One day after work when I was on the east bank of the Arkansas River looking across trying to figure out whether to run on Turkey Mountain or not which is the hill to the right. I decided to go ahead and stayed dry for the most part. I really look forward to my Wednesday night runs on the mountain or the river and rarely cancel them. I always feel like a kid when school has let out especially when the weather is decent. I hardly ever see anybody else especially when I’m more than a quarter mile from the parking lot.
For my weekly Wednesday after work run I changed things up a little bit. Instead of going to Turkey Mountain with its rocks, roots, and hills I headed out to the best kept secret trails in Tulsa, the Northwoods trails at Oxley Nature Center and then extend it by running around one of Tulsa’s raw water supply sources, Lake Yahola.
The Norhwoods trails are not used very much. They don’t even have a parking lot. You just park on the side of the road. I hardly ever see anybody else on them. And there is a chance of seeing deer. I haven’t seen a deer on Turkey Mountain in a long time. The thing about Oxley is that there are very few rocks and no hills. My legs were a little sore and I wanted some distance but I couldn’t face going up and down the hills of Turkey Mountain.
I did find an old snag that toppled across the trail. A real trail runner would have leaped across it without slowing down. Then there are guys like me who deal with in a different manner.
There is quite network of trails in the North Woods section but they only add up to 3 miles and they loop around on each other so if you miss a turn it is no big deal.
So I took the Oxbow lake Trail to get to Lake Yahola.
And here it is. See the little specs to the left of center on the far shore? That is the high rises of downtown Tulsa just a few miles away.
I turned to the right and started running on the chat gravel path. I didn’t bring my trail shoes and the gravel was hurting my feet and the grassy part was too soft for really good running. What a cry baby I am!!! I was running into the wind also but I was having the time of my life. I come upon about a dozen fishermen scattered around the lake. There is something peaceful about fishing and watching fishermen.
About two thirds of the way around the lake I come upon the city water treatment plant. I love infrastructure stuff like this.
Back close to the main trail at the Oxbow Lakes.
Fuzzy pic of me with the lake. Do you like my socks?
Back down to the road. I love how the trees tunnel over the trail. I love running here when there is strong winds because the trees just plain stop the wind and it is neat because you can hear the wind howling through the tops of the trees. I love stuff like that.
Got my run in. Almost six miles at a leisurely pace. Oh well, it is what it is.
I’m linking with “Our World Tuesday“
I went on a run at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center this week. I have taken off the whole week between Christmas and New Years and the weather has been quite mild. Unlike other parks around town, Oxley has their trails extremely well marked some even with gates like this. I’m a Forest Service kid and I love this type of construction. And, who can resist checking out a trail called the “Meadowlark Prairie Trail.”
And I am donating a free shadow selfie at no extra cost.
I am linking this post with Fences Around the World
as a PS I am ashamed to say that I have subscribed to Photoshop for over a year and just this week have been figuring out how it works. I had always discounted Lightroom before but I have learned it is an integral part of the whole process. You do the easy edits in Lightroom and then pass the photo easily on to Photoshop. And then you can pass it back. Easy Peasy. Plus I have some of the Topaz Filters and have learned that the they are easily integrated into Photoshop as well. In the photo above I used I used a free Nik Filter from Google. They made them free in March of 2016 and they are very powerful. Anyway, they are integrated into Photoshop also.
I feel kind of dumb but having a little time to study things shows me that I have been wasting a lot of time. Better late than never I guess.
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.
The start was cool, sunny, and dry, perfect for running.
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.
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.
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.
And now, the not wordless part
Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain is not that big, two miles north to south and a mile, maybe, east to west. You can generally hear traffic in most areas but there are lots of trails and if the weather is a little hot, or a little cold, or a little wet or whatever the number of people on the trails plunges, especially a quarter mile down the trail (I am not exagerating..) And if one gets to the little visited areas like the northwest segment it is easy not to see anybody.
