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.
My new cell phone has a “cut in” feature where it puts a selfie in the pic. I love it and almost nobody else does. I love the goofy look on my face.
My first race of 2016 was the Commitment Day 5K in the Tulsa suburb of Bixby at Lifetime Fitness. It was a fun race for several reasons. First it started at 10 am instead of the crack of dawn which made it more doable for us old farts party animals who like to sleep in stay up late with our wild and crazy friends. Second we had a Zumba warmup. That was unexpected! My beautiful wife became a Zumba instructor and I have been wanting to crash one of her classes and video a couple of her routines. Something about the way she looks at me when I talk about it makes me think that she is not near as excited about it as I am.
Well we had Leslie who led us in the warmup. She really did have more than a half dozen people she was leading.
See!! I’d of participated but I was doing my blogging journalistic duty of documenting the event. Really. Actually I did try a few moves. I think i have lots of potential. In the engineering sense in that a rock at the base of a mountain has a lot of potential energy to gain by somehow getting to the top, not that it has any chance of getting there.
Enough of the dancing, this is racing. We moved over to the start line. I did my usual start at the very back. Sure I have to weave through walkers and baby strollers but I like passing people from start to finish and it is not like there is anything on the line anyway.
This is the finish. I love seeing young people kicking hard at the end. And see the group of three ladies behind him? Lots of people just jog along a chat with their friends. Usually that breeze pass me like I’m standing still.
We had the gym to relax in after the race. Lots better than huddling behind cars and trailers like most winter races. The facilities were first rate.
The race was an out and back type arrangement with hills and dips near the turnaround.
I finished fourth in my age group. I don’t know how many were in my age group but I suspect the answer is approximately four.
It was a fun, family, oriented race and I’ll probably be back next year.
They had a cool and very engaged Santa at the race. He was giving out high fives, especially to the kids. I like active and engaged Santas. I still have a bone to pick with him about the ever increasing amounts of coal I get in my stocking every year.
Saturday I ran in the first ever Rudolph 5K in Broken Arrow. It was only my second race since I screwed up knee on a trail race on Labor Day and the first race where I was going to try and run the whole way.
People dressed up with reindeer antlers and red noses and all sorts of costumes.
I went through a couple months of rehab on my knee and about a month on my own doing the stretches and exercises that the Physical Therapists taught me.
So I pretty pleased, I was able to run the entire way though pretty slowly. My knee felt fine before, during, and after the race so getting faster is now a matter of training and conditioning. I never was very fast. My motto has always been to start slow and then taper off.
I could say that I was fast enough to place third in my age group, which would be true. The whole truth is that there were only three men in my age group, not counting the thousands of guys in northeast Oklahoma who slept in and didn’t enter the race. So I’m booking it as third in my age group.
I appreciate the organizer of the race, Fleet Feet Sports, and all the other people including volunteers that it takes to put on an event like this.
We are in the downtime of Summer right now. We took our family vacation a few weeks ago and many of Logan’s activities like his Improv Comedy workshop is out for the summer and his ankle sprain is precluding his horseback riding. So Friday night I had a thought. Hey, I should run a race!! Pre-Logan I used to run them at least once a month. Most of them local 5K’s. I have since gravitated to a few big races a year plus I really love trail races.
So I found the only local race was about 30 miles south in the town of Okmulgee. A 5K sponsored by the Muskogee Creek Nation. So early Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed and headed down Highway 75 and found the place.
I got registered and got my bib and t shirt and wandered around a little bit.
They had some nice sculptures including this one of Ernest Childers, a Muscogee Creek Nation Tribe member who won the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II. Check the link on his name. Quite a story behind this hero.
As it got close to race time everybody migrated over to the starting line. I thought it strange how much space people put between each other. But we bunched up before the gun started. I started in the very back. Psychologically it is better for me to pass people from the start to the finish.
Most of the race was out in the countryside and was very nice. The weather sunny and cool and no wind and I ran a pretty even pace only stopping to take the above photo and walking through the two water stops.
At the finish line. The Nation’s tribal court building is earth banked so I walked up almost to the roof of the structure to get this angle. I stuck around until the awards ceremony and found out that I won first place in the Men’s age 60 to 64 category.
I got this nice coffee mug as a prize. Of course I have to tell you that there was only one other person in this category in the race. The way I look at it is that there were thousands more who stayed in bed and didn’t go to the race. This is the only award I have ever won in a sporting category in 48 years since I won first prize in a free throw shooting contest at a summer camp in Clear Creek, Utah. I have run I guess over two hundred races over the years and have never even come close to placing. So make fun of me if you wish, and I understand if you do, but I’m very happy anyway.
