2022 Backyard Bonanza Race Recap
We had a race this weekend! Read on for a short summary of this festival-esque day on the trails.
Some Background Info
Sunday was the second running of the Backyard Bonanza. Hosted at the Herman & Kate Kaiser YMCA and created/operated by RunnersWorld Racing, this race saw 30% growth in participants over the inaugural year in 2021! As always with running, the more the merrier!
The distances run were 5k, 12.5k, and 25k. The 12.5k runners had to complete one lap of more than 600ft elevation change through sun-dappled trails ridden with fresh-fallen leaves. 25k runners did two laps and 5k runners had some overlap with the main loop but was distinct in some sections.
With very few flat sections, this course provided non-stop fun on technical up and downhills.
The temperature started out in the 50s for the 7:30 start of the 12.5k and 25k and quickly increased from then. It was a beautiful day in Tulsa's Backyard!
The Course (12.5k and 25k)
The Backyard Bonanza course was a rollercoaster run that kept runners focused on the trail in front of them--and the feet under them! The 5k course deviated somewhat from the 12.5k and 25k loop, but was just as hilly! Here's an elevation profile from one lap (looks like I might need to update my watch! Ignore the different start and end elevations...):
On-course terrain ranged from dry, groomed sections to some sharp turns covered in deep layers of leaves to rocky technical sections. If you enjoy trail running, you would LOVE this course! Racers started off with a grueling incline of steep straights and switchbacks which briefly leveled off before dropping in around the Powerline section of Turkey Mountain. After some cruising up and down the east side of Turkey Mountain trails, racers were once again sent across Powerline near the upper parking lot.
Next, the course entered some rolling sections of more heavily-foliaged trail before going weaving in and around tires as they neared the finish. A steady downhill followed by a toe grabbing descent placed runners on the last straightaway before the finish line.
As is typical for RunnersWorld Racing races, the aid stations were loaded with all the goodies racers hearts could desire! And the finish area was stocked with pancakes and even a chili cook-off! Plus, there were so many kind, helpful volunteers to thank!
The 2022 Backyard Bonanza was a race with many returning runners! That said, there were lots of new faces enjoying the trails, too.
Head over to the IYR Results page for searchable results!
How long do running shoes last? Are there secrets about when to replace shoes?
Some of the best advice is to change your shoes when they aren’t giving you what you need. “What you need” is probably defined as the reason you bought those shoes in the first place–a unique type of cushion, some specific stability, or even flexibility. If you consistently find yourself wondering if it’s time for a shoe update, then it’s time.
Yes and no to the secrets. We’ll break down the recommendations and reasoning behind those recommendations, but it’s ultimately a case-by-case situation. Every runner is unique, and that’s why we love you all.
The most common answer is that you should replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Who tracks that? A lot of runners but mostly triathletes (you know it’s true). Tracking your mileage, while tedious, is an objective way to decide when you need new shoes.
You can say to your partner, “Babe, see, I’ve got 482.37 miles on these. Let’s go shopping.” And have no remorse. How can they argue with your data?
It’s never been easier to track your miles, thanks to the availability of GPS wearables and apps that add it all up for you and even give you an option to note your footwear per run (hey, Strava).
But what if you’re running on a budget or just love your shoes so much you can’t bear to part with them? Here are some other ways to gauge your shoe’s longevity.
Where Are You Running?
The environment you run in/on can be one of the most impactful factors for a shoe’s lifetime. Surface, of course, makes a difference but so does climate! Some foams perform differently in warm or cold temperatures.
Choosing a shoe that meets the demands of the terrain you run is the right way to go. If you wear a road shoe on technical trails, you might get injured and your shoes will definitely be worse for wear.
How Long Have You Been Running?
We’ve already discussed mileage, but form is another thing to consider. For most people, the longer you run the more dialed-in your form gets. If you just started running your shoes might not last as long because you require more from them.
It probably goes without saying but we’re going to say it–if you’re training for ultras or just have to get 100 miles per week you will exhaust your shoes much sooner.
How Are You Running?
Regardless of how long you’ve been running, you might be one of those folks who is so entrenched in poor form that you shred through shoes like no one’s business. In that case it’s not the shoe, it’s you! Although there might be a shoe that cooperates better with your…unique stride.
You’ll know this is you if you look at the bottom of your shoes and see pristine tread in some areas and devastation in others.
If that describes you, you might be wasting money! Come in for a fitting and see if there’s a shoe that fits your form better.
The tread on my shoes is fine, why do I need new ones?
