The weather finally broke and the sun came out and the sky was almost springlike. After our extended cold spell I never realized how warm 36 degrees could feel so warm.
Before hand we had day after day of this, and this is at the end of the day!! Ever hear of Lake Effect Snow? One morning we had “Refinery Effect Snow” the condensation from the cooling towers caused snow on the west side of downtown.
We are finally getting some clouds, the days are getting longer. We are a long ways from Spring but I am getting hopeful.
I have run by this a bunch of times and never noticed it. A big trunk with several wraps of barbed wire. Turkey Mountain used to have farms on it and was an active oilfield back in the day.
Sunday morning I went for a walk on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa. There was a running group that was leaving at 8 am but I didn’t join them. I have not run since I injured myself during the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. Since then I have been walking, cycling, rowing, walking, elliptical machining and a lot of resistance training. I still don’t feel like I should be running. My knees are popping a lot and I don’t know if I will ever run again. (sniff??)
This was a wire fence, almost decorative starting from the tree in the first pic. In fact, if you go back and look at the first pic you will see that it is this fence that is imprinted in the tree trunk! It makes me wonder if there was a house here at one time. Turkey Mountain has a history, and a lot of ghosts. I can sense the ghosts when I run here at twilight. Again something I never saw before. Maybe walking and hiking will give me a new perspective on things?
So I have been thinking about why I started running in the first place. I started running a little late in life. I am not a natural athlete. I was 37 years old and had found out that my cholesterol was sky high and my cholesterol ratio was terrible. The exercise guy I consulted said that running was the most bang for the buck. So I started running and really never stopped. I entered races and eventually ran a couple of marathons and a whole bunch of half marathon and 15 to 25k races and countless 5 to 10K’s. I loved the hopeless feeling of being 5 miles from the finish and exhausted and then somehow making it to the finish. I didn’t care that I finished 57th out of 62 in my age group. Finishing was the goal, and I always finished, one way or the other.
A base for an oil well pumpjack from way back. There was a geocache here that I never could find and it is no longer active.
So that was then, and this is now. I can see me hiking instead of running the trails. I can see my biking a lot more. If you can’t do what you want, do what you can. So my doctor says “… your tread is running a little thin.” So I am going to save my tread for hiking and maybe the occasional trotting 5K. I’ll be on my bicycle a lot more and in the gym a lot more. Taking care of my tread.
I collect trees. Here is one on Turkey Mountain. It seems a little here and there and perhaps unstable? Do you know unstable trees? Do they make you nervous? This one makes me nervous.
I can deal with it. Circumstances change, you have to change with them. My goal is to be as active as I can for as long as I can, however I can.
Turkey Mountain is an urban wilderness and is maintained mainly by volunteer labor. It is not groomed like a city park. The trails are kept clear. Many of them by people showing up with their hand saws and power saws and cleaning things up on their own initiative. The cuttings are tossed to the side. They are not hauled off. So the woods show the cumulative effect of windstorms, ice storms, and tornadoes. We vounteers pick up the trash but leave the organic material to rot on its own. It works. No way could anybody afford to come clean everything up. The people who love Turkey Mountain don’t want them to do so. I’ve had friends say, “It is so icky up there, why don’t they clean it up.” And I would never tell them but my thought is, “Turkey Mountain is not for you maybe?”
The ironic thing is that all this running didn’t do crap for my cholesterol levels. It lowered it by about 10%. Now drugs, drugs knocked my LDL’s in the butt. At $7.50 for a month’s worth, I am sticking with that. Of course, with statin drugs, deaths from heart attacks are cut but total mortality doesn’t change!! Huh!! Yep, true fact. I am going to continue taking them anyway. In the long term, the mortality rate is 100%!! You can’t argue with that.
What about you? Are you having any changes lately?
Son Logan and I went on a hike on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Wilderness Area last Friday. It was cold to start but sunny. The sunny part of it made for some great shadows.
I’m still recovering from my knee injury so I picked an easy trail. The upper yellow trail from the south to north. When I run I like to take this route to start because it is a slight downhill the whole way and I feel like areal runner. No running this time but it was still pretty easy.
