Category Archives: Trail Racing

2022 Tess 5K Trail Run

Last Saturday I got up bright and early and headed out to Turkey Mountain to run the Tess 5K Trail Run sponsored by the Tristesse Grief Center here in Tulsa.

I decided to go ahead and do a video of the start. After I was done videoing I had to loop around the timer’s truck and across the starting line myself.


A treat for me on this race is that most of it was done on the brand new sustainable trails constructed in the last year. Especially nice was the new trail from the lower parking lot up to the upper level of Turkey Mountain. Those old trails have gotten worse and worse over the years. It got so bad that I hadn’t used them in a long time.


The new trails are like a super highway through the woods. Another benefit is the chances of getting ticks and chiggers from the grass is way less. Also it is easier to pass other people and there is lots of room for both bicyclists and hikers/runners on the trail.


Pretty soon I had passed a small bunch of people and was way behind the pack. That’s alright, I was looking for a great hike through the woods. My running days are over. I do admit though on the smooth slightly downhill stretches I did trot a bit. Probably not over three or four hundred yards total.


And here we split off from the superhighway headed to the left and headed right to one of the legacy trails.


And up the rock garden after we turned south. I got an impromptu invite to a private geological tour of Turkey Mountain last week. I learned that the trail above is caused by alternating layers of shale and sandstone. As the shale layers dissolve and wash away the brittle sandstone breaks and falls down forming a kind of steps. Yep, the steps are ankle breakers!!


I also learned the top of Turkey Mountain is 300 million years old and has been submerged and re-emerged under a huge inland sea five times by a combination of tectonic and weathering forces. The guy showed us rocks that used to be sand on a beach and lots of little fossilized shellfish embedded in the rocks. It was amazing.


Enough geology for now. We made the loop and headed down the superhighway to the finish. All I can say is that I finished vertically. I didn’t place in my age group. Last year I finished first in my age group. Oh well I finished.

It was a great race, it was easy to register and they had lots of volunteers helping out. Timing was by Tatur, the best in the business in my opinion. They had lots of snacks and water for the participants and I think everybody left happy I know I did.

New Belgium Trippel

They didn’t have beer this year so I had one at home later on. In fact I might have had more than one, I’m not sure. They had tshirts but they are mailing me mine as I registered a little too late to actually get a tshirt at the event.

Tess 5K Trail Run

I’ll be back next year, here is my post from the 2021 Tess Trail Run.

A big thank to the Tristesse Grief Center, their staff and volunteers who helped, Tatur Racing, and my fellow racers.

I am linking to My Corner of the World. Check it out!.

Tulsa Backyard Blaze 5K Trail Race

I don’t do too many races these days. For one thing I don’t run hardly at all and for a second, I got out of the habit during covid. I have a soft spot in my heart for trail races though. Big secret is that many people on trail races, and in fact in all races, walk the route. It is not frowned on at all. Last Saturday I ventured to the Herman & Kate Kaiser YMCA on the northwest side of Turkey Mountain for their Tulsa Backyard Blaze 5K.

The race started at the Y and then headed south with an outgoing veer to the east, at the far southern end it looped around and around and then headed pretty much straight back to the Y.


Here is the race director Mitch giving us instructions. Trail races are pretty easy, just follow everybody else is my motto. I’ve actually gone off the course on a couple of trail races.


We had a countdown and then we were off. I started way at the back and I thought I would be able to trot a hundred yards or so but my twingey knee said no way Jose! You are walking, so I walked the whole thing.


About 3/4 of the course, which is all beautiful forestland as threatened a few years ago by Simon Malls wanting to put an outlet mall on the property. The community was outraged and Simon moved somewhere else in the Tulsa area, a totally more appropriate site, cleared off the land put in the first concrete pad and then stopped construction. Can you imagine the above being an abandoned parking lot? It almost happened!!


I fell in behind this group of ladies. They were setting a good pace for me. They are a group of friends that race together and their camaraderie was fun to watch.


All the trails were legacy trails, twisty and turney.


For a post race treat, they had chocolate chip pancakes topped with peanut butter!! They were great!! I had to do a boarding house reach to get one. Sorry, but you do what you have to do at these things.

