Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why Wait for Fat Tuesday?

When: Saturday, February 26, 2011 7:45 AM-10:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Jenks River Walk (96th Street River Bridge)


Why Wait for Fat Tuesday?
Is it just me – oh wait, it couldn’t be – everything isn’t about me – although …. – or has the month of February been a running trail wreck in terms of putting the proverbial snow boot up our getalongs? It’s been too cold, the snow’s too deep, I had to shovel the last week and now I feel like my back is in traction, I had this little south of the border vacation getaway – yeah, all of that and more. Net result is staring me in the mirror and overflowing the belt line. I have to admit it’s a little depressing, although this experience has helped me partially restock some much needed empathy points when I pause to think what Pretty Boy Brian has to deal with on a continual basis. So, net effect, there’s just a whole lot more of me to push around the trail and with which to leave lasting indentations. Last Saturday’s wonderful temperatures and an upper teenish mileage training target couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Anywhichwayhoweveryouwannacutit, now we’re back and needing to quickly reconcile any mileage gaps that we have been accumulating. Turns out that although we may have been thrown off a little from our training game plan, our upcoming targeted race dates did not follow suit and reciprocate. Unlike school snow days, we’re not allowed to just add those missed days back in and extend the training period. But that’s OK, ‘cause we’re Dom-N-8RZ – darn nearly straight. As the well worn saying goes: “We may fall upon occasion, but we refuse to bounce.” We’ll simply just cinch up those support belts another notch, turn a slightly deeper shade of purple hue, put down the feed bags of discount 80% off V-Day sweets, and get out there and do what we imagine that we are capable of doing. As the esteemed and rosy cheeked Irish Ken espoused in his recent haggling, this week is a good opportunity to “catchup” (without the fries) with a few bonus miles.
This Saturday finds us back for Dose 2 of 3 in our charitable Jenks RW Bump. We will again muster at River Walk, west side of 96th Street River crossing, at 7:45 AM’ish, for a scheduled 8 mile (Int)/10 mile (Adv) training run. FREE BONUS OFFER with minimum strings attached: This would be a great week to have your run-envious clamoring friends and any prodigal Dom-N-8RZ to come on out and join us in the festivities. Our deviously crafted run route is predominantly flat, with only the slightest of inclines with which to help us polish up on our sailor lingo.

Fat February can’t get behind us soon enough (as we hoist a double fisted double cheeseburger toast with jumbo shake topper). Surely we possess the requisite 15 minutes or so of will power to resist girth yielding temptations before we begin our upcoming extended 2 weekish Mardi Gras celebrations. But more realistically, why wait at all, cause if you’re standing still then someone is likely gaining on you.

Fat Larry

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

RW Bump

When: Saturday, February 19, 2011 7:45 AM-11:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Jenks River Walk (96th Street - West Side of River)


RW Bump

I know this is re-treading on common knowledge, but sometimes it’s comforting to stride down memory run path to help invoke the joggerly senses – only I’m among the first to recognize that these invites don’t necessarily qualify as comforting. Senseless – yes. Easy on the noggin – er, not so much.

The renowned Runners World Bump is something that we didn’t invent. Rather, it happened naturally, and without any predetermined intervention or conniving strategeries with which to rustle the cosmic order. Turns out that as we have blissfully booked our training miles in quest of that ever elusive next race PR, never did we imagine what was transpiring in our wake.

I think it all started when we used to start our runs from the RW store, and typically headed to the river. It wasn’t very long before the powers that be took notice and collectively said “Hey, we gotta get these folks some better trails”.
“And we might as well upgrade the parks and facilities while we’re at it”. RW Bump Example #1. Similar thing with the road upgrades on Peoria and 41st, as again it was recognized that with so many runners flocking to the store every time Coach K sirened us with Gatorade and snacks,
that the city planners better improve ingress and egress access to the store. Bump #2.

Probably one of our more notable bumps occurred shortly after we started routing our training runs through downtown Tulsa.
BOK Center – Boom! OneOk Baseball Field – Pop! Brady District Resurgence – Pow! Downtown Street Replacements – Yessir! Other running group opens downtown store – Wave Rider and New Year’s run imitator! Big Time Bump #3.

