Last Sunday I ran in the Quarter Marathon segment of the 2019 Post Oak Lodge Challenge races, three days of trail races of both metric and mileage based races from the Quarter and 10K up to full Marathons. This is the tenth year of the races and I think I have run in maybe eight of them and it has been really cool watching this event take off from something relatively small and cool to something that is a lot bigger and still cool.
This year, like last year, there was some rain in the days ahead of the event, but it didn’t seem near as wet to me as last year, especially the first half.
The race is mainly along single track trails and it has a nice vibe to it, rolling in and out of the woods and meadows and up and down the hills.
And it was extremely well marked which is something since there are so many races over three days and many of the races use the same segments for part of the time and then diverge. So I was keeping a sharp eye out for the yellow ribbons with black polkadots.
At about halfway, things started getting a little messy. you can see some of the maneuvers above that us back of the packers use to negotiate the mud.
And sometimes you can’t do anything about it at all. Maybe edge toward the side. Running through the tall grass is an imperfect solution as it grabs your legs and the ground is uneven. I had several elite runners lap me on the muddy segment. Their technique is to just run through the mud.
And we had a few creeks to cross. I would love to have a video of my tip toeing from rock to rock here. Again, the elite men women just run through it.
And then here. My foot my have slipped off the log going across. The water was ice cold. I only fell once during the event when I slipped sideways and fell on my butt. That was a week ago and my running clothes are still on the back porch while I figure out how to clean them.
The feature that everybody gets to run of all lengths is the “Hill from Hell” one mile up a hill. This is the view from the top. That is downtown Tulsa way over yonder.
And then the post race five course luncheon. Simple but good and filling. Chili, potato salad, potato chips, bottled water and beer.
When I first started running races years ago, nobody had medals, now they are all the rage. Post Oak had nice medals back before they were cool.
The race was supposed to be a quarter marathon which would be about 6.5 miles. It ended up being a little shy of seven. No big deal, that is the way trail races go. I think the race directors laugh and laugh. I finished just about last in every category, but I finished, vertically and had a great time. I finished it thirty minutes faster than I did last year. Last year it was my first race after my injury the previous November so I walked it and the mud just made it miserable. This year, I jogged the easy downhill legs and was able to do a much easier pace and at least stay in sight of a few people.
Thank you to the race directors, sponsors, the army of volunteers it takes to put a good race on and my fellow participants as well as they Post Oak Lodge which good naturedly puts up with people tracking mud and and out of their facility for three days. Trail Racing is the nice and kind type of racing. The elite guys always warn you that they are coming up behind you, because on single track trails you have to move aside, and they say thank you or good job as they pass. Everybody is good natured and friendly.
The course was great, the aid stations wonderful, the food afterwards, great, the shirts, the medals. You can tell that they work hard to make it a great event.
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