need safe spaces where we don’t have to hear trash like that. Safe spaces where we can feel good about ourselves. And participant ribbons, we need more participant ribbons. (Actually I have lots of those.)

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Have I ever told you about my track career? In seventh grade in Eagar, Arizona we had a track team and we were going to a big meet in Holbrook, Arizona and I ran the quarter mile. We lined up and the gun went off and and the race started. I was so slow that I didn’t finish the race. I couldn’t finish the race because you see by the time I got around the track and was headed to the finish line, the officials had lined the kids up for the next heat so they waved me off the track. Yep, that is pretty slow.  Can you beat that?

Well I amused myself, an onlookers I’m sure, several more times and called it quits after five miles and change. I hate running in the cold wind.

Take care!

Strava Heat Maps of Turkey Mountain and Downtown

I wear a Garmin GPS enabled watch while running. It is kind of magical. I turn it on when I start running and turn it off when I’m done. While I’m running it is feeding my phone via a blue tooth link all sorts of information like where I am such. At the end of the run I can get on the web and see all the statistics and a map on a service linked to Garmin called Strava. I always thought it was kind of cool. Like below is a map of my run this morning where I trotted up and down the Arkansas River for four or so miles.

You know what is cooler. Seeing a view of a particular area with a bunch of runs superimposed to see if a pattern emerges. That is called a heat map. Generally the various services want extra money for that but I found a web site that does it for free. I am really into free. Jonathan O’Keefe has a free service for generating heat maps. The following is what it generated for my runs on Turkey Mountain.  So you can tell I pretty much have Turkey Mountain covered.

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And here is my heat map for downtown Tulsa. I have it pretty much covered also.

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Anyways, I love little gizmos like this.

Mid Day Run

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This is our refurbished library under construction. They say they are going to be open this summer. I think they are going to have hump it do so. That is an oilfield term.

During the Spring and Fall, while the weather is mild I love to run during my noon break. That gives me a chance to read the paper and drink some coffee in the morning before work instead of waking up at 5:15 to run or run on the treadmill. I belong to a gym downtown and take off from there. 

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I run from downtown to the river and back downtown so I get to dodge office workers, construction, workers, meth heads, k2 addicts, and homeless guys and gals on my out. Plus I have to run by the Oklahoma State University Medical Center. They have banned smoking on their campus so the doctors, nurses, and others go stand on the sidewalk and pollute the air and throw their butts down on the ground and it has made quite a mess. I’ve been thinking about writing a post about hospitals that do things like that. Saint John’s Hospital’s employees to escape the smoking ban cross a busy street and loiter at my drug store and again leave a mess behind. Meanwhile the hospitals get to brag how healthy they are. Well send a crew over and clean up your employee’s mess fools is what I say! What do you say?

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Finally I get down to the river trails and get to run along them for a mile or so of my four mile route.

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Coming back from river to downtown I go through a pleasant neighborhood that includes the Council Oak Tree memorial. A band of the Creek tribe picked this area on a bluff overlooking the Arkansas River as their council ground in 1836 after the US Government forcibly removed them from their lands in the southeaster USA. The tree in the background, an ancient burr Oak, is reportedly the original tree that they met under. The sculpture in the foreground is called “Morning Prayer” by Creek artist Dan Brook.

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I love to check out the roses in the flower beds of the houses I run by.

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There is a fountain on the way also. No big deal today but I love running by it when it is a 100 degrees outside. ( true confessions, I don’t run outside when it is close to a 100 any more)

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And then on back to the core downtown. My gym is on the 16th floor of the green topped building to the right.

A good time was had by all!!

2016 TATUR Snake Run

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The closest I’ll get to a trophy!

The TATUR Snake Run was run today. The race is a little different in that who ever runs the longest in a given time wins. There is a three hour race and a six hour race on the same course. The course has two routes, a big loop of 3.75 miles and a small loop of 0.5 miles. You run as many big loops as you can within the allotted time and if you don’t think you can run another big loop before the time ends, you run the little loop as many times as you can. Partial loops don’t count.

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The Godfather of Tulsa Trail and Ultra Running, and Race Director, Ken (Trail Zombie) giving pre-race instructions on a chilly Saturday morning. I had three layers on and running pants and gloves. Others just had shorts and a tee shirt. That is because they are tougher than I am. In addition to being a lot faster.

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There is no crowding at the start line on a run like this. They have six hours to get dispersed. I always start at the very back.

