A couple of the local TATUR group took Bunny on a elevation route and we ran it last Sunday.  Run being an exaggeration as it’s not runnable by old dinosaurs such as myself.  Too much vertical in too short a space.

The ‘general’ loop we have is roughly 1 mile and stops at the parking lot so you can get by with carrying nothing which is nice.  I use the term general because we rarely come back down the same way so far.

You can watch a short little video of the route up here.  As you can see we hold true to the RunSalty Prime Directive “If it’s a run day, you run.”
(Unless you have existing injuries that running will make worse in which case use your judgement)

The Road To 50 Starts…

This is the first week of our 50 training plan.   50K, 50M, take your pick.   We’ll be possibly over training for a 50k and honestly possibly under training for a 50M.   But at the end of this particular road is just a 50K on November 18th so I’d rather be extra ready for it than not ready enough.

Our first long run tomorrow I’ll be doing solo because Bunny will elsewhere #sadface and Eric who has decided to run with us will be also elsewhere #sadface.

On this training plan which is of my own personal devising the first long run is a 20K with a 10k the day before. I ran the 10K this morning on trails and thanks to it being 30 degrees cooler this morning than it was on Thursday afternoon I didn’t end it feeling like I was dying.

The RunSalty 50 Plan is based on other published plans I’ve seen and books I’ve read but set up to fit my schedule of STWTS with MF rest/core/cross train days.    W is almost always a 6K, just a shake out run plus some core/cross training work.   Tu is usually something complicated like a pyramid or threshholds or intervals.  Th tends to have longer slower runs with hills and the like.

One weekend a month our Su long run starts at midnight.

One weekday a month we have a morning and evening run, usually for a total of 10k-15k between the two.

One week a month is a recovery week with mileage of around 25-27 miles max.

Mileage is set to increase 8-10% a week over the 4.5 month plan with the last .5 (two weeks) being a taper and the last long run being a marathon.   The longest run happens a week or two prior to that.

All runs are mileage based and heart rate zone targeted with most runs falling on HR Zone 2.

Total mileage over the 14 weeks including the 50K race is right at 800 miles.

I don’t believe there’s anything basically egregious about it even though I don’t even play a coach or trainer on T.V.   I’ve poured over lots of training plans for marathons, 50K’s, 50M’s, 100K’s and 100M’s and other than making things fit our needs (4 month training with 2 week taper after).

One of the bad things about Garmin is there is no way to share, download, copy or otherwise make sure multiple runners have the same schedule.  At least out of the box but Eric found a java based tool that can take a CSV file saved out of Excel and create both the runs and schedule them.  By piping the output into all of our Garmin Connect accounts I was able to somewhat easily create the same schedule for all of us with the same workouts.   And far faster and less prone to human error than trying to manually create the plans on all of our schedules.

Here’s a Google Sheets copy of the export file that should make it semi easy to figure out what each work out is.

Here’s an example of the first 3 weeks in Garmin.  I gave all the workouts a 50P prefix to their names so I know what they are and to avoid potentially stomping on any existing workouts.


Garmin (of) Course

I used my Garmin Course function for the first time this last weekend.  This was on a Fenix 5X but it’s available on a lot of the running models.

It worked very well with a couple of caveats.  To use the Course and a Training workout at the same time you have to start a Run, hold the menu (middle left on a Fenix) scroll down to Navigation, Course, select your Course, Do Course which will take you back to the Run main screen.  Then do the same thing and select Training, My Workouts or Training Calendar (whichever) and then select your workout or day then Do Workout which takes you back to the main Run menu then select Start (upper right).

That’s caveat one.   The other one is that you have to have Course and Map data screens installed on your activity.  What I found was since the course was 1 lap and we were doing 3 laps after the first lap the Course screen was blank, just black.   But I could use the Map datascreen to show the path that we’d just run and voila we could repeat it as often as we wanted.

It helped because for the first time outside a marked/laid out race course this was the first time we’ve ever run the route that we intended to run at Turkey mountain other than the Powerline out and back.   On the return loop of the first lap I went left instead of right at a Y and it was obvious within 30 feet we were off course.

