Friday, March 25, 2011

Lake McMurtry Preview

This Saturday marks the 13th running of the Lake McMurtry Trail Run. This is the race that started it all for me. In 2003 I signed up and ventured over to Stillwater to run a 25K, which at that time was my longest race to date. I remember seeing a handful of 50Kers head off, and I was dumbfounded at how it was even possible for one to run 31 miles. These guys (and gals) amazed me!!
I lined up and raced the 25K, finishing in the middle of the pack, and was disgusted with my slow time (2:33), but now I can't even DREAM of being that fast. Nor do I want to be! It hurts too bad!
The next year, I ran the 50K, and finished in 7:05, I think. I have never missed this race since, and have progressively gotten slower.
In 2006, a contingent of trail runners from Tulsa invaded Stillwater. At that time, TATUR was merely an idea tossed around by Brian Hoover and Dan Threlkeld, and a good idea it was. Many of these Tulsa Area Trail/Ultra Runners have since became closer than family.

I DNFd at McMurtry that year. It was a year that the temps were in the 90s for those still running in the afternoon. I had prided myself in having never getting lost, and that streak came to an end. I dropped at the half was point, but I had ran about 4 extra miles due to my own stupidity. But, I had dibs on the burgers, Chuck's jambalaya, and a few cold beers. Life was very good!

I met Mike Snyder, a guy from Tulsa who ran with the RunnersWorld gang. (Believe it or not, I was not a RunnersWorld runner at that time.) Mike seemed like a friendly guy, and he thought it might be fun to go out to the Leap O' Doom to take a few pictures. I was not a camera person at that time, but I did have a disposable camera and grabbed it....and a bottle of ketchup. Mike later wrote a report of our adventure that I call The Legend of the Leap O' Doom! (Please click on this link to read Mike's account!) Mike and Diana became some of our best friends, and despite their moving away, we still think of them as family.

Mike's artwork was last years shirt....with a few changes. Mike's creative touch with the scriggly lines and the determined look on Mr. Stickman would mot show up on a tech shirt, so it was revised. I liked the finished shirt design, but I may make another stab at the original artwork on the 2012 shirt.

This year's shirt is a more sedated design. (I was sedated when I came up with it :-P) It's a gray tech shirt, and I like it a lot!! You'll get tired of seeing me wear it over and over.
This year, we'll also have some honkin big medals for all finishers. Don't miss out, as there are only 250 medals and shirts. Sign up quick!!

Lake McMurtry is a beautiful course. fibbing here--there are very few rocks, no bad hills, and miles and miles of scenic single track. This course is far easier than Turkey and Taturs. It's a little harder than the Snake Run. Lake McMurtry is a trail runner's paradise.Bright blue skies, crunchy leaves, wind rustling through the boughs of budding trees, while the waves lap at the lake shores.Not all is single track....there are a few short sections on primitive dirt roads. But the view is more often than not, breath-taking.I'll be over there this Saturday marking the course. I would love to make it idiot-proof. I believe there might be a year when no one gets off course. We'll mark all the intersections so if you're paying attention, you'll be just fine.There's a few short little uphills here and there. A few downhills too!

And of course, the....
It is not too late to sign up for this race. We will probably run out of shirts, so sign up soon! Wanna just come hang out? We could sure use a few volunteers at the aid stations and start/finish area. You will have the gratitude of TZ, which is a very good thing! :-) Or, do both! Run the 12K, and then grab a cup of jambalaya or a some awesome BBQ, and give the crazy 25 and 50Kers a cup of Gatorade and some some psychiatric advice!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Turn It Up

When: Saturday, March 26, 2011 6:45 AM-10:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)