We found us a tree. Turkey Mountain is full of trees. There is plenty for everybody so if you come here feel free to claim one. Please leave it though. Take all the pictures you want and visit anytime!
The upper yellow trail passes some moonscape type terrain.
We also found an old oil well. Turkey Mountain used to have lots of wells back in the day and there are reminders around everywhere.
We also found this shelter made of branches. It is at the highest point on Turkey Mountain. I am not sure who used it. I doubt it was a homeless person. The surrounding area had no trash or debris at all. Most homeless camps are pretty messy. Plus most homeless camps are near places where they can get water and food. This place is a pretty arduous hike for a homeless person. So it is a mystery to me. I have a feeling somebody came up and camped here. In my evening runs on the mountain I have seen several people leaving the parking lot with camping gear. Camping is forbidden but I am not the camping police is my motto.
By the time we got back to the parking lot, it was a lot warmer. Plus if the hike is downhill all the out, then it is uphill all the way back. Plus I decided to pick a little tougher trail with more rocks. We were ready to get home and down some cold water.
I went to Philbrook Museum of Art earlier this week at lunch. We have a membership there, courtesy of the world’s best MIL so I can pop in when ever I want. Anyway I breezed through the galleries and went outside but didn’t go tour the gardens since I was short of time so I took this photo of the chairs and tables on the patio.
I ran a half marathon back in November and caught these shadows in the early morning sun.
My employer rebuilt their plaza area in front of the building and now it is a really nice space. They have a large ramada and a bunch of chairs and tables that make for interesting shadows.
This is from back in warmer weather. I was running on the Arkansas River trails here in Tulsa and got passed by a couple of bicyclists so I snapped their pic and caught a shadow selfie.
Sunday afternoon, after setting the DVR for the Dallas Cowboys game, son Logan and I headed off for an outing at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art. I wasn’t interested in the art on this trip as I was the gardens of museum. They have spectacular gardens and there is something to see in them all seasons. Thanks to Logan’s grandmother, my MIL, who buys us a family membership every year, we get to go see Philbrook a lot.
First up they had a Special Exhibit called “Museum Confidential” that was about, among other things, why some works that museums have in the their collections never get exhibited. They had a pretty dense display of Philbrook owned art that never gets displayed. A lot of it is funny looking, or worn out, or they are not sure exactly who painted it (provenance that is called). I thought it quite interesting. My theory is that a lot of stuff is donated and they don’t know what to do with it. My dad was involved in a museum in Idaho and he talked about all the worthless stuff people donated just to get a tax deduction.
Anyway, we checked the exhibit out in a couple minutes an then toured the rest of the three floors in about 15 minutes. It doesn’t take me long. I have been to the museum dozens of times and I just like looking at the stuff I like and it is like saying hello to old friends and I never get tired of the collection, and every once in a while I notice something new or rather, noticed something that has been there all along. So, after our whirlwind tour we headed out for the gardens.
The focal point of the gardens is the tempietto. The money shot is the tempietto reflected in the pond. I wonder how many photos have been taken of it over the years. I think it has led to an imbalance of photons in this world that is causing many of our current problems. So I know that it is somewhat of a cliche but you know I have been clicking away for years and will keep on clicking. I think the scene is gorgeous.
And then we went off. I found this foliage right next to the employee parking lot. I’ll take it.
Some more Fall color.
By now you have figured out that I have a thing for curved walkways that go underneath colorful trees.
And on our way out, I stop for another shot of the tempietto. I like all the purply colors in this scene and how the colors are reflected in the pond. I also love all the textures in the scene. I am not bragging about the photo, I love the what my eye sees and what is weakly captured by the camera.
If you plan on visiting Philbrook check their website. They have lots going on including both big special exhibits and smaller. Note that they have a monthly event called Second Saturday where the museum doesn’t charge admission and they have all sorts of activities for all ages. it is quite fun and is sponsored by my employer.
They are also very photo friendly. You can take photos of almost anything in their permanent collection. Just don’t use flash and don’t be a pain to your fellow guests. Special exhibits are sometimes different because they bring in art from other museums and private collections and sometimes there are restrictions. If you have any questions, just ask the people at the front desk. They are very friendly, well trained and can answer all your questions.
