Monthly Archives: September 2011

10 miles at 7 followed by breakfast of the champions at McDonalds

Yesterday afternoon around 4pm, we went over to the MSU XC course to do a tempo run on the 5k course. Actually, my run was less of a tempo run, as was Julie’s. Kamau Bostic joined us, and Joseph and he ran the course together. The course itself had dried out from the deluge earlier in the week and was in pretty good shape. There were some slightly rough areas here and there, and tire tracks from at least a couple of vehicles did not help! Annoying.  I thought that Kamau and Joseph did a great job with the tempo run considering nobody else was there, it was fairly warm, and it was a lazy Saturday afternoon.  Joseph finished up at 17:24 and Kamau was about 17:42. They ran together most of the way, really until about 2 miles, then Kamau dropped back a bit. But, I think they were both pleased with their efforts. Plus, neither were seriously winded and within a couple of minutes of finishing, we started a cool down jog.

Another beautiful Sunday morning to run! Julie, Joseph, and I  arrived at the South Farm parking lot at about 6:45 AM this morning for our weekly 10 mile run. Steve Shaffer was already there, as were a bunch of RV’s and the folks inhabiting them who had made MSU their temporary residence during and following the football game last evening.  The first person from our team to show up was Aaron Remotigue, who has never run with us on the weekend! It was great to have him out there. He has been our 6th runner on the team this year, but has shown a lot of promise at practice the last few weeks. Hopefully, running with the top five guys will get him better and better. One thing is for sure, the top 6 boys are starting to click together as a team, which bodes well for the season. After a bit, Ethan and Damian showed up, then Kamau dragged in (prompted by a phone call or two!). Stuart Woomer was out of town, so he did not get to run with us today.

Julie headed out to the South Farm for her run, and the rest of us headed out toward campus, then downtown, and onward toward the airport and back. As usual, we started out a bit slow, 1st mile was only 7:35 or so, but then we started picking it up with most of us averaging around 7 minutes a mile for the first 4 or 5 miles, except for Joseph and Kamau who were well in front of us. At about 30 minutes, Kamau dropped back to run with our group. Then, at about 5 miles, I picked up the pace significantly. Trying to get these jokers used to doing the second half faster than the first half.  I ended up running the next couple at 6:42 or so, then we stopped at McKee Park for some water. Ethan was pretty much running side by side with me, and Kamau and Damian in front of us a bit. Aaron had dropped off at about mile 5; don’t think he was used to the negative split idea, and Steve was just behind him. Joseph was so far in front, we could not see him, but he waited for us at the water stop, then took off when we got there.  At that point we only had about 3 miles, more or less, to go, so we again tried for decent pace.  Kamau, Damian, Ethan, and I took off running around 6:40 per mile, with Kamau and Damian a little faster than that. With a mile to go, we picked it up further, with Damian smoking the rest of us, followed by Kamau, me, and Ethan. Ethan and I were together until about the last 1/2 mile, then I picked it up considerably running the last 400-500 m at about a 5:05 pace. My last mile was not more than 6 minutes, which meant Damian and Kamau were much faster than that. Of course, by the time we got there, Joseph was already done stretching. We then jogged to recover, meeting up with Aaron and Steve, we were finishing up. What a great run! The guys averaged between 6:25 per mile and 7:05 or so.  It was nice for Aaron to get out here with us to see how we do our long runs and to be a part of the main group of varsity boys! Some people probably do their long runs at a slower pace, but I would rather maintain a decent pace if possible. As long as it feels relatively easy, and we can talk to one another, I don’t think its too fast. In fact, if they get to where they can run 10 miles at 6 minute per mile pace or better, I would be ecstatic!

Joseph MacGown, Ethan Musser, Damian Grady, Joe MacGown, Kamau Bostic, Steve Shaffer, and Aaron Remotigue

We followed our run with breakfast at McDonalds. I know it sounds unhealthy, but I don’t really worry about what I eat as much as people assume I do. I try to have a nice balance of healthy and unhealthy foods, and so far, that has worked very nicely for me. At any rate, we were hungry and McDonalds was nearby! Plus, it was nice to have the guys together as a group.