Veteran’s Park to 18th and Riverside standard jaunt, probably our most familiar and most utilized of all the RW routes. It took a while, but not because we had lost our cosmic zing. No, it had to be just right, it had to be grand.
Well, I’m sure you’ve taken notice as we’ve stumbled past Bump #4 – the Blue Rose on the River Restaurant. It welcomes all comers, with a special place on its deck for the RW ground patrol.

Recently falling on barren times, we moved our Saturday runs to the Tulsa Fairgrounds, and evidence of our Bump #5 is already forming under our feet.
Shortly after our pre and post run rituals, bookings for a Boat and Travel Expo, and now a Home and Garden Event have emerged. There’s even beyond just preliminary talk for later in the year to revive the Tulsa State Fair. Coincidence? I say not a chance.

Not really a bump, but I’m sure everyone took notice of our Poker Run origination – right inside Lee Elementary, a Tulsa Public School. The same School that has been shut down for nearly 2 weeks and not available to anyone or any activities “melted” to the warming powers of RW’s Coach K, and couldn’t answer with a “You Betcha” with any more vigor and excitement than if it had come directly from Sarah P’s lips. Although it hasn’t happened yet, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to learn that come Monday morning, with residual sweat aromatizement wafting through the ventilation system, that Lee throws open its doors and resumes its scholarly mission. Bump in Waiting.

And my how good news travels fast. Not to be outdone, the Jenksodians to Tulsa’s south have beckoned us to please come and test their paths. Seems the economy is down a bit, and the river development projects have stalled a tad.
Jenks has even vowed to have the parking lots cleared of ice and snow as a show of good will. They’ve also said to stay as long as we please, as long as we promise to bless the landings with our pre run sign wavings to invigorate the shopping spirits. We respond with a “it’s our bestowed duty YES!” Of course we will be there, only with the size of the task, it will likely take about 3 weekly doses to get things BUMPED around. We’ll Get this Party Started at 7:45 AM at Jenks River Walk (west side of 96th Street Bridge), and plan on bumping out 18 (Adv)/16 (Int) miles.

Bump It Up!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It’s A Gamble

When: Saturday, February 12, 2011 7:45 AM-10:00 AM (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).
Where: Lee Elementary (21st & Boston)

It’s A Gamble

You may have already heard, but me and Snow done broke up – it’s over – we’re finished - Kabut with a capital "K". And this time I think it might just be permanent. Really. I don’t care if it comes floatin’ back, soft and all fluffy looking, or even masked in the form of crystal clear round pellets that make spectacular splashes in pools of water. I think it’s mostly a matter of too much, all at once, with Snow refusing to listen and abide by a firm “No” meaning truly, “just stop it – stop it right now”. Unless of course … No STOP IT! I don’t even want to think about what if’s or if only’s …. but still ….

You see, I’ve got this work thang, and then there’s this runnin’ thang, along with this XXXXX thang (almost tricked me into divulging that one – thank goodness for editorial privilege). All this came to an abrupt and sudden stop, when this Snow Thang, wrapped in a blizzardly special delivery package, comes a bangin’ at the door, the roof, and worst of all, streets, sidewalks, and driveways. Like some demented Flake who takes delight in watching me take momentary flight with both heels simultaneously raised to unrecoverable heights, ol’ Snow even hedged its bets by stashing an Ice up its sleeve, carefully laying it under seemingly safe footing. When Snow finally paused for restocking its arsenal, Snow then beckoned me out to play, if you call slingin’ a shovel for hours at a time “playing”. Getting played is more like it. All this snow and no place for it to go. You see, ol’ Snow teamed up with ol’ man Sol, where they conspired to keep temps down so that there would be no melturation going on, ensuring that “playing” outside would be the only way to combat the drifts. The alternative of letting the fluffy stuff turn to ice and remain until July was not an attractive alternative. And to make matters worse, I must embarrassingly reveal that my snow shovel of a few years back was mistakenly of the left handed variety – or so I suspicion, as continued utilization of that dreaded implement left me with sore back, neck, legs, arms, and most importantly – sore attitude.