Turkey n Taturs on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain has to be one of the oldest trail races in the area and the most handy being right in Tulsa. It was my first trail race in 2009. I was not very familear with that style of racing nor Turkey Mountain and I was bewildered by how you run a race on narrow trails and was totally lost on the mountain. If it were not for the great marking I would not know where they heck I was or where to go. It was my first trail race and I have run it several times over the years. It has lengths of 50 kilometers, 25K, and 10K. 10K to the hard core crowd is barely a fun run. Somehow I felt the need to try the 25K even though I had not trained for it. My plan was to walk the rocks and uphills and trot the flats and downhills and not worry about my time. I knew that it could take me a long time.
So I got to the back of the crowd of the race. One thing I love about trail races is that there are not that many people in them and everybody is very nice, no pushing and shoving. It is a very friendly crowd and very accepting of newcomers. They asked how many people were in the first trail race and a bunch of people raised their hand. So the fun goes off and off I go!! I love how the women turn around and give me a look after the gun went off.
I went running with the rest of them, and then it was like. Wait, the plan, the plan. So I stopped and started walking and let everybody go on ahead. And I strolled along. I hadn’t warmed up or anything and I wanted to walk a half mile before running so that is what I did.
Lake Logan at the West Side Y. A little muddy but beautiful.
So after a half mile I started trotting and walking at regular intervals, especially walking the rocky areas. I fell on my knee about two years ago and still feel the aftereffects of that so I tiptoe when I am around the rocks.
I made it up to the upper parking lot and stopped for a little refreshment at the aid station there. Trail Races have top notch aid stations. Lots of water and gatorade, salty snacks, sweet snacks, cookies, sandwiches. They also pretty much had a full bar. If I was just doing the 10K I might have had a beer or a shot, but not for 25K (which is over 15 miles). I drank a ton of water the gatorade. Had some of the baked potatoes rolled in salt, pretzels, and some other snacks. I also carried a hydration pack with 1.5 liters of water that I sipped on periodically every so often. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that dehydration is a bummer and it can happen even in cold weather.
My race started at 7 am. The 10K started at 7:30 am and I started getting passed by the 10K guys before I got too far. Those guys were flying.
After a while it got to be a regular processing. Life is humbling being a slow plodder.
But other than getting passed I ran by myself. I was really enjoying the Fall colors.
And it was kind of funny. The mountain is not closed during the race and all the trails are open and so there lots of other people out and about. I ran into my old boss and his wife. We stopped and chatted for a while. And then he said, “We are not slowing you down are we?” Well actually I am pretty slow all by myself and don’t need any help but we parted. I ran into a family who looked pretty tired with some small ones in tow. They asked me if they were headed to the parking lot. I said no they weren’t, they needed to turn around and go the other way. They asked how far, and you should have seen the look on their faces when I told them that it was about a mile and a half. We talked a little bit more as the Dad couldn’t believe that he was going north when he thought he was going south and I thought he was going to plow on ahead going the wrong way. I think I got him convinced to turn around but they were still standing there when I left. You know how guys are, right?
I think that I had been on all the trails the race used before except for this one.You can see the markings and it is the faintest trail I have ever seen. It was all good.
When I got to the lower parking lot I ran into these ladies. The Wonder Women were operating an aid station. They had all sorts of goodies including my new favorites peanut butter and pickel wraps. I ate a bunch of those along with water, gatorade, salted potatoes, a few pickles, pretzels, and fritos and a few cookies. (And you wonder why don’t lose weight with all my running.) They were great hostesses and great sports and a lot of fun. I was at about 10 miles into the run by then and I didn’t take too many other photos.
I left the lower parking lot to get on the Red Trail which goes even lower than the lower trail and then it is uphill quite a ways to the upper parking lot and I walked pretty much the rest of the race.
When I got to the upper parking lot aid station, I lingered while resting and one of the people there said “I feel like I need to do something for you, but I don’t know what.” So I said I was okay and just needed to rest a little bit more. I made sure to hydrate and get some calories in and then I took off, if walking away means taking off. My calves hurt, my feet hurt, and I was tired. I did perk up and run the last couple hundred yards at the finish. I mean you have to finish strong and make it look like you have been running the whole way. It me about five and half hours or more to finish and I am proud as can be about it.