They had wooden medallions for all the finishers and little coasters for the age group winners. Being the only one in my age group I got one of these. They also had nice tshirts for everybody.

A nice well managed and run race. A good job by the Y for being a great host, Runners World Tulsa for managing the race including clearing and marking the trails and whoever did the timing did a great job as well.

Inaugural Backyard Blaze 5K Trail Run at the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA

Early Saturday morning I headed out to the northwest side of Turkey Mountain in Tulsa for two things. First to check out the grand opening of the reconstructed YMCA, formerly known as the “West Side Y” and now known as the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA and to run in the first ever “Backyard Blaze 5K Trail Race” sponsored by the Y.


The old Y was like an old school summer camp. It had the basics but you could tell they were on a shoe string budget. They did a lot with what they had. The new Y is amazing. They have a Lodge (above) with lounges, meeting rooms, a ball room, and administrative offices.


They have some brand new playgrounds.


I noticed that the playgrounds had QR codes so that dumb kids who didn’t know how to on them could figure it out with their smart phones.

They had a full day of activities scheduled for the grand opening. I thought about doing the yoga in addition to the race but I didn’t bring my mat and I didn’t want to get their brand new mats dirty with my sweat and trail dust. Besides I was hungry.

And of course all this takes money. Here’s the donor wall. Tulsa is fortunate to have a bunch of well heeled oil and gas people who are willing to put up the bucks when it comes time for community investments. And this is just a few years after the Gathering Place sucked up 465 million dollars from the local community for its construction.

My former employer had a sign all their own. I am proud that they have always been willing to contribute heavily to community investments.

Lake Logan is unchanged except for a new fishing dock.

In all my years of hiking and running Turkey Mountain I have never seen wild turkeys. Saturday was my chance. They were clear across the lake moving. I hope that you can see them in the video. All I had was my cell phone so I couldn’t magnify it much. Now I’ll have to quit calling people liars who say they have seen them. I’m not apologizing though. These turkeys look like new residents to me. How can I tell you ask? It is rude of you to ask is what I say. I’m training to be a politician.


Enough for all that. Mitch Drummond called everybody to order gave us the instructions which for trail races is pretty simple. Don’t get lost and if you do, good luck to you. And off we went. Or rather, off they went. I’m slow.


I haven’t been running for quite some time but still I trotted the smooth downhills from time to time and walked the rocks and the uphills. I hate falling!!


Most of the trail was on the pipeline trail. You can see why. You can also see that with all the rain, the vegetation was thick. I had forgot to spray myself with deet so I was hoping the ticks and triggers would leave me alone.


At times we were running through a little narrow channel in the woods.


And then we ran back to the Y via the pipeline trail. And no, I am not leading the race. Everybody else, most everybody anyway, had pulled away from me.


One last shot showing Lake Logan and the finish line across the way.

I finished vertically and so I was happy with my first in person race since the pandemic started. (I did a couple virtual runs which are not nearly so fun but crucial fund raisers for some outfits.) It made me realize how much I had missed running through the woods, races, and trail races especially.

Here’s a video of the route. It had some major squiggles on trails but it was all easy to follow on the ground. Part of the race when down a trail that I helped build a couple months ago and that was cool.

I give an A+ to the new Y and to the organizers of the race. The course, the timing folks, the course markings, the shirt and the wooden medal giveaway were all top rate. There was no beer but really, this is a YMCA sponsored event so nobody was expecting any. I’ll be back for their next event.

I am linking this with Our World Tuesday. Come check it out.

Turkey N Taturs 2015 – Taking Care of the Grill


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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




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.


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.


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!

Running the Post Oak Lodge Challenge 10K

(Doesn’t road dust from the parking lot traffic make for a romantic photograph?)

Early Saturday morning I got up and drove north of Tulsa to the Post Oak Lodge to run in the 10K portion of the Post Oak Lodge Challenge by the Tulsa Running Club. Two days of racing, six races. On Saturday they have a 10K, 25K, and a 50K race and on Sunday they have a quarter marathon, half marathon, and a full marathon. It is a very ambitious project but the organizers do a good job of sorting it all out and making it work.


The 10K is for pansies. The real runners Saturday were there for the 25K and 50K races.