I was on such a blissful trek last Wednesday when I happened on this vista that made it look like the mountain went on forever. I love the feeling of feeling lost and depth in the photo. Even though I know I had been up and down that trail many times before.
I love Turkey Mountain, I have been there dozens of times and still find something new every time I am there. I can get up there and just cruise along and don’t worry about a thing. Except snakes, lots of people have encountered lots of snakes, especially copperheads, and I worry about them a little but I don’t let them stop me.
So what about you? Where is your favorite place to get away from it all.
Last week I was running the trails in an on again/off again rain on Turkey Mountain with a few people including one who like me just has to stop to take a photo every now and then. She noticed this rainbow off to the east and I used my cell phone to take a pic but the colors were not as bright in the image as what I could see right in front of me. So I’ve used Topaz Glow to pull out the color some to make it more like what that evening.
I’m linking with Skywatch Friday
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.
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.
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 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?
I’ll be back next year!!
Wednesday night for a little change of pace I headed back to the wilds of Chandler Park. The privately owned, not posted land, west of the park in west Tulsa. Turkey Mountain gets kind of crowded this time of year. Not so at Chandler.
Chandler has lots of trails but there are no armies of volunteers out picking up trash. The trails are utility rights of way and ATV trails.
It sure is nice though. I never see deer on Turkey Mountain any longer. I saw three Wednesday. I didn’t get photos of them though.
The wilds are huge and a little intimidating. This is my third outing and I’m learning the area as I go. I am doing it by piecing together loops including new routes and old routes. So doing it after work is a little intimidating because I am just kind of guessing what turns to take. I would sure hate to be out here after dark on a trail I haven’t been on before.
There are all sorts of creeks and sloughs with water that have to be navigated.
And you see sights that you would never see on Turkey mountain. I am not sure what kind of critter this is but he has been picked clean.
Finally when it got dark I found that I had guessed right and got on a trail I had been on before. A successful loop guess!
I just love finding new trails.
I headed back to my car and passed Tulsa’s world class superfund site. The long forgotten Compass Point Landfill. An area where way back when the owners let everybody pretty much dump anything they wanted into a former rock quarry. Refinery wastes, tires, chemicals. Just chuck it in and don’t worry about it.
I got back to the ball fields at Chandler Park. They weren’t playing baseball, there was a group of people working with their dogs.
Anyways, I was one happy camper. Learning Chandler Park bit by bit.
Are you learning anything new?
This week instead of doing my weekly run on Wednesday, I did it on Thursday and I did it earlier on Thursday than what I normally run. The wind was howling and the air was full of smoke from all the wild fires due to the dry conditions. You can see how hazy the air is. I decided to run on Turkey Mountain. The trees stop the wind cold up there. I ran into Ken (aka Trail Zombie) and Clint, a facebook friend who I have never met before, Ken asked if I wanted to go do some hill repeats, so I said sure and so we three along with a lady named Lea went off to do hill repeats.
After a warmup loop on the red trail we went up what TZ calls Leadville. It is about 300 feet in a quarter mile and it is brutal. I’d like to say I ran up all the way. I didn’t run any of the way but my heart was pounding by the time we got up on top.
I Want My Mommy is pretty darn steep. You can see TZ and Lea way ahead of me. Then we went a few feet and came back up to the top of the mountain on another trail. Clint and TZ are both on a Strava climbing challenge and they hitting the hills hard and they are good at it.
Finally we headed back to the parking lot. Running hills is hard work but fun with you are doing it with people. I had an excellent workout.
Saturday I ran on Turkey Mountain for the first time since I messed my knee up there back on Labor Day. You can bet I was watching where I was putting my feet this time! It was a cold, breezy day in Tulsa and so running up on the mountain is better than plodding it out on the trail fighting the wind.
Anyways, I didn’t set any speed records. But I had a great time, and then drove back to pick up the kid.
How was your Saturday?