I am not a big fan of doing races you are not ready for but I think my plan for the 25K worked pretty well. I dreaded the red trail up to the upper parking lot and it turned out to be worse than I thought it would be but I didn’t stop. I did make baby steps though up the steeper parts.
Here is my relive video of the first 12 miles or so of the run. My gps enabled watch ran out of juice before I finished so the video is incomplete but you can see how intensively the trails were used for the 25K. The 50K was two laps of the 25K. Those guys and gals are my heroes. I couldn’t imagine doing what I did twice.
The run was sponsored by Runners World Tulsa and the Race Directors did a great job. Great well marked course, lots of aid stations, nice t shirt and medal, food, and liquids. Check, check, check, check, and check. But did everybody have fun!! Yes!!
Thanks to Runners World for sponsoring the event, and the co-directors Kathy Hoover and Bryan Drummond, Brian Hoover and Tatur for timing the event, and the army of volunteers who set up the aid stations, cooked the food, and did lots of lugging and packing and for the participants who make it fun. They all got up well before light on a Sunday morning. And a huge thanks for the Wonder Women!!
On Sunday, son Logan and I went for a walk on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. I had run a race the day before so I just wanted so get out and stretch my legs a little bit. Something called a “recovery walk” or a “recovery run” except I was not running.
Turkey Mountain has a few double track miles of trails but most of it is single track. Once we got a quarter mile away from the parking lot, we had the place to ourselves.
The air was just barely warm, and dry, and the skies were deep blue.
The just barely changed leaves were almost fluorescent with the sun shining through them.
The grasses are just now turning color.
Here is a track of our journey. We stayed on the “Snake Trail” not because of snakes but because the trail folds back on itself.
I’m running a 25K race this coming weekend on Turkey Mountain, the TurkeynTaturs 25K. We’ll be running the Snake Trail and just about all the other trails on Turkey Mountain as well. I’lve pretty much run them all. I plan on taking my time and trotting the non-rocky flats and downhill segments and walking through the rocks and uphills.
This is a cumulative “heat map” showing all the trails I had run as of several months ago. As you can see I run a lot on Turkey Mountain. I love it and the race Saturday will be a tour of all of it.
Wish me luck!! It will be the longest race that I have run since 1997 when I ran the Madison Marathon in Wisconsin.
Saturday I ran my 23rd Tulsa Run 15K. I am a “way back of the pack runner” but I think I have learned a few things over the years about preparing for and running the race that I thought I would share especially for new runners.
This guy is my hero. He carried the flag for the whole 15 kilometers.
First off is preparation. Fifteen kilometers is a long way, over nine miles, and the terrain is hilly. So unless you genetically gifted you are not going to have fun time without preparation. You need to run. You need to do a weekly or biweekly long run where you start with some miles you can handle and gradually increase and you need to start training months in advance. I am not going to presume to provide a training schedule but you need to gradually increase your mileage at least once a week along with shorter runs. Don’t forget strength training. Running really makes your hamstrings strong but doesn’t do squat for you quads so you end up with all sorts of imbalances. Running and resistance training complement each other.
If you are kind of unsure about the matter, two of the three leading running stores in Tulsa, Runners World and Fleet Feet Tulsa have formal training programs you can sign up for. I have known lots of people who have tried them and they all found them worthwhile. If you are more of a going alone type, like me, there are lots of books on training for runs
These stores, along with Tulsa Runner, can outfit you with proper shoes. They can check how you run to determine what kind of shoe you should use. And they should have something that fits your budget. There is nothing more miserable than running in shoes not meant for running, or that are worn out.
This year, I just didn’t get on track with the preparation. I ran some really long training runs but didn’t complement it with shorter runs and speed work and my results reflect that. For me, to make headway in training, I need to run at least three times a week.
My coworker, motivational speaker, and big names in running, Michael Hairston sharing tips on running, and leading stretching at the “Blessing of the Shoes.”
