Saturday, October 25, 2008

Overheard at the 31st Tulsa Run

Starting line: "Dude, it's, like, cold." The temperature hovered at about 40 degrees for the duration of the race, forcing many to don less-than-flattering exercise wear. Sparkly leg warmers, acrylic (a.k.a. plastic) mittens and a variety of unfortunate head gear were in wide use.

1K: "Count the number of people you pass and subtract the number of people who pass you, and we'll compare scores at the finish line." I don't see how this could have been doable, given that the race was probably two dozen racers deep from curb to curb. I guess it could have been a fun mechanism to employ to forget the chill, but then you would have missed the scenery.

The course began at 3rd and Boulder, stretched south to 15th, turned west to Denver, south again to Riverside Drive, east to the 23d Street Bridge, west back to Denver, up what I heard someone call "Murder Mountain" toward the BOK Center. Who would want to miss a chance to see all the parking lots - I mean, historic buildings - along the way?

Perhaps the more challenging game would have been to see who could count the most empty parking spaces on the south part of the course.

2K: "I wouldn't exactly call that motivational music." A band of kilted men playing bag pipes cheered us on about half way through the race. While it quickened my Irish blood, lots of folks were jonesin' for some rock and roll.

Two years ago, the last time I ran Tulsa Run, speakers blaring the Rocky theme were set up a little before the half-way mark. I was laughing so hard I could barely keep up with my friend Sarah, who picked up and moved away earlier this year and left me to run this year's race by myself. Alone. And cold. And sleepy.

I don't think she would have wanted to join me this year, anyway. I ditched her last year because I was too busy rounding out my second trimester, and she's doing just about the same thing this year. We don't think a fetus takes well to jostling - at least, not the first fetus. Maybe by the time we're pregnant with our third children, we'll be good and over all of that.

3K: I don't remember hearing anyone say anything interesting during this part of the race, but Tulsa county commission District 2 candidate Karen Keith gave me a cup of water. Thanks, Karen.

4K: "Oh, crap." *puff puff* "Maybe if this hill had been at the beginning of the race, I could have done it." *wheeze wheeze* "Without this hill, maybe this would actually be a run."

Wimps. If I made it up the hill on Denver between Riverside Drive and 15th Street, anyone can. Seriously. I had a baby earlier this year, an event for which I gained a cool 50 pounds, and though it's all off now, I'm by no means a lean, mean, running machine. Still, I can definitely see why the racers heading up the hill were gasping, "Good luck on the hill!" at the slower among us gliding down toward the turnaround at the bridge.

Yeah, so I saw spots and leprechauns in the parking lot at QT, but I made it up the hill, dang it.
Finish: "Natasha Ball!" "waaaahhh!" When the announcer said my name, Aaron cheered for me from the sideline. It was all too much for our baby boy, who screamed his head off with fear rather than excitement.

That's fine. His punishment is that he has to run with me next year, and I'd better not hear any nonsense about shorter legs, smaller lungs, just having learned to walk earlier in the year, blah blah blah.

This year's race was great. Lots of fun, lots of excitement. It's definitely a great way to show off downtown.

I'll post my results later. I was too busy grabbing bottles of water and a half-dozen candy bars, all free to the runners, after the race to check my official race time.

Hey, at least we can say I never made my motivation a mystery.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

7 Ways to NOT Find a Real Pumpkin Patch

1. Feel an intense urge to find a "real" pumpkin patch at 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon.

2. Don't use the Internet or other resource to look up stories on or directories of pumpkin patches or farms in the Tulsa area.

3. Drive "strategically" through the rural areas of the metro, flipping a coin to decide whether to turn right or left at intersections.

4. After one hour of hunting, interrupt friends' and family's evening plans with phone inquiries as to the location of their "favorite pumpkin patch - you know, the kind where you can pick your own?"

5. Stumble upon a real pumpkin patch! Discover the operation closed 15 minutes before your arrival. Peer through the windows of the retail area, looking in vain for straggling staff people, chiming, "We've got a baby out here lookin' to pick his first pumpkin!," hoping to guilt someone into opening up.

6. Take photos of off-limits pumpkin patch. Consider making off with one measly little pumpkin. Remember rural area+stealing=shot gun.

Take more photos instead.

Just in case you needed help spottin' the suckers.

7. After two hours and no freshly harvested pumpkin, drive home listening to the musical stylings of the famished infant in the back seat.

Assuage bad-mommy guilt by making three batches of chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, made from scratch using pumpkins purchased from good ol' Reasor's.

Mmm. Boy, do I feel better now.

Photos taken at Sanders Nursery & Distribution Center Inc., in Broken Arrow at 20705 E. 161st St.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Running Rules.

Guess what I've been doing for the past six months.

That's right. Running my hiney off.

Literally! Since I started (re)training after my my baby's six-week birthday, I've lost nearly 25 pounds. I'm back into the jeans I wore last spring, and my calves are lookin' amazing, y'all. Almost as good as they did back when I was in marching band.

Don't ask.

I knew since I missed the race last year that I definitely wanted to make this year's Tulsa Run. I wasn't sure if I could train up quickly enough to run the 15K - in the end, that was too much to ask of my body, which has been through oh-so-much during the past year - but I have been able to get ready for the 5K.

Plus, I hit a milestone yesterday: I ran for 33 straight minutes. Though I've been an on again, off again runner for the past four years, I don't think I've ever run more than 20-25 consecutive minutes (because - and I'll admit it - I am a wimp. W-i-m-p.). They may not be the fastest minutes a girl has ever run, but kids, I'm gonna give myself serious credit for that little accomplishment. It may be in the form of Kupcakz, but I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.

The clock on the TR site says there are 17 days, 13 hours, 17 minutes and counting until race time. You have until the 21st to register without paying the late fee. If you're ready to commit, go to the TR registration site now.

Go on. Make your mother proud. Or, at least, this mother. Because I look extra runner-esque when I'm proud of you.
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