It's late Tuesday night--or is it Wednesday morning. I have been sorting through pictures from Lake McMurtry and have pieced together the makings of a race report. As I type these first few lines between the already loaded pictures, I find myself almost apologising for the lack of continuity of the preceding report--but here goes. Saturday came early, as most race mornings do. I had wore myself out the day before, and slept like a log the short night at the Stillwater day's Inn. Brian and I talked about what would happen if we "accidentally" overslept. Brian always gets out to the race at the ungodly hour of 4:00 am. He shoulda dumped water on me, as I got 45 more minutes of sleep than he did, and I got out to the race start at 5:00. Most of the start/finish stuff was already in place, but all the food stuff needed to be unloaded and set up, and we hoped we would have enough help to handle the flux of peeps picking up their packets and signing up at the last minute. Folks filed in in droves as the sun made it's appearance. I had little time to snap pictures, but managed a few. Travis, a friend I met at Rocky Raccoon, was gunning for a good 50K this day. He also took a lot of fantastic pictures, some of which I borrowed for this post. Since Saturday, Travis has made arrangements for discounted hotel rates in Tahlequah for our Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd this October. Thank you, and thank you Travis.
Here's a couple of my favorite girls. Kathy, nursing some sniffles, is secretly thinking about winning the 50K, while Chrissy is considering dropping down to the 12K from the 25K due to feeling a bit queasy. I'll be spending a lot of planning time in the next few weeks for Chrissy's Warrior Princess Trail Run.
Here's a brother and sister who get along good. Russell is looking to knock out a 25K, while Susan is adding another 12K to her trail racing resume.
My crew babe and sweetheart Dana had planned on running the 25K, but had a baby shower to attend. Still, she came and helped Friday and well into the race day before driving from Stillwater to Stillwell.
At 7:00, the 50K early start was sent on their way. I think it was a good call this day to take the early start, as the forecast high was mid to upper 70s. Right after sending them on their way, I led the aid station workers out to their spots. I had an hour to deliver the slaves to three different camps, and barely made it back in time to send the 50K off at 8:00.
Thanks to someone--whoever took this picture. Someone needs directions to the race start. I love google maps, and my GPS. But old fashioned directions are good too.
We had 9 early starters and around 50 regular starters.
I gave the course directions to each group before they took off, and hoped for a perfect race this year. We have came close the past two years, but at Lake McMurtry, it seems each year runners find a new way to get off course. This year, we again planned on runners going out and back over the Leap O' Doom, and not on the trail that dumps out on the road by the huge intersection. But like last year, a few runners got off course and ended up at the wrong trailhead. Fortunately, I caught most of them and sent them back on course. Last year, some caution tape had been blown through (possibly by a mt biker) and runners took the wrong fork. This year, that turn was heavily marked, but at another location near the start/finish, a few runners took a road instead of taking a marked trail, and ended up at the same darned wrong place. GRRR!!!!
It's just natural to follow the runner in front of you, and when one goes the wrong way, everyone goes over the cliff. Next year, I may install an underground electric fence and issue shock collars.
Thirty minutes later, the 25K runners were on their way. This was the big race with 120 +/-. The 12K was also huge. The 12K did not go over the Leap O' Doom, but they did have a hill that I had a few nasty comments about. I did not help that I put a smiley face about 3/4 up the steepest climb.
Most of Lake McMurtry is nice soft single track. There are a few rocks and roots here and there, but most is smooth and runnable. I even biked it on Friday while putting up markings. that was the first time on a mountain bike on trails, and it was smooth sailing.
All too soon, runners reached the Leap O' Doom. I had plenty of warning signs and caution tape to ensure safety and a safe traverse.
Still, many runners were concerned. Poor Laurie is almost sick with fear of what lies ahead.
Have faith. Get a good running start and pray.
The chasm is deep, and I suspect there are bones down there if one looked. This canyon is one of the seven wonders of this part of the lake.
After much fretting, concentration, and prayer, Susan nails the leap. The above pix are courtesy of Laurie and Susan.
Earlier in the race, Kathy ponders the best strategy to make thew Leap O' Doom crossing. You just have to BELIEVE you can fly.
With the grace of a ballerina, Kate makes the leap with ease.
A trio of runners make the return trip from the north loop.
