Tag Archives: Racing

Firecracker 5K on the 4th in Downtown Tulsa

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Well its the Fourth of July and I ran in the annual Firecracker 5K put on by Fleet Feet Tulsa.

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I am not sure how many people ran but it is a pretty big race. Despite the early morning rains there were lots of people there.

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The Hurts Donuts Emergency Truck was there. I didn’t see them handing out free samples and you know I watch the food closely. Just before the race start while we were bunched up it started raining. Not too bad, just enough to make it interesting and thoughts of plugging and abandoning and going home briefly fluttered through my mind but they went away. So off we went winding through the northern part of downtown and into the Brady District and back.

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This was on the back downtown. I am guessing about 1.7 miles into the race.

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And then across the tracks and the long half mile home stretch to the finish line.

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Everybody had a great time. Kudos to Fleet Feet, the Race Director, the army of volunteers who showed up a dark thirty to get everything set up, the Tulsa Police Department who kept control of the course, and the sponsors who provided the food and drink. Everything went together well and it was a great experience.  There is a huge amount of work that goes into making sure that a race goes smoothly and I appreciate it.

The race course was straight with right angle turns and a long climb up to Cains Ballroom. It was challenging and fun. The food and drink were great. The shirt and medal were much appreciated. They had a live band, lots of port potty’s  and room to move around. I’ll be back at this race if I am in town next year.

Later today we are going to grill some chicken at home and then make our way to Veteran’s Park  for some fireworks!! How about you?

Bixby “Corn to Run” 5K and a Rant about Race Shirts

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Saturday morning I ventured to the Tulsa suburb of Bixby to run in their “Corn to Run” 5K.

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Bixby is home to some of the highest price residential real estate in Oklahoma but it still has a small town feel especially the old downtown area.

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There are still thriving businesses downtown of all kinds. Restaurants, dance studios, and such.

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I have no idea why the town thinks they need this thing.

The 5K is part of Bixby’s “Green Corn Festival.” The town is known for its truck farms that produce all sorts of produce including corn. More and more of the farms have sold out to real estate developers and so the acreage devoted to farming continues to decline.

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The festival has a carnival with rides, carnival food, and lots of food trucks besides.

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I love this gigantic wall clock on the municipal building

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The typical milling about before a race. And then we were off.

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I only stopped to take this one photo. I love this house. We wound around to the east side of town and then down south and then back up. There was not much traffic control, it was not really needed, not many people were out and about and those that were had the good sense and courtesy to not bother the runners. The course was well marked, especially for me since almost all the runners were ahead of me for some reason.

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And the finish line!! The guy on the PA made if fun for everybody and held off the awards ceremony until the everybody made it in.

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Including the police department, who finished last.

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I ended up getting second in the 60 to 70 year old category.  There were three of us in case you were wondering. The little dog tag is something that they gave everybody who finished.

Satisfaction

The race was well organized. Lots of helpful volunteers, the water at the end was cold, they had snacks, ample portapotty’s, the course was well marked and free of problems. The race started on time and they started the awards promptly and moved through them quickly. The race director and the people helping him did a great job. This should have been a totally satisfying race but it wasn’t quite for me and I’m going to tell you why.

They only had shirts for people who had registered by June 16. None for anybody else. The only thing said on the registration process was that shirts were not guaranteed for those who registered after that date. Okay fair enough, I should have known, right? Well maybe. I have run in over 150 races since I started running them twenty three years ago. Most of them I enter just a few days before the event and many the morning of the event. This is the first race where I didn’t get a shirt. Sometimes I had to take a different size shirt. Several times the race director had extra shirts made up and I got them a month after the event. Here they made no attempt to do any of that. They should have said “Guaranteed no shirt” after the 16th. Many races have an option for no shirt at a discounted entry.

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Logan and a run shirt.

I know why they do this and I get it. I have helped with several races and what drives race directors crazy is trying to figure out how many people are going to show up. So if you want to make sure that everybody gets a shirt then you have to kind of guess and hope that you didn’t order too many. The shirts are not free and the value of a shirt an hour after an event is basically zero.

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Logan with his cousin Shiloh and Uncle Irvin at a race in Idaho.

These races can bring in a lot of money but they cost a lot of money also. For everything from chip timing, to renting the tents and tables that you need, course security, course certification. The directors have to recruit volunteers to help them out and make sure they know what to do. So I get it, I really do. And so your costs are fixed and then you get guys like me who register at the last minute, full of expectations.

