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Back when I used to run a lot the Jingle Bell Run was a must do. They had the best tshirts!! Big thick shirts with bold graphics. I think the fastest 5K I ever ran was during Jingle Bell Run. I think the temperature was 9 degrees F. I was motivated!!
Years ago, they used to have the run adjacent to a large inside space so you could stay inside where it was warm and when you finished you could go inside and warm up.
None of that nowadays! The race started in a big open field with a cold wind bearing down direct from the north pole.
Don’t feel sorry for me though. I volunteered to run the race and brought my heated vest that Heather got me for Christmas last year.
It worked great. Not only does it warm the body but it also warms your neck and has heated pockets!! So I was warm.
In fact as the race went on, I turned the heating elements on my vest off.
The race went up and down the Arkansas River using the River Parks trail system. I am up for a fast walk up and down the riverparks. I always see something new there.
I finished out of the money but I got a very nice participation medal. I don’t know exactly how I finished in relation to others in my age group for some reason they don’t have a link to the timing company on their web page. I’ve sent an email asking about it.
And the tee shirt. Still a very nice, thick tee shirt.
So I walked the whole way. Nowdays my fast walking pace is only a bit slower than my trotting pace so I just took it easy. Enjoyed myself immensely. I’ll be back next year.
My running and racing life has been off and on the past four years after getting injured on a spill on a race in Turkey Mountain and the long rehab from that and then several others injuries and then getting told that as far as my knee cartilage is concerned, “Your tread is very thin.” So I just quit running and I would still enter races but just walk them.
So I have been experimenting with running old fat guy style. Running the downhills and walking uphill or just running for a short ways and walking and then running when I felt like it. And last week at the Tulsa Run 5K I did it and it worked. I thought I had a decent run so it’s like wow. This is great.
This week I signed up for two runs. On Saturday I did the GLA 5K. A first time run put on by a charter school in north Tulsa, the Greenwood Leadership Academy. It was a very nice, well organized run with lots of volunteers. I’m trying to diversify my running to get routes I haven’t run before and their location in the Gilcrease Hills was perfect. We started running right up a long hill. So I stuck to my walking up and trotting down and it worked fine.
It was an out and back course with a beer stop turnaround at a church.
We also passed a couple oil wells. Welcome to running in Oklahoma.
The GLA 5K was a great run, great course, volunteers, organization, and runner support. What more can you ask for?
My second race was Sunday morning. The Turkey n Taters 10K, a trail race on Turkey Mountain that also includes 25K and 50K distances. I have run the 10K a bunch of times, the 25K two years ago, and have volunteered a couple times cooking hamburgers and hot dogs (nobody but vegetarians mess with the cook at these events, and I tell them to just chew on some grass, (actually some of the elite athletes are vegetarians and yes we do have things I cooked for them beside grass).
I walked the whole length of this race. Yes, I have had success running the the previous day but going twice the distance over some very rough and technical terrain meant that I wanted to be conservative.
I just hung out at the start until everybody else left and then I started walking. I passed these two ladies who said they like doing the race but never enter because they entrance fees are a rip off. I said okay, but I wanted to ask ” You do know this is a fund raiser for the West Side YMCA, right?” And by the way , the fees are very reasonable.
It was cold, about 37F and I had three layers on which is probably one layer too many but I like being warm so after a half mile I shed my down coat and wrapped it around my waist and was comfortable the rest of the way.
After that it was a matter of just walking the course. At some point I got off the course, I didn’t see any pink ribbons and started having that feeling. And then I ran into some going straight ahead and to the east, so I was like oh no. Officially I should have back tracked until I figured where I went off but I was not sure that I went off and I picked a direction and kept going and met people coming the other way but I wasn’t too worried because the 50K runners run the 25K course backwards when they finish the first 25K but then I had a guy ask me if he was going the right direction to the race start and I was like, uh you hadn’t started the loop back and he said no. And then I met a woman who I had been following and I was like oops, so I back tracked to where I made the wrong decision. So I didn’t run the official route, but I didn’t win any awards so I didn’t have any ethical considerations about since I ran the same distance. And you know, its a trail run.