This is the six hour guys and gals taking off. Ironically enough, they run faster than the three hour crowd, in general. Mainly because they are in great shape. Imagine ripping along at seven to eight minute miles for six hours? I can imagine it for one mile.

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We ran this section but I actually took the photo on the Thursday before the race. True Confessions.

The race starts and stays on the upper level of Turkey Mountain and is relatively flat. There were a few boggy spots but overall the course wasn’t bad. The thing about trail races is how polite everybody is. People kind of move out of each others way, the slow runners yield to the faster runners overtaking them. I’ve never heard a cross word exchanged between runners.

I got into a pretty comfortable pace of running a half mile and walking a minute throughout the race. I stopped at every aid station and had a cup of water and a cup of gatorade. I had two nutter butter cookies on every lap. I don’t know why, it was working for me and I just went with it. I also had a few pickles for the sodium and a couple of banana segments for the potassium.  I never did feel depleted out on the course.

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I didn’t drink beer on the course this time. I wanted to get three big loops in and didn’t want any distractions.

I ran the three hour event and did three of the big loops and one of the little loops. I milled around a bit, had a beer and a half, a hot dog and a chocolate chip cookie.  It was very breezy and cold at the end of the race so I didn’t linger for long.

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I watched some of the six hour races come in and head back out. I was done at three hours. I couldn’t have done one more lap.

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So I put on my finisher’s medal and went home. Thank you to the race organizers, the many volunteers and my fellow contestants for making this race so much fun. By my Garmin, I did about 11.5 miles. This has given me confidence to start looking around for a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles to do. My goal is to run the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa next November. I would like to do maybe two others between now and then.  Got any ideas?

I’ll be back next year!!

Looping the Loops at Chandler Park Wilds

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I think there used to be small farms in the area. There are remnants of old roads and residential power lines.

Wednesday night for a little change of pace I headed back to the wilds of Chandler Park. The privately owned, not posted land, west of the park in west Tulsa. Turkey Mountain gets kind of crowded this time of year. Not so at Chandler.

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The area is up high on a hill and there are lots of natural rock formations. It looks almost like it was built that way. Many people call the area “the lost city.” I think it would be a great place to hide some geocaches. Plus if I were a snake I think this would be like a snake resort area.

Chandler has lots of trails but there are no armies of volunteers out picking up trash. The trails are utility rights of way and ATV trails.

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Sometimes I think I take too many photographs. Especially when I’m on an unfamiliar trail and the sun is going down. That is what I do though, take photographs.

It sure is nice though. I never see deer on Turkey Mountain any longer. I saw three Wednesday. I didn’t get photos of them though.

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I’ve been down there before!! From the other direction. Connecting segments, learning the area.

The wilds are huge and a little intimidating. This is my third outing and I’m learning the area as I go. I am doing it by piecing together loops including new routes and old routes. So doing it after work is a little intimidating because I am just kind of guessing what turns to take. I would sure hate to be out here after dark on a trail I haven’t been on before.

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I’m a sucker for reflections of trees.

There are all sorts of creeks and sloughs with water that have to be navigated.

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So what was it? A horse maybe? A mutant critter from the nearby Compass Point Landfill Superfund site?

And you see sights that you would never see on Turkey mountain. I am not sure what kind of critter this is but he has been picked clean.

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Getting dark and I’m a ways from the car, but hey, lets take another photo, and another, and one more.

Finally when it got dark I found that I had guessed right and got on a trail I had been on before. A successful loop guess!

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I just simply cannot resist a smooth single track trail winding through the woods.

I just love finding new trails.

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I headed back to my car and passed Tulsa’s world class superfund site. The long forgotten Compass Point Landfill. An area where way back when the owners let everybody pretty much dump anything they wanted into a former rock quarry. Refinery wastes, tires, chemicals. Just chuck it in and don’t worry about it.

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I got back to the ball fields at Chandler Park. They weren’t playing baseball, there was a group of people working with their dogs.

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Miller time!! Or Hoptometrest Double IPA time. After I get home of course.

Anyways, I was one happy camper. Learning Chandler Park bit by bit.

Are you learning anything new?

Post Oak Challenge Quarter Marathon

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Sunday I ran the Quarter Marathon Race of the Post Oak Challenge. A series of distance races over two days at the beautiful Post Oak Lodge in the hills north of Tulsa.

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A nice view of downtown Tulsa.