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Logan and my wife Heather at an event in Tulsa a few years ago.

And so why do I register so late? Why don’t I get on board and register a week and a half in advance? I’ll tell you why! Life, that is why. Just with what is going on I am not sure that I am going to be able to race until a few days before and I don’t want to spend the $30 and not be able to go. Sorry, but our family schedule is like the fog until something breaks free and it is like, okay, I am going to be able to race so then I hit the interwebs looking for something to go to.  I don’t think that I am that much different than other people. Especially those with a family.

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I still have that shirt!

And not only that, I love race shirts. I have a bunch of them and they are one of the reasons I run the races. Many races have a cheaper no shirt option and I have never signed up for that. So, yep it may be childish of me, but there it is.

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I still have that shirt also!

Why am I make such a big deal about this?

Doing my research I am seeing a many races using the “Shirts Not Guranteed” language for registrations after a certain date. So it is more than just this one race.

And so why should Race Directors listen to me?

Satisfaction is why. If you have ever been in a sales or marketing role you will realize that making the sale is not the end of the process. If your customer is not happy with the deal he struck then you did not make a good deal. You see that in a lot of businesses (successful businesses that is) where the after sale is treated very seriously by the customer. You have to make the customer feel good about what he or she has agreed to do. And I think that translates directly to races. I will tell you that the only way I am going to run the “Corn to Run” event next year is I am guaranteed a shirt.

Ideas on what to do?

What do I think race directors do?

  • Charge more after a certain date. Lots of big races do that. The Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa Run,  and others charge more the longer you wait to sign up. I generally wait pretty late on those races also and I understand that it is costing me money and I understand that.
  • Have more shirts made after the race. I know that is expensive also, so charge latecomers like me.
  • Discount the race for people who will not be getting shirts. Why should we pay the same as people who are getting a shirt.
  • Go back to ordering more shirts and hope for the best. Yep, I know this costs more.
  • Or just ignore old farts like me.

So anyway, I hope I didn’t spoil anybody’s time nor am I denigrating the Race Director or others involved in the well run and fun “Corn to Run 5K.” I am offering my comments and I hope that are seen as constructive. I also recognize that things change and as financial pressures on races continue we may see more changes. I recognize that I may be trying to swim upstream on this issue.

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Our World Tuesday – Post Oak Challenge Quarter Marathon

The Post Oak Challenge is a series of races of various lengths over three days. Lots of people “Double” or “Triple” meaning that they run two or three of the races. That is awesome, and I am not at the level of awesomeness. This year I ran the Quarter Marathon on Sunday morning.  The races are held at Post Oak Lodge north of Tulsa. It is a really nice, well run place, and they are great hosts for the race.

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Don’t know why but the first thing I did after getting out my car is to check out the resorts one golf hole.

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And then go over to the pond and take a few pics. The Lodge is located in the Osage Hills and I think the area is beautiful.

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And then I waddled over to the starting line and go to see the Half Marathon start. The thing I like about trail races is its lower stress level. Everybody is pretty relaxed and there is no pushing and shoving at the start.

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And then I walked into the nearby lodge and planted myself in a chair in front of the fireplace. It was cold outside. I wasn’t going to warm up. I figured I will have six and half miles to get warmed up.

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And here we are at the start, and off we went.

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Every year the route is different. There are lots of trails to pick from. This year we looped in close to the lodge for a few miles before heading out.

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My fellow runners come in all shapes, sizes, species.

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The route alternated twisty turny, rocky intervals with long straight stretches.

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We went up “Holmes Peak” the highest point in Tulsa County. My friends in Colorado and other mountainous areas are probably much amused by our “peak.” They can laugh all they want. That peak kicked my butt.

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After my butt kicking, I got a pretty good view. That is downtown Tulsa way over yonder, home of high rises that don’t look so high from here.

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I get passed a lot in races. Men, women, children,  they all blaze right past me.

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I always enjoy running by the zip line towers.

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I like “tree tunnels” like this.

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There were lots of rocks on this course. I am wary of rocks cuz I don’t like falling. I stumbled a few times on this race but didn’t fall.

My camera’s battery gave out so that is it.

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After the race I made it back to the lodge. Got my two designated beers all at once along with some fritos and a brat. I chatted a little with my friend Rick who was Logan’s Cub Scout Den Leader way back when and is still one of the nicest guys you would ever care to meet.

And then home.

Our World Tuesday

And here is my run, complete with all sorts of metrics.