This is about as close as I’ll ever get to getting an award for my running. That’s okay. Keeps the clutter down.


It was in the mid to high 40’s at start time. I love the people watching at the starting line. People have the strangest stretching and warmup routines. I’m asked if I warm up beforehand. Are you kidding me? I have 6 miles to get warmed up.


And we are off. The runners got stacked up at a tricky downhill turn.


Trail runs have the best rest stop food. All sorts of stuff including jello shots, chocolate covered bacon and much much more.


Part of the race went through the Centennial Botanical Gardens. They just planted some trees and put up some burlap to shield them from the north wind. From a distance I couldn’t figure it out, brown portapotty’s maybe?


One young man was running the race carrying the cross. I’m not sure what that was all about except that he passed me and I was not carrying a cross. I had a camera though.


Zipline towers. I’d like to do that sometime. Anybody want to do it with me?


And this is either a zipliner or somebody cheating on the race. 


And this is the trail up Holmes Peak, the highest point in Tulsa County. I pretty much walked up to the top. In fact I walked a lot on this race. I hope that you don’t think less of me.


And this is the view from up there. That is downtown Tulsa way off yonder. Looks pretty small from up here.


Proof, that I didn’t finish dead last. I don’t worry too much about finishing last. I just like finishing. Vertically is best but if I have to crawl I’ll do that also.


I didn’t get an award but I did get this nifty iron finisher medal. 


The race lunch was a chopped brisket sandwich and a bag of fritos and two beers. It was good! I know, I know a salad would be much more nutritious. Sure it would be. Most stuff I don’t eat is good for me.

And so that is the race report!!

Previous Year’s Post Oak Challenge Reports




Post Oak Lodge 10K featuring the Hill from Hell!


Saturday bright and early I got up and headed to the Osage Hills northwest of Tulsa to participate in the Post Oak Lodge Challenge 10K.  When I got there I fell in love.


With this fireplace and a very comfortable leather chair. It’s a real fire. We have a gas fire at home and it is all nice and everything but nothing puts out a nice glowing warm heat like a real wood fire.


So I sat there napping off and on as they prepped the 25Kers on following the green ribbon.


And then I sat there during the prep for the 10Kers. We were supposed to follow the pink ribbons. You see.


And then the moment of decision. To I get up out of MY chair and go run the race or just kind nap some more. You like my hat, you think its funny. Hey it was 30 deg at race time and I was warm. So laugh all you want you cold eared people.


So off we go!! Following the pink ribbons. The Shadow knows.


The aid stations were fantabulous, water, gatorade, pb&j sandwiches, chips, homemade cookies, salted potatoes. Wonderful. The Shadow also knows this.


We’ve had a little bit of rain so it was nice to see the creeks flowing again. We had a little bit of mud but not to bad.


We took a turn through the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Gardens.


And we went by the Post Lodge’s Zip lines. At least that is the cover story. The real deal is that Oklahoma has erected these watch towers to keep Democrats out of the state. They are also a last line of defense to keep those pesky Canadians who are enslaved by the national healthcare system out of our state. Rumor has it that they are massed at the border trying to get in.We are ready for them.

Post Oak Lodge 10K.jpg

The thing about trail runs is that the good ones are have lots of ups and downs. This was a good one.


I finally got to the top of the Hill from Hell. Holmes Peak is the tallest point in Tulsa County. You can see a long ways.


Way over yonder (as we say in Oklahoma) where the cars are is the start and end of the race.


Heading down the Hill from Hell. . That is downtown Tulsa off in the distance.


This race had a beer stop. They said, “Want a beer?” and I said “Do you have any other stupid questions?”


The finish line!! Yeah we are done!!


Lots of food and adult malted beverages available. This is some white chicken chili.


And then back to my spot. If you happen to be up at the lodge anytime soon. Make sure nobody is sitting there, cuz its mine. You can sit there if you want, just don’t get too comfortable.

It was a great race, well organized and everybody had lots of fun.

I had my GPS watch on. If you want to see the route click on the green balloon above and it will take you to another screen. Click on the thing that looks like your DVD “Play” button to the left and it will show you just how slow I am.

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