So there is hope out there for old fat slow guys. I’m really proud of my little coffee mug.
Hot weather means less people running and cycling on the Trails.
While we were in Hawaii the weather here in Tulsa got hot. We are now approaching full blown summer weather. Last Wednesday I went for a run after work in the 96F heat. I know how to run in the heat. Run slow, which comes naturally to me, carry water, take lots of breaks and listen to your body is what I do.
With the construction of a gathering place going on, running is limited on the east side so I cross over to the west side of the river. With all the rain we have had the river is up and there are lots more fishermen that what I normally see. I don’t know what they are fishing for but they are hard at it.
I found a little cross stuck in the ground. A memorial to somebody obviously. I don’t know who and there were no names. I say a little prayer for peace to whoever put it there and move on.
The main function of Tulsa Power Station is to bolster the rate base. I think it is the last unit on and the first one off during the summertime heat loads. It sure seems to fire up during smog alerts in the summer.
I only went about a mile and a half down the river to the PSO Tulsa Power Station and went down to the long forgotten kayak run (now visited only by geocachers I think) to where you can right down on the river.
180 degree panorma
The river is up several feet and was pretty wild. It would be easy to drown in this water if you were not careful.
A 12 second video of the water. Loud and fast. Thank goodness and the Corps of Engineers for Keystone Dam upstream of Tulsa or things could really be interesting. Tulsa used to have bad flooding way back when before the dam was put in.
Running back I got this subtle reflection of the river of a condo across the way. You can tell why we call northeast Oklahoma “Green Country.” Everything is greening up this year with all the rain we have had.
The shadows are longer. Time to go home, shower, eat dinner and down a cold one ( or two.)
Last Tuesday night I went over to Turkey Mountain and did a little (darned little) trail running and geocaching. I started out on the Red Trail to go find some caches. I passed a couple that was walking along really slowly looking at their GPSr and I asked if they were geocaching. The guy put the GPSr behind his back and said, “What’s that.” Newbies, why are they so embarrassed? Cuz they should be is the answer.
It took a while for my GPSr to lock on so I kind of wibble wobbled as you might see from the Garmin Connect map at the end of this post but it finally synched with the satellites (thank you my fellow American taxpayers for those satellites I’ll add here.) My first cache was difficult. It required a double backward flip off this fallen tree and a clean landing. Believe it or not I did it and so claimed the cache. Proof, you say? Well I told you that I did it didn’t I?
Then the next one not too far away. All I had to do was stick my hand somewhere I didn’t want to. Nothing bit me, this time.
And I climbed out of the Red Tail area via the Fro Flo trail. I love going the wrong way is all I can say. I went uphill on the Fro Flo guys. Gasps from the Turkey Mountain free riders.
There are several videos on Youtube of the Fro Flo by riders using their Go Pro cameras. This one had some good views of the jumps.
I’m trying to figure out what this is for.
This one looks fun. Would you ride your bike up this ramp and then down the length of the log. Yeah, well me neither.
So anyway I got back to the parking lot and started up the blue trail to the top of Lipbuster and looked for a cache (and didn’t find it) near the water tanks and then I noticed another cache on my GPSr about a quarter mile away. I thought, maybe I could bushwhack it over there.
Not a good idea. One thing led to another. Thorns, tall grass, thickets, scratches, blood, insects. No snakes though. That I could see anyway. Fortunately I had used deet before my run so no ticks or chiggers.
I finally found a clearing. Where I could make some headway.
And then out in the middle of nowhere I found Little Miss Blue Eyes. Kind of cute don’t you think. Kind of spooky is what I think. Eventually I found a trail and made it to the cache site and found it and then I kind of took a wrong turn.
You see there were some new trails up there and I didn’t know how they ran so I just went with it and took quite a tour of the southwestern side of the mountain before I made it back to the Snake Trail. By then it was pitch dark and I didn’t do a whole lot of running.
I passed a cop car with its lights on. I think they were looking for the old fat guy going up the wrong way on Fro Flo.
It was a great day for a trail race on Saturday morning. Cool, humid, and very little wind. It was very early spring like.
The sun was trying to burn through the clouds and never did quite make it.
Here is a mini video of the walk from the parking lot to the race start.
I got up to the old parking lot and checked out all the mud.
And checked out the race bling. This is as close as I’ll ever get.
And inspected this bad boy. I think I need one of these to mow my yard. I think it would do a pretty decent job. Anybody want to float me a loan?
The Race Director, Ken, aka Trail Zombie gave the runners some instructions. Follow the pink ribbons, don’t cross the yellow ribbons. Have a good time.
And the Six Hour Runners were off.
