Friday night, Dana and I drove to Shawnee, OK and spent the night and drove on to Lake Thunderbird near Norman to run with some friends from OTRA (Oklahoma Trail Runners Association.) Finding a nearby motel was a tall order, and we stayed 31 miles away from the race. We got up in time, but I had a waffle and got lost in a feeding frenzy and we let the time get away. I drove slightly over the posted speed limit to get there and we arrived minutes after the 25K had taken off. No worries though--this was a real low-keyed event, and I guess you could say it was not timed. Actually, we were just out for a nice easy run anyway. These were nice trailz. Soft single track, twisting and turning--the type of trailz that mountain bikers like. Trail runners like 'em too. We ran for a few miles before we saw a single rock. There were a few roots and a few stumps, so you had to keep an eye on where your feet landed though.
The turns on the course were marked with orange flags. At almost every major intersection, a map was posted, so I took a snapshot of one just in case I might need this later.
Red dirt. In fact, this was called Red Dirt Championship. I also heard it called the Dirty Bird Championship. My legs had a nice dusting of red by the end of our run.
A good trail maker would run the trail right through this tree formation. I think there was not one anomaly that the trail engineers overlooked.
Hmmm....what was in store for us? Tony evidently had a liking for twisted tight turns in the trail. Insane switchbacks on a gradual downhill half mile kept us on our toes. Biking this could be very interesting.
I was loving it. We had ran 3 miles and were just under 14 minutes per mile even with picture stops. I knew our pace was sure to slow, and soon the gradual downhills turned into some climbs.
Twisted trees and twisted trailz.
Who lives in this tree? Funny how the door was protected by Greenbriar Security.
Around 4 miles into our run, we caught up with some runners. Cat and her friend Shannon were mostly walking, and Cat had her Kodak primed and ready.
I suspect Cat was doing some geocaching along the way.
Mile 5ish and Dana was still running strong. Here, she charges an uphill.
Entering a loop called the Lumber Yard. I had noticed this on the map, and wondered why the name. Maybe some dense woods? Nope. Trail workers had hauled in truckloads of treated lumber to make walkways and wooden bridges.
This wooden stairway/sidewalk headed straight up a steep hill. For mountain bikers, maybe they were able to ride up the incline. Or maybe they screamed down the hill. If it had been raining, the planks would have been to slick to stand on.
Dana runs down and then hits a steep red dirt incline. We had a lot more sharp ups and downs during the mid section of the race.
If a biker were going the other way, this would have been a fun but dangerous jump. I need to get a mountain bike.
Then, the trails led us right down to the shore of the lake. The weather this day was heavenly. Upper 50s to low 60s, and very windy. In the dense woods, you barely felt the breeze, and it kept us cool even though we were running at a good clip. In the clearings and particularly near the shore, you could really see and feel the effects of the wind. The waves on the lake were almost high enough to surf on.
This section was postcard pretty.
Mile 10ish, and the climbing became a little more pronounced. Nothing real bad, but our pace slowed. This was a long run for Dana. Quite possibly she had gone out too fast, but when it feels good to go a little faster, why not?
I rarely take pictures of flowers, but this girl caught my eye.
A nice look over my shoulder. This section also showed up in my friend Julie's collection of pix.
After climbing up and away from the lake, we returned to trailz along the shoreline again. I was clueless as to where I was in relation to the map. I almost thought we had gone in a circle.
Seeing this sign confirmed to me that we were not re-doing trailz. What was this sign warning us of?
Lots of ups and downs and ups and downs. And rocks. This was really the first rocky section we had ran. There were short roller-coaster hills and if we were running well, it would have taken a toll. But we were doing a lot more walking and at least I did not feel like it was kicking my butt.
I may be in big trouble for this. I zipped down this steep descent and turned to photograph Dana's attempt. But a video seemed like more fun. Tee hee!!
This was a 1/4 mile of straight trail--a rarity on this course. Here, we caught up with another runner Don. Don was just getting back into running, and was new to trailz. We walked and ran together for a few miles, and with about a mile to go, he picked up the pace and finished strong.
We were ready to be through. My Garmin had missed some mileage due to the dense tree cover and tight switchbacks. The mile markers seemed to indicate we had ran 16-17 miles, but I also knew that was probably not right. Dana asked a couple of people how much further it was and we were told around a mile, a quarter to half, and I think the real distance was twice that. I was enjoying the time on the feet and still was in love with the trailz. Dana was just ready to be done. Being done, to me, meant a hamburger, and that seemed good too.Finally, we made it back. Most everyone was still hanging around, eating, catching up on old friendships, and having a great time on this awesome day.
Dana was just glad to sit and rest. Peggy and Dana visited for quite a while, catching up on a buncha stuff running and RN-related.
Russell had done the 25K and finished in 2:40ish. However, I was awarded 2nd place for the 25K, and Russ was overlooked. Then, they gave Russ the 3rd place award, and he and I swapped.
I then took my 3rd place award and gave it to Don, who also finished ahead of me. that made me 4th male finisher (out of four.)
Rex Pace won the 50K, and he lapped us about 2 miles before our finish, finishing in around 4 hours for 31 miles!!!
I do not remember the name of the 2nd place male 50Ker. Third in the 50K was Henry Bickerstaff. And yes, he did do and finish Western States this past year. First in the womens 50K was Julie Dolph, who I want to thank for inviting us to run here. I love love love these trailz, and we'll be back real soon to run some more.