I’m not sure when I might want to use it again but it’s nice to know it’s there.


I had a 5K on July 4th.  Coming into this 5K with Keto and a 20 mile run 3 days prior had me feeling pretty… less than speedy.   I can certainly relate to the ‘carbs are HIIT, fat is for endurance’ now.  I had no energy during this 5K and it was 4 minutes off my PR, which is pretty bad on a 5K. My legs were like lead.

All in all I wasn’t happy with the run, I ended up feeling like it was a non-event.  If I’d of broken 30 I’d of been okay with it I’m pretty sure but not breaking 30 even if by only a minute over and it felt like a yucky run.

Later that day I went out and ran another 5K as penance, and because I was bored, and to burn off some calories.   That 5K was at a 90 second slower pace.

All in all I think I’m going to add some 400’s or 800’s to our 50 training plan just to get some speed in there. There will be a few shorter races between now and then and I’d like to see if I can get a new 5K PR.

This weekend we’re going to do some trail running, 11-12 miles worth, doing the Snake Run course at Turkey Mountain 3 times and maybe some Lipbuster hills in there afterwards when we’re getting to that point of tiredness that you really don’t want to have to go up a 45 degree grade.

A TL;DR writing about Trail vs Road Marathons

After completing our first trail marathon, and our second marathon this year, I want to take some time to reflect and to compare and contrast these two experiences.  TRex has done a fine job of describing the technical details of these races in his blog posts (Mowdy and Little Rock ) and I highly recommend them for their informational and entertainment value.  But I want to expound on more of the touchy feely stuff that running two marathons in less than 6 months has taught me about myself, my RS, and the major differences and commonalities of road vs trail long distances running.

First and foremost I will say without a doubt, that while trail is by far much much harder than road racing, for me personally, I far prefer it. Mainly because trails are just more fun, at least in my experience.

The trail running community is smaller and a bit more tight knit and supportive. You tend to see the same people at all the trail races and get to know them or at least their reputations around the trail heads. You greet each other warmly and wave and cheer as you pass or get passed by your fellow trail runners.  You begin to really know who you are up against and learn pretty fast who you can beat and who will beat you.

Awards and giveaways tend to be more artistic and unique due to the smaller size of most trail races. They tend to be display pieces or useful in some way (coasters, bottle openers etc). With road you tend to have glitzy mass produced chunks of cast medal that only server to hang on a hook clanking against each-other like bickering siblings. Little Rock’s ginormous medal being the considerable exception due to its size.

And let’s not forget the food!  There is always lots of food on the trail, often homemade food at the finish, and goodies along the way. And let’s face it, food is really why I run. I love to eat.  With road races, they are typically more about speed over endurance, so sustenance is boiled down to essentials rather than provided as indulgent treats. The exception being some city vendors who want to show off their goods to a steady stream of potential customers (like delicious chocolate chunk cookies, grilled pineapple etc.); and those enthusiastic volunteers who supply Jell-O shots, Fireball, and beer at nearly every city and trail race.

Another thing that makes trail more fun is all the wildlife you get to see, such as snakes, spiders, dear, bob cats, raccoon, fox, and even Wild Mustangs; at least in OK where we run. You get to run through things like spider webs, (mostly Trex since he is taller and usually runs in front so as not to take me out when he eventually falls, and he almost always does), creeks and creek beds, rolling meadows, rocky hillsides, densely canopied wooded paths, muddy puddles etc etc. Stuff that makes your shoes dirty and you don’t see/do every day. It keeps things interesting and requires you to focus on the terrain instead of the crazy thoughts that tend to roll around in your head while you run.

Which brings me to my next reason. The mental break.

