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.
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.
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.
Last Sunday afternoon I spent six hours helping out with a local Triathlon, the Ironman Tulsa. The racers swam over two miles in open water on a lake, over a hundred miles on a bicycle, and then finished up with a 26 mile run. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
The organizers had a bunch of aid stations all along the length of the course. I was at an aid station on the marathon run segment. The racers ran two loops on the Tulsa Riverparks Trail System so I saw everybody potentially four times.
I handed out gatorade. Gatorade is not too popular with athletes. It’s just colored sugar water. So I didn’t have a whole lot of takers. Water was the most popular drink. Pepsi for some reason was popular. Cups of ice were very popular.
The most asked about beverage was chicken broth. It was brewed up in the late afternoon and the back of pack runners were going for it.
So it was interesting. You see a lot of very tired people. The people at the front of the race were pretty bouncy for just getting off a hundred mile bicycle ride.
Here is the lead man of the race.
And the lead woman. Both these are just cruising along like they are jogging around the block.
We had a major sports event here in Tulsa Sunday. The North American Ironman race. A triathlon race covering over 2 miles of open water swimming in a lake starting a dark thirty in the morning, a 112 mile bike ride through the Osage Hills and finishing with a marathon distance run up and down Tulsa’s RiverParks trails. And no I didn’t participate in the race. I helped out an aid station on Sunday afternoon on the marathon course.
It seemed like most of the racers were from out of state. I was told it cost about $900 to enter the race. It’s like what!!!! Oh well. The organizers really had their act together on this. They can bring a lot of resources to bear. From my point of view as a volunteer they made it very easy to sign up and they broke the tasks down so even I could understand it.
I was in charge of Gatorade. I didn’t have a lot of takers. For one thing they had lots of aid stations so it wasn’t like they were famished when they got to us. I think another thing is that runners would rather have salty type foods or even pickle juice than Gatorade. Back in the day when I was running longer distances Gatorade didn’t sit too well with me. But hey, anybody that wanted some, I was ready! We never really got swarmed during the race. By the time the racers got to the running event, they were pretty well spaced out.
I was amazed by the racers. You have to be very dedicated to do this. You can’t really fake it to make it on a triathlon. The early front runners were running like there was no stress. When I left Sunday night at 7:30 there were still lots of runners just starting their second loop. I was thinking oh wow, are they going to make it another 13 miles or so. Out of all the people I saw I observed only a handful that were what some might call overweight. I saw a lot of people my age or older, probably the majority of them were women who looked very fit.
I was getting kind of hungry and the race organizers got pizza for the volunteers. Sign me up!!
I think the Ironman is coming back to Tulsa for two more years. I’ll be there, volunteering.
I’ve been scanning old photos. I’ve been running a long time and found a couple pics from the 1990’s.
Here I am at the Madison Marathon in Wisconsin in 1997 I think. It was my second marathon. The first was the year before in Oklahoma City, the Jim Thorpe Marathon. Me and about 45 other people ran three times around Lake Overholser. No water stops, no traffic control, no nothing. I finished in five hours and two minutes, or so my faulty memory tells me. A year later in Madison I finished in Five hours and one minute. So I should have kept on going!! But I decided not to run any more marathons.
Some things haven’t changed over the years. A thermal blanket and a bottle of water. And I still run with perfect posture.
Here is a more recent photo. I’d kill to have a photograph of me running where it looks like I am running. I kind of look like a guy in a hurry to get to a donut shop. I love running but I have never been all that good at it.
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 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?
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?
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.
I am such a lazy skywatcher. Every work day this time of year at about 5:15 I get from my cubicle with my iphone and walk down to the west end of the building and check out the sunset. Sometimes if it is too cloudy or no clouds there is not much to see. I shoot through the glass and I have found a spot behind a pillar next to the window where I shoot through the glass at an angle, and that cuts the back reflection back tremendously. It is still there but you have to look hard to find it.
This is a bull from the ranch in western Oklahoma. The photo was taken by my wife’s cousin’s wife who sent it to me and I edited it a little bit. I love the scenery and people of Western Oklahoma. You can tell this bull has a little attitude. Life as a bull is a balance. You need to get the job done with the heifers and a little attitude is tolerated. Too much and off you go, never to be seen again except maybe at your local butcher shop.
A little closer to home is a family walk on Turkey Mountain the day after Thanksgiving. We had a nice Thanksgiving and we all (including my brother not pictured) went a little walk. I am pretty gimpy right now and I got real gimpy during the walk. I bit off a little more than I should have with my running. In the course of a month I ran three fairly long distance races, a 15K road race, a 25K trail race, and a half marathon on the road. So my knee is kind of sore. So I am working to strengthen my quads, and loosen my hamstrings, and try to maintain some sort of fitness with non running exercises all while loading up on ibuprofen, and icing my knee when I can. So far my it is getting better. I don’t think I will be running until January.
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!!