Man, I really like that the top few boys are getting together for these non mandatory weekend runs. It shows that they are really getting into it! Its not just the boys though, as the top 5 varsity girls all ran yesterday morning with the Boardtown Running Club! Those girls included Kate Mattox, Walker Mattox, Abigail Arinder, Shanika Musser, and Mary Elizabeth Stringer. Way to go girls!!!!

Not to be outdone by our amazing kids, Steve Shaffer has been pretty much running with us every day now! He said that he is averaging about 50 miles a week, more than he has ever done in the past. Steve has been a great help with our cross country team this year. He runs with them and is constantly encouraging all of us!

Next Saturday the SHS team will be running at the Jesse Owen’s meet in Alabama. This will be a huge meet with around 5000 runners in 14 different divisions! Hopefully, our kids will keep improving and this will be a PR day for everyone!


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Another Week of Running in Starkville

We had some crazy weather on Monday, so we actually took a day off from running. Almost seemed weird. I probably needed it, as I slightly strained my calf muscles Sunday afternoon playing volleyball. Probably would have been fine if we had not ran close to 11 miles that morning. Anyway, we all went to the MSU XC course Tuesday after the kids got out of school, but upon arrival the bottom fell out, and we were drenched. So was the course, so we opted to run fartleks on the gravel roads of the adjacent South Farm. The kids did, however, jog a warm up around the lower portion of the XC course first, probably a mistake as it was quite wet. But, the combination of mud, standing water, and rain really got everyone excited about running, and it ended up being a very good practice.  I went with the faster boys and we tried to simulate 1000m intervals by running our fast portions for 3 to 3:20 minutes, then running easy in between each for 2 minutes. We did 5 of those across the hilly, muddy, and gravelly terrain in the rain, then 5 serious hills, then one more fast 3 minute burst! If my calf muscles were sore the day before, they were screaming after this with all the hills and wet mud!

On Wednesday morning, my right calf was quite sore, to the point where it hurt to walk on it.  So I wrapped it using a taping method I like. I kept it taped all day to keep my achilles and calf muscles from overstretching. With it taped up, I had no problem running 8 miles with the varsity boys that afternoon! We average just under 7 minutes a mile, with some of them running faster for the first half than the rest of us. Joseph probably averaged about 6:30 per mile for the whole run. Aaron also ran very well today, as he has been doing lately. A couple of the guys had run a good bit that morning, so they did not go as far as the rest of us, but did fine while they were with us. Ethan was again ever steady! We wrapped it up with the last couple of miles being about 6:30 each, then everyone did six 100m strides.

On Thursday, we headed to the South Farm for some 400m intervals. After warming up and a mile warm up run, we started. The intervals were done on a very difficult hilly, gravel road.  We ran up 400m, then down 400m. Needless to say, the uphill ones were quite a bit slower. Hard to get any traction on gravel. On the way down, you had to stay in control so as not to fall. Most of the kids did 16 of the 400’s, although a few did less, and Joseph and Ethan did 18!  I thought everybody did a good job considering the difficulty, not to mention it was pretty warm. Joseph and Kamau were, of course, the fastest, with their uphills being 1:18 to 1:20, and their downhills 1:08-1:10. Although, Kamau whimped out and only did 14, and with a pretty good break in the middle. Punk. Needless to say, I again had my calf wrapped, anticipating the strain the hill would put on those old muscles. No complaints afterward. In fact, everything was feeling better and better.

With no meet this weekend, we were able to get in a pretty good long run on Friday afternoon with the varsity boys and girls running for an hour. I took the varsity boys through the MSU campus, then through University Estates and down Bardwell Road. It was a great run and a beautiful day to run! The temperature was ideal. I again wrapped my lower leg, but after today, I don’t think I will need to again. I cannot over emphasize the effectiveness of the wrapping method for letting your calf/achilles region heal, and while still running at a decent pace!