So I finished the race, got my medal, a burger, a beer, a second burger and headed home.
A very nice weekend of racing. I had never thought I would be there again. After I quit running, it over a year and a half before my knees quit hurting and I am liking that. I have done lots of yoga, lots of water exercises, lots of bicycling, and elliptical machines and only longer distance walking once a week or so. So I won’t be able to run longer distances but I can walk a very long ways and I can do the occasional 5K or so and walk the 10K’s
Win, win, win in my book. Especially at 64 years of age. Staying in the game is my strategy.
The beautiful train station at Bristow, now a museum.
This past weekend I decided to go run a race that I have wanted to be in ever since I started running eons ago but have never done. It is the Bristow Wildflower Run. I had heard that it was a nice race and so I decided to check it out even though I was not running it, I was going to walk it.
I love what I call “Working Man’s Trucks.”
I had never been to Bristow before and I was surprised. It is a really nice little town.
I loved the store fronts. Bristow’s downtown seems to be thriving.
The race is part of the Bristow Tabuleh Fest. I didn’t know it until I moved to Tulsa years ago and I still don’t quite understand it but there is a big thread of Lebanese culture all through northeast Oklahoma. There are several good Lebanese restaurants in Tulsa. Anyway the race started and ended downtown in among all the booths and activities for the Tabuleh Fest.
Bristow’s city park is spectacular.
The fun sounded and off we went. Or rather off they went as I was back walking with the grandmothers until they left me in their dust. The race route goes through some nice neighborhoods and on to a huge park with a lake with the banks covered with wildflowers. Thus the name of the race.
We looped back to downtown and finished the race, well behind the grandmothers I should add. I didn’t win anything, but I had a good time and will be back.
The race hit all the check marks.
Nice T shirt, check, and lots of tshirts for everybody, double check.
Reasonable price – only $23 check
Community participation – there were lots of people cheering us on. Even me, eating the grandmother’s dust, – triple check
Refreshments – yep, lots of water, bananas, orange quarters, check, check, check. Plus there was a huge number of food vendors at the festival.
Venue – check – Bristow is a beautiful town, and downtown Bristow has a lot of preserved historical features including a spectacular train station.
Timing – Tatur.org, nobody better, check
So the race is a keeper for me.
Do you know of any other small town races I should enter?
I went to a road race Saturday morning. It was cold and I hate being cold so I dressed warm. Note the oilfield Carhartt coat and the fire resistant pants. Don’t laugh at me. I was warm!!
There is a new race in the Tulsa area, the Keystone Ancient Forest 5K/10K at a nature preserve with that name about 15 minutes west of Downtown. The preserve is pretty cool because it has trees that although small and scrawny are several hundred years old. You can read more about it on its Nature Conservancy site. It is a special place and due to manpower and budget restrictions it is only open a couple times a month or so. The proceeds from the race all went back to the preserve.
This is the first year they have held a race and even though the scheduled start of the race before dark they had over 140 people signed up (at least I think that is what was said during the pre-race briefing.)
The scheduled start was 7 am but it was dark so they delayed it about 15 minutes plus it gave some stragglers time to get their packet pin their numbers on. So they started the race and everybody ran away from me. Don’t feel sorry for me, I was able to walk through the woods all by myself in the early morning. Even though it was 18F. The course started out with a half mile or of asphalt then, gravel, then dirt.
The course went downhill and then uphill via series switchbacks. A nice easy, wide, rock and root free trail. I liked it anyway (just kidding) the trail is in great shape.
At the far end of the loop, we had some nice views of Keystone Lake.
Much of the return loop was on a fire trail turned into a trail recently.
Found me a natural gas pipeline running through the area. It looks like it has been there a while.
I loved the pattern in the sky after a while.
They had a water stop that we hit both going and coming. I grabbed a bottle and it was nice. The water was partially frozen!! Kind of a surprise at first. Also, in keeping with the ethic of the preserve there were not discarded water bottles. I think everybody did like I did. Drink the water,and hold the bottle until I went back by and through the bottle and cap into the trash can.