Turn It Up

We all are familiar with the adage of “one good turn deserves another”, and there seems to be an intuitive logic and natural order to such non-cluttered guidance. What’s a little more challenging is figuring out what steps to make when preceded by a series of “bad turns” – like those experienced during last Saturday’s training run.
Even more difficult is the task of determining when enough directional guidance assistance is enough – already.
It wasn’t from a lack of preparation, and certainly not from a lack of applied technology that led to our undermining. We had printed instructions, Technicolor-highlighted route maps, global position system tracking devices, electronic turn-by-turn guidance alerts, local area knowledge, and were even accompanied by several runners who professed route familiarity. But yet, not surprisingly to those who have trod with us before, we managed to get off course – and not just once. Not technically “lost”, but yet admittedly conflicted on how to get back to where we were expected to be.
What we weren’t lacking were multiple conflicting opinions of which direction to go, including suggestions of retrace our steps in hopes of finding the elusive, and surely heavily camouflaged, “correct turn”. The upside is that our wanderings presented us with the opportunity to have multiple intermingling with less directionally challenged RW groups (translation: Groups with run leaders who place a trace amount of emphasis on harmony, and also observe the “try to bring everyone back that you started with” objective – or was that more of a suggestion?). The friendly salutations of “Where have you guys been?” are such a welcome sound – the third time as welcome as the first. One might reasonably wonder whether anything short of double barricaded streets, guide dogs, or certified mapologists would keep us on the straight and narrow.

Taking the higher trail, with time to develop proper excuses, we Dom-N-8RZ proudly justify our apparent directionally challenged attributes as being a ruse. Yeah, that’s it. We wanted to gauge the group's problem solving and conflict resolution skills. This also presented us with the opportunity to assess whether we would come together when presented with a little controversy, simulating upsets that can occur during a marathon, where the unexpected can always and usually does happen. Or, we are uberly concerned about ensuring that the 'Noes & 'Nettes aren’t cheated out of their fair share of training miles, so we cleverly incorporate feigned extra detours to pad the Garmin-o-meters. And finally, there’s something that could likely be said about presenting the opportunity for additional cultural experiences by going where no runners should ever go alone. Master Plan.

Sensing that there still might be a skeptic or twenty among us, we are dedicating this week’s training run to staying on the designed course. Further, knowing that just about anyone can follow an explicit scripting of mazerly left and right turns orchestrated in random order, we have bravely accepted the challenge of staying on a course that is primarily void of turns, and one that is an out and back. We realize that human nature is to constantly be in search for life’s next turn, to explore unchartered territories, and to defend to the end that we aren’t lost.
So it will be especially challenging to follow a straight line. Seeing the same course, in reverse fashion, on the return trip will probably cause a lot of freaky anxiety moments. This would be a good time to repeat our oft practiced Dom-N-8RZ reassuring mantra of “Believe in your Run Leader – Believe in your Run Leader – Believe in your Run Leader”. See, I feel better already, sort of, if I don’t think about it. (Privately, I just don’t think we can stand losing another 3 or 4 runners without the RW brain trust starting to ask a few snoopish questions.)

Sensing our collective calmed nerves and anticipation for our next outing, let’s book it for 6:45 AM’ish on Saturday at Veteran’s Park. We have goal distances of 10 (Int) and 20 (Adv) miles. This will be a destination run, with the opportunity to look back with the benefit of a vertically assisted vantage to “see from whence we came”, and to experience a little elevated air. For those sporting tunes, Turn It Up may just come in handy.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

A race report from a friend

A good friend, Alan aka Yogi ran the 3-Hour Snake Run, and wrote a very good race report. Alan has been dabbling in trail running and racing, having run the T&T 10K the past couple of years, and the Post Oak 10K as well. He wrote a good and complimentary race report on his blog. It's funny, insightful, and definately worth a read. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Enjoy. (click here)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How Did We Get Here?

When: Saturday, March 19, 2011 6:45 AM-10:30 AM (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)

Note: The GMT offset above does not reflect daylight saving time adjustments.


How Did We Get Here?

And more importantly, how do we get back – before it’s too late? Well, sorry to break it to you, but we are where we are and there’s no turning back. Best to go ahead and run into the light, ignoring the whistle and the rumply ground. Yep, it pretty much happens to all of us. You wake up one day and suddenly find that you’re another day older, with responsibilities, with way too much to ever get done, and really not much way of telling if you’re gaining ground or possibly just not falling behind as much as you once were.

So we run – a lot – sometimes too much, and sometimes not enough, but rarely just the right amount. Some parts are tired, some are sore, and others need more work – it’s a constant balance, knowing that if you ever give in to the Siren’s Call to rest, that you quickly slide all the way back to the bottom, with added poundage to help anchor you to your restful pose.