And then the Three Hour Runners, including moi. The races are a little different. Most races are a fixed length and whoever has the least time wins. In the Snake Races, the time is constant and whoever runs the longest wins. So there were two loops. A big loop of about 3.7 miles. We run that over and over, and if you don’t think you can finish another big loop before the time is up then there is another half mile loop that you can run over and over until the time is up. It is really very clever. I like it because I can always tell people that I had the same time as the winner.
Even though it was spring there wasn’t much color out on the mountain. The whitebuds blooming was about it.
There was one aid station out on the course that we hit twice each loop because of the way that the route folds in on itself. It was full service though, water, gatorade, baked potatoes rolled in salt, cookies, pickles, bananas, oranges, beer.
Nope, not for me. Actually I think it was a joke. I think. Although if you had an urgent need it may not be much of a joke.
And the course had a beer stop. This was my favorite. I hit it twice each loop. Going and coming. This guy had everything: All sorts of nice craft beers, and shots of various liquors including some home brew. Soft drinks for the kiddies.
I fell twice during the race. About six weeks ago I fell during a night run on the mountain and had a pain that still endures. That was on my left side. I was carrying my camera in left hand today and so I made sure that I fell on my right side. We bloggers know that ribs will heal but cameras won’t. I was telling that story to somebody at the end of the race and she said “You fell twice? You must have been one of those people hitting the beer stop pretty hard.” She had that “I got you look.” She must have been a school principal. The truth hurts sometimes. Now my left and my right sides hurt besides.
I wish that I had read this sign earlier. Maybe I would do better if I ran faster. I’ll have to check into the math and physics of that concept.
Here is the beer tent again on another stop. Lots of good stuff here. And no I didn’t stagger into the table to get this shot. Well, I didn’t mean to anyway.
And here is Brian Hoover, the force behind Tatur Racing and Chip Timing. I think that I had asked him if I run the race or something.
Brian and Ken started handing out the awards after the Three Hour Race.
No, I didn’t place. I don’t think that any of the people that placed took any pics out on the course or sampled any of the beer. You know beer doesn’t drink itself. I might have won the race if I hadn’t been fulfilling my journalistic duties. Hey you don’t know.
Or maybe I need a cool headband. I think it cuts the wind resistance or something. Or maybe it diverts blood supply to the legs. Something like that I’m sure.
And here is a guy taking a selfie. Sorry, if I see you taking a selfie, I’m going to get a pic of you.
And here is the record of my race. My strategy was to run for a quarter mile and walk for a minute. I did that through the whole race and it worked. Plus I drank lots of water and some Gatorade at the food stops along with the salted baked potato segments. I got pretty sore still which is not surprising because the longest distance I have run in the last several months is only six miles.
Sunday I ran the Quarter Marathon part of the Post Oak Lodge Challenge which is a bunch of races of varying length from 10K to 50K held over two days at the beautiful Post Oak Lodge north of Tulsa. I generally run the 10K on Saturday but this year elected to run the quarter because it doesn’t change the family schedule very much.
Getting close to race time everybody started assembling near the start line. Meanwhile…
I was finishing up my warm-up routine inside the lodge. I’d of been really warmed up but some young whippersnappers, you know people in their 40’s, were taking my spot by the fireplace. Notice my shoes? They are Hokas, specially made for trail running. They are nice but I’m thinking about getting a kickstart campaign going for my next pair. If Heather finds out how much they cost, she might start her own non-financial kickstarter campaign. So far the shoes seem to be working pretty well. They are very cushiony. Yep, cushiony is a word here in Oklahoma. Just so you know.
Off we went down the road and off into the trails. I was hanging back. Wearing my brand new Hokas on a night run on Turkey Mountain several weeks ago I tripped and fell and I think that I might have cracked a rib. I got xrays Friday but haven’t got the results back yet. Most advice that I’ve seen on the web advises against running with a cracked rib. However, most people don’t think that what I do is actually running either. So off I went. Slowly though. Notice how I make going slowly an option for me. It is an option. I can either go slowly or just stand there.
The course was really hilly, up and down, and over around. I ran on the level spots and generally walked on the uphill segments. On the downhill spots I ran if there were not many rocks or roots. I didn’t want to trip and fall and then have to go to the doctor and endure their questioning about who goes running with a cracked rib. Followed by “Do you really run.”
Post Oak Lodge has a zip line course. I was kind of eyeing it to see if I could cut some of the run short. I mean, I doubt the rules actually say that one can’t use the zip line. I decided not to do it. Of course several of my fellow runners didn’t allow me to use it. I wish they would just mind their own business.
This being Oklahoma we passed oil wells. These might be for sale. At $40 a barrel they should be cheaper than they would have been last summer. You ready? I can probably hook you up.