Turkey N Taturs 10K Trail Race on Turkey Mountain

Sunday morning, TATUR (“Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners”) held their “Turkey N Taturs” races,10K, 25K, and 50K all on Turkey Mountain. I ran the 10K which for this crowd is like a fun run.

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The start was cool, sunny, and dry, perfect for running.

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The course was a good mixture of flat and level, hills, rocks, and roots. It had a great rhythm to it. Being Sunday morning there were not too many other people out on the mountain.

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I ran about half the race by myself and the last half with a friend who had about the same pace as I did. Running with somebody makes the race a lot easier. I tend to go faster when I’m with somebody.

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One of the great things about trail races is the aid stations. I had a shot of some sort of liquor at this one. I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not. It kind of stuck with me for a while.

As you can see the course wound all over the mountain. The 25K and 50K guys looped over the east side to get their distances in. The 50K was two laps of the 25K route.

And a good time was had by all. Last I checked I finished dead last out of 32 men who had finished by then. But hey, I beat everybody who slept in that day right?

A big thank you to fine folks at  TATUR and the many volunteers that it takes to put on an event like this and to my fellow racers.

2016 Tulsa Run 15K Race Report – A Whole Lotta Walking Going On

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The view of the starting line area from the office. I sit and surf the net and drink coffee until right before the start.

I ran the Tulsa Run 15K Saturday morning. It was my 22nd time to do it. I missed last year because of a knee injury and I walked the 5K race instead.

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The view when I get to the starting line. I’m always amazed how fast the lead runners are.

So I was all pumped and a little nervous. My training was not what it should be. My longest run was only about 7 miles and I didn’t do the interval training that helps so much on longer runs. I knew that I was going to be running and walking. I’ve learned in such a situation to be patient and start walking earlier so that I can run more later in a race.

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There are several bands on the course. These guys have been entertaining the runners for years and I have been sticking my camera in their face and taking their pic every year for years. I hope they don’t mind.

I started a quarter mile back from the starting line and it took almost five minutes to get the line. And then a quarter mile later I decided to take my first walking break of about a minute.

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Turn the corner and people are stretched out ahead for two miles ahead.

So from then to the end of the race my plan was to run four streetlights on level ground, and then walk one. Going downhill, I would just run to the bottom of the hill. On uphills I would run two streetlights and walk one. It worked fairly well. So on average I walked about a third of the route.

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Lots of spectators on Cherry Street. Sitting outside in shorts in late October.

The big news this race was that it was going to be warm, and it was relatively. There was a pretty good breeze though so I never felt over heated. I don’t know if it is global warming or not but this race used to be downright cold at times. Today it was comfortable from start to finish.

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There go some dinosaurs. I think their costumes got very hot.

The race is basically one long meditation for me. I just kind of zone out and feel the sun on face, and the wind, the clop, clop, clop, of thousands of shoes flopping on the pavement and the conversations of dozens of people within earshot.  I can feel my body responding to the stress of it all. The race has had all sorts of different starting and stopping points and routes and I know all the landmarks by heart and I just mentally tick them off as I go by. It all seems like it is over just a few minutes after it starts.

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Runners are so trashy throwing down their cups. I love it although I can hear my mother yelling from heaven to pick that up right now.

I enjoy my fellow runners also. Especially all those who dress up. It is Halloween season after all. Years ago, before 9/11 a delegation of soldiers would from Fort Sill would show up and run in formation, chanting all the way to the end. They used to be a benchmark. When you asked people how they did in the race, many would say “well I finished ahead of the Army” or ” I couldn’t keep up with the Army.” I really miss the Army.

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Ah, 10K is always a milestone to me. I mean that means there is only 5K to go. I can always walk 3 miles. I got it made now.

One thing noticeably missing this election season is the politicians. Well, I’m sick of politicians, how about you? I am so ready to get this season over.

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Oh boy, steep hill climbing from Southwest Boulevard to downtown. Glad that I had some oomph left from walking earlier in the race. I had the energy to run later in the race.

The other thing changing since I started is that I hardly know anybody who runs it. I ran my first Tulsa Run when I was 39 years old and I knew lots of people. That was back before the internet was in wide use and it was fun to get the paper and go through and the results  and circle everybody I knew. Some of whom I didn’t even know ran. Lots of my cohorts dropped out from running and it seems that others now run the longer races. The Route 66 Marathon has supplanted the Tulsa Run as the premier race in town. I like both of them but the Tulsa Run will always be special. My very first race of any kind was the 1994 Tulsa Run.

