Monthly Archives: February 2011

crazy hilly long run today


Only Steve (crazy man Shaffer), Joseph, and I ran today. Nobody else came, so we did a crazy hilly loop. Went down Blackjack road, cut through the east part of campus near Eckies Pond, then cruised over to the apartment complex near the disc golf course, cut through a field to University Estates loping through the hills there, then turned left on Bardwell Road (also known as roller coaster road).  We ran the length of Bardwell before turning left on Old Mayhew Rd., then at the end of it, we turned right headed to the Highway Patrol Station.  We crossed Hwy 82 and took a few minutes to stretch at the Rose Garden.  Looked for a water hose, but to avail. Starkville in general is not very user friendly to people who exercise, and this was no exception. We the headed through the north farm then ran the bike trails in the nearby woods.  Running on the trails was awesome and very hilly! We finally left the woods, and ran back through the Research Park, ran around campus,  then back to the south farm where we parked. Probably about 10.5 to 11 miles, although I don’t know for sure. Took us an hour and 19 minutes for what that’s worth.

On Saturday, we went to the Pearl Practice meet. We were at the high school by 7:15 AM, and got home at 9 PM last night! Long day, and it was warm. We had two full bus loads of kids – one for the girls and the other for the boys. I road with the boys. Man, those jokers are crazy! Lots of football players. Very entertaining though, some of them rapped and sang reggae type songs on the ride back. The meet was pretty informal, but probably a good idea. Some people did really well, some did not do as well as they had been doing. Joseph ran the 3200m, 1600m, and ran one leg of the 4 X 400m race. He did not run well in the first two races. He started out way too fast! Then looked rough on the second mile and came in 3rd. But, for him, worse than coming in 3rd was the fact that he ran at least 30 seconds slower than he has been running. Same deal with the mile, not a good day. He seemed really tired and not in to it. Hopefully, this will not persist. He had been practicing well, but looked out of it. If he can relax, he should do what he does in practice every day! Of course, for people who don’t know him, they thought he did great, especially since he is only 14. Anyway, next Saturday we do not have a meet. So maybe he will get his head right.

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Running and biking and stuff


We had a nice run at the North Farm Wednesday afternoon. The weather could not have been better! As usual, the kids did somewhere between 4 and 5.2 miles today, depending on the runner.   On Wednesdays we usually go a little easier and a shorter distance than on Tuesdays, since the kids have a track workout the following day. So this was an easier run. Joseph averaged somewhere around 6:40 per mile. Damien again had a good run and was the second person to finish up. Nathan, Stuart, and I ran together and were the next to finish. We averaged about 7 to 7:10 a mile or so. Kamau showed up late, so he took a shortcut, and caught up and finished with us.  Steve Shaffer again ran with us and was not too far behind our group.  Most of the other folks were junior high kids and they all ran about 4 miles or so. Too easy for some of them, they might have to do a little more next week maybe? After everyone got done, they did between 4 and 6 hill repeats on the big nasty hill over there. Then, we all stretched and folks gradually left.

Thursday was track day, and again, since Joseph has guitar practice at 4:30 on Thursdays, he got started earlier than the other kids.  For the workout, Coach Barnett had them doing 600m/500m/400m/300m/200m/100m repetitions, all with equal amounts of running between each. Of course, a warm up and cool down jog was thrown in there. The reps were pretty fast, he said his 600 was 1:40, for example. He did not think every rep was as fast as it should have been, but it was very windy! While he was running, I was again on my mountain bike at the Research Park trails. Several people out there again. Some blond dude, think his name is Gunner or something, was jogging around the whole time I was there. Saw 3 guys riding, 2 were together, and the other was trying to fix his bike and recover after taking a nasty spill. He landed on his shoulder and neck, and was probably lucky it was not worse since he did not have a helmet on! A family walking around too. Nice place to hang out for sure.

Friday was so busy, I did not get to do anything athletic today!  Picked the kid up at the school around 5pm. He had just ran easy for 30-35 minutes in the nearby neighborhood with Kamau. I talked to the coaches a while about our meet coming up tomorrow morning. We need to be at the school at 7:30 AM to take off for the meet. The meet will actually be a practice meet, no ribbons, results, etc.. Basically, it is just a measuring stick to see where everyone is with their running right now. Not sure exactly which teams will be there, but for sure Pearl, since they are hosting the meet! I believe Madison Central may be coming too. Both teams have some really good runners, so we know we will be tested early. Because its a practice meet, they can have multiple entries, especially in the longer runs, could be crazy! And, it will be a long day. Don’t imagine we will be back until sometime tomorrow night.

We will be back at the South Farm Sunday afternoon at 3 pm for an easy run, if anybody wants to come….