Judging your shoes by their tread does not give you enough information. The outsole of some shoes is made of super-duper durable compounds that would outlast twinkies and cockroaches if given the chance. The foam cushioning, however, is not so resilient.
It’s true, shoe companies are getting better at making tougher and softer foams. Just think about how many steps you take in your running shoes in a week, though, and you might have more compassion for your footwear.
Let’s say you run an average of 170 steps per minute and meet the American College of Sports Medicine recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Yes, most of you reading this will run two or three times that (if not more), so do your own math. At those meager numbers, you’ve accumulated 25,500 steps of 2.5x your body weight each step in one week. And then there’s those days when all you want to wear is your running shoes… It’s a wonder that shoes can stay feeling cushioned for months!
The foam will most likely wear out before the tread. So if your tread is merely a distant memory, you may be past-due for a new shoe.
Still Have Questions?
Come hang out! We love talking about shoes and running. We’ve got tons of experience and are total shoe nerds so we can get to the bottom of your problem.*
*Problem-solving limited to running and shoes.
Shin Splints: Not a Reason To End Your Running Career
Shin splints happen to (almost) all of us.
But where do they come from? What should you do when you experience that daunting lower leg discomfort? Cody, our resident personal trainer/physical therapist assistant, wrote a helpful article on how to address shin splints. Here's an excerpt with a link to the full article!
Why Do My Shins Hurt When I Run?
From codykfitness.com, written by Cody Koontz, ACSM-CPT, PTA
It's happened to almost everyone: you get a little more motivation to run or your schedule happens to open up and *boom* you've caught the running bug!
But then what? After logging significantly more miles than usual, you start to have a little soreness in your shins. You run through it because "that's what runners do."
Until you can't.
Then you'll either give up running, go to a store and buy new shoes, or just maybe decrease your mileage for a while.
What should I do when this happens?
Before we get too in-the-weeds about why this happens, here's what you should do.
As a general rule, if you are having pain in your shins after just starting running, or if you can only run a certain distance/time per week before your shins hurt--do not ignore the pain!
This is likely because you need to give your body time to adapt to the stresses of running, or (read: "and") you need to address some form/biomechanics and muscle involvement issues.
So, first things first, DON'T push through the pain.
Will new shoes fix my shin splints?
I think shin splints can be exacerbated by inappropriate footwear, but getting new shoes will not solve the core shin splint issue.
What's the core problem with shin splints?
It comes down to loading.
You might get a different wording from another healthcare/fitness professional, but I'll stick with "loading" for now.
Shin Splints Are Usually Caused By Doing 1) Too Much With 2) Too Much Intensity 3) Too Soon
Any time you have repeated, inappropriate loading patterns ("loading patterns" can mean too much resistance/weight, incorrect joint alignment, or poor neuromuscular control) you will end up with dysfunction and pain. Everyone has a different tolerance for pain, but eventually, the proverbial "shoe" will drop.
I've been working at specialty running stores for over five years now, and most of the people I meet with shin splints fall into that first category: "too much." They go from 0 or 2 miles per week right up to 10 or 20 miles per week.
Other people end up with shin splints after increasing their intensity too aggressively. For example, a high school cross-country runner might have been running at a comfortable pace for him/herself all summer, but when surrounded by other fast runners, all their slow runs become races--and they get shin splints.
"Too soon" is the tagline for too much and too much intensity. Increasing volume and intensity are not bad things. You have to progressively overload your body for specific adaptations. The problem of shin splints is just one example of the consequences of not giving yourself time to recover and adapt to the work you want to do.
Without adaptation, your potential is limited.
The Role of Footwear in Shin Splints
One last thing before we get into the practical ways you can work on your running form.
I said new shoes won't fix your shin splints. However, it's important to have footwear that suits your gait. In other words, your shoes should cooperate with your stride.
The best way to figure out if a shoe cooperates with your stride is to go to your local running store! Talk to the experts about what you've been running in, what you like, and what you don't like. Then try on some recommended shoes and jog around.
You don't want to be running in a shoe that fights your stride or makes you work harder. Your brain knows how your foot moves, but there aren't any shoes that connect to your nervous system (yet?). No matter how good the shoe is technically or how popular it is, if it doesn't work for you, it's not the right shoe!
Listen for the Right Shoe
One way to know if a shoe is working with your stride is the one or two-sound shoe test (I think I made this up, but it works pretty well). When you're running in a shoe, listen to your landings. if you hear two sounds, like "clip-clop" then you might want to try on another shoe.