And the final stretch commingled with the 10k runners to the finish. I think I came in dead last which was my goal. I don’t think anybody enjoyed the event more than I did.
I was pretty pleased with my knee. For a long time it hurt to up or down the slightest inclines and I couldn’t walk very far without things hurting. I had no problems so I am going to continue the twice a week leg workouts, and continue with the stationary bike and elliptical machine and walk at noon. I don’t feel ready to run yet but I think I might start running a little bit in March. I’m just taking it slow.
Kudos to those who organized and worked the race. Everything was perfect. They even had Starbucks Coffee for us at the finish and Panera pastries, and a big roaring fire!! The course was well marked, they had a fire rescue crew out on an ATV checking on everybody, and a decent tee shirt. And of course thank you to the Race Director and all the volunteers that got out there at dark thirty to get everything ready for the runners, and thanks to TATUR Racing who timedthe event and my fellow racers.
The race is for a great cause. I’ll be back next year. Maybe I will be able to run it?
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.
Saturday I ventured to Tulsa’s beautiful Mohawk Park to run in the Tulsa Zoo Run 10K. They also had a fun run and a 5K going on. I am increasing my mileage right now getting ready for the Tulsa Run 15K at the end of the month and I have my sights set on the Route 66 Half Marathon coming up in November.
The Zoo run benefits the Tulsa Zoo and has a bunch of sponsors.
It was kind of rainy and cloudy Saturday morning and the sun broke through just before the race started so we didn’t have to start in the rain. Mohawk is nice because it there are no hills so it easy to run hard.
We took off, I started as always toward the back and it took me about 30 seconds or so to get to the start line. The race kind of kicked my butt a little bit. I ran the whole way and I was under a lot of stress. The Kilometers seemed all kinds of spread out but I got into a rhythm after a while. Don’t get me wrong, I was ready for the race to end when it did.!!
This is a good race. The course was well marked and there was enough room for everybody. The first two loops just had one water stop and they had run out of water by the time I came around the second loop but they had two or three more water stops on the last couple miles to the finish line, so no complaint there.
At the finish they had medals. I don’t give a flip about medals but lots of people expect them, and they had them. They had lots of water and they had a plethora of food options from many of the sponsors. So that was good. No beer, but they had good coffee, which is a good tradeoff. They had lots and lots of stuff for the kids like facepainting and games. And of course you finish in the zoo so you get that for free!! I don’t know about you but I love zoos and Tulsa’s is great.
Plus the tshirts are nice and they had plenty of them. The only thing was the race timing. They published no results at the venue. They just said to check online. Well it has been over 24 hours and all I know is what my time was (and I knew that when I pushed the button on my watch when I finished.) No age group information or anything else. So I don’t know if that is due to what the Zoo wanted or the limitations of the timing company but this is totally unacceptable. This is the first race I have ever been to where they didn’t at least print out the results and tape them up. Sorry if I am stepping on toes, but that is the way I see it. So with no race results, there was no awards ceremony so I didn’t find out who the old guys were that buzzed past me nor the young kids who lapped me during the loops. Not having an awards ceremony is a gap.
So, race experience, course, preparation, water, food, tshirt, and fun? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check!! Timing, half a check. It is a great race, and I’ll be back. Hopefully they will square way the timing issues. If not, I’ll still be back!
A race like this doesn’t get done without a lot of work by a lot of people. Thank you to the Zoo and their staff, the many sponsors, the army of volunteers who helped with parking, the water stops, all the food, and managing the course, the Tulsa Police Department, and anybody else associated with the race, including my fellow participants who made it fun.
Friday night, on a whim, I decided to run the Corndog Challenge 5K at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. How could I resist, you HAD to drink a mimosa, eat an apple dumpling, and a chicken and waffle during the race. I mean it was MANDATORY!!! How could I resist? For those that could resist that had the Corndog Classic 5K run at the same time on the same course, and at the same cost.
So I ventured out to the Fairgrounds early to pick up my packet and all that.