I tend to have a few mixed tapes that are my go to mental playlists when I run long distances on paved surfaces which don’t require much external focus. I tend to think about my life, my goals, past, present, and future. This can be very meditative, introspective if you will, and are frankly life saving for me as a time when I can simply sort through the chaos in my head and in my life. But depending on the day, the demands of the run, and my mood (or Trex’s) I may happen upon on a bad loop that runs like a broken record, and those can be devastating for a run mentally and physically.  And there is such a time as needing a brain break, a mental shutdown, when you don’t think too much; when you can’t let your mind wander aimlessly or exert effort to figuring your life out, and those are when trail running comes to the rescue. When I just don’t want to think about sh*t.

With trail you can’t afford to get lost in your mind. You have to constantly focus on the terrain so as not to trip and fall. You can’t shut your mind off completely, but you have to focus it on doing regular assessments of how you are doing physically and then use your mental will power to push yourself when your status check comes back ‘in the red.’  I really became more intimate with this process during our Greenleaf 30K when my legs wanted to give up really early. I had to use my mind to focus on my strengths; to connect my mind and body, in a way, to override the pain signals by sending thoughts of how my muscles feel at their best. It’s hard to describe, but in essence I recall powerful feelings to replace the feelings of weakness I am experiencing when my body is strained. It requires a lot of focus and there is no room for thinking of much else in those moments because when you break focus the pain becomes overwhelming.  It is a brain exercise that strengthens the mind unlike pondering how to solve world peace.

Now this ‘mind over matter’ process is something both Trail and Road have in common (for me). It was my go to process during our first marathon this year as well as during our trail marathon. It is a good skill to hone period. But with road you can also let your mind drift a bit to distract yourself from the pain, whereas you can’t do this with trail. At least I can’t that is, else I end up on the ground like Trex does when he lets his mind wander off the trail. He has told me as much.

Another major common factor I have found to be pretty much universal in trail and road long distance races is the ‘Wall’. Any time I have set out to complete a distance not yet run, (race or training) there always comes a time when I grapple with the question of my ability to go further than I have already known.  Whether it be 1 mile more or 6.2, the added distance seems to boggle the mind.   It’s seem also to coincide with when all the aches and pains scream loudest. The place when the battle of ‘mind over matter’ is at the pinnacle.

Now I have read this described differently, more as a generic point in every run where you simply think you can’t go further. But for me it always seems to come when I am in ‘unknown’ territory. With my very first 3 mile run as an adult, so many years ago, it was around mile 2. With my first Half Marathon it was at mile 11, (I had only trained up to mile 10). With my first marathon it was at the typical mile ’22ish’ when I was 2 miles past the furthest distance I had ever run, and felt like I had nothing left to give the next 4.2 miles. At these points all the pains seemed to mount their offensive and bombarded my senses to the point where I wanted to quit even though I had just a few miles left. It’s that point, or points in some races/training runs, where you decide you are going to finish and not quit in spite of the pain.

With trail I tend to bout this foe off and on throughout the distances, simply because the terrain is usually so very unknown. With road there isn’t much variance in what to expect. A road is a road is a road. This weekend I hit a wall very early around mile 3 when my calf decided it was not prepared for all the uneven surfaces since we hadn’t run trail in several weeks.  It wadded up into a loose ball that tightened over the course making each step painful.  I had to constantly send forth thoughts to try and relax the muscle groups and recall how my calf feels normally to endure.  This took a ton of focus.  I hit another wall at the usual mile 22, when I realized just how abnormally long it would take us to traverse (walk in this case) another 4 miles in the heat. But there was no way in hell I was giving up after so far come and knowing I had done it before, so I pushed on, and so did T.

With both Mowdy and Little Rock, battling the elements was another challenge. For Little Rock it was cold rain. For Mowdy it was the exact opposite… oppressive heat.  Each made the runs far more challenging than had the weather been ideal, but for sure the heat was a more toilsome foe as it got stronger as the day went on.  We had to constantly replenish water and fuels and find means to cool our core temperatures.  It added nearly two hours to our road marathon time. Both races were hilly, but the added heat and rocky uneven surfaces of Mowdy made it a far more difficult race over Little Rock.

