The weather finally broke and the sun came out and the sky was almost springlike. After our extended cold spell I never realized how warm 36 degrees could feel so warm.
Before hand we had day after day of this, and this is at the end of the day!! Ever hear of Lake Effect Snow? One morning we had “Refinery Effect Snow” the condensation from the cooling towers caused snow on the west side of downtown.
We are finally getting some clouds, the days are getting longer. We are a long ways from Spring but I am getting hopeful.
I have run by this a bunch of times and never noticed it. A big trunk with several wraps of barbed wire. Turkey Mountain used to have farms on it and was an active oilfield back in the day.
Sunday morning I went for a walk on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa. There was a running group that was leaving at 8 am but I didn’t join them. I have not run since I injured myself during the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. Since then I have been walking, cycling, rowing, walking, elliptical machining and a lot of resistance training. I still don’t feel like I should be running. My knees are popping a lot and I don’t know if I will ever run again. (sniff??)
This was a wire fence, almost decorative starting from the tree in the first pic. In fact, if you go back and look at the first pic you will see that it is this fence that is imprinted in the tree trunk! It makes me wonder if there was a house here at one time. Turkey Mountain has a history, and a lot of ghosts. I can sense the ghosts when I run here at twilight. Again something I never saw before. Maybe walking and hiking will give me a new perspective on things?
So I have been thinking about why I started running in the first place. I started running a little late in life. I am not a natural athlete. I was 37 years old and had found out that my cholesterol was sky high and my cholesterol ratio was terrible. The exercise guy I consulted said that running was the most bang for the buck. So I started running and really never stopped. I entered races and eventually ran a couple of marathons and a whole bunch of half marathon and 15 to 25k races and countless 5 to 10K’s. I loved the hopeless feeling of being 5 miles from the finish and exhausted and then somehow making it to the finish. I didn’t care that I finished 57th out of 62 in my age group. Finishing was the goal, and I always finished, one way or the other.
A base for an oil well pumpjack from way back. There was a geocache here that I never could find and it is no longer active.
So that was then, and this is now. I can see me hiking instead of running the trails. I can see my biking a lot more. If you can’t do what you want, do what you can. So my doctor says “… your tread is running a little thin.” So I am going to save my tread for hiking and maybe the occasional trotting 5K. I’ll be on my bicycle a lot more and in the gym a lot more. Taking care of my tread.
I collect trees. Here is one on Turkey Mountain. It seems a little here and there and perhaps unstable? Do you know unstable trees? Do they make you nervous? This one makes me nervous.
I can deal with it. Circumstances change, you have to change with them. My goal is to be as active as I can for as long as I can, however I can.
Turkey Mountain is an urban wilderness and is maintained mainly by volunteer labor. It is not groomed like a city park. The trails are kept clear. Many of them by people showing up with their hand saws and power saws and cleaning things up on their own initiative. The cuttings are tossed to the side. They are not hauled off. So the woods show the cumulative effect of windstorms, ice storms, and tornadoes. We vounteers pick up the trash but leave the organic material to rot on its own. It works. No way could anybody afford to come clean everything up. The people who love Turkey Mountain don’t want them to do so. I’ve had friends say, “It is so icky up there, why don’t they clean it up.” And I would never tell them but my thought is, “Turkey Mountain is not for you maybe?”
The ironic thing is that all this running didn’t do crap for my cholesterol levels. It lowered it by about 10%. Now drugs, drugs knocked my LDL’s in the butt. At $7.50 for a month’s worth, I am sticking with that. Of course, with statin drugs, deaths from heart attacks are cut but total mortality doesn’t change!! Huh!! Yep, true fact. I am going to continue taking them anyway. In the long term, the mortality rate is 100%!! You can’t argue with that.
What about you? Are you having any changes lately?
I kind of collect trees. I don’t dig them up or anything like that but I do take pictures of them. These two are my latest acquistion. I can’t tell if they like each other but you can tell they have lived with other a long time.
Here is a winter sky from a clearing not far away. I love winters. Yes it is kind of cold but it has its own kind of beauty.
Photo courtesy of Cheri Lou Gastineau
We have had a spell of cold weather here in Oklahoma that is uncomfortably long. Ranchers have to go out and break the ice so their livestock can drink water.
I went to a road race Saturday morning. It was cold and I hate being cold so I dressed warm. Note the oilfield Carhartt coat and the fire resistant pants. Don’t laugh at me. I was warm!!
