Well, Joseph and I ran the Frostbite half marathon today and it was a beautiful day to run! It was about 45°F with some winds from the WNW about 8 or 9 miles and sun the whole way. We met at the Wellness Center by the hospital in Starkville and loaded the buses for the voyage to the starting line at Pheba 13.1 miles away. Pheba is a tiny little town on Hwy 389. No port-a-johns in Pheba! Immediately upon arriving there, almost all of the male runners, and some of the females, made a mad dash for a line of bushes and trees nearby to alleviate themselves of any unnecessary fluid. Comical for sure, and a bit weird.
We started the race and felt great for a while. We took off at our typical pace, maybe a hair fast, but not unusually so. Our first mile was right at 6 minutes, so we slowed down a bit. Then next 3 were all about 6:15. This was right about the pace we were shooting for, although, it was about 10 seconds faster per mile than I really liked, and maybe a few seconds slower than he really liked, but I figured if I could hold out for a few miles, I could get him set into a good pace for him for the race. Of course, that helped him more than me, since I was running faster than I usually do for a long run! Boy, I hate getting old! 15 or 20 years ago I could run 30 miles at a 6 minute pace, then go play basketball. Now, I am just a little more than 3 years from age 50 and trying to hang in there!
Somewhere around 5 miles, Joseph started getting tired of running with me, and I was slowing down some too, so he took off on his own. I had told him I did not want him running the race fast, because track season is starting up this Monday, and did not want him to push it and take a chance of injuring himself or needing a long recovery period. Of course, he has run 10 miles at 6 minutes per mile pretty easy, so his idea of an easy pace is not like normal people! Anyway, he actually listened to me somewhat and ran the first few miles with me, so I was happy. He ended finishing just over 1:24 for the race and came in third overall and first in his age group. I felt a little bad about holding him back, because I think he could have easily won the race today, as no really fast people were there. But, he really wants to concentrate on his mile and two mile races, so I am sticking with my decision on that. And, he has plenty of time. Somebody mentioned that this was a state record for his age (14) for the half marathon. I checked out StateRunningRecords.com, and indeed, according to them, his time was faster than the record by 20 MINUTES! His time also was faster than the 15 year old record by 6 minutes. Not bad for an easy long day! Joseph also competed as a two person team with Walker Mattox, who is only in eighth grade. He did the first leg (half) of the race, and she did the second. If you did the first leg, you had the option of completing the entire race, which is what he did. I believe there were about 24 teams. Joseph was so far ahead of any other team at the halfway point, that Walker had a tremendous lead, and they easily won. Even so, Walker ran her leg very fast (I don’t have the exact time of that yet). These kids are going to be great if they keep this up!
I felt really good until about the 8th or 9th mile, but both my calves started really hurting, so I had slow down quite a bit. I really felt it at the giant hill at mile 10. I knew it was going to be a problem, as they had been sore all week. I first felt them getting sore the previous Saturday after an 11.4 miles run that I made the mistake of running in racing flats. Who knows why? Stupid. But, then, I went and played indoor volleyball a few hours later for 3 hours. That is when I really felt it. Of course, the 7 mile run the next day with the high school kids did not help much, nor did the crazy interval workout on Monday, and the 8 mile run at 6:30 per mile on Tuesday, and 6.5 miles at 6:40 pace on Wednesday, and the 19 minute 5k on Thursday after my weight workout! But what the hell, I love a good workout. This run was about 3 miles longer than I like to go. I really hate running that far! Maybe if I was 20 pounds lighter? Too many years of heavy weight lifting, volleyball, and basketball have taken their toll on my knees. But, I felt like I needed to run since we had a bunch of our SHS kids running. And, I am just thankful that I could still run at all after some of my crazy knee injuries, but fortunately no surgeries. The best part of the race was meeting all the some really cool runners from all over. I did alright even so, coming in at 1:28 on the dot. This sounds better than it was, because I was 41 minutes at the halfway mark, so I slowed down a lot. Calves have been iced and already feeling a little better. The only smart thing I did before I ran was wrap both of my lower legs with an achilles style wrap. I don’t believe I would have been able to run half the race otherwise! Unfortunately, when the tape became loose after about 50 minutes, I could feel my calves burning again! If you ever have strained calf muscles, this wrapping technique works wonders! Check this youtube video out: link. Or, if you have any sense, you might try actually resting so things heal!
Following the race was a pizza/pasta dinner at Ricks Cafe Americain, a local bar. I am sure the kids got a kick out of being in a bar. The awards were given out there. Instead of trophies, they gave out cool blankets with the race logo. I got one for winning my age group, Joseph got two: one for his age group and one for the first place team award! The overall winner was Brian McDonnieal from Corinth. I believe he ran 1:21 something. Brian is a senior in high school, so that was a nice achievement for him. He is a great kid too. Back in November, he won the 3A State XC meet with a time of 16:47. The overall female was Meggan Franks, who ran 127 something. The times are not posted yet, so I don’t know exact times. Meggan lives in Starkville, and is married to the MSU men’s track and XC coach, Houston Franks. She ran at MSU herself and is still running really fast! Her time was even more spectacular when you consider it has only been about 3 months since she had a baby. She is quite an inspiration to everyone around here! Another local girl about her age, Kelly White, ran about 1:35, and this while being around 5 months pregnant. Her husband Micah also ran really well, I believe he was around 1:25 or 1:26. I don’t have the names and times of the masters and grandmasters, but when it is posted, I will put up a link. I do know that the male grandmasters runner, who finished a couple of seconds in front of me, beat the grandmasters course record by over a minute, and I believe the female masters division record was shattered!
Well, this race/long run is over, so now back to the regular training. 7 miles tomorrow afternoon!