Second, enjoy some of the pre-race activities. I always enjoy the Race Expo where you get your race packets and shirt. I always see people I know, check out the booths. I have have found some bargains in gloves, hats, and other running gear. This year I attended the “Blessing of the Shoes” put on by Boston Avenue Methodist Church downtown a couple days before the race. No signup or cost. Just show up and visit a little, get a prayer and blessing for the pastor and then we went on a two mile jaunt to downtown and back and they had some snacks for us. It was nice.
Lots of people wear costumes to run the race. This is from previous year. Enjoy and appreciate your fellow runners. The Tulsa Run is a very happy race.
Third, run the race like you trained for it. If you went on a long slow lazy training runs with lots of walking breaks then that is how your race should go. if you trained hard properly then you will be ready to rock and roll. I tell you what, speed training works. Years ago I was running the run in about 1:35 or so and one summer I participated in speed training sponsored by Runner World and wow. It is was brutal in the summer heat running laps on a track in the summer time but I ran the Tulsa Run in about 1 hour and 22 minutes, a good 15 minutes off my previous time.
Life intervened in the form of a baby after that and so formal speed training went by the wayside and so did my times. Still once a week running shorter distances at a harder pace pays off. But don’t forget to have fun.
These guys are there every year singing away. (Photo from a previous year)
Fourth, enjoy the experience. There are always bands along the race route. That makes it fun. People hold up funny signs. I never run the race with ear phones. I go along with the sun and wind in my face, listening the funny clop, clop, clop, of everybody’s shoes, the banter from my fellow runners, and watching the bystanders cheering us on. I am totally lost in the moment and it always seems like the race ends after fifteen minutes.
I love it. (Another photo from a previous year)
Fifth, don’t worry about making a mess. This is one time in your life where adults are allowed to throw down their cups. It will get cleaned up, don’t you worry about it. This is also the time to be thankful for the army of volunteers who will be cleaning up the mess, after they handed you the water. They also work the expo, and are all up and down the course, and were involved in the race planning. Without volunteers there is no race. So throw your cup down respectfully.
I always love the finish in downtown. This year we had this big flag. You can see we were running into a pretty stiff breeze and it is uphill. Run Forest Run is what I say.
Sixth, finish strong. If you are tired and beat by the end of race. Take an extra long walking break before you get within sight of the finish and run across the finish line like you won the thing. A little tip, if there are young people ahead of you, don’t pass them, let them go ahead and finish ahead of you. Congratulate them after the line. Tell them something like, “Great race, I just couldn’t keep up with you.”
This year, my friend Libby gave me her candy bar! She is so sweet.
Seventh, get your Swag. This year we there were gigantic race medals, McAllisters provided free box lunches to the finishers, Reasors Grocery Stores handed out full size candy bars, Budweiser was handing out free beer, there is also water and bananas. Get it all!! While you are at it be thankful for the sponsors of the race who provided that stuff and financial backing for the endeavor. The entrance fees are a lot but the race doesn’t happen without the sponsors backing everything.
Eight, get your results. Find out how fast you ran it, check on your friends. Feel a little smug about the people you finished ahead of in the race. Be amazed at how fast the real young and really old can run. The results are fun. And think about the people that timed the race. Sure they get paid for it but they do an amazing job keeping track and reporting the results for thousands of people and then putting out the numbers online.
Great post race meal. This is the Turkey Pot Pie at Bricktown Brewery. It wa s wonderful!!
Nine, celebrate properly. You will be depleted so eat well, have a couple beers if that is your thing. Celebrate your accomplishment. Post pics on facebook and instagram. Check and see how your friends did. Speaking of instagram, are we not Instagram friends yet?? Check out @yogiab and lets get connected. On twitter I am @alanbbates.
Ten – get your tech on. If you have a GPS enabled watch then you can get all sorts of free screens and videos showing your run. If you just have a smart phone, get the Strava app for free, and do the same thing with your phone. I love all that stuff.
So these are the ten things I have to offer. The unspoken 11th and 12th items would be to sign up for more races and get to know your local running community.
What about you? What would you say to newer runners looking to enter a major race for the first time?