There is a new race in the Tulsa area, the Keystone Ancient Forest 5K/10K at a nature preserve with that name about 15 minutes west of Downtown. The preserve is pretty cool because it has trees that although small and scrawny are several hundred years old. You can read more about it on its Nature Conservancy site. It is a special place and due to manpower and budget restrictions it is only open a couple times a month or so. The proceeds from the race all went back to the preserve.
This is the first year they have held a race and even though the scheduled start of the race before dark they had over 140 people signed up (at least I think that is what was said during the pre-race briefing.)
The scheduled start was 7 am but it was dark so they delayed it about 15 minutes plus it gave some stragglers time to get their packet pin their numbers on. So they started the race and everybody ran away from me. Don’t feel sorry for me, I was able to walk through the woods all by myself in the early morning. Even though it was 18F. The course started out with a half mile or of asphalt then, gravel, then dirt.
The course went downhill and then uphill via series switchbacks. A nice easy, wide, rock and root free trail. I liked it anyway (just kidding) the trail is in great shape.
At the far end of the loop, we had some nice views of Keystone Lake.
Much of the return loop was on a fire trail turned into a trail recently.
Found me a natural gas pipeline running through the area. It looks like it has been there a while.
I loved the pattern in the sky after a while.
They had a water stop that we hit both going and coming. I grabbed a bottle and it was nice. The water was partially frozen!! Kind of a surprise at first. Also, in keeping with the ethic of the preserve there were not discarded water bottles. I think everybody did like I did. Drink the water,and hold the bottle until I went back by and through the bottle and cap into the trash can.
And the final stretch commingled with the 10k runners to the finish. I think I came in dead last which was my goal. I don’t think anybody enjoyed the event more than I did.
I was pretty pleased with my knee. For a long time it hurt to up or down the slightest inclines and I couldn’t walk very far without things hurting. I had no problems so I am going to continue the twice a week leg workouts, and continue with the stationary bike and elliptical machine and walk at noon. I don’t feel ready to run yet but I think I might start running a little bit in March. I’m just taking it slow.
Kudos to those who organized and worked the race. Everything was perfect. They even had Starbucks Coffee for us at the finish and Panera pastries, and a big roaring fire!! The course was well marked, they had a fire rescue crew out on an ATV checking on everybody, and a decent tee shirt. And of course thank you to the Race Director and all the volunteers that got out there at dark thirty to get everything ready for the runners, and thanks to TATUR Racing who timedthe event and my fellow racers.
The race is for a great cause. I’ll be back next year. Maybe I will be able to run it?
As my knee is getting stronger I am back to walking around downtown like I used to only not quite as far. Tuesday I strolled to the east side and checked out the progress on a new building. I swear they have been building this thing for a long time.
I kind of like its modern design with steel beams, lots of glass, balconies, and geometric theme. It is some sort of technology company I think and it looks almost ready to move in. Sorry for the dull pics. It was very overcast.
I posted this photo on Instagram. It is the “Urban” filter on the Prisma app. I love prisma. Maybe I love it too much.
Son Logan and I went on a hike on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Wilderness Area last Friday. It was cold to start but sunny. The sunny part of it made for some great shadows.
I’m still recovering from my knee injury so I picked an easy trail. The upper yellow trail from the south to north. When I run I like to take this route to start because it is a slight downhill the whole way and I feel like areal runner. No running this time but it was still pretty easy.
We found us a tree. Turkey Mountain is full of trees. There is plenty for everybody so if you come here feel free to claim one. Please leave it though. Take all the pictures you want and visit anytime!
The upper yellow trail passes some moonscape type terrain.
We also found an old oil well. Turkey Mountain used to have lots of wells back in the day and there are reminders around everywhere.
We also found this shelter made of branches. It is at the highest point on Turkey Mountain. I am not sure who used it. I doubt it was a homeless person. The surrounding area had no trash or debris at all. Most homeless camps are pretty messy. Plus most homeless camps are near places where they can get water and food. This place is a pretty arduous hike for a homeless person. So it is a mystery to me. I have a feeling somebody came up and camped here. In my evening runs on the mountain I have seen several people leaving the parking lot with camping gear. Camping is forbidden but I am not the camping police is my motto.