A key lesson from both.  I learned during our Little Rock race just how hard the ‘walls’ can be to overcome both for myself and my partner. Mowdy was no different in that aspect, however I did learn how to avoid getting “shushed” when my partner is in the throes of his battles, and I think I was better at reading his queues as well as my own as to when to offer/ask for support.  This is crucial when running with someone else. Sometimes you are the much needed voice of reason and encouragement, but sometimes you just have to know when to STFU and quietly be a source of strength or keep your whining to yourself. It is a balancing act throughout the journey to the finish, one that I believe has been my hardest but most important lesson thus far. I can’t say I have fully learned my lesson but I am well on my way.


All about that Bass…Pro Marathon

Our next big run, okay our next Marathon or greater run because I just signed up for the 20 mile Midnight Madness run on June 30th by TATUR, is likely going to be the Bass Pro Marathon.  The reason for that is a two piece.   One of my bucket lists is to join the Marathon Maniacs which the entry level condition is to do 2 marathons (or longer) runs in 2 weeks or 3 marathons or longer in 60 days.  The second piece is it lines up perfectly with our ‘last long run’ weekend before our first attempt at a 50K, the Dead Horse Ultra, on November 17th (ish).

So doing the Bass Pro fulfills our long run and sets us up to get the 2 Marathons or longer races in 2 weeks.   And it’s within driving distance so that saves on costs.  And they have pretty medals.

This summer we’ll have a couple of shorter races, the Fleet Feet Firecracker 5K and Bedlam Run 10K although I’m not sure if Bunny is going to run those with me.   I may have to go solo or find another running wife temporarily to fill in.  It doesn’t look like the August run is a thing right now, I forget the name of it but I placed 3rd in my age group at that one mostly because all the fast old guys stayed home in the AC. 🙂

The Midnight Madness run will be our first long run weekend to kick off our training program for the Bass Pro / Dead Horse combo.   We’ll be taking it a bit easy this week definately, maybe a couple or three mile walk later this week and possibly a short easy run on Sunday.   Then the next week just start easing back into things before we hit the 20 mile race.

My current training plan is a combination of a couple of plans I’ve gotten from Ultra books and online.   It’s a 5 day a week, TWTSS running schedule because that’s what I’m used to.  Wednesday is always an easy day, Saturday and Sunday are always a medium/long combo back to back.  One long run a month starts at midnight.  Every 4th week is a light recovery week.   The T and T days are where I mix it up with pyramids, sprints/strides, thresholds, hill repeats and power hiking.   One thing I’ve read and agree with is you have to train your hike/walk as well as your run.  A prime example was this last marathon we did where due to injury and heat we ended up walking far more than normal.  As a result I ended up with a blister on the side of my right foot back by the heel and my shin muscles are especially sore because they were much more engaged with my walking gait than my running gait.

So don’t just practice running when you’re training for distance, have a couple or three long power walks in there.

My other goal is going to be to drop weight as much as I can between now and November as each pound I can shave off my bod is one pound less I have to haul for 26 and 31 miles respectively.   I’ve been holding rock steady at my current weight plus or minus about 4 lbs since last year so on top of my stepping up my weekly mileage for training, I’m going to be stepping down my calories or at least the ‘bad’ calories.

We’ll see how it goes but pending showstopping injury or death I’m going to be climbing those Utah hills and deserts in November so that’s something to look forward to.


Mowdy Ranch Mustang Run – Marathon Edition

We did the Fourth Annual Mowdy Mustang Run yesterday, June 9th 2018.  tl;dr – It was a great race, extremely well run and supported by very friendly folks, challenging course and we had a lot of fun with it.   Strongly recommended but due to it being run in Oklahoma in June, it’s a challenge.

Wild Mustangs

Wildlife alert – This isn’t your street run in the middle of urban America.  On the back half of the first loop I took a step and realized there was a 3′ copperhead’s head about 8″ from my foot, his natural brownish coloring blended very well with the dirt/sand/clay i was running on.   Luckily he was facing the wrong way or this race might have ended differently.   Later on the back half of the second loop there was another four footer that I believe was a water moccasin lying across the trail.  It was far easier to see with its darker coloration.