The peninsula aid station was manned by Bobby and Derek. It was a busy place from around 8:30 to 10:30, and then slowed down quite a bit. By 1:00, they were pretty much done for the day.
OTRA (Oklahoma Trail Runners Association) manned the north canyon aid station. I think the party was here.
Pat celebrates his birthday working the south aid station. Pat had the undisputed aid station queen--Sandra. This stop had the most traffic as all runners including the 12K came through here.
Three first-time 50Kers nailed their first ultra. Mitch, Arena, and Kate did their training, and seemed to have a good time all day. I heard no complaints. I even heard some rumblings of a 40 miler in the future of one of these ultra runners.
Stormy plays the part of drill sergeant, pacing Shannon to what he hopes will be a 50K win. Shannon tweaked an ankle and settled for a 25K finish. I know that is frustrating--when all of the body wants to run, but the darned ankle says no. :-(
A few more pix of the course. There has been years when this lake was WAY up, making areas like this into a daring water crossing.
More smooth single track. All downhill--except for a few ups.
A 25K in the making for these three first-timers. Jen's longest run to date--she had planned on doing the 12K, but bumped up her mileage when she heard that the 12K did not get to cross the Leap O' Doom. Catherine also pushed it to the limit by tackling the 25K. She finished with ease, although she did mumble something about next time training more. If you see her, give her a holler about her upcoming race plans. Tim is an ultra runner fixin to happen. I see a 50K in his near future. I bet I see these three in Tahlequah in October.
There's a story here. Tom is all enthusiastic, but will it last? Heading up the road some 17 miles into the race--he still looks good. Then, making the final trek up the stairs to the finish line--he still looks like he's having a good time. What's his secret?? It's BEER!!!
I wondered how Laurie
and Susan would do--a 25K on trails--wpuld it be too much? No, it was not. They kept their pace and finished with enthusiam. I am proud of them.
Here comes Arena, Mitch, and Kate. Arena is steady, and I would like to see what her splits were. I bet they were dead even. Congrats to the three of you. There's not an ounce of quit in you.
Gotta shout out to Brian. He timed the race, and that has to be one of the most stressful jobs ever. With 4 different start times and one clock, it is a statistitions nighmare. We could not do this race with as many runners as it has without his expertise.
Chuck has helped at this race for years. He and earl Blewett held this race for 10 years before TATUR got involved with it. Chuck makes a huge pot of jambalaya, and this year, I snuck out a couple of bowls of leftovers. YUM! Thank you for all you do, Chuck.
Jeff ran the 25K, and amelia was scheduled to, but a bum ankle kept her out of action. She helped Brian time the race, entering data all day long. Notice her shirt--she again added the bling and has the coolest shirt on the lake.
William Barnes cooked BBQ all night and all day. It was deliscious, and there was hardly a morsel left at the end of the day. He had the amount just right for 300 runners. Great job, dude. It was awesome.
Janine ran the start/finish aid station all day as well as helping dana set things up. Her hubby Kirk ran another 50K, and is making it look easy.
Rod came over from Tulsa and helped out all day particularly in picking up cones, playing the part of gopher, and helping pack things up. Thank you, Rod. You made my job so much easier.
Dan Zerowski from Stillwater showed up Friday afternoon and again early in the morning with several ice chests filled with ice, and then helped all day long. I thought I had taken his picture, but could not find it. :-( !! Dan, you and Rod were so valuable.
Rob and his daughter Kate are becoming fixtures in TATUR races of late. Kate ran the 12K, and Rob ran a great 50K. Thanks to Rob again for letting us use his generator.
My friend Eric ran a good 50K, and Polly notched another 25K. I have to be nice to Eric since I'll be running his race in September, and he will no doubt put me through the mill when I am knighted into the FlatRock 50K Hall of Pain.
My dog's swimming pool was once used for icing down beer and pop. Now, it's back to being a dog's swimming pool. His name is Larry, his name is Larry.... I was thirsty, and needed some cold water. I was planning to ice down my water bottle and rehydrate.
I opted for another can of beer instead. (I'm thinking Kate won a bet.)
Thanks to everyone who helped out with this race. I am afraid I forgot someone. Misty, who hung medals on sweaty runner's necks all day--thank you! (Can't believe you have a twin!) Who else? If I missed you, my bad. And thanks so much to all who came out and ran. Let's do it again next year!!