By the time we got back to the parking lot, it was a lot warmer. Plus if the hike is downhill all the out, then it is uphill all the way back. Plus I decided to pick a little tougher trail with more rocks. We were ready to get home and down some cold water.
I went to Philbrook Museum of Art earlier this week at lunch. We have a membership there, courtesy of the world’s best MIL so I can pop in when ever I want. Anyway I breezed through the galleries and went outside but didn’t go tour the gardens since I was short of time so I took this photo of the chairs and tables on the patio.
I ran a half marathon back in November and caught these shadows in the early morning sun.
My employer rebuilt their plaza area in front of the building and now it is a really nice space. They have a large ramada and a bunch of chairs and tables that make for interesting shadows.
This is from back in warmer weather. I was running on the Arkansas River trails here in Tulsa and got passed by a couple of bicyclists so I snapped their pic and caught a shadow selfie.
Sunday afternoon, after setting the DVR for the Dallas Cowboys game, son Logan and I headed off for an outing at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art. I wasn’t interested in the art on this trip as I was the gardens of museum. They have spectacular gardens and there is something to see in them all seasons. Thanks to Logan’s grandmother, my MIL, who buys us a family membership every year, we get to go see Philbrook a lot.
First up they had a Special Exhibit called “Museum Confidential” that was about, among other things, why some works that museums have in the their collections never get exhibited. They had a pretty dense display of Philbrook owned art that never gets displayed. A lot of it is funny looking, or worn out, or they are not sure exactly who painted it (provenance that is called). I thought it quite interesting. My theory is that a lot of stuff is donated and they don’t know what to do with it. My dad was involved in a museum in Idaho and he talked about all the worthless stuff people donated just to get a tax deduction.
Anyway, we checked the exhibit out in a couple minutes an then toured the rest of the three floors in about 15 minutes. It doesn’t take me long. I have been to the museum dozens of times and I just like looking at the stuff I like and it is like saying hello to old friends and I never get tired of the collection, and every once in a while I notice something new or rather, noticed something that has been there all along. So, after our whirlwind tour we headed out for the gardens.
The focal point of the gardens is the tempietto. The money shot is the tempietto reflected in the pond. I wonder how many photos have been taken of it over the years. I think it has led to an imbalance of photons in this world that is causing many of our current problems. So I know that it is somewhat of a cliche but you know I have been clicking away for years and will keep on clicking. I think the scene is gorgeous.
And then we went off. I found this foliage right next to the employee parking lot. I’ll take it.
Some more Fall color.
By now you have figured out that I have a thing for curved walkways that go underneath colorful trees.
And on our way out, I stop for another shot of the tempietto. I like all the purply colors in this scene and how the colors are reflected in the pond. I also love all the textures in the scene. I am not bragging about the photo, I love the what my eye sees and what is weakly captured by the camera.
If you plan on visiting Philbrook check their website. They have lots going on including both big special exhibits and smaller. Note that they have a monthly event called Second Saturday where the museum doesn’t charge admission and they have all sorts of activities for all ages. it is quite fun and is sponsored by my employer.
They are also very photo friendly. You can take photos of almost anything in their permanent collection. Just don’t use flash and don’t be a pain to your fellow guests. Special exhibits are sometimes different because they bring in art from other museums and private collections and sometimes there are restrictions. If you have any questions, just ask the people at the front desk. They are very friendly, well trained and can answer all your questions.
Turkey n Taturs on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain has to be one of the oldest trail races in the area and the most handy being right in Tulsa. It was my first trail race in 2009. I was not very familear with that style of racing nor Turkey Mountain and I was bewildered by how you run a race on narrow trails and was totally lost on the mountain. If it were not for the great marking I would not know where they heck I was or where to go. It was my first trail race and I have run it several times over the years. It has lengths of 50 kilometers, 25K, and 10K. 10K to the hard core crowd is barely a fun run. Somehow I felt the need to try the 25K even though I had not trained for it. My plan was to walk the rocks and uphills and trot the flats and downhills and not worry about my time. I knew that it could take me a long time.
So I got to the back of the crowd of the race. One thing I love about trail races is that there are not that many people in them and everybody is very nice, no pushing and shoving. It is a very friendly crowd and very accepting of newcomers. They asked how many people were in the first trail race and a bunch of people raised their hand. So the fun goes off and off I go!! I love how the women turn around and give me a look after the gun went off.