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An impromptu Zumba routine put on by the LuLulemon ladies. I love them and their signs.

Anyways, I will be running this race any way I can for as long as I can. When I can’t run the 15K, I’ll run the 5K, then the fun run. Then I’ll man a water stop or whatever I can do.

I can’t wait until next year’s race!!

A big thank you to the sponsors, officials, the army of volunteers, the police who provided traffic control, the spectators and anybody else who helped with the race and a huge thank you to my fellow runners.

Labor Day Weekend

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Well I didn’t get any labor done this weekend. The yard needs mowed, the bills need paid, and a few other things need attending but we took it easy. We spent a lot of time at Nana’s house with relatives both in town and out of town. We all got a little sunburned but we had a good time. It’s great to reconnect with people and see what is happening with them. Plus I get to take lots of photos and use my bag of special effects on them if they irritate me.

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Me and the kid went on a little hike in the north Woods section of Oxley Nature Center. A beautiful area and I have only seen two other people on those trails in all the years I’ve been hiking them.

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The view from the back of the pack

Monday morning I ran a fairly small 5K put on a by a local church, the Run to the Son 5K. A great event that I loved more because I finished 3rd in my age group and got a medal (out of six if you must know).

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It was a Baptist Church that put it on and I violated my oath to never run in anything but beer runs. I’ve amended the rule to include great pancakes instead of beer. Flexibility is my middle name.

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Skywatch Friday – July 4th Edition!

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The 240th edition of the Fourth of July is over (241 actually because you have to count the original one right) and we celebrated in fine style in Tulsa by gum Oklahoma. I got up early in the morning and went downtown and ran in the Firecracker 5K. The above is a feature of my phone called “Crop me in.” I love it even though it looks strange. Anyways, I ran it, hard, didn’t place but had a good time including three craft beers. I’m old, crafty, and sneaky so I know how to cut in the beer line without anybody noticing. I have to be that way because I run so blessed slow that I get to the beer line late. Just think of it as a way of handicapping.

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Tell you what, I don’t know how many houses are on our street, maybe forty or fifty over several blocks, but there were only three showing the flag. Less and less every year. Can’t get much less than three.

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Later that day, in the evening we made our way downtown to see fireworks. The city always does a good job with them. It always seems like a hassle but in the end it is worth it.

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Everybody went Ooooh

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And Ahhhh

So anyways, I’m an infrequent and irregular blogger these days. Busy, busy, busy, so I’m doing my Skywatch Friday post early this week. I hope that is okay with everybody.

Take care

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

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!!

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.

Commitment Day 5K Road Race

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My new cell phone has a “cut in” feature where it puts a selfie in the pic. I love it and almost nobody else does. I love the goofy look on my face.

My first race of 2016 was the Commitment Day 5K in the Tulsa suburb of Bixby at Lifetime Fitness. It was a fun race for several reasons. First it started at 10 am instead of the crack of dawn which made it more doable for us old farts party animals who like to sleep in stay up late with our wild and crazy friends. Second we had a Zumba warmup. That was unexpected! My beautiful wife became a Zumba instructor and I have been wanting to crash one of her classes and video a couple of her routines. Something about the way she looks at me when I talk about it makes me think that she is not near as excited about it as I am. 

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Well we had Leslie who led us in the warmup. She really did have more than a half dozen people she was leading.

See!! I’d of participated but I was doing my blogging journalistic duty of documenting the event. Really. Actually I did try a few moves. I think i have lots of potential. In the engineering sense in that a rock at the base of a mountain has a lot of potential energy to gain by somehow getting to the top, not that it has any chance of getting there.

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Enough of the dancing, this is racing. We moved over to the start line. I did my usual start at the very back. Sure I have to weave through walkers and baby strollers but I like passing people from start to finish and it is not like there is anything on the line anyway.

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This is the finish. I love seeing young people kicking hard at the end. And see the group of three ladies behind him? Lots of people just jog along a chat with their friends. Usually that breeze pass me like I’m standing still.

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We had the gym to relax in after the race. Lots better than huddling behind cars and trailers like most winter races. The facilities were first rate.

The race was an out and back type arrangement with hills and dips near the turnaround.

I finished fourth in my age group. I don’t know how many were in my age group but I suspect the answer is approximately four.

It was a fun, family, oriented race and I’ll probably be back next year.