Off we go up another hill. Except that this is Holmes Peak. The highest point in Tulsa County. Salud!
Are you up for another view of downtown Tulsa? Despite what you think Oklahoma doesn’t tilt to the left. It tilts at almost a 45 degree angle to the right. I over corrected. If you are wondering what in tarnation I am talking about then you are not familiar with Oklahoma.
Here is a little more balanced view.
Here is my favorite part of the race. Ken Childress (aka “Trail Zombie” ) manning an aid stop. I think that TZ, as he is known, has introduced hundreds, if not thousands, of people to trail running in northeast Oklahoma. He is a great guy. Check out his blog here.
The Snake Run is a TZ event on Turkey Mountain next week. It is a little different in that everybody runs the same times as everybody else (either a three hour race or a six hour time) the winner runs the most distance. It is fun. I don’t know if I can make it or not. I ran it in 2011 and 2012. It’s about time I do it again. I really don’t know if I can run three hours truthfully.
Hey, I’ll cut to the chase. I finished the race (upright, with dignity) and got my meal. The thought that struck was that this is an Okie Methodist Seder Dinner. After running six and a half miles I was not really hungry anyway, but I ate it anyway. I did have a couple malted beverages also. In addition to the one TZ gave me out on the course. I’ll do a lot for a beer. Notice the banana? Son Logan does not like bananas. In fact he won’t tolerate them in the house. He doesn’t like the texture, nor does he like how they change color. He is the banana nazi as we call him. I was in banana heaven today, both aid stations had bananas as well as the lunch served at the end.
And my brand new Hokas. A little muddy, not too bad. Its got some fast zip shoe laces that come in really handy when I’m trying to take them off before I track mud into the house. Tracking mud into the house is a bad bad thing. Take my word for it.
And here is my route map generated in partnership with Garmin and my watch. Complete with heart rates and all that good stuff. So even though I don’t really run, I did get my heart rate up. Plus I didn’t fall although I did stumble once. Garmin is working on an upgrade to show beer consumption also.
So chalk up another good Post Oak Lodge Challenge. I’ve been running this event for some time and it is great to see it grow and develop every year.
Wednesday night after work I went to go running on the trails along the Arkansas River here in Tulsa. It was the first time I’ve since I tripped and fell on Turkey Mountain during a night run. It didn’t feel bad at the time but my side hurt and kept getting worse especially when I ran.
I finally did the miracle cure for stuff like that. You want to know what the miracle cure is for almost anything. I bet you already what it is. You make an appointment to go see the doctor about it and you get cured about an hour before your appointment. It works every time!!
Anyway, Wednesday night was kind of cool but there was hardly any wind and the river was very smooth.
I ran past the University Club Tower. Just so you know, it is the eighth tallest building in Tulsa. You never know when a little tidbit of knowledge like will come in handy.
I got up to the far north end of the River Trails and went over to check out “Where East Meets West” a sculpture in honor of Cyrus Avery, the father of route 66. I approached it cautiously because at night I didn’t want to be accosted by homeless people looking for a handout. I got close and I was about to take this photo I saw this guy walking quickly over in my direction with a big smile on his face. I knew what was going to be next. A pitch about some plight he was in and an invitation to help. I’ve been through it a million times and no thanks, I don’t want to go through it again especially in an isolated area in the dark. So I snapped the pic and went back across the street and continued my run.
It was my first run in two weeks and parts of the trail were blocked off for construction so I called it quits after three miles.
So, the question of the day is: Have you ever experienced the miracle cure?
We had a chili cookoff at the gas company yesterday. It was a fund raiser and a lot of fun. There were six different team and each team had from four to six crockpots of chili plus the fixin’s and some of them had extra stuff like tamales and such.
Heather made up a batch of one of her beef chili’s and I entered that. I thought hers was the best. I told a bunch of people there that they were in strong contention for the number two spot.
Here is what happens when you turn engineers loose on chili making. They may not have had the best chili but they had the best signage and were the only teams that had the correct personal protective gear.
I love the signs.
You know how you tell somebody is from New Mexico? If you say “green chili” and their heart rate doesn’t bump up then they are not from New Mexico. This chili was another contender for the number two spot.
I don’t really know who won but I had never eaten so much chili in my life. I love chili cookoffs.
After work I burned off some calories with a night run on Turkey Mountain with a group of people. I’m getting more used to running with a headlamp. You sure have to keep your head down and focus on where your feet are going. I only stumbled once but I didn’t fall. Sometimes stumbling is worse than falling.
We did four miles in the dark. It was a fast group but they would stop every now and then and let the slow guys and gals catch up. We did about four miles. I’m loving night running. I’m thinking about planting a night geocache on Turkey Mountain. More to come on that later?