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!