Last week was Tulsa’s Oktoberfest. It is quite the party. It has grown considerably for the years and is a lot of fun.
On Thursday night they have the “Lederhosen Lauf,” a three mile run from the festival out along the Arkansas River trails and back to the festival. I am always looking for a deal and it is a deal. For your entry fee, you get the race and a t shirt, sure, but you also get admission to the festival, a 16 ounce mug, a free fill of the beer of your choice for that mug, and a nice tee shirt. So sign me up.
The pre-race festivities included our mayor G.T. Bynum on the right. On the left is the lovely and talented Leslie who works for the company that sponsors the festival and is also a fellow Zumba exercise instructor with my wife Heather. Anyways, after the talk, off we went.
This is the halfway point, they had beer for us there. I don’t know what kind it was but it was good.
And then we finished so I took my stein and had it filled with Paulaner Oktoberfest Wiesn. it is my new favorite beer. I am usually not much for lagers but this one is great. It may be my favorite beer ever.
I also had a Spaten Optimator. I drank this back in the bad old days when Tulsa was a wasteland for beer. It was good but a little sweet.
I got me some schnitzel and sides for dinner.
And listened to a band playing decent rock and roll covers. I am not much for German music so I stay away from the big main tents.
The race was great. Well organized, nice well marked course, beer on the course, beer after the race, fun before, during, and after the race. So check, check, double or triple check, check and check. Plus
They posted the results on paper (I was fourth out of six in my age group) and on the internet. Immediately and right away.
A big thank you to the sponsors, the race director, the army of volunteers, and my fellow participants, and the brewers!! I love this race.
As you can tell, I am pretty slow!! But I was out there.
My wife’s cousin’s wife, Cheri Lou took this photo at the ranch in western Oklahoma. I love the rolling hills, grassy rangelands, and the big skies out there. The people are great also.
Where we live in northeastern Oklahoma is more forest land and a lot wetter. Son Logan and I went on a little jaunt at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. Lots of wildlife in Oxley. Lots of water also and it is right underneath the main approaches to our local airport and is right next to the police gun range so it can get kind of noisy but I love it.
There are several sizeable lakes and ponds and it is known as a good birding site. I love birds but I don’t have the patience to put in the work.
Here you go, any photoblogger worth his salt has the obligatory first red leaf of Autumn. I think this might be my first red leaf ever.
This gave me a start! Don’t worry, it is a rubber snake placed near a geocache. At least I think it was near a geocache. I looked for it and didn’t find it. I lifted a rock and found me a real snake. Just a tiny little garter snake but I decided, enough is enough.
Saturday I had some time so I went looking for some urban caches in Tulsa. Found one near the Saba Grotto. I think it has some relation to the Masons. There were a few instagram pics with Saba Grotto. it looks like a big man cave. They have a pretty active facebook page and they seem to have all sorts of benefits and events. Who would have thought? Stuff like that intrigues me. People don’t seem to join clubs any longer. They belong to “affinity groups” where they do people who have similar interests but is a lot looser. Anyway, one reason I love geocaching is that I find new places and learn new things.
Another cache I found was on a freeway interchange. Talk about hiding something in plain sight. Lots of cars whizzing by while I figured out where the cache was.
I am still training for the Tulsa Run 15K the last weekend of this month. Last week I ran 9 miles after work and I actually felt pretty good. Cooler weather and a hydration vest works wonders. I had already signed up for the race and went ahead and signed up for the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. This weekend I am running 11 miles on Sunday morning. At least that is my plan. Check back later. Plans change.
A side benefit is running is the opportunity to take photographs. A great deal of my running (and a great deal of my photos) are along the Arkansas River. Tulsa really is a beautiful town. Of course I love the gritty west side of Tulsa where all the industry and refineries are.
In the Fall the skies get a lot more interesting. This is a sunset photo looking east with my back to the sun.
I’ll finish up with a selfie with a combuster at a waste treatment plant on the river. I was halfway on my nine mile run and I was really happy with how good I felt. Cooler weather, a hydration vest, and Metallica on the earbuds works wonders. That is about as big a smile as you will ever get out of me.