Now while neither of these two snakes are typically aggressive and their bites are rarely fatal to adults, it’s still going to ruin your day if you get bit.   So keep an eye out.

Gear Check:

  • Shoes:  Altra Lone Peak 3.5
  • Socks: Injini Toe Socks in medium weight short crew
  • Stryd
  • BCG Compression Shorts
  • Champion Shorts
  • Underarmour  Heat Gear Tank
  • Underarmour Halo
  • Hand Customized cooling towel with an ice pocket
  • Plantronics BackBeats
  • Scosche 24+ HR monitor
  • Fenix 5x
  • Google Pixel 2L
  • Nathan VaporKrar 12L Hydration Vest
  • Platypus Bladder
  • Ultimate Direction 500ml Soft Flasks
  • CrankSports eFuel, eGel
  • Trail Toes anti chafe cream that we like to refer to as “Trail Crotch”

We drove down the day before.  Because of the early race start, the travel time and packet pick up at 4:00 a.m. we’d of had to leave right after we went to bed to drive down the same day so off we went the evening before.

You can rent bunks in the bunkhouse for not much money and it’s a real set of bunkhouses with lines of double bunk beds along the walls, if you can handle sleeping in a room of strangers it’s a lot of fun. There is also an area for camping out by the Start/Finish line if you’d prefer that which is free.  Depending on your preferences either one is viable.


They had a big (BIG) bonfire set up down by the camp area and you could drive down (or walk) and set up a chair and watch the fire if you wanted.   The camp area was about a quarter to third of a mile away from the bunk/main house.

There was also spaghetti dinner the night before as part of your entry.  We didn’t partake as we had dinner with both families at Cracker Barrel before we left.

As usual for a race we didn’t get a ton of sleep for the all the usual reasons including of course sleeping in a strange place surrounded by strangers and were up with the other early risers around 4:00 a.m. and were ready by around 5:00 with all the usual pre-race stuff to do.   We’d prepped fairly well and didn’t have any pre-race surprises other than for whatever reason my race workout hadn’t synced to my watch.

The 50k and marathon runners all started at the same time.   Lights were definitely needed for the first 30-45 minutes as after starting out within a quarter mile we were in the “Shire” which was forested and pretty dark and pretty rocky/technical.

Overall the course was a mix of terrain, from hard packed ground that was practically paved except it was uneven under foot because it was, well… you know actual ground and then to some pretty technical stuff that was very rocky and had a fair bit of difficulty to traverse especially on lap 2 once you started getting (or had gotten) tired (or injured).

Rock Climbing

The route was run twice to make up the marathon distance with a 3rd sub loop on the back half for the 50K’s to get them their distance.

I’d like to call out the fact that the course was EXTREMELY well marked, it would be impossible to get lost.  All the white markings were always on your right and the next marker was always visible.   They included tree tags, wire ground markers and streamers clothes-pinned to the trees.   All you had to do was make sure the markers were on your right and unless you were vision impaired you could always see where you needed to go.  Unlike a 30K we ran last year in spots, with this race we never had a moments confusion as to where we needed to go.

They also looked to have swept the trail free of leaves in those places where there were leaves and mowed the trail in the places where it went through the meadows.  You honestly couldn’t ask for a better laid out course. Kudos on a job well done.

There was a lot of sun to be had as the big chunk of the trails were without tree cover.  An issue if you’re prone to burning.  Me thanks to my genetics I went the whole day out there without sunscreen and came back with a little redness, no pain.  A ginger would probably have spontaneously combusted so if you’re fair skinned, pile on the SPF 50.

Someone came by with a broom

There were aid stations, all manned except for 1, every 3 miles.   All the aid stations were well staffed with people and the usual running fare.

We’d like to especially call out the staff at the 6 mile / Bigfoot station.  They were extremely good at their jobs.   Welcoming, friendly, encouraging and they had us restocked with ice and water on our second loop, cooled down with portable misters and a piece of cold watermelon in our hand and headed out in a minimum of time.  For a race that had nothing but a high level of quality and professionalism these particular guys and gals stood out and rocked it hard.  Bravo!

