Okie Trail Runner

Because running the red dirt beats pounding the pavement…

Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

My alarm went off at 4AM and startled me awake. So soon? It seems I just went to bed. Well, 11pm was only 5 hours previous, so perhaps my assessment was accurate. I only laid in bed for 9 minutes before forcing myself to haul my carcass out of bed and into the dining room where all of my running gear was laid out. Today was a big day. Not a big day really, it was just a training run. But a big day because it was a new location to me and I was really looking forward to hooking up with my trail running buddies since I had to bail on them last week.

I made some coffee, ate some Shredded Wheat with almond milk, too my meds, brushed my teeth and got dressed. I loaded up the car and headed out. We decided to meet at the Pace Fitness parking lot a bit before 5:30AM to get an early start. I pulled in right at 5:30 and found Peggy and Nancy waiting. Nanc was nice enough to let us all pile into her Pilot for the trip. We were off! Out plan was to meet Julie at the base of Mt. Scott by 7AM. An uneventful trip save for the bizarre stories told about work life the previous week. No, I will not expound on that! We were on our way and things were good. A smaller group than last week, but one glad to be heading out together. A text came. Julie was quite distressed that she had apparently slept through her alarm. She was upset and bummed. Peggy texted back and said come anyway! You can meet us after the first loop. So Julie did just that!

We arrived just as the sun was starting to rise. Peggy and Nancy wanted to put in 18 today. I settled for 12 since I’m racing a 50K next week and my plan really only called for 10 today. They both will be racing the same 50K, but they are more experienced and can get away with the higher mileage. So I let them put in 6 running up Mt. Scott while I stayed in the car feeling like a slacker. Happily, Nanc had the latest issue of Ultrarunning Magazine in the car so I had something cool to read while waiting. Ellie Greenwood, female ultrarunner of the year, was on the cover.

I decided it was about to to put on my shoes and get ready. As soon as I was done, guess who show’s up? Julie! We talked for awhile and were both pretty excited about the run. It wasn’t too long before Nancy and Peggy came back from the top of Mt. Scott back to the car. So we all got ready to head up to the top of Mt. Scott. First time for me and Julie, second for Peggy and Nancy.

So off we went! It was at least a 1,200′ climb in elevation to the top of Mt. Scott. Hey, it’s Oklahoma, that’s pretty huge to us! I was huffing and puffing running all of the way up. There was a section of round boulders that ran to the top of the mountain. Really strange. You would have to see them in person as the picture doesn’t do it justice, but take a look:

We finally reached the top. Did I mention that it was foggy? Pea soup. Really bad. They all kept telling me on the run just how pretty it was LAST week when they came out! Here’s a picture of Julie and Peggy on the top of the mountain:

Told you it was foggy! Not great for picture taking. I’m going a bit out of order here, but as we left, we drove to the top so I could take another picture since the sun had burned off so much of the fog. It was still very hazy, but a big improvement over the morning. Here’s a picture from the top, sans pea soup:

We ran down the mountain back to the car. Did you know that it’s easier to run down a mountain than to run up it? It’s true. You will just have to trust me on this! I’m kidding, and what’s funny is at the end of a very long mountain race, the runners would greatly prefer going up a mountain than running down a quad crushing hill.

We finally made it to the car and made our way to Dog Hollow Trail for the trail portion of the morning festivities. One the way we saw a number of Bison. Huge critters!

Finally, at the trailhead. Yes! Love me some trails. Here are the girls at the trailhead:

Off we went! The trail is pretty technical, but the first mile is pretty manageable. Though I cannot imagine running it at night! I would certainly need a really good headlamp for that. The temperature wasn’t too bad really with forecast of temperatures in the mid 80′s. But the humidity was literally 100%! So the sweat had nowhere to go. We were popping our salt pills regularly!

Running was just amazing. The scenery was beautiful and so was the conversation. A lot of talk about next weekend’s race and other things. Lot’s of trail chatter. Good stuff! Going down a really rocky area Nanc pointed out something. I see it! I big and beautiful lizard! He scurried down the hill and over the rocks very rapidly. Fortunately he stopped on a rock to pose for me. Gentle reader, I present to you the Mountain Boomer:

We kept running and kept seeing some real beauty. I’m only posting just a few pictures, but I took many. Check this one out:

We kept running, watching our every step because there were rocks EVERYWHERE! Loved it. We stopped for a picture, this time with me in it. :o)

We drank some water and kept moving with me stopping occasionally to snap a photo. Like these two:

And my first panorama shot. What do you think?

We finally made it back to the car. A great run. But we really did take it easy. If we weren’t tapering we could have kept going or picked up the pace. But for today, it was perfect! On the way back to Mt. Scott, we spotted this guy:

Luckily, he was happy to ignore us! We drove to the top of Mt. Scott to nap a picture, as I said above “sans pea soup”, and I decided to try the panoramic option again:

Time to go home. I will see my buddies again soon as we are all racing next week together! I will happily be trailing the these speedy gals!

Okie Trail Runner out!

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