I noticed that TATUR Racing was timing the race. Now there are lots of good timing outfits out there, but TATUR is the best as far as I am concerned. Brian Hoover and his crew always do a great job and go above and beyond in order to make sure that the races are great. They not only time races they produce events also.
Waiting for the race to start I checked out the Golden Driller. Tulsa has the Driller and the gigantic praying hands (some say healing hands) at Oral Roberts University. Maybe somebody should have a Praying Hands 5K? The ORU campus is big enough and hilly enough that there could be an interesting course.
I looked at the bounce houses they had set up and wondered what the heck. Boys on left, girls on right? Any boy went to the prince house is smart. That is where all the girls are going to be. You have to think outside the box is my motto.
And of course being a corndog race they had a corndog stand. I love the visuals of fair food but don’t like the food. Except of course corndogs. I have one per year. This year I am having two, one at this race, and one at the fair.
So anyways they got everybody together at the start line and gave the instructions and we sang the national anthem. Nobody took a knee, and then the gun sounded and off we went.
As advertised we looped around the fairgrounds and at some point we had the apple dumpling served to us, and then the mimosa’s (above photo) and finally the mini version of chicken and waffle. I could handle all of it but it was kind of hot and humid and I was huffing and puffing and I had to work at getting the chicken and waffle down, but I did it. It was toward the end and the course along with the heat and humidity had pretty much kicked my butt.
And I finished, vertically, with dignity. I finished fourth out of six in my age group.
I gulped down some water, and then drank more water, and then drank the complimentary adult malted beverage, and then ate a corn dog. It was kind of rich so I only ate about two thirds of it.
I was kind of doubtful that they could put a 5K race at the fairgrounds but what do I know!! They did it, and it was fun and challenging.
And a nice t shirt. It wasn’t this wrinkled when they gave it to me. I forgot to take a picture of it yesterday so today I dug it out of the laundry and took a photo of it. Full disclosure is my middle name!! Me and Donald Trump Junior are alike that way.
So I give the race 5 stars out of five. Great course, great timing, fun, entertainment, well organized, lots of volunteers, food, beverages, and a shirt. Check, check, check, check, check, check, and check. I think everybody had a great time. Plus did I tell you that we all got a free ticket to the State Fair that is happening later this month. Yep, we did.
Thank you to the organizers who put on the race, the volunteers who worked like dogs behind the scenes to make sure everything was perfect, and the army of volunteers who showed up the day of the race to hand out the food and drink, and water on the course and cheer everybody on, and kudos to the runners who showed up. The proceeds from the race are going to the Tulsa Area United Way and Food for Kids. Also, thank you to the sponsors of the race. A lot of work by a lot of people go into these races and I appreciate them all.
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.
And off we went, see all those people ahead of me? They all pretty much stayed ahead of me.
See all the folks behind me? I think almost all of them finished ahead of me. Strange how that works.
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.
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.
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.
This is my knee from two years ago. Lots better today. And I still have those socks!!
I am not sure how many people ran but it is a pretty big race. Despite the early morning rains there were lots of people there.
The Hurts Donuts Emergency Truck was there. I didn’t see them handing out free samples and you know I watch the food closely. Just before the race start while we were bunched up it started raining. Not too bad, just enough to make it interesting and thoughts of plugging and abandoning and going home briefly fluttered through my mind but they went away. So off we went winding through the northern part of downtown and into the Brady District and back.
This was on the back downtown. I am guessing about 1.7 miles into the race.
And then across the tracks and the long half mile home stretch to the finish line.
Everybody had a great time. Kudos to Fleet Feet, the Race Director, the army of volunteers who showed up a dark thirty to get everything set up, the Tulsa Police Department who kept control of the course, and the sponsors who provided the food and drink. Everything went together well and it was a great experience. There is a huge amount of work that goes into making sure that a race goes smoothly and I appreciate it.
The race course was straight with right angle turns and a long climb up to Cains Ballroom. It was challenging and fun. The food and drink were great. The shirt and medal were much appreciated. They had a live band, lots of port potty’s and room to move around. I’ll be back at this race if I am in town next year.
Later today we are going to grill some chicken at home and then make our way to Veteran’s Park for some fireworks!! How about you?