The first half we were doing okay, slower than a street run by a fair bit but a lot of that time was lost in the very rocky trails that made up a fair bit of portions of the first half of the first half.  Which is a weird way to say it but there you go.

Around mile 8 or 9 I took a pretty heavy fall, as usual on a stretch of terrain that was ‘easy’ which leads to lapses in concentration and a rock or root or something grabbed me and asked me to visit the ground.   Pulled some things in my right thigh and left lower leg that made the rest of the race a little less than pain free.   Around mile 11 or so the muscles in my lower left front calf blew up with excruciating pain and I had to remove my gaiters to get some relief.   My RW ended up having to take my shoes and gaiters off for me as I couldn’t bend my right leg without it seizing up so I literally couldn’t reach my shoes to take them off.

At the halfway point we, by more luck than design, had parked the FJ next to the path so we were able to step off the trail, resupply from our drop bags and then head back (to the same exact point we left it) to the trail.

By miles 14-15 things went downhill, not literally, and my calves started locking up like Hulk’s fists every time I tried to run with a forefoot strike.  I was able to shift to heel strike gait to counter that but then a half mile of heel striking and my IT Band said, “Gotcha!”.

Pope of Nope

From miles 15 on it was mostly power hiking, I’d try to step up the pace and the Pope of Nope would show up and tap me on the shoulder.

Pain’s a funny thing, sitting here writing this my brain is telling, “it wasn’t that bad you could have gone faster” but intellectually I know that wasn’t the case at the time.

With the slower pace came the hotter temperatures and hydration and electrolytes were an issue.  I went through at least 2 gallons of water over the course of the race and urinated only once around mile 25 and not much then.  I was sweating it out as fast as I was taking it in.


The interesting thing is after about 5 or 6 miles I was ‘recycling’ my sweat to be kind of grossly honest.   The cooling towel I had around my neck would catch all the sweat and water I poured over my head, evaporation would cool it off and later on I’d wring it out back over my head.   Very Dune like.

Every aid station starting with #2 at 6 miles I’d get at least 16 ounces of water, sometimes 32 ounces.   Earlier in the race I was using eFuel in half the water but by mile 15 it was just water.   I was taking in eGel’s and the occasional salt tablets to keep my electrolytes up.  Possibly not as well as I should have been because around mile 23 the muscles in my forearms also started cramping up, the kind of seizures where it curls your middle 2 or 3 fingers into your palms and you have to press them out with your other hand until the muscle relaxes again.

Fun in the Sun

At mile 22 or so there was an unmanned aid station of some ice water jugs on a makeshift table.   Honestly if that hadn’t of been there and if I hadn’t of taken a good 6-7 minutes or so to sit down and cool off by putting ice water on my cooling towel and wrapping it around my head I’m not sure I’d of finished.  Yes, I would have, but the thought of it being possible I might not finish this race was certainly trying to insert itself into my head.

Mile 24 and some nice folks on a quad came by and checked on us, filled our water bottles with ice water and they offered to drive us in.   DNF with 2 and a half miles to go?  NAFC.

Mile 25 (or so) we came to the last aid station, a Luau themed one which served as the last two manned stations on the back half of the loop.  It was here that I was finally at a point where it felt like I needed to urinate.  Wasn’t  a lot but it also wasn’t the color of coke so I had some confirmation of no rhabdo going on which is always a concern for me when I push myself.

With a clean, albeit darker yellow, bill of health I just focused on trudging out that last mile and a half, all in the sun, and uphill to the finish line.  I wasn’t in great shape mentally because at one point my RW was talking and I realized I hadn’t understood a thing she was saying.  I’d heard it but it might has well have been in ancient Egyptian.

Not far to go

Not far to go

We crossed the finish line, got our medals which albeit modest in size are extremely well done and of the 40 or 50 medals I have are easily in the top 3 for just clean tasteful appearance.  We then packed up where we got to watch at least two people finished after us so we weren’t DFL’d and headed home.