I went running with the rest of them, and then it was like. Wait, the plan, the plan. So I stopped and started walking and let everybody go on ahead. And I strolled along. I hadn’t warmed up or anything and I wanted to walk a half mile before running so that is what I did.
Lake Logan at the West Side Y. A little muddy but beautiful.
So after a half mile I started trotting and walking at regular intervals, especially walking the rocky areas. I fell on my knee about two years ago and still feel the aftereffects of that so I tiptoe when I am around the rocks.
I made it up to the upper parking lot and stopped for a little refreshment at the aid station there. Trail Races have top notch aid stations. Lots of water and gatorade, salty snacks, sweet snacks, cookies, sandwiches. They also pretty much had a full bar. If I was just doing the 10K I might have had a beer or a shot, but not for 25K (which is over 15 miles). I drank a ton of water the gatorade. Had some of the baked potatoes rolled in salt, pretzels, and some other snacks. I also carried a hydration pack with 1.5 liters of water that I sipped on periodically every so often. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that dehydration is a bummer and it can happen even in cold weather.
My race started at 7 am. The 10K started at 7:30 am and I started getting passed by the 10K guys before I got too far. Those guys were flying.
After a while it got to be a regular processing. Life is humbling being a slow plodder.
But other than getting passed I ran by myself. I was really enjoying the Fall colors.
And it was kind of funny. The mountain is not closed during the race and all the trails are open and so there lots of other people out and about. I ran into my old boss and his wife. We stopped and chatted for a while. And then he said, “We are not slowing you down are we?” Well actually I am pretty slow all by myself and don’t need any help but we parted. I ran into a family who looked pretty tired with some small ones in tow. They asked me if they were headed to the parking lot. I said no they weren’t, they needed to turn around and go the other way. They asked how far, and you should have seen the look on their faces when I told them that it was about a mile and a half. We talked a little bit more as the Dad couldn’t believe that he was going north when he thought he was going south and I thought he was going to plow on ahead going the wrong way. I think I got him convinced to turn around but they were still standing there when I left. You know how guys are, right?
I think that I had been on all the trails the race used before except for this one.You can see the markings and it is the faintest trail I have ever seen. It was all good.
When I got to the lower parking lot I ran into these ladies. The Wonder Women were operating an aid station. They had all sorts of goodies including my new favorites peanut butter and pickel wraps. I ate a bunch of those along with water, gatorade, salted potatoes, a few pickles, pretzels, and fritos and a few cookies. (And you wonder why don’t lose weight with all my running.) They were great hostesses and great sports and a lot of fun. I was at about 10 miles into the run by then and I didn’t take too many other photos.
I left the lower parking lot to get on the Red Trail which goes even lower than the lower trail and then it is uphill quite a ways to the upper parking lot and I walked pretty much the rest of the race.
When I got to the upper parking lot aid station, I lingered while resting and one of the people there said “I feel like I need to do something for you, but I don’t know what.” So I said I was okay and just needed to rest a little bit more. I made sure to hydrate and get some calories in and then I took off, if walking away means taking off. My calves hurt, my feet hurt, and I was tired. I did perk up and run the last couple hundred yards at the finish. I mean you have to finish strong and make it look like you have been running the whole way. It me about five and half hours or more to finish and I am proud as can be about it.
I am not a big fan of doing races you are not ready for but I think my plan for the 25K worked pretty well. I dreaded the red trail up to the upper parking lot and it turned out to be worse than I thought it would be but I didn’t stop. I did make baby steps though up the steeper parts.
Here is my relive video of the first 12 miles or so of the run. My gps enabled watch ran out of juice before I finished so the video is incomplete but you can see how intensively the trails were used for the 25K. The 50K was two laps of the 25K. Those guys and gals are my heroes. I couldn’t imagine doing what I did twice.
The run was sponsored by Runners World Tulsa and the Race Directors did a great job. Great well marked course, lots of aid stations, nice t shirt and medal, food, and liquids. Check, check, check, check, and check. But did everybody have fun!! Yes!!
Thanks to Runners World for sponsoring the event, and the co-directors Kathy Hoover and Bryan Drummond, Brian Hoover and Tatur for timing the event, and the army of volunteers who set up the aid stations, cooked the food, and did lots of lugging and packing and for the participants who make it fun. They all got up well before light on a Sunday morning. And a huge thanks for the Wonder Women!!