It was my first trail race since I hurt my knee last September and my longest race at about 6.55 miles since then.

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One of the grand young men of trail racing in Tulsa, Trail Zombie.

Usually I lope along and take lots of pictures and sample all the food and beverages and chat and visit. This time I sensed I might get an age group award so I hit it hard. Well, for me I hit it hard. I still walked a lot.

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Trail Zombie’s TATUR Cantina at the race. The best aid station out there. All I had was a fireball shot.

Starting about a mile and half into the race I fell in with a group with good pace for me. We’d break up at the aid stations and then reform later on.

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Heading up the Hill from HEll.

All the races go up the “Hill from Hell” a very long hill that doesn’t ever quite quit. I walked a lot of it.

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The finish line!!

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The preliminary result was that I got second in my age group. I was handed later on the third place award.

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Turns out the final result was that I got second!! I don’t mind though. Also note that there were only three of us guys in the age group. The way I look at it is that the rest of the age group in the Tulsa area were still in bed, or drinking coffee. Or maybe they were running the half and and full marathon’s today.

Anyways I’m thrilled with my little wooden mislabeled trophy.

Running Hills Where There Are No Hills

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Last week I had a lot of fun running hills at Turkey Mountain with Trail Zombie, Clint,and Lea. This week I couldn’t run there because by the time I get off work it is dark and I don’t like to run hills by my lonesome in the dark. The days are getting longer though and daylight savings time starts March 13 so it won’t be long.

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So I went running on the flat lighted trails of Arkansas River Trails system. So I used whatever hills I could find and looped back around them. Places like bridges, overpasses, and underpasses and whatever small hills were available.

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So I didn’t get 900 feet of elevation, I only got 41 feet but it is making me think how I can add a lot more elevation to my river runs. One thing is that you can see from the photo above that downtown is elevated quite a bit above the river so I might figure out a loop up and back. Tulsa’s infamous “Crybaby Hill” loop for the Tulsa Tough bicycle race is a loop that starts on the opposite bank above and goes behind the light colored condos just to the right. 

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That ought to add some elevation.


What about you, are you looking for any hills to climb?

Wish me luck I’m running my first trail race Sunday morning, the quarter marathon segment of the Post Oak Challenge,  since I banged up my knee last September running the Escape From Turkey Mountain Race.  Check out my 2015 Post Oak Challenge. The quarter marathon is kind of kiddy race because we won’t go up Holmes Peak like the other races do. That is today (Saturday) and I am helping out on Turkey Mountain Cleanup this morning and Heather is teaching a class today at the gym and Logan needs to get to and from his musical rehearsal. You folks with families know all about shuffling things around.

Getting Schooled on Hill Repeats

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This week instead of doing my weekly run on Wednesday, I did it on Thursday and I did it earlier on Thursday than what I normally run. The wind was howling and the air was full of smoke from all the wild fires due to the dry conditions. You can see how hazy the air is. I decided to run on Turkey Mountain. The trees stop the wind cold up there. I ran into Ken (aka Trail Zombie) and Clint,  a facebook friend who I have never met before, Ken asked if I wanted to go do some hill repeats, so I said sure and so we three along with a lady named Lea went off to do hill repeats.

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TZ, Lea, and Clint headed toward the lower yellow trail.

After a warmup loop on the red trail we went up what TZ calls Leadville. It is about 300 feet in a quarter mile and it is brutal. I’d like to say I ran up all the way. I didn’t run any of the way but my heart was pounding by the time we got up on top.

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TZ and Lea headed down “I Want My Mommy” Clint is already out of sight and I was carefully picking my way down.

I Want My Mommy is pretty darn steep. You can see TZ and Lea way ahead of me. Then we went a few feet and came back up to the top of the mountain on another trail. Clint and TZ are both on a Strava climbing challenge and they hitting the hills hard and they are good at it.

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Finally we headed back to the parking lot. Running hills is hard work but fun with you are doing it with people. I had an excellent workout.

Back to Turkey Mountain

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Saturday I ran on Turkey Mountain for the first time since I messed my knee up there back on Labor Day. You can bet I was watching where I was putting my feet this time! It was a cold, breezy day in Tulsa and so running up on the mountain is better than plodding it out on the trail fighting the wind.

Anyways, I didn’t set any speed records. But I had a great time, and then drove back to pick up the kid.

How was your Saturday?

LInking with Pippa!