Tag Archives: Trail Racing

Escape from Turkey Mountain 5 Mile Race 2017

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This morning was my return to the “Escape from Turkey Mountain 5 Mile” race. Two years ago I ran it and injured my knee when I fell on a rock and caused me to miss about two or three months of running while I rehabbed with physical therapy and exercise. Last year I waited to too long to register and they filled up so this year I was ready!! There were a lot of people there and I went to the back for the start.

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And off we went, see all those people ahead of me? They all pretty much stayed ahead of me.

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See all the folks behind me? I think almost all of them finished ahead of me. Strange how that works.

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Up “the Staircase” from the lower yellow trail to the upper yellow. I have been on the staircase before, I just didn’t know that it had a name. Almost every physical feature on Turkey Mountain has a name, usually several names. My favorite trail is “I want my mommy.” Run it sometime, you will be crying for your mommy.

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I am rocking my new running shirt. I love it! Most expensive shirt, of any kind, that I own.

So anyway I finished without falling on anything. I stumbled and almost tripped a few times and slid a few times but managed to stay on my feet. My time was about 1 hr 30 minutes and the distance was about 5.22 miles. So my official time was only about 5 minutes faster than my last run with the knee problem two years ago but the course was a quarter mile longer than then. I am about 20 minutes off the pace I was three years ago. That happens when you are fat, old, and slow.

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So, how was the race? Let me see, great course, check. Nice run shirt, check. Medal, check, Food, they had hamburgers, turned out quickly, check. Beer, check, Marshall’s craft beer, so double check. I’ll be back!!

Thank you to Fleet Feet Tulsa, and the many volunteers who make these races go. Thank you to my fellow runners for adding to the atmosphere.

No thanks to the mountain biker who almost crashed into me from behind while we were both going downhill and yelling at me “$%^$&(*&&*   %^&*&^”. The convention and etiquette is that people who are participating in sanctioned events in a place, have priority over other people. It is not a rule or a law or anything, it is what people do. I would never interfere with a bicycle racer for example, I would most probably stay off the trails they were using. I had never had a bicyclist intrude like that into a trail race before. 99.99% of trail users are very considerate of others using the tracks.

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This is my knee from two years ago. Lots better today. And I still have those socks!!

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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 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!!

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.

Turkey N Taturs 2015 – Taking Care of the Grill

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Sunday Morning was the annual running of the Turkey N TATURS 10K-25K-50K trail race on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. I have run the 10K segment a couple times in previous years but not this year because I am still rehabbing my knee. I wanted to participate somehow so I volunteered to man the grill cooking burgers and hot dogs.

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The grill was right by the finish line literally about ten feet off the trail so I had a great view of the goings on. The race was put on by TATUR, “Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners.”  They specialize in putting on fun races of all sorts. They also make it fun to volunteer for them. They not only put on races, they build community.

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Their were some people flying off the mountain in great times. I never get to see them except at the beginning of the race. Usually by the time I get to the end, the leaders have finished, downed a hamburger or two and a couple of beers, talked with their friends and get in the care and are gone.

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This guy finished the 50K. That is over 30 miles folks. Amazing stuff.

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I’ll never win one of these awards but I can sure take pics of them.

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Did somebody say Ginger Snaps. I can’t keep them around the house. Once the box is opened, the cookies are gone. Best not to have them around.

I love the low key supportive atmosphere of the event. Here is an 11 second video of a typical finish. No crowding and pushing. Just encouragement at the end.

I had a great time. If you run, or walk, really, try a local trail race sometime. You’ll like it.

Trail Race Report – Tulsa’s “Escape from Turkey Mountain” 2015 Edition

Early Monday morning I got up and headed out to Turkey Mountain for my third try at the five mile race “Escape from Turkey Mountain.”

#TurkeyMountain #TrailRace #EscapeFromTurkeyMountain #Running #Racing

The sun was just coming up when I got there but the place with abuzz with activity. On a race like this the organizers and volunteers have already been out since dark thirty marking the course, putting up the various tents and starting gate, cooling the beer down and getting the food ready. IMAG0313

The local Fleet Feet Sports franchise sponsored the race. Tulsa is lucky because we have three really good running stores who not only sell shoes and running clothing but also give back to the community in various ways. They all have training runs and various programs to help runners of all experience levels. Fleet Feet though has the best decorated vehicle though.

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At 7:15 the hamburgers were already cooking.

IMAG0312   The beer was iced down. It was provided by Marshall Brewing. I love craft beers have I ever told you. IMAG0315

And off we went. The race was jammed up right at first because we were running on trails but after a while we spaced out. I guess that I spaced out too much and at about the 1.6 mile point tripped on a rock and fell on another rock with my knee. It was like ouch. I got up and my knee felt pretty bad so I started hobbling back to the parking lot, dreading the 1.6 miles back but then the knee started feeling better so I turned around after a short while thinking that I could walk it out but I had to climb up a few rocks and the knee started barking at me again so I turned back to the parking lot and got about a tenth or two down the trail and the knee started feeling better so I said what the heck, I have a long walk either way. So I turned around and walked the rest of the race except for a one mail segment where I ran. Fortunately there is not that much difference between my walking speed and running speed (sad to say). So I was able to finish and get some bling and a couple beers or three and a hamburger.