With the last shovelful tendered, into the house I did slither, thinking I would be able to recover and run again in a measly 6-7 weeks or so. But my ex-Flame with the remarkable cold shoulder would have none of this, as a round two 4-inch “dusting” was freshly delivered in kidney-punching fashion, along with a non-romantic-in-the-least whispering of “there’s plenty more where this came from”. “And if you don’t get your saggin’ arse back out here and “play”, then it’s only gonna’ get worse – for you, not me.” It seems that Snow would not be denied, and playing hard to get was not an acceptable strategy.

Drawing renewed strength from being Runners World trained, versus snow shovel drained, it was back to the clearing, or disgustingly, “play” if you will. As we’ve come to appreciate, RW cadets may get tired and may be runnin’ on residual Gu fumes, but we don’t quit. So ol’ Snow, if you think you’re gambling with us, it really ain’t gambling at all, cause we got a sure bet.

Kinda’ like Saturday’s RW Poker Run, scheduled for 7:45 AM, with a start from and finish at Lee Elementary (21st and Boston). Just park at your fave place near Veteran’s Park, and stretch on over for some inspiring words of wisdom from Pretty Boy Brian (that wisdom part was stretching the rubber band just a tad bit more than manufacturer’s recommendation) on how to trade 5 cards collected during a 5 mile mystery route run into fabulous prizes. Blowing the cover on the brain trust held jiggly like too many holiday calories under his skin, PB Brian returns the $5 minimum Poker Run contribution entry fee to us runners in the form of training run snacks and water/Gatorade stations – all of it. When asked about the financial aspects of this “take it in and then give it all back” concept, Brian responds that he hopes that a lot of people come out and participate, and that maybe the extra volume will make it all work out. Plus, just to help keep this interesting, Runners World donates all kinds of runners’ bling – clothing, prizes, and riot-inciting stuff to be distributed to the lucky participants. All you can do is smile, tell Brian that’s an interesting thought, and hope Coach K keeps a close watch on him, especially around deep water, and more especially around desserts.

So, turn your shovel over, set it down, and come out and REALLY PLAY on Saturday. It’s a gamble you won’t regret.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Who says it's too cold to run????

It had warmed to 18° and a couple of my RW friends had cabin fever and wanted to go for a run. I picked up Deborah and Christi, and we ran on rutted roads behind and north of RunnersWorld. (I did not see any orange cones and assume it was safe to park here.) I needed an easy run to loosen things up from sitting in the Jeep for hours, and Deb and Christi were wanting to blow the cobwebs out. Christi's awesome shirt! As long as we ran in snow smunched down by cars, it was just like trail running, except you slid a little every now and then. My feet were warm the whole time. I wore my Saucony Razers, which have built-in gaiters. It was a good choice, but I wish I had put screws in them. It was after running to the top of this hill, that a group of sledders called the girls "hardcore", which they liked immensely. I was lagging behind, and I did not get such a compliment. :-( We ended up with 6 miles, and promptly got stuck trying to plow through a snowdrift in the RW parking lot. It must have been the girls who have been living right, because not one but two trucks stopped to help--one came with a shovel, and the other with a tow rope. Funny how a disaster brings out the best in people.

It’s Not Fair

When: Saturday, February 05, 2011 7:45 AM-11:00 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)


It’s Not Fair

When: Saturday, February 05, 2011 7:45 AM-11:00 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)
Nothing like getting an unprovoked shovel or two of freshly dumped snow down your compression shorts to put a damper on your running buzz. Yeah, the one we got last weekend while trekking 14+ miles of map challenged miles, where to the outside observer we surely resembled a well organized unit, while internally, and all too often guilty of thinking out loud, were utterances of “OMG! Where is he taking us now, and why can no one seem to be able to read a map with printed instructions?”. Willing to forgive and hold deep seated grudgements, it’s time to move on and talk about, oh, I don’t know, could it be the weather? Last weekend, 70+ degrees, worried that we might not be consuming enough fluids, we found ourselves (literally, we had to re-find ourselves several times) cruisin’ along, feeling somewhat cheated as 70% or so (liberal rounding at work) of the course consistently headed down hill. It was so bad that whenever we would find the occasional uphill, there would be those amongst our group who would give an “I love this hill” shout out, triggering a unified lumbering gait.