And so we also obediently set the clocks forward, and we set them back again when further instructed. We wait for our weekly secret missions, with apparently random originations and deviant and elusive direction challenging obstacle routes. We not only guess whether the water will be cold or hot, but whether it will even be turned on. Bathrooms open, sealed shut, or get creative, but still not a deterrent. Temperatures down, wind up, and moisture in every form and size, but none of which can overcome. We make feeble mutterings about “bonus miles”, but do them anyway. We endure random acts of being be-necklaced, and we pound out every dangling mile. The mileage targets go up so quickly, forever withholding that satisfactory feeling of “we made it, we can do this” before inching up again. But we stay at it, simultaneously blocking out and taking in the sometimes incoherent Runners Banter, discussing the world’s problems and solving none of them, all to help the time pass and the miles build. Jokes and jabs, serious and silly, they all converge together when blended with plugged in tunes and intermittent hearings and even less frequent comprehension. Casually run into one another in our otherwise “normal world”, and we would often be stammering to have a conversation. But back on terra traila, we look after one another and pick up the conversation from last week, or last month, or whenever, almost like time stopped between outings while waiting patiently for our return.

We barely know one anther/anotherette, but we darn sure notice when a runner goes AWOL. When one of our own stumbles and falls, we share the pain and even feel somewhat responsible for choosing a path that was so vertically challenging. Knowing that others are out there making the effort helps all of us get out there to make the effort, running for ourselves yes, but also running to help others around us.

Which brings us to this week’s run, where the Intermediates (20 miles) get to strut their stuff to the Advanced (12 miles) for a change. Yes, it’s a big number, but we just gotta’ do it, and we know we can, ‘cause we’ve worked for this day, and we’re gonna’ do it – together. So remember to bring your fave long distance kicks, lace ‘em up just so, and join the rest of the Dom-N-8RZ trail mongers down at Veteran’s Park at 6:45 AM’ish on Saturday morning. If we’re lucky, we may get there just around day break. We get to go exploring new paths this week, and just might see some really, really old stuff.

Which will hopefully leave us wondering “How do we get there again – quickly?”


Monday, March 14, 2011

Come Run The Snake!!!

One of our favorite races is almost upon us!! Each year in March, TATUR has an event that is unique to these parts. Most races are a specified distance--a 5K, a 15K, a half or full marathon. But this race is different. In this race, your know in advance what your finishing time will be. The question is--how far can you go? TATUR's Six Hour/Three Hour Snake Run is in it's 4th year, starting out as little more than a club outing, it had grown to where we'll OWN the west side of Turkey Mountain this Saturday.

This race is similar to other fixed distance venues--you'll have race numbers, the event is timed, and there are trophies and finishers awards. But the competition in this race is yourself. Can you run for three hours or six hours, and just how far can you go? The Snake Trail is named not for the population of slithery reptiles, but for the winding route of the trail. But special recognition will be given for any snake sightings. The course record for the six hour event is 42 miles for the men, and 34 miles for the women. The record for the three hour event is 21.5 miles for the men, and 16 miles for the women. Last year was the first running of the three hour event, and that race was blasted by a cold front and a blanket of wet snow. With warm, dry conditions this year, those records may fall. Male and female 1st through 3rd places in both the three and six hour races will take home one of these bad boys. Wouldn't one of these snakes look awesome on your trophy shelf? All finishers will receive a snake medal. The one catch: the finish of this race is not at the end of a specified distance. The finish is when the gun signals the end of the three or six hours. While theoretically, you could run and take an extended break, you had better finish the race on the move to earn your prize. And as always, TATUR does not disappoint with the race shirts. We have 250 of these, so sign up early to ensure yourself one.

And stay around after you are through. There'll be food, various means of hydration, friends, and fun. The fun starts at 9:00 am Saturday morning at the top of Lipbuster (Elwood north of 71st Street where it turns west into 61st Street), but be there early. Parking is difficult, and you don't want to have to sprint up the big hill to get to the starting line.