We stopped at Mona’s Rose of Sharon’s diner on the way back.  Mona’s had good reviews on Google, the best on the entire trip and I’m happy to report those reviews were well deserved.  I had a cheeseburger with fries and onion rings and RW had steak fingers with fried pickles.   For afterwards we had a blueberry hand pie warmed and topped with ice cream.   If you enjoy classic, good, old school diner food this is a place to get it, it was all very good, very tasty and it wasn’t because we’d just run a 26+ miles on trails in the sun.

We had some takeaways, or I did, in that you need to double check your load out before you head out.  Whether it’s the start or at a drop bag break, don’t assume you put everything on  your list on your body, physically double check it.  For instance I had no pain relief other than prescription strength stuff which I didn’t want to take as it has a mental impact.   My capsule of OTC pain relief was nowhere to be found when I needed it.

Also be ready to start at least 30 minutes before the start of the race.  Make sure your electronics if you’re using them are ready to go at least 5 minutes before the start time.   For example I ended up having to get my phone out, sync my calendar to my watch, then start the run on the watch and by then the race had started and been going for a couple of minutes.

Also always pack some alternate food stuffs.   All I packed was eGels which get the job done but in the last quarter of the race I found myself wanting something else, a waffle or some PB M&M’s or Stinger Chews or just something other than a gel.

And the biggest takeaway is we’re going to have to train harder than ever to be ready for our 50K in November if we want to finish that race with a decent, for us, time.

All in all we had a great time, in spite of my personal physical issues, at a great race run by great people.  And there were wild horses.  What more could you ask for from a trail race.

Lake McMurtry Trail Run 2018

Last weekend my #runningwife and I drove down to Stillwater Oklahoma in the crazy dark hours of the morning to do the 25K race at Lake McMurtry.   We left early as there was a chance of ice and snow on the trip and during the race but as it turned out we missed all that weather.  At least one person didn’t though as their car was covered with frozen moisture.

The 25K started later than we thought as well so bottom line is we spent a fair amount of time sitting around waiting for the race to start.  But at least we didn’t show up late?   #silverlining

The race went off without a hitch really at the race level.  The course was with only a single exception marked well.  There was one place where if you didn’t remember how you got somewhere, on the way back you could get confused as there was a lady in front of us who did exactly that but we kept her on track.

It was a double ‘lollipop’ race with us going out about 6-7 miles on one route which was pretty flat for the most part then returning to the start point and going out on the other route for the remainder 15 miles the route.  My Stryd measured right at 15.67 miles overall and we took a side trek for a pit stop when we got back after loop 1 which added that little bit extra so overall the course was spot on IMO.  The week before on a Half on a certified street course my Stryd measured 13.1x so I’m fairly confident the McMurtry race folks had their course measured right down to the foot.

The second loop introduced a little more elevation change but nothing life altering.  None of the route was technical to any degree and the trails were almost all single track dirt with a minimum of tripping hazards.   If you’ve run the Snake Run aka Pink Trail at Turkey Mountain reserve in Tulsa then it’s about that like that.   Easy route to set your brain on 50% and coast.

Each route had a very short section, 2 to 4 hundred yards of road surface, one gravel and one asphalt.

The weather was brisk for this year’s run “coldest we’ve ever had” as one of the race folks put it.  But thanks to all the trees the wind wasn’t an issue and I can run in pretty cold weather as long as it’s not super windy.

The scenery wasn’t awe inspiring if you grew up in Oklahoma, the usual mixed trees and shrubs with some open grass fields.  The route didn’t get to the lake as close as I would have thought, only a couple of places were we near the water and only a few could you see the lake.

Being it was so cold it seems like most of the folks who braved the weather were the more experience (i.e. good) runners which honestly has been my experience with Trail Running so far.  At least in a street race I end up usually in the top 50%, occasionally in the top 25% in terms of finishing times.  For trail runs I’m a back of the packer for sure of the crowds and races I’ve run finishing in the bottom 10% for all but the 3 Hour Snake run where I came in 3rd in my age group.

