Updated: Jan 1, 2019
Once again I am in Tulsa for holidays with the family. We kicked off the visit in classic fashion with a burger and a beer at McNellie's after Trani, Candace, and Dan picked me up at the airport Wednesday night. Since then there's been a lot of hanging out at Tulsa Runner, Tulsa's Friendly Neighborhood Running Store, here on the banks of the mighty muddy Arkansas River. Renewing old acquaintances among the store's crew and customers and making some new ones is a cherished Christmas tradition now into its third decade.
It's always great to see Philip, Julie, Jarrett, and the rest of the gang who help Trani make the store a little bit special with the attentiveness, know-how, and just plain being good people they bring to their interactions with everyone who comes into the store. They will trot out every single pair of shoes your size in the stockroom if that's what it takes to find the shoe that is right for you.
Tulsa Runners are a pretty zany bunch. Old, young, and in between, female and male, fast and not so fast, every shape, size, and idiosyncrasy imaginable and maybe some that challenge willing suspension of disbelief, they run 5Ks, marathons, ultras, and everything in between, on roads and trails, in rain and mud, sleet and snow, and under the sweltering Oklahoma summer sun. More than a few are always either recovering from the last marathon or training for the next. Best of all, they accept me as one of their number.
I have a few Portland friends who are runners but no one I run or hang out with a lot. No particular reason, just how things work out. That's okay. I've always been fine running alone, even those long runs training for a marathon. Hanging out with a bunch of runners is a nice change though. It should come as no surprise that running is the main topic of conversation. Great runs and races, runs and races under ridiculous conditions, injuries and shoes and races they are training for, drinking beer after training runs or races. I don't know if inspirational is exactly the word I want, a terrible thing for someone who calls himself a poet to admit, but...being in the midst of it all makes me eager to lace up the new Christmas Mizunos and crank out some miles. Maybe we runners are all a little bit left of normal and merit an entry all our own in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
I had a great run Saturday with Trani, Dan, and Greg, who kindly ran at my glacial pace. Good running and good conversation is right up there with good food, good wine, and good conversation. We got seven miles at 7, setting just as day was dawning, my favorite time to run. Weather has been lovely, lows in the upper 30s, highs creeping into the 50s, big old moon at night and a boundless blue sky throughout the day. The weather gods are not always so kind to Tulsa this time of year.
Among other high points thus far:
dinner at India Palace, another Christmas tradition
breakfast at Brookside by Day
morning walk down to Brookside with Dan for espresso (me) and tea (him) at Shades of Brown, where Rev. Bill Webb, another Tulsa Runner pal, joined us when he wandered in
afternoon espresso and a journal session at Nordaggio's
Saturday afternoon walk around the Gathering Place, a new riverfront park that is mind-boggling awesome
Cabin Boys Brewery, where Candace was very excited when she ordered her first ever flight
Nothing's Left Brewing Company, where we split a flight among the four of us between Cabin Boys and dinner at Laffa Medi-Eastern Restaurant & Bar
two wonderful dinners at home (lasagna and salmon) thanks to Candace!
So what is there to do in Tulsa? Quite a bit, it turns out. I have not even gotten to the dog who wandered into the store yesterday afternoon and stayed or this morning's visit from Santa Claus out to do some last-minute shopping at Tulsa Runner.
More anon, with photos. Keep the faith.
Memo from the Editorial Desk
This is a repost of the December 24 blog post to add the photo.