And look at it this way. You know you need to get your long run over the weekend anyway. Why not come out, run with friends, get a cool shirt and finishers medal, and eat to your heart's content after the run? To good to be true? Not at all!! Click on the above link, or you can sign up at RunnersWorld at 43rd and Peoria. See you there!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chaos Runs Rampant

When: Saturday, March 12, 2011 6:45 AM-11:00 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)


Chaos Runs Rampant

Congratulations Dom-N-8RZ on last week’s Bead Adorned over achiever 18 Mile (actually closer to 19 miles) Training Run.
As promised, the Creek Turnpike Trail was relatively flat, when favorably compared against the terrain of a Colorado ski resort, and more importantly, if you adhered to the sage cautionary advice to not look up or down during the run. Besides, those Garmin elevations have been prone to exaggeration. The lightly renowned non practicing nor sanctioned accounting firm of Irish Ken Richardson and Minions, VLLC (“very limited liability corporation”) were able to proclaim with feigned confidence that a majority of our aspiring marathon group was able to return to the starting point, give or take a few (Note to Self: Consider roll count at the start of the next run; try reasonably hard to remember that number; repeat roll call at the end of the run; and develop some mathematical algorithm designed to get “grenade close” on the over/under count, with an optimistic goal of minimizing casualtems/casualtettes.)

So, if you think our high mileage feet was accomplished by accident, you would be sadly mistaken. Chalking it up to a carefully designed and diligently executed mileage escalating training schedule might seem plausible, but I can assure you would not hold a bucket of congealed anti-chafe cream under mild courtroom cross examination. The undeterred spirit of the human mind and the ability to rise to previously unimaginable goals? – hardly. The competitive nature that kicks in gear when confronted with physical challenges that pit one against our peers/peerettes? – uh, that would also be wrong. The self preservation mode that drives one to complete the task so as to return home to those loved ones that you abandoned in the wee morning hours to spend the better part of a weekend morning sweating with nearly complete strangers loosely bound by the bonds of a proper shoelace tie, hoping beyond hope to escape approximately 36 hours of icy stairs and terse criticism? – yeah, that’s a good one, but nonetheless inaccurate. No, Dom-N-8-RZ unreservedly subscribe to the theory that our mileage consuming feets are the result of LUCK. And not just any luck, but that special kind that is adjectively defined with the complimentary terms of “blind”, “dumb”, and most inebriating of all, “Irish”. Yes, it’s the latter that allows us to daze and ponder upon past and future accomplishments whilst straining for those elusive last droplets clinging to the bottom of the once frosty mug. And hot wings. The circle of life, runner’s style – preload, run, drink, eat, drink, make excuses, rest, drink, exaggerate, drink, complain about the weather conditions, drink, apologize, drink, rest, work a minimal amount, drink – AND repeat AND repeat AND repeat AND ....

This week marks the long anticipated return (not exactly certain anticipated by whom, but that’s likely just a matter of tacky details) to Veteran’s Park. Not a bit like weary soldiers returning to home base, we find ourselves seeking the comforting embrace of an artfully carved tree trunk and familiar paths. We’ve done Jenks, or vice versa, and we’ve RW Bumped the Tulsa Fairgrounds, so it’s time to back up and allow our run droplings to germinate and do their prospering magic. It’s home stretch time (much different than physically stretching, which we try to avoid at all costs, no matter how tight the calves and quads may feel), time to eliminate distractions, and time to focus on fine tuning our marathon consuming machines.

But maybe we should ease into it a bit, ‘cause after all, this Saturday is the St. Patrick’s 5K, and it wouldn’t be karma-ically correct to test our fates by turning our livers away from the nurturing elixirs typically available in post race reflections. No, that wouldn’t be Lucky – not even a wee, wee bit, especially for aspiring leprechauns, especially not before an upcoming marathon.

By imagined contract, I’m compelled to get a little run leaderly at this point and advise that we are, regrettably, scheduled for 20 (Adv) and 9 (Int) miles on Saturday. So we will meet at 6:45 AM’ish (Note earlier start time) at Veteran’s Park, and take it from there. We’ll head over to the St. Patrick’s 5K and perform our traditional quality control inspection, deliver any of our disorderly flock who wish to swagger, stumble, and sway through the 5K run, and then continue on with a quest of veteranly honoring our mileage quotas before returning somewhat intact to VP.