I plan on stopping by the MSU XC course this afternoon at 4 PM for a tempo type run on the course. Hopefully, it is dried out enough for that.  Sunday morning, we will again meet at 6:50 to 7:00 AM at the MSU South Farm for a 10 mile run.  See you there!


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Beautiful 10 mile run this morning!

I started the day with a 10.7 mile run this morning at 7 AM. Joining me were Steve Shaffer and our top five SHS varsity boys runners: Joseph MacGown, Kamau Bostic, Damian Grady, Ethan Musser, and Stuart Woomer. I guess its pretty obvious why they are our top five runners. They are the ones who put in the work day in and day out, including these early morning Sunday runs, as well as running in the off season. I wish I could convince the next group of guys on our team to join us so they could bridge the gap between them and the top five. Unfortunately, that gap is instead getting wider and wider.  Julie and Coach Woomer also ran today, running along the gravel roads of the South Farm!  Lots of other runners were also out and about. As we were about to start, the MSU girls XC team was exiting the South Farm, just finishing up their long run. Of course, Haley Greenwell and Renee Masterson were leading them! BEASTS! My group meandered through campus, downtown, Industrial Park Rd., Airport Rd. and back to the South Farm area. But, our run first started by dropping by Kamau’s house, which is only .75 of a mile away. He did not show up on time, so we decided to go make sure he was awake! He was out on the porch, so we grabbed him. While we were waiting for him to get his shoes, Suli Alli jogged by and stopped to say hello. Suli is a bit older than me and still running great. Back in the day he was an all American 800m runner at MSU! We used to have great battles in local 5k races. Anyway, we headed out and ran 10 miles from that point. On our way back, we ran by Jim Harden, who runs the Boardtown Runners web site. Talked to him a minute about the Boardtown group and the ice maker that we all bought for them. They gave it to them yesterday at a ceremony at the house! This was to thank them for the 20 years they have hosted long runs at their house every Saturday. Our run went pretty well today. I again wanted the first 5 miles to be slower than the second five, which they were. Our first five averaged around 7:20,  the next four were  all between 6:35 and 6:45, and the last one was faster than that.  My last mile was around 6 minutes. Of course, Joseph pretty much ran the whole ten miles at a faster pace than everyone, but I don’t know his exact pace.

There was a nice article about our team winning the meet yesterday in today’s Starkville Daily News! Check it out if you can. Its also online at:

We will be back at SHS running tomorrow afternoon (if the weather is good).

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Another great week of running with SHS and a nice team victory at the Bulldog Invitational on Sept. 17

What a great week of practice! Everybody is looking good, working hard and getting better daily. Started Monday, with morning and afternoon practices for most folks. That afternoon we did between 6 and 9 miles, depending on who it was. As usual, Joseph got in about 9, with about 25 minutes of that being at tempo pace.  The girls did a little better today I thought, we our second group of girls getting some mileage in with the first. Tuesday, we had a great workout at the MSU XC course with 5 X 1000 m interval with 1:30 breaks. We followed that with 5 hill repeats on the big nasty hill. If you have been there, you know what I am talking about! Boys varsity runners looked great on the 1000’s, with Kamau and Joseph leading the pack averaging about 3:05 per 1000. In fact, everyone did very well today!

Wednesday was basically a repeat of Monday, easy morning run (not me) and 6 to 9 in the afternoon. This was a great bonding day for the Varsity boys I thought, and they all ran together nicely. Most of them did 6 miles, Joseph added about three more. His were at about 6:30 per mile and the rest of us were 6:50ish. Stuart really did well today!

Thursday was a weird day with MSU having a home football game, so the high school released their students at 1 pm. Practice was also early, and consisted of 12 X 400’s. Joseph and I did not get to go to practice, but we did some 400’s at home later. We did them between 1:12 and 1:15 with 1:30 rests. Hard for me, but seemingly effortless for the kid. PUNK.