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7 miles of gravel, more or less…


Monday was my weight lifting day and it was pretty good. Started out slow, wasn’t feeling it, but after a few sets, things started feeling better.  Got some good incline dumbbell presses in, blackeyes, curls with the curl bar, some dips, curls with dumbbells, lateral flies, and a couple of other things.

Got done, and went to pick up the kid from his track workout. When I arrived, he had not even started. They had some kind of meeting earlier, and so did not start his workout until later. Then they did a bunch of warmup deals, probably about 20 minutes too many for the distance kids, although the sprinters definitely need that. So anyway, he finally got going. After a warm up mile, he and Kamau did 5 X 1000m intervals at 3:09-3:15 pace wit 400m jogs between. When they got done, they did a 20 minute cool down jog. While I was there, I timed the other distance kids on their 1000m intervals.  They all did quite well.  But, because of the late start, we didn’t get home until at least 6 PM! Much too late for Joseph, as he had quite a bit of homework.

Tuesday, we went to the South Farm for our longer run of the week. Long being a relative term, since some of the kids are junior high age and don’t go as far. But most of them went 5.5 miles even so, although a few went about 4.5 miles.  Joseph and Kamau ran together for 4.5 miles at a 6.25 minute per mile pace, then Joseph and he split off with Kamau doing 6 miles and Joseph doing 8.  Aaron Remotigue did a great job today and ran about 7 miles (maybe a hair more).  He did a lot better today than any other day this year, its good to see him getting back in shape. He has been gradually adding a little bit to his runs, and it is paying off.  Damien Grady, Case Kingery, and Stewart Woomer all ran very good today, having little problem with the 5.5 mile route that they did.  They may need to go a little farther next time! The same for Laken, Kate, and Walker, all three of which are junior high girls. In fact, just about everybody did a good job. Maybe it was the picture perfect weather? It was a little dusty now and then when a truck came by, but fortunately, not many did. Gates were up on part of the route early on, but we climbed them.  The wind was not bad, and overall, you could not have asked for a nicer day to run! Steve Shaffer also joined us and did the 8 mile loop. I only did 7 or so miles as I needed to get back to make sure everybody was ok and doing their 100m strides.  Everybody got water and stretched out eventually.  You have to stay on top of those jokers to make sure they stretch! It took a while before all the parents got their kids, but eventually they did and we finally got home.

Tomorrow, the North Farm run…

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Nice Weekend in Starkville


Instead of running on Friday, I hit the Research Park bike trails after work. The trails are located in a relatively small patch of woods just north of the Research Park on Hwy 82 near the MSU campus.  I have been going out there on and off for about 30 years, although there were not bike trails there 30 years ago.  Over the years, various individuals have volunteered their time to make and maintain the trails, myself included. However, I have not worked on them in quite a few years for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I now have too many things going on and have no time. Its all I can do to keep my trail at my house going, and its only a mile long. The other reason it that the site is not designated as a permanent bike trail. It is privately owned. I have watched this beautiful wooded lot shrink in size over the years. Very frustrating! For me, it is not worth my time working on something that may not be there next year. But, I am so glad other people do! It is a fun place to ride, run, and walk. The only thing I don’t like about it is that every time I go out there, the trails have changed, some times for the worse. There are apparently different factions of “volunteers” who think only they should be in charge of making trails. At times, it has become a turf war. Only the most qualified can work on the trails. Some people even claim to have attended trail building classes!  Yeah, apparently they have these. Who knew. Its amazing that all these years trails were made by untrained people, and yet, they were very nice. I can honestly say, I see no improvement since the “pros” started working out there. Anyway, if you happen to be a biker who has worked on these trails for 20 years, but did not attend a “trail building” class, and a student new to the area who has learned to build trails the “right way” decides he or she should be in charge, everyone must bow to that trail building guru! Or, in some cases, there are groups of people who have been here for many years that can’t seem to get along.  One group even claims to have the expertise and insists that others should not build “rogue” trails because they don’t know how to do it right, even though they have done perfectly fine for years!  Lots of name calling, etc.  I find it all rather comical, since everybody is basically trespassing!  But, really, give me a break. If somebody wants to go out and work on trails, that has to be a good thing. So please people, get along! The funniest thing to me is that I thought the trails were much better 10 years ago, but since the professionals have gotten involved, they have become a sinuous, convoluted maze that is much slower and not as fun to ride. Oh well, and either way, they are still fun, and the only trails within  a 30 mile radius. Of course, if you want to drive 30 miles, you can ride the 25 mile +  trails at the Tombigbee National Forest. These trails are very nice for the most part, and I highly recommend them.

On my ride Friday, I spent about 45 to 50 minutes riding the trails, and I think I did basically every loop at least once, and some several times.  I tried to ride as hard as I could and got my legs pumped up really good. No wrecks today either, which was nice. My sore ankle was worse after the ride, all those uphills and the millions of switchbacks took their toll. While I was there, I saw one other biker on a super fancy bike (compared to mine). He was going really slow. I don’t know why, but when I see somebody on a $2000 bike, I always assume they should be much faster than me. On the other hand, he might have been going slow on purpose. Maybe he was bird watching. I also saw a guy raking the trail, a group of about 10 students or so doing something or another, a girl jogging, a young couple walking down the nearby train track, and two different groups of hammock people lounging in the trees. I sure hope this little oasis lasts a few more years. People are really using it.

I left the woods and went to get Joseph from SHS. He had just got done doing an easy run in the nearby neighborhood with Kamau.  I believe they went about 45-50 minutes. We hung around a while to attend a Track and Field booster club meeting. Trying to figure out ways to raise money for the team, as it is not a “priority” sport and does not get much money from the school system. Not much was accomplished, as is the way with meetings. But, we did schedule another meeting!

We did not run Saturday. Took the day off. I did lots of yard work though! Joseph and Julie went to the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and picked up trash and other such things.

Sunday afternoon, we headed over to the south farm at 3 PM for our run. Steve Shaffer again ran with us on the 7 mile run. The was the first Sunday afternoon in a long time that none of the SHS runners joined us, which was a little disappointing, especially with the beautiful weather. It was almost 80° today! Very windy, with strong winds from the south.  Most of the first part of the run was against the wind, and it was difficult to run very fast. Good thing today was an easy day.  It only  took  a couple of minutes before Joseph quickly left us, and it was not long before we could not  see him any more.  Steve and I ran together for 4 miles, at which point we had just passed the ginormous hill and he needed a breather. So, I went ahead at that point and ran the last three miles at about 6:50 per mile. Steve was not far behind and said me being in front motivated him to keep going. He said he got a little dehydrated today with the combination of hills, heat, and wind.  With about a mile to go, I passed Anna Jackson, who is also on the SHS track team. She was running effortlessly! Anyway, after the run, we stretched and talked a while, before heading home.

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Beautiful days continue


Yesterday was another sweet day to run. We all met over at the MSU North Farm to run.  Depending on who it was, they ran betweeen 4 and 6 miles. Afterward, the kids did some strides up the big hill near the Enology Building. Very tough hill. The MSU track team does hill workouts there occasionally.  I ran with Case, Nathan, and Kamau for the most part. Steve was not far behind and did a good job. The other folks might have started a bit fast, but then evened it out.  With the good weather, lots of people were out walking, biking, running, even hammocking! There is a group of MSU students who like to put their hammocks up between some of the trees at the top of the hill there when it is nice out. Fancy hammocks! They can curl up in them and hide even. I guess you could sleep in them.

Today (Thursday), I just lifted weights. Kind of a quick workout, lots of supersets (sets of different things between the other sets). Felt good. Weighed myself and noticed I was 6 lbs heavier than last week! With my ankle being sore and missing a few days of running last week, and with my lifting weights a little more, I guess that was not unexpected. Even though I ran this week, my ankle is still quite sore, and I have been going pretty slow. I should have taken this week off too, but the weather has been way too nice!

I went and picked up Joseph from his guitar lessons. Asked him how his track workout went. He did sets of 300m runs with 100m jogs between each and 400m jogs between sets. He said it went pretty good, but his times were off of his target pace because he had to run on the outside lanes and ended up running more than 300m each time.  The MSU track team was practicing at the track, as they have been doing some days the last few months while their track is being refinished. Unfortunately, we have a ton of kids also on the track trying to get their workouts in. Depending on the day and who is in charge, the MSU team  claims the inside lanes and insists that our runners stay on the outside lanes.  When the MSU head coach is there (which he wasn’t today), he typically asks the SHS coaches where his guys should run, but when he is not there, the underlings are much less amenable and more vociferous in their insisting our kids run on the outside. I understand they don’t want their runners being inadvertently injured, but we also have some good runners.  It surprises me that they can’t run earlier in the day, since college students have more flexible schedules than high school students. But, their track will eventually be finished, and it is important to maintain good relations with the MSU team. They are generally very cooperative. For example, we run on their cross country course in the fall, and will have two track meets at MSU this spring. So, for now, apparently we will be relegated to only running on the outside lanes when they are there. Harder than it sounds when there are about 100 kids there! Unfortunately, this was one of those days, and Joseph did not know if he was doing the 300s on pace. The track itself is not great, nor  is not marked at all, otherwise it might have been easier to figure out where the 300m mark was on an outside lane (actually, the lanes are not even marked).  I suppose, either way, he got his workout in. He ran fast and jogged and ran fast, etc., and ultimately that is the most important thing. I guess we will see at the first meet next Saturday (Feb. 26) at Pearl.

Joseph said that while he was running, he looked over and saw Steve Shaffer running around the track! That crazy joker is awesome!

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