Chaos, running type, doesn’t get much simpler, or luckier than that.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March On

When: Saturday, March 05, 2011 6:45 AM-10:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Jenks RiverWalk (96th Street Bridge - West Side)


March On

Couldn’t be happier, ‘cause March is where it’s at – like in “happ’nin”. Ain’t no coincidence that “happ’nin” and “happiness” are so phonetically linked. I mean March has got it all, starting first and foremost with a full slate of 31 big days – none of those sloppy unmarked and unused trailing calendar slots at the end of the month. Plus, it’s chalk full of long run training dates – those highly anticipated and ever popular 20’ish mile distance challenges that make our feet and legs just go all mushy towards the end of a run.
It’s got party days, like Bead Dispatching Day (otherwise known as Mardi Gras and apparently a Dom-N-8RZ fave), St. Pat’s Day (not sure, but think this is a TSA inspired event, where all the electronic full body scanners become mysteriously dysfunctional and default hand searches are mandatory – Note to Self: avoid airport security checkpoints to avoid a pat down experience … but, then again, when feeling a little lonely …),

March Madness – (not sure on this one either – sounds like some rabbinous hostile infection), the start of 40 days of fasting (could be some tortuous speed work regimen), National Irish American Heritage Month (surely there is some reason why this is relevant to us, but we'll need to defer to Irish Ken for enlightenment via his unique Guinness spin), and the ultimate in self perception drama filled highs and lows with the “National Everything You Do Is Wrong” day immediately followed by the “National Everything You Do Is Right” day (who needs emotional roller coasters?).

And did I mention significant birthdays? Good, ‘cause I wouldn’t want to come across as self absorbed and getting’ all carried away in my own ‘Tude-ness. Plus, I was thinking about Bill’s, which is this Friday, except it’s a secret, so please don’t tell too many other people, but do make sure you mention it frequently on Saturday to Stairmaster Bill, cause he’s getting along in years and it’s difficult to separate those conversations that you have out loud versus the silent ones between you and the internal voices. Rock on Stairmaster – young at heart, wealthy with experience!

Also, and possibly most importantly, March means that the evil month of “Feb-Brerr-ary” is finally over. That little temptress of a month showed up at the end of January with promises of “I won’t overstay my welcome – I’ll keep it short”, “I just want to spread a little love”, and “I just want to give everyone a good excuse to eat mountains of heart shaped chocolates and 50+ year hardened candies”. Not a nary “wink wink” warning of shovel grinding dustings of long lasting frozen precipitate or city paralyzing obstacle course roads and neighborhoods. Thankfully, the challenges of “Feb-Brerr-ary” did not negatively impact relations between our city leaders. Be Gone Feb-Brerr-ary, along with your slippery mess, all your sun starved groundhogs, and your paltry 28 parka adorned days.

In keeping with neither recordable nor known tradition whatsoever, the RW Brain Trust has been recently distraught with the reality that there just never seems to be enough time to run all those unrealized miles and trails.
(Aside: Always wondered how eerily similar the spellings of “Brain” and “Brian” are, yet the actual comparisons couldn’t be farther apart. Oh well, must be one of life’s little inside humor occurrences.) In a “what to do – what to do” moment of un-inspiration, with an astute recognition of mimicry being the best form of flattery (way different than plagiarism or copying an idea and claiming it as your own), we looked to Daylight Savings Time to help shed a few rays on our dilemma. Rolling the clocks forward an hour for the start of our Saturday morning training runs would indeed be a great solution, but turns out that the government already has dibs on this approach. Plus, PB Brian says his clock doesn’t roll very well as it has an oblong shape, so alternatively we will NOT adjust the clocks but will just set the alarms to begin our runs an hour earlier. In the spirit of full disclosure, this challenging time management head scratcher required intervention from Coach Kathy. Her timing couldn’t have been better, as Brian was on the brink of breaking into his third jar of girth enhancing inspirational peanut butter – we all owe Coach K our gratitude, helping to make the trails a little safer during passing man/manette-euvers.

With the appetizers complete, our main course will be served this Saturday at 6:45 AM’ish (NEW TIME – START One Hour Earlier) at the Jenks RiverWalk Bridge. We are scheduled for 18 miles (both Int and Adv groups) of hill infused harmonious path scuffing (ever wonder how far East the Creek Turnpike Trail goes?). This will be the final chapter of the infamous Jenks RW Bump, which is needed more than ever following last week's alarming news of financial problems for the RiverWalk development. As a gut check to whether the RW Bump magic is still there, we note for the record the new Waterfront restaurant and the Jenks High School New Swimmin' Hole observed during last week’s run, assuring all that our beneficial impacts are still being flung about – sorta like discarded water cups.

March On, in brisk fashion, following our nearly patented Dom-N-8RZ styled loosely clustered and erratic random formation.