Featured Runner “Ken TZ Childress” April 2018

Ken Childress (in his own words): When I was 18, I decided I wanted to be a runner. I ran a mile out and back. I was tired, but seemed to like it. Then I had my mom join me the next day, and made her run a mile and she had to walk the mile back and that was the short end of her running. Then two days later, I thought I would run 4 miles, which I did without stopping, I was so beat u and wiped out, and my whole body protested and I was ore for DAYS.  Fast forward 25 years. I was overweight and Dana and I joined Weight Watchers and started walking around LaFortune Park, a 3.25 mile loop. Our pace began to pick up, and we started mixing in short running segments. I got the idea that I could run a 5K, and my first attempt was just over 25 minutes. I was hooked, and ran a 5K nearly every weekend and got my time down under 21 minutes, but reached a point where my short legs could go no faster.

Longer distances were the next progression. I did a Half, then a trail 25K followed by a road marathon (3:57:06) Then I did FlatRock 50K and I was hooked on ultras. My favorite distance is 100 miles. I have 13 finishes out of 22 attempts. Between mine and Kathy Bratton’s encouragements, we have led hundreds of other Oklahoma runners into ultra land.

THE BASICS

Date of Birth: July 27, 1959

Place of Birth: Tulsa, OK.

Currently Residing:  Tulsa (OK), 200 yards from the trailz of Turkey Mountain.

Marital Status: Married to Dana.

Job(s): Self employed and loving it.

Children: Three boys, six grandkids, two dogs and a worthless cat.

Height: 5-8. (almost 5-10 in my Hokas).

Weight: 180-ish (My scales must be messed up).

Shoe Size: 11. 11 ½ for 100’s.

Best Physical Feature: Used to be my hairy body. But these day, that grosses the ladies out. So now—maybe my calves.

Worst Physical Feature: One might think that the bit of pudge I carry around would be the answer here—but you should see my toenails.

Religion: Jesus was NOT religious. He was critical of the religious leaders of his time. I’m like that.

Political Affiliation: “Smart enough to skip this question” (you can print that).

Personal Strength(s): My enthusiasm.

Personal Weakness(es): Procrastination

Make Of Car You Drive: Ford F-150 4WD CrewCab, Toyota Prius.

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: No desire to change.

Pets: Zeke(chocolate lab), Roxie (rescue Burmese/lab mix), Tiki (worthless rescue cat).

FAVORITES

Favorite Author: Stephen King

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Outside

Favorite Movie: Lots—The 15:17 To Paris — was excellent.

Favorite TV Show: Counterpart

Favorite Actor/Actress: Right now—JK Simmons.

Favorite Music: Blues and Bluegrass.

Favorite Musical Performer: Eagles (hard to pick just one—but if I were stranded on a desert island and could have only one artist to listen to—Eagles would work).

Favorite Artist: Me—drawing a “blank” right now.

Favorite Spectator Sport: Golf (no kidding!!).

Favorite Subject in School: English

Favorite Game: Meego Bingo

Favorite Vacation Destination: COLORADO, but there are several states with mountains I’d like to waste a lifetime in.

Favorite Time Of Day: NIGHT

Favorite Item Of Clothing: My RunnersWorld hoodie. Super soft. I just don’t wanna take it off.

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Golf

Favorite Running Shoe: I like Montrail in spite of them just ruining their once superior shoes. Saucony Xodus is also excellent. I own 30-40 pair of running shoes—mostly trail.

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Bacon/egg biscuit—no cheese—and COFFEE.

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Pecan pie, Fireball, bacon, Nutella rollups, and any combination of the above.

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: The basics—burgers, dogs, chili—and beer.

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): Favorite crew—Dana Childress. Favorite pacer—Lynna Gilstrap.

Favorite Place To Run: Ouachita Trail and offshoot trailz.

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: DIRT. I dislike pavement, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.

Favorite Famous Quote: “It never always gets worse!”—David Horton. “I won’t give up if you don’t give up.”–Train

ULTRA STUFF

Number of Years Running Ultras: 15 years

Number of Ultras Finished:  60+ ultras. 13 hundos.

Best Ultra Performance(s): Heartland 100 in 23:20.

Most Memorable Ultra: Rouge/Orleans 126.2 Not my best effort, but so many crazy stories to tell.

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: 10 weeks +/- (I am notorious for showing up grossly under-trained, and toughing it out.

Injuries: Plantar Fasciitis, (cured by wicked massage lady). Ankle sprain (no problems with it now). Meniscus tear-repaired, and now I just have general knee pain that goes away when I run and comes back when I am stationary.

Ultrarunning Idol: Scott Jurek

Why Do You Run Ultras:  I just love it. I like communing with nature, just going and going with only my breathing for my music, and I love that I’ve helped so many people become infected with the passion for trailz.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Fix the little things that cause DNFs, eat, drink, run with your heart. You are stronger than you think.

ACHIEVEMENTS / GOALS / MEMORIES

Personal Hero: Kathy Bratton

Personal Philosophy:  I run because it’s fun. I chat it up with other runners, I take a lot of pictures, I conjure up stories (some actually true) to put in my blog. When running quits being fun, I’ll probably quit.

Short-Term Goal: Finish a string of races I have signed up for. This IS my training, and I need to see some sort of improvement with each one. I am signed up for a 100 miler in November, and I’d like to do well—maybe even PR.

Long-Term Goal: Finish 20 hundos.

Most Prized Possession: A custom Silver Spud lamp awarded to me for being the TATUR Comeback Kid. I was so honored. There have been more dramatic comebacks among my group of ultra friends, but I was in a low, low place injury-wise, and scratched my way back. It’s still a work in progress.

Most Proud Achievement(s): Fall of 2008, I ran a string of ultras and improved each week. It started with the FlatRock 50K where I ran an 8:06. Then the next week at Arkansas Traveller 100, I ran a 27:06—a PR. The very next week I ran Heartland 100 and finished in 23:20. Three weeks later, I ran the Mother Road 100 in 23:45, and would have PR’d there as well if the course wasn’t 102 miles. Also, of equal importance, is being the 8th individual to be knighted into the legendary FlatRock “Hall of Pain” in 2011.

Happiest Memory: So many—Seeing my wife Dana finish her three 50Ks is right up there!

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Oh there are several, and if I told you, they wouldn’t be a secret anymore, now would they?

Greatest Adventure:  Way too many to pick just one. But I’d lie to think that the greatest is yet to come!

DISLIKES / FEARS

Least Liked Subject: Politics

Least Liked Household Chore: Cat litter duty.

Pet Peeve(s): LITTERING low-lifes.

Greatest Fear: Losing my mental faculties.

SPARE TIME

Book Currently Reading: Run Gently Out There—John Morelock

Hobbies: Blogging —> trailzombie.com

Collections: Wheat pennies.

What’s Next: Lots of races to run, a couple to RD, and many trail trips with friends.

Ken and his wife, Dana.

 

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