So I’m not sure if this week’s snowfall was payback for setting off every possible neighborhood dog alarm,
or causing several labor stoppages at the Braden Park Pond while workers gazed in amazement at our magellanesque guide skills and our ability to seamlessly run and bicker and talk constantly without saying much of anything, or the way that we carefully made sure that we covered the right side, the left side, and the center of each roadway that we wandered, or possibly the reverbs from way too many hip hop tuned iphones/MP3’s which caused a shifting of the earth’s forces – enough to cause a record blizzard only 2 days removed from a couldn’t be better last Saturday of January.

So we got a lot of snow, with reports swinging wildly depending on who and where. Being kind of scientificologically oriented (I think this means that you’re always supposed to point your compass to semi-true north), I elected to employ rarely used and unskilled measurement techniques with the intent of officially determining the amount of snow that we received in midtown Tulsa.
So I carefully took and recorded 7 vertical snow measurements in random non-drifting yardish locations, threw out the high and the low as variable control datum, and then added the remaining five 12” to 14” carefully collected readings. Being the perfectionist that few people recognize that I am, I not only double but I triple checked my math, and averaged the three various summations. With a precision unmatched by many, I hereby proclaim that we received in excess of 5 feet of snowfall (exact amount is still being determined, as there is this somewhat messy and complicated issue of converting inches to feet to resolve).

It’s enough snow that I am able to hesitantly predict that it is going to be with us for a while. Ordinarily, if we received this much snowfall in the summer, it would be gone pretty quickly, but something about the relatively short days and long nights in February, combined with minimal foliage to reabsorb the moisture into plants and trees, plus the fact that hardly anyone is driving these days to help slushify the flakes, it might be good to break out a snickers bar cause we’re likely gonna’ be stuck with this for a long time.

Which brings us to this Saturday’s scheduled 14(Int)/16(Adv) training run – or not. Actually, an executive decision has been concocted that we all are eligible for a “Get Out of Running” invisible coupon for Saturday’s Run. Rather than physically run the miles, we are allowed, on this one time only offer, to borrow from The Music Man (an old style musical), and employ the “think system” to satisfy our physical mileage affliction. Since running is something like 72% mental (and only 65% physical and only 23% stylin’ and only 17% groovin’ on tunes), the “think system” will allow us to exercise the noodlin’ aspect of lung distance running. Plus, we are only 1 week away from the infamous 5-Mile Runners World Poker Run, where each runner skillfully and artfully runs in a fashion so as to assemble the best “no bluffing allowed and $1 maximum bet” poker hand, which can then be gambled for wonderful prizes on public school property. So naturally, wanting to excellerate at this walk up only everyone can enter event, we all need our taper, and this would be a good weekend weather wise to get it in.

On the other foot, if you do insist on potentially moistening your backside with a slippery Saturday morning run, then you will want to do so by starting at Veteran’s Park at 7:45 AM’ish. Just look for the small crowd and you know you’ll be wherever you are standing at the time.
Due to the streets expected to still be a mess, we’re making a course deviation of running South down the River Park trails in hopes that they will be cleared. If you do run South, don’t forget to turn around at some point and return North, cause continually running South is the long way around. Although someone with Runners World connections will always be running, please exercise caution and your own judgment on whether you come out or save it for another day. (NOTE: Actual serious part of this invitation.)

(Snow plow picture courtesy of Charlie Wilsey.)

So, be safe this week, ‘cause we’ve got many more miles in store down the path, and we need you to be healthy and bruise free to truly be able to enjoy future guilt free tortuous training runs.

Don’t Be “FAIR” – as in meeting at the Tulsa Fairgrounds this weekend.