I think I finished near the last. I generally do. Last year I finished 94th out of 96 men. Believe it or not I finished ahead of some people this year. This year I finished 185th out of 204. Which means that nineteen people entered Yogi’s Hall of Shame except two of them were older than me so a net 17 people finished behind me that were younger than me.

At least nobody tried to prevent me from passing them as happened last year.

I appreciate Fleet Feet Sports and all the volunteers who came out to help. The race was fun and well marked.

I’m now at home with leg propped up. Heather is taking very good care of me. I might not be running very much for a week or two.

Promo News Interview before the event

Fleet Feet took pics of the starting line and the finishing line and I think they probably got everybody just in case you wanted to check up on our husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or whoever to make sure they were really there.

A brief video by Fleet Street of what looks to be the finish of the two mile race.

Lake McMurtry 12K Trail Race and the Leap of Doom

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Saturday morning I got up at dark thirty and headed out to western Oklahoma to Lake McMurtry to run the 12K portion of the Lake McMurtry Trail Run. They also had 25K and 50K events. The people who run these trail runs are hard core and they consider the 12K to be kind of like a fun run or something.

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The Race Director, Trail Zombie got us all organized and everything with a few simple directions. Mainly don’t get lost and don’t cheat. TZ as we call him directs several races during the year, leads weekly runs on Turkey Mountain, volunteers a lot and has his own full time business. He is one of the world’s really nice guys.

And here is the start. I started out last place and stayed last place for a long time. 12K is about 7 miles and I finally passed a few at about mile four. I say a few because I think I finished 46th out of 50 or something like that.

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The course was an out and back which means that we run back on the same trail we run out on. Plus the other races used this route as part of the route of their races. This means that people have to be aware of what is going on and let people pass by. I’ve run lots of trail races and I have never seen any conflict on the matter. People just pull off and let others pass and everything is cool. The whole ethic of trail racing is cool and laid back and that is why I like it. Don’t get me wrong, people run the race hard.

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The race was almost entirely in the woods but we broke out into grassland just briefly a couple times.

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And here is the beer stop. One stop but we hit it twice. How many races do you know provide craft beer at the water stops. I had a Coop Brewing DNR the second time, I forget what it was I had the first stop, but it was good.

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And right close to the beer tent is the regular stuff, water, gatorade, pickle juice (yep, I’ve learned to have a shot of it when I can), baked potato quarters rolled in salt, bananas, cookies, nuts, m&ms. No wonder I can’t lose weight and no wonder I don’t finish any better than what I do.

I actually buckled down and ran the the last few miles to the finish and didn’t take any photographs. My average miles split was 13:30 which is not too impressive but is at least a minute faster than most trail runs I run in so I am pretty happy.

At the finish TZ told me where to find the “Leap of Doom.”  It is a feature of the 25K and 50K races but they don’t let us 12K baby runners on it out of fear for our lives. But, I fortified my courage with a beer and headed out to check it out.

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I could tell I was getting close. One thing about TZ is he is good at warning people. I couldn’t turn back even though I wanted to so I ventured on ahead.

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And the warnings kept coming. But I was intrigued, I mean who doesn’t want to see the 72nd wonder of the world.

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Gulp

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Here are the instructions. I don’t know how to breathe and scream at the same time, do you?

Of course I had to record the event for posterity. This is first attempt.

This is the second attempt. Do you like my shoes? Do you think I should put movie ambitions on hold for a while?

And so I survived the famous Leap of Doom. Well the other thing I needed to do was go find a geocache.

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The nearest one was about a kilometer away so I walked to it. Turns out that the location was right on the the trails used in the other races. While I was looking for it several runners stopped and asked if I was okay.

I turned my Garmin watch on for the hike. I get amused at myself when I run on a geocaching hunt cause it shows me going around and around, and I did go around and around. I finally found it though.

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And here is the location. I loved the old car. The amazing car geeks at Car Spotting Tulsa think it is a late 40’s Chevy. I love all the bullet holes. And yes I did find the cache.

So, I was done. Got a lot done over there in Lake McMurtry is what I think, ran a race, jumped the leap of doom a couple times and found a geocache and a neat car.  So I gathered my stinky self up and drove back to Tulsa. On the way I stopped in the little oil field of Yale, Oklahoma and toured Jim Thorpe’s house. Fascinating story about the greatest athlete of all time who lived in a small town in Oklahoma. That will be on the next post.

Thanks for hanging with me all this way!

TATUR Snake Run on Turkey Mountain

It was a great day for a trail race on Saturday morning. Cool, humid, and very little wind. It was very early spring like.

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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.

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I got up to the old parking lot and checked out all the mud.

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And checked out the race bling. This is as close as I’ll ever get.

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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?

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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.

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Even though it was spring there wasn’t much color out on the mountain. The whitebuds blooming was about it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Brian and Ken started handing out the awards after the Three Hour Race.

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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.

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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.

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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.

I’ll be back next year. This is a fun race.

Official Race Results

Trail Zombie’s blog post of the race.

Here are my reports from the 2011 and 2012 Snake Runs.