I believe trail running draws in dedicated runners, street running draws in a more casual crowd and as a result my #notarunner status shows up far more in trail running.

Overall we had a good time I believe on this run, I did anyway and I think if you’re a newer trail runner like myself and my #runningwife then this is certainly a good fit for you.



Snakes on a Run

Yesterday we ran the TATUR Snake Run 3 Hour run.  The race was held on Turkey Mountain in Tulsa and was a 3.75(ish) lapped run.   There was another course, a 1/2 mile, loop runners could use to rack up more distance if they hit the point where they didn’t have the time to finish the big loop.  Not finished = not counted.

The course was a gently sloped up and down, shaped like a W based on my Fenix’s tracking.   The course was well marked with streamers, chalk and hazard tape to keep people on course.   It was a mix of double/triple wide track and single track and primarily hard packed dirt with some sand and rocks thrown in for good measure (typical Turkey Mountain Pink Trail).

It was mostly an out and back with a slight alternate loop on the way back to get the distance up to 3.75 I assume.

The weather turned out to be gorgeous for the race in spite of the possibility of heavy rains but they held off till later that afternoon.

Support was good with an aid station at the turn around which was offset a little in distance at the turn around that you passed going and coming.  There was always the usual trail fare, pretzels, cookies, nutter butters, bananas, pb&j’s, trail mix, gummies spread out along with water and some energy drink, gatorade maybe, waiting for anyone that needed.  I only used the water since I prefer eFuel after trying everything under the sun.

There was also the adult beverage aid station where if you needed something a little stronger to get you through the lap it was available.

We went out a little fast as usual but we had 3 laps done with 47 minutes and change left over.  I made the possibly dumb decision based on how I was feeling to see if we could get the 4th lap in and honestly a half mile in I felt like it was the wrong decision.  Energy levels were low, no sleep, lack of training in the two weeks prior trying to recover from the Little Rock Marathon and injury had me telling my partner to go on. Which she didn’t do but which she could have.

I used to hold an edge in endurance while she was the fast one but the student has become the master.  Anymore it seems like we keep each other moving, one of us will be struggling and the other picks up the slack.  Although the last couple of races I’ve been the one doing the leaning.  Not sure what I’m going to do on solo runs, have to find myself a temporary running wife I guess. (Just kidding!)   [Or am I?]

Anyway with her there to keep me moving we finished lap 4 with 42 seconds to spare by my clock, I stopped the timer at 2:59:18, even though up until the last 90 seconds I thought it was a done deal, as in we weren’t going to make it.

As of right this minute we only got credit for 3 laps as I believe they’d moved everything over to the half lap at that time and weren’t really expecting a last second finish on the big loop.   No worries though, Garmin and us know what when we finished. 🙂  I did ping the race director to see if we could get our 4th one made official as that would officially have both of us placing 3rd in our age group which would be a pretty cool result.

The laser cut and painted wooden finisher medal was a nice touch, better than the Greenleaf 30K medal for sure.

All in all while I’m not a huge fan of lap races personally the Snake Run is definitely worth running especially if you live in the area.  Most of the runners were super nice, with many offering encouragement each time you passed them by.

Gearwise I ran with the following which is my expected ultra gear so I wear it for any run longer than an hour or two so I can make sure we’re happy together –

  • Shoes:  Altra Lone Peak 3.5
  • Socks: Injini
  • Footpod: Stryd
  • Shorts: Champion
  • Underlayer: Underarmor compression shorts
  • Shirt: REI quarter zip base layer
  • HR: Garmin HR chest monitor
  • Watch/Timer: Fenix 5X
  • Vest: Salomon Adv Skin 12 with Ultimate Direction soft flask with straw.
  • Hydration:  Crank Sports eFuel
  • Fuel: Crank Sports eGel
  • Run Plan:  10 minute run, 1 minute walk (didn’t stick to it as well as I could have)