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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everybody went Ooooh
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They had a cool and very engaged Santa at the race. He was giving out high fives, especially to the kids. I like active and engaged Santas. I still have a bone to pick with him about the ever increasing amounts of coal I get in my stocking every year.
Saturday I ran in the first ever Rudolph 5K in Broken Arrow. It was only my second race since I screwed up knee on a trail race on Labor Day and the first race where I was going to try and run the whole way.
People dressed up with reindeer antlers and red noses and all sorts of costumes.
I went through a couple months of rehab on my knee and about a month on my own doing the stretches and exercises that the Physical Therapists taught me.
So I pretty pleased, I was able to run the entire way though pretty slowly. My knee felt fine before, during, and after the race so getting faster is now a matter of training and conditioning. I never was very fast. My motto has always been to start slow and then taper off.
I could say that I was fast enough to place third in my age group, which would be true. The whole truth is that there were only three men in my age group, not counting the thousands of guys in northeast Oklahoma who slept in and didn’t enter the race. So I’m booking it as third in my age group.
I appreciate the organizer of the race, Fleet Feet Sports, and all the other people including volunteers that it takes to put on an event like this.
My Big run every year that I look forward to is the Tulsa Run 15K. I have run it every year since 1994 when it was the first race I ever entered. This year I did the 5K version because I am still in rehab on my knee from a fall that I had in early September. I felt bad about it for about five seconds then my motto kicked in. The motto is “If you can’t do what you want, then do what you can.” So I can walk a 5K, better than sitting on your butt is what I say. Sitting is the new smoking is my new motto.
The downside is that the 5K race starts over an hour before the 15K so I had a little bit less time to get ready. You see my office building is right by the start so historically I am able to get to the office. Make some coffee, check my email and update facebook, do some blogging, and then 10 minutes before the race head downstairs.
Since my leg was sore I had no intention of run/walking. So I made a video of the walk up to the start line. Generally in the 15K it takes about five minutes to get to the start. Psychologically passing people from start to finish. So I started at the back in this race and stayed pretty much in the back. The music community has historically supported the Tulsa Run and I love hearing them. We generally have bagpipers, rockers, rappers, and sometimes cheerleaders. I guess the Christian bands sleep in late because I hear lots of taped Praise and Worship music but not that many performers.These guys have been here the past several years playing Hispanic music. They are pretty darn good. So we go on down Boulder avenue south from downtown and hang a left and go East down Cherry street and then… Wow, look at all the people way ahead of me! And look at all the people coming back already and I have not even got halfway. Such are the joys of walking.
So I finally get down the hill, and then up the hill and turn around and head back down the hill again. Hey time for a Guiness maybe? No, they were closed.
Make the turn at the Fertility Clinic on Boston and another rock group.
Headed up the hill and hey, who are these cheaters coming on the side. I think they are the fun runners. Lots of kids hauling butt is what they were. Nice to seeing kids running is what I say.
And then here comes the back of the packers in the 5k headed towards to art deco canyon of Boston Avenue.
So I got a nice technical long sleeve shirt, a bottle of water, and little medal and a care package containing cheese spread, chips, animal crackers, a tiny twix bar, and a hand wipe. Uhhhh, thanks, where’s the beer, guys? Where are the snickers bar? Oh well, times change and so does this race. Hey, I don’t care, I love this race. I’ll be back.
22nd Tulsa Run in the books. I’m looking forward to running the 15K next year.
Thanks to the race sponsors, the race director and his helper, and the army of volunteers that it takes to put something like this on.
We are in the downtime of Summer right now. We took our family vacation a few weeks ago and many of Logan’s activities like his Improv Comedy workshop is out for the summer and his ankle sprain is precluding his horseback riding. So Friday night I had a thought. Hey, I should run a race!! Pre-Logan I used to run them at least once a month. Most of them local 5K’s. I have since gravitated to a few big races a year plus I really love trail races.
So I found the only local race was about 30 miles south in the town of Okmulgee. A 5K sponsored by the Muskogee Creek Nation. So early Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed and headed down Highway 75 and found the place.
I got registered and got my bib and t shirt and wandered around a little bit.
They had some nice sculptures including this one of Ernest Childers, a Muscogee Creek Nation Tribe member who won the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II. Check the link on his name. Quite a story behind this hero.