Friday was a super easy 35 minute run, followed by stretching and hanging out. Ran at the North Farm. Beautiful day.

On Saturday morn, we headed to the MSU XC course for the Bulldog Invitational, which had college, high school, and junior high races. The college runners went first with MSU men and women both dominating their respective races! Our buddies Jorge Villareal, Andrew Harwell, Haley Greenwell, and Renee Masterson did great. Haley and Renee were first and second overall in the girls race!

Our high school boys dominated a great field, which included teams such as Clinton, Madison Central, and others and easily won first place! This was significant as Clinton won the 6A state championship last year and Madison Central also beat us soundly! This year, however, our school is now a 5A school and we will no longer face them at the state championship. Even so, it was good to run against them and actually win! We were again lead by Joseph [MacGown] who came in 2nd overall PR’ing at 16:42 on a ridiculously difficult course. He was followed by Kamau Bostic (5th, 17:26), Damian Grady (7th, 17:32-PR), Ethan Musser (11th, 18:18-PR), and Stuart Woomer (13th, 18:33-PR). Its no surprise that these top 5 boys on our team are most likely to be the 5 boys that run 10 plus miles with me tomorrow morning at 7 AM, and that they are the ones consistently getting their runs in (including this past summer).  Two other boys also ran under 20 minutes for us: Aaron Remotigue (24th, 19:12) and Tyler Hutchinson (32nd, 19:53). Good run for Tyler, not so much for Aaron, who I would like to see under 18 minutes right now. The rest of our high school boys mostly did very well and many of them had PR’s despite the difficult course. A good example would be Peyton Wolf, who ran around 25 minutes, but 3 minutes faster than his first race! Brandon Le also made a huge jump, as did some of the others.

On the girls side, we came in 2nd place behind a stacked Madison Central team. Kate Mattox, our 7th grade phenom, won the 4k race overall with a 15:34 time! Her sister Walker was 4th (16:17), Abigail Arinder was 11th (17:03), Shanika Musser was 14th (17:19), and Mary Elizabeth Stringer was 26th (18:17). Our next closest finishers were Anna Jackson, Ashley Albritton, and Meghan Wolf.

Of note, Starkville Academy senior Austin White ran a good race and came in at 18:48. I believe this was only his second cross country race ever! Starkville Academy runner Pierce Fondren also did very well in the junior high race, placing 4th (I believe), and coming in before any of our junior high boys!

Well, this one is done, so back to running. We have to keep improving to have a chance at the state meet titles this year. Looking very good right now though!

Tomorrow morning we will again be doing a 10 mile run, meeting at 6:50-7 AM at the South Farm parking area.


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Great Week of Practice and Upcoming Mississippi State Invitational on 17 Sept. 2011

This week started off with a great run in the rain on Monday afternoon. We did not have practice because of the holiday, but a few of us met to run together anyway. Joseph, Ethan, and Kamau were there, as was Arash and Jorge Villareal, who runs on the MSU Cross Country team. It was awesome to have Jorge out there with us!  We ended up running about 7 miles or so, with the first mile at about 7:15, then we gradually sped up until reaching the Sanderson Center area, where we picked up the pace further. I was wanting to go at tempo pace for about 3 miles, and I thought we did a pretty good job with that. Joseph did an excellent job today and was far ahead of the rest of us. Of course, Jorge was simply doing an easy run, as he had a long run coming up the next morning with the MSU team. His easy pace was about what my tempo pace was! It was a crazy day to run with the wind and rain, but the cooler temps made it feel wonderful.

Tuesday found us at the North Farm, where the kids again did 1000m intervals. The varsity boys did 6 of them today, and for the most part, they did a great job. Joseph and Kamau did 4 really good ones (between 3.00 and 3:08 minutes), but two were slower, probably 3:20ish. Joseph looked a little out of it, maybe was not hydrated enough, but somehow was able to run pretty anyhow. Kamau looked better than usual, which was good. Aaