Monthly Archives: August 2011

Final run with the Boardtown Running Club until mid November

Because we canceled yesterday’s afternoon practice, I had a chance to lift some weights at the Sanderson Center! I was having withdrawal symptoms from not being able to workout the last week or two since XC practices started at Starkville High. Followed that up with a 6+ mile run through campus and town. Pretty hot, but not too bad.

Joseph actually took a day off from running yesterday! Its been a while. He ended up going to the high school football game last night. Even so, we got up early to run with the Boardtown Running Club. This was one of the nicer mornings we have had in quite some time as it was no where near as hot as usual. That certainly made the running easier! Some of the hardcore marathoners were running a 20 mile loop, but we only did 10. Until the XC is over, I don’t plan on doing more than 10 miles, because the kids only run 5k races. Ethan Musser also joined us and pretty much kept up the entire way. This was by far his best run of any distance ever (in my opinion)! If he runs with the effort he did today, he is going to have a great season.  I wanted to do the first 5 miles at a decent pace, then the next at a slightly slower pace. And, we were able to do just that running the first 5 miles at about 6:25 per mile and the remaining 5 at about 6:55. It has been a long time since I have run 10 miles as easy as today. I guess after doing 13-15 mile long runs, 10 miles just seems easier mentally. Plus, the cooler temps helped a bunch!

beginning of run with the Boardtown Running Club - 20 August 2011

Tomorrow, we will meet back at the South Farm parking lot for a run through town, campus, or where ever. We plan on meeting at 6:30 pm, which is a bit earlier than usual.


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First meet of the year a good one for SHS

The Starkville High XC team did well in the first meet of the season at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, MS. The meet was atypical in that it was a 10k relay race with 4 person teams. We had 6 boys teams and two girls teams in the race (and one team of 3 girls who ran just to run). Our top girls team, which consisted of Walker Mattox, Abigail Arinder, Mary Elizabeth Stringer, and Kate Mattox, won first place against some very good teams such as Madison Central, Clinton, Oak Grove, Pearl, and others. Our top boys team came in second and consisted of Damian Grady, Stuart Woomer, Ethan Musser, and Joseph MacGown.  Clinton won the race, although we felt like we would easily have won if we had had our top returning runner from last, Kamau Bostic, at the meet. However, the boys did a great job and the season is looking promising. Despite a significant lead at the last handoff by Clinton and another team, Joseph erased much of the difference easily passing the 2nd place runner and  almost closing the distance between him and 1st. We managed to be quite a head of the Pearl squad, which was nice, as they are perennial powerhouses in track and XC and are in the same classification as us – 5A (Clinton is 6A). It was also nice to beat Madison Central and Oak Grove, because they both pounded us at the state meet last year!

Mary Elizebeth, Kate, Walker and Abigail - 1st place team

Joseph, Ethan, Damian, and Stewart - 2nd place team

The meet was somewhat interesting with the high temperatures (around 100°) and the fact that the headlights on the bus quit working on the return trip! We ended up staying in the Jackson area much longer than anticipated until a bus could be driven from Starkville to replace the one we were on. We did not get back to the school until after 2:00 AM!  Because of the late arrival, I imagine many of the runners went to school late; I know Joseph did.  We also decided to cancel Friday’s afternoon practice as a result.

We plan on running 10 miles tomorrow with the Boardtown runners, although some of those folks will be doing a 20 mile run as they prepare for an upcoming marathon.  Sunday afternoon we will again meet at the South Farm for a run through town. However, we will meet at 6:30 PM this week now that it is getting dark earlier.

A picture of me (Joe MacGown), Joseph MacGown, Steve Shaffer, and
Michael Lee after a typical August  Sunday evening run in MS


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First meet of season tomorrow!

Another crazy week of running here in Starkville. It all started with a 15 mile run with the Boardtown running club on Saturday. We had several SHS runners join us, with most of them doing about 8 miles, but our top 4 boys – Joseph [MacGown], Kamau  Bostic, Damian Grady, and Ethan Musser all were able to do the 15 miles. Fortunately, none of them ran very hard and actually cruised along at the pace they needed to be at. Kamau may have run a little fast, as he needed a break at 10 miles and got in the truck with Mike White, who drives about making sure everyone is ok. However, when they came back to the same water break where he had got into the truck, he saw Ethan and Damian and joined them for the remaining 5 miles or so. Ethan and Damian did great. This was this first time either of them had run 15 miles, so they were quite happy to see that they could do it! Joseph also did pretty well, and went about the pace I wanted him to do, which averaged out to about 7 minutes per mile. I did alright for the first few miles, basically until my shoes and feet were completely saturated with sweat, then slowed down a bit. Felt pretty good though. Jogged in the last couple of miles for a cool down. I am liking where I am right now in that I am not really sore after these runs lately and can easily run harder the next day for a lesser distance. During the run, I met a couple of new guys who both did a great job, Ben and Clay. Ben is a grad student who ran high school XC, and Clay is a fire fighter from Tupelo.  Meggan Franks ran a nice pace, with her middle 10 miles or so at her marathon pace. Once she got going, she made everyone else look slow! Of course, she was doing different training than us. But even so, I could not have kept up with her had I wanted to. I don’t feel too bad though; she is currently ranked in the top ten for Canadian women marathoners, and looking to improve on that. It is cool to have someone of her caliber running here in our area. Some of the other hard core marathoners added 3 miles to the beginning of the run, so we did not see them, but they said they ran about 7 minute miles for the entire 18 miles. This will likely be the last 15 mile run we do until after cross country season as our focus will change now to a more speed driven practice schedule. And really, our guys only run 5k races, so 15 mile runs, while great for summer training and long slow days, will now be a bit excessive. We will continue to do long runs, but not in excess of 10 miles, and we will probably start speeding them up a bit now as well. In fact, we will only really have one more opportunity to run with the Boardtown group because our Saturday meets will begin on Sept. 3rd. So, this coming Saturday will be our last run with them for a while. Going to miss it for sure.

Sunday evening, Joseph, Kamau, Ethan, Russ, and I ran together through campus and downtown, while Steve, Julie, and Shanika ran on the South Farm. Joseph ran about 7, and the rest of our group ran a 10k route. Kept a decent pace up, and Kamau and I finished up strong with a 6:40 mile followed by a half mile at a slower pace. The other guys did pretty good too. Joseph was again running at a much faster pace than us, so I don’t know exactly what he did.

Monday, early morning easy run. Joseph got a good 30-35 minute run in. That afternoon, we ran about six miles and it was HOTTTTT! Easily a 100° F. Nobody ran particularly well as our practice was at 3:45 pm, but everybody got through. Most of our top boys again looked the best with Joseph, Ethan, Alex, and Damian leading the way. Some of others, Kamau and Aaron and others, again seemed to be adversely affected by the heat, and were not able to go as far. I think some of them are still not properly hydrating? Most of our top girls also did well, considering the heat.  The temps on Tuesday were not much better, but the running seemed easier somehow. We did a workout on the gravel roads at the North Farm after warming up and doing an easy run. The workout was three sets of 400m/400m/800m with 1:30 rests between the 400s and and easy jog after the 800s. Some of the guys and girls did a really good job. Joseph and Damian really stood out, with Jack and Ethan also doing well for the boys. Joseph was pretty consistent with most of his 400s under 1:10 and his 800s under 2:30. The last one was 2:22, and that was on gravel at 100°, so he should have been pretty happy. Kate, Walker, Shanika, and Abigail again excelled for the girls. These girls have been very solid day to day. Another group of girls is also running well, with Ashley Albritton, Meagan Wolf, Anna Jackson, Haley Jenkins, and Sabrina Moore leading the way in that pack.  Hopefully, they can bridge the gap and get up there with the other girls! After the workout, we got in a cool down run, stretched and took off.

Wednesday, early morn run again, followed by an easy 4-5 miles that afternoon. Nothing too hard, because we have our first meet tomorrow. This first meet is a 10k relay race at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, MS. We will have several 4 person teams running. Hopefully, everybody is ready and will use this as a spring board to our first 5k meet in Memphis (the Twilight Run) on September 3rd. Either way, it will be interesting to see how they do at this first meet tomorrow!

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Loads of Kids running the Streets of Starkville, MS

Another week of running, and no major problems-always a good thing! Calves and other muscles all hanging in there. I should mention that although I have been running a long time, really since I was a little kid, that I am not really built like a traditional runner. Just not quite skinny enough. I enjoy lifting weights and what have you too much I guess. Currently, I am 47 years old, 5’9″, and weigh 170 lbs. My legs are probably more developed for jumping, as I used to play basketball a lot and liked to jump. I could jump pretty high and could easily dunk a basketball with two hands, even did behind the head dunks and other things like that. Consequently, my legs, especially my calf muscles, are not ideal for running distances.  I have found this to be especially true from my late 30’s on. For a period in my 20’s through early 30’s, I ran and biked so much, my weight was only about 155 or so, but then I started pushing the weights more and was 200 lbs by age 40. Sure, I could bench press 350 several times and do a ton of weight on the leg press, but I certainly could not run as fast or far. Didn’t really matter at the time, although I did miss the days of being able to run 4:50 per mile for 3 miles or better. But, when my kid started running, I had to change my habits to keep up with him (I can’t really do that any more). So, now, I am 30 pounds lighter. It is much easier to run, but my calves still get pretty tight some times. As a result, I find myself constantly working on my running form and with experimenting with shoes, always hoping to find the perfect shoe for my feet, build, and particular way of running. Between shoes for myself, my wife, my son, and even shoes I sometimes buy for kids on our cross country team, I spend a ton of money on shoes. If I gave up this crazy habit, I could probably have a fancy car or something! But, I do like running, and I am not one of those crazies who runs barefoot on pavement, so I need shoes.  On the practical side, I try to buy shoes only on sale either locally or online. often has some good deals, particularly for cross country running shoes, which my son uses. I will say that I am somewhat cheap and will never buy a pair of shoes for myself that cost anything near or over $100. I have bought some $100 plus shoes for Joseph, but I feel like since that is his sport, that is part of the deal. For me, I am super happy when I can find a closeout sale and find a pair of shoes for $30 or less. Believe it or not, some of my favorite shoes have been under this price.  Lately, I have been running in some Saucony trail shoes that feel great! And, my calf muscles have been great as well. I think I have finally found a way to manage their getting sore by having very erect posture and having my feet hit the ground in just the right spot. Its almost like I put my feet out in front a bit more than I used to, then follow with my body so that my hips land directly above the foot, maybe even a hair behind. The trick is to not let the footstrike be behind me at all. I know this sounds intuitive, but apparently I have not always done it, or at least I have not been doing it the last few years. Maybe footstrike is less important when you are younger and lighter, I don’t know, but I do know that I as an older somewhat heavier runner (than I used to be), it is important, at least to me!!!

Last Thursday, the SHS kids got a 800m interval workout in. Most of them did a great job, which was nice to see. Many of the runners are in much better shape than they were a year ago at this time. Summer training is evident with many of them. Joseph did six 800’s with 400m jogs between. His times were between 2:22 and 2:30 for the slowest, so I was pretty happy with that!

On Friday, we did a easy 6 mile run, which went pretty well. We followed that by getting up early the next morning and running 12 miles with the Boardtown running club. Joseph got a good weight/core workout in that afternoon. We again hit the road on Sunday, with Ethan, Kamau and Steve joining us for a 6 mile run, although Joseph did at least 9. He took off like a crazy banshee after the 1/4 mile and we never saw him again until he showed up about 20 minutes after we were through.

On Monday morn, Joseph got up and jogged an easy 3 miles. Some of the other XC kids met at the school and ran 4 miles or so. Unfortunately, we live a good ways out of town and will not be able to join them for any morning runs in town and still have time to get back home, shower and make it back to school and work on time. That afternoon we ran with the XC team, with most of the ones who run with me doing about 6 miles, although Joseph got in about 9 and a half. On Tuesday, we did a fartlek run that started with a 10 minute easy warm up. Following that, we alternated 4 minutes pretty fast with 3 minutes easy, doing that 5 times. Most of the advanced boys ended up with about 7 miles of running. Joseph got a head of us and did probably one or two more of the fast 4 minute bursts, all of which were faster than ours, and probably at least two more miles.  He got up early Wed. morn for another easy 3.5 miles on the trail. It was very nice out! That afternoon he ran an hour with the team, although most of them only went about 5 miles. Then many of them did a light weight workout. Joseph has been doing his weight/core workouts at home, in part because he already has a good plan, and also because he likes to spend his time at practice running. Plus, he has guitar practice on Wednesdays and has to leave as soon as possible after running to make it on time. However, when we got home, we both got a nice workout in doing pushups, pullups, dips, curls, shoulder flys, and various ab exercises. It ended up being a very good workout.

On Thursday, we finally got to get the kids off the paved roads and ran on the South Farm!! Started the day with our warmups and mile jog. Then some strides and various drills before doing a mock two mile race. This was not an easy course either, very hilly, and very loose gravel. I believe they must have just graded the road! Even so, they all had the same course to run on. We were using this as a means of determining who would be on the various 4 person teams participating in our first meet this year, which is a relay race. Not too many surprises in who finished where. The relay meet will take place next Thursday at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, MS.  The runners who were in better shape followed the two mile race with a 4 mile easy run with me, although Kamau and Joseph ran ahead of us. Ethan and Alex ran with me. Most of the rest of the group went back via a 2.5 mile easy run.

Tomorrow, another easy run, and Saturday, another run with the Boardtown group. We will only be able to run with this group two more times before our Saturday meets start, which is a bummer. It is so nice to run with the many great runners that run with them!

I have to say, that Steve Shaffer, a political science professor who often runs with us, has been a great help with the team, both in donating money to help pay for bus drivers for meets, and in running with some of the kids during practice. It is a real luxury to have people out making sure everyone is ok. THANKS STEVE!!

I can’t tell you how anxious I am to see how our runners respond in their first meet next week! I am sure both Coach Woomer and Coach Barnett feel the same way. But, whatever happens, I do know that our team is much farther along than at this point last year!

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First week of SHS XC going well

Joseph and I started out Sunday morning with a 7 mile run. We started around 6:45 at the South Farm and ran through the campus, downtown Starkville area, and through some neighborhoods. Not super easy today, I could tell I had not run in a week! I think we ran about a 7:30 per mile pace or so. That evening at 7 pm we met Steve, Ethan and Kamau for a run. Shanika also came and ran 4 miles with Steve on the South Farm. Julie ran a 5k distance on the farm. The rest of us cruised along for 5.5 miles through the university, University Estates, and down Bardwell Road hitting the nice hills along the way. We again maintained about a 7:40ish pace, except for Joseph, who got ahead of us after a couple of miles and was running a good bit faster.

Monday started with Joseph doing about 25 minutes on the trail at about 5:40 AM. I did not get up in time for that! I did lift some weights after work. Followed that with a decent run with the SHS XC team for about an hour. On Tuesday, we had “meet the Jackets” at the SHS football field, which entailed having all of the fall sports teams standing around on the track while they had their names announced. This, unfortunately, cut our practice short. We did get a brisk (sort of) 4 mile run in. The guys that went with me were running about 6:40 per mile.  A newcomer to the team, Austin Wileman (a senior), did a pretty good job considering he had not been running with us. He kept up until about the 5k mark, then slowed up, but I thought he did a remarkable job considering. Could have some impact for sure. On Wednesday, we did an hour long run, with several groups going different paces. I felt good today, was hitting 6:30 to 6:45 per mile pretty easy. Several runners are starting to stand out right now in addition to Kamau and Joseph. Ethan Musser has been running all summer and it shows! He is in great shape right. Damian Grady also looks much better than last year. Several of the others are showing some potential as well including Stuart Woomer, Nathan Gaudin, Aaron Remotigue, and Alex Ross. In order for our boys team to be any good, these four and others will have to step up for sure!  The girls team should be good this year too, with the Mattox sisters (Walker and Kate), Shanika Musser, Abigail Arinder, and Mary Elizabeth Stringer making a strong 5, along with several other girls that could contribute.

Tomorrow, 800’s! Friday will be easy, but on Saturday morning we will do a long run with the Boardtown Running Club. We will either do 12 miles or 15.6 depending on how we feel.

Happy running…..

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