As it got close to race time everybody migrated over to the starting line. I thought it strange how much space people put between each other. But we bunched up before the gun started. I started in the very back. Psychologically it is better for me to pass people from the start to the finish.
Most of the race was out in the countryside and was very nice. The weather sunny and cool and no wind and I ran a pretty even pace only stopping to take the above photo and walking through the two water stops.
At the finish line. The Nation’s tribal court building is earth banked so I walked up almost to the roof of the structure to get this angle. I stuck around until the awards ceremony and found out that I won first place in the Men’s age 60 to 64 category.
I got this nice coffee mug as a prize. Of course I have to tell you that there was only one other person in this category in the race. The way I look at it is that there were thousands more who stayed in bed and didn’t go to the race. This is the only award I have ever won in a sporting category in 48 years since I won first prize in a free throw shooting contest at a summer camp in Clear Creek, Utah. I have run I guess over two hundred races over the years and have never even come close to placing. So make fun of me if you wish, and I understand if you do, but I’m very happy anyway.
So there is hope out there for old fat slow guys. I’m really proud of my little coffee mug.
It was a great day for a trail race on Saturday morning. Cool, humid, and very little wind. It was very early spring like.
The sun was trying to burn through the clouds and never did quite make it.
Here is a mini video of the walk from the parking lot to the race start.
I got up to the old parking lot and checked out all the mud.
And checked out the race bling. This is as close as I’ll ever get.
And inspected this bad boy. I think I need one of these to mow my yard. I think it would do a pretty decent job. Anybody want to float me a loan?
The Race Director, Ken, aka Trail Zombie gave the runners some instructions. Follow the pink ribbons, don’t cross the yellow ribbons. Have a good time.
And the Six Hour Runners were off.
And then the Three Hour Runners, including moi. The races are a little different. Most races are a fixed length and whoever has the least time wins. In the Snake Races, the time is constant and whoever runs the longest wins. So there were two loops. A big loop of about 3.7 miles. We run that over and over, and if you don’t think you can finish another big loop before the time is up then there is another half mile loop that you can run over and over until the time is up. It is really very clever. I like it because I can always tell people that I had the same time as the winner.
Even though it was spring there wasn’t much color out on the mountain. The whitebuds blooming was about it.
There was one aid station out on the course that we hit twice each loop because of the way that the route folds in on itself. It was full service though, water, gatorade, baked potatoes rolled in salt, cookies, pickles, bananas, oranges, beer.
Nope, not for me. Actually I think it was a joke. I think. Although if you had an urgent need it may not be much of a joke.
And the course had a beer stop. This was my favorite. I hit it twice each loop. Going and coming. This guy had everything: All sorts of nice craft beers, and shots of various liquors including some home brew. Soft drinks for the kiddies.
I fell twice during the race. About six weeks ago I fell during a night run on the mountain and had a pain that still endures. That was on my left side. I was carrying my camera in left hand today and so I made sure that I fell on my right side. We bloggers know that ribs will heal but cameras won’t. I was telling that story to somebody at the end of the race and she said “You fell twice? You must have been one of those people hitting the beer stop pretty hard.” She had that “I got you look.” She must have been a school principal. The truth hurts sometimes. Now my left and my right sides hurt besides.
I wish that I had read this sign earlier. Maybe I would do better if I ran faster. I’ll have to check into the math and physics of that concept.
Here is the beer tent again on another stop. Lots of good stuff here. And no I didn’t stagger into the table to get this shot. Well, I didn’t mean to anyway.
And here is Brian Hoover, the force behind Tatur Racing and Chip Timing. I think that I had asked him if I run the race or something.
Brian and Ken started handing out the awards after the Three Hour Race.
No, I didn’t place. I don’t think that any of the people that placed took any pics out on the course or sampled any of the beer. You know beer doesn’t drink itself. I might have won the race if I hadn’t been fulfilling my journalistic duties. Hey you don’t know.
Or maybe I need a cool headband. I think it cuts the wind resistance or something. Or maybe it diverts blood supply to the legs. Something like that I’m sure.
And here is a guy taking a selfie. Sorry, if I see you taking a selfie, I’m going to get a pic of you.
And here is the record of my race. My strategy was to run for a quarter mile and walk for a minute. I did that through the whole race and it worked. Plus I drank lots of water and some Gatorade at the food stops along with the salted baked potato segments. I got pretty sore still which is not surprising because the longest distance I have run in the last several months is only six miles.