Thursday, September 16, 2010

When: Saturday, September 18, 2010 5:45 AM-9:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)

Coast Is Clear
There have been numerous rumors floating about as to why we have been so obviously avoiding Veteran’s Park during the last few weeks for our Saturday Runners World Training Runs. Topping the list was to avoid Brian and his way-too-personal-for-our-own-good relationship with his megaphone. Other “reasonable” justifications included throwing a neighborly shout out to Tulsa’s western burb – Jenks, trying to help out the fairgrounds facilities maintenance with a few fresh oil drippings to suppress the parking lot dust, helping the somewhat dedicated runners and runnerettes by throwing out some fresh scenery (albeit running in pitch darkness tends to somewhat temper the potential aesthetics of a new neighborhood), and helping us all develop our urban survival skills through interactive map-reading sessions.
And oh yes, there were side benefits as well, such as providing our gracious outpost station host Sandra, Empress of the fortress commonly known as the “Louisville Watering Hole and Comfort Station”, with the necessary motivation to get that pesky door lock fixed. We learned that although Braden Park occupies slightly more than a city block of space, that it was the centerpiece of a 2 mile loop so as to incorporate hill training in a seemingly terra flata neighborhood. We learned that the students attending the TU campus have either innate navigational skills and/or are destined by necessity to graduate school, as we RW cadets found the campus a temptress in disguise. More like the Bates motel, the campus welcomed us in, but wasn’t about to release its prey until it was thoroughly confused and had surrendered its directional skills. The net result was a perfectly tamed group who would follow without challenge anyone who would offer greater than a 50% chance of busting out of the mysterious campus force field.
But alas, the single true reason, as I choose to imagine it, is that we needed to let the heat settle a bit around Veteran’s Park – and not the ambient kind. You see, there was the matter of some civil unrest, some breaking of rules, and some wanton disregard for society at large by a 300’ish number strong gang of fashion challenged hooligans. Their colors, as reported by anonymous reports, was the wearing of similar types of rubber soled low heeled ankle bearing footwear. Socks, if worn at all, were mostly of the low cut variety. Another peculiar trait common to this gang was a propensity to stand around some pagan temple structures and to drink – and by that I mean drink a lot, while “posing” in various body twists and strain rituals. The crime, allegedly, consisted of all forms of Jaywalking, with total disregard for crossing signals. To compound matters, it was reported that this group exhibited great disdain for sidewalks, as they were found to be rather pedestrian in nature, and rather willfully chose to “pound pavement” like they owned the streets, just daring cars and trucks alike to challenge their right to space.
So, as police strike force and gang warfare units carefully deployed their Veteran’s Park stakeout strategy, not so cleverly dubbed as “The Runaround” for the last few weeks, the alleged suspects were off to explore and worship pavements marked by new pockets of pot-holeyness. But in a masterful and carefully orchestrated game of cat and mouse, this Saturday we will double back and flank the coppers by starting once again from Veteran’s Park, with the super top secret double pinky swear time of 5:45 AM’ish. And away we will steal away to the badlands safe haven known as Turkey Mountain, up one side and down the other. Then, for good measure, we’ll leave some clueless scents through Woodward Park and circle around Swan Lake before heading back to rendezvous central, but not before throwing in a couple more undisclosed miles for exacting garminophobic measures. 18 miles, hills and dales, secret hideouts and G Holes (aka Gatorade/Water Stations), initiated under the cloak of darkness. Allegedly.
If all goes according to plan, we will once again have escaped the sweaty arm of the law, and no one should be more confused than us. With our dastardly and arguably incoherent Return to Veteran's Park strategy in place, we are reminded of the oft used phrase uttered during the great gulf oil cleanup of 2010, presuming you stood far enough inland, say Tennessee’ish: The Coast is Clear.


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