A one-sound shoe should have just one sound when you land. And, ideally, it should be quiet. Some of the volume of your landing comes from you, but if you normally have a quiet landing and don't in a new shoe, you should be a little suspicious.
This isn't a perfect test, but I've found that it tends to provide some insight into the difficult process of picking a running shoe.
How To Get Rid Of Shin Splints
The moment you've been waiting for...
The Urban Adventure Race Explained by Race Creator and Runner, Kathy Bratton
What is this mythical race? You may have seen people walking, jogging, sprinting, or snoozing along the streets of Tulsa this time of year. If they're wearing a numbered bib, they're doing it for fun! This is one of the best, least-known events around. Because its following is largely an underground mass of runners, we thought it prudent to shed some light on this race you should definitely sign up for--now!
Who better to explain this urban enigma than its creator and faithful finisher, Kathy Bratton? She'll tell you to talk to anyone who has done this race and you'll get the idea of it, but she's done every single Urban Adventure Race! In addition to being the owner of RunnersWorld Racing (which puts on tons of awesome races in and around Tulsa) Kathy is also co-owner of RunnersWorld Tulsa, the retail staple for runners in Tulsa and beyond. With her 50th 100-mile race coming up (and probably double that many sub-100s under her belt) she's more than an expert in this sort of thing.
Kathy, why should people do the Urban Adventure Race?
There's no reason not to! There's no better sense of accomplishment than having completed a distance and knowing that you did it by/for yourself. The unsolicited support from the community is incredible. Plus, if you do the 100-mile, the buckle is pretty great.
You can race it or go at your own pace. Some ladies shop their way through it. One year someone did the 100 in 18 hours.
If someone is new to 100-mile races, are there other distances in the Urban?
There are! There's a 50-mile distance and a marathon. At 30-hours, it's one of the longest time cutoffs for a marathon.
Describe the atmosphere during the start of the Urban
There's a sense of adventure, fear, dread, excitement, camaraderie, and blank stares that say "what have I got myself into?"
What are people like after the race?
It's the most exuberant, yet zombie-fied finish you can imagine. There's so much happiness mixed with something simultaneously more and less than exhaustion. There are always tears. The awe of knowing you just ran 100 miles mixes with being unable to process having just ran 100 miles.
For the other race distances, most people doing the 50-mile are doing it for their first 50. Those doing the marathon usually do it as a training run, adventure, or just to see the city/sites.
Where did this race come from?
We do a lot of nighttime training runs and use QuikTrips as "aid stations." One night a friend and I were out and jokingly said we should turn this into a race.
Later, another friend said he wouldn't do a 100-mile race unless it was in town. I told him he shouldn't say things like that. I made the race and signed him up for the 100 (and still sign him up every year since for his birthday)
Does your friend resent you for that?
Yes. In a friendly sort of way. He still starts it every year.
Can you give us some advice on running the Urban?
It helps to know the map (it's on the website), where QuikTrips and other food stops are, and where your favorite food is inside QuikTrip. You should also have the QuikTrip app on your phone for daytime pre-orders.
Kathy recommends the bacon, egg, and cheese croissant.
You have to wrap your head around the fact that you're going to be slowed down at aid stations (waiting in line, finding things).
There are other food vendors you can use, too. Sometimes the fair is going on!
Streets may be closed, which makes it harder to navigate--but that's what makes it fun. It's one of my favorite races because it's in my home town and you have to get through things on your own. You deal with stop lights, traffic, going through downtown during the nightlife excitement, going into QuikTrip 8am Saturday morning and then again on Sunday morning for the responses/motivation from employees, and people driving around cheering you on randomly.
You do it for the challenge of getting yourself through the distances. Because you want to do it.
Is RunnersWorld Tulsa open during the race?
Not to the public. It's the start/finish and an aid station though.
Are you convinced yet?
I think one of the most convincing aspects of this race is that it's happened more than once. It's an opportunity to do something truly, deeply challenging. You're on your own, but you're also part of a community working toward the same goal. Almost everyone who does it comes back for more.
Sign up now
The 7th running of the Urban Adventure Race is almost here. Are you ready?
Don't worry, that puts you in the majority. This race is more of an adventure than a time trial, more of a challenge than a talent show, and more fun than you could possibly imagine.
Take it from Kathy, race director and ultra-athlete, who says this is her FAVORITE race.
It's a question we get multiple times each day. And the answer is YES, we do sell Hoka--and here's why they're so special...
Here's a brief, nutshell version of the technology in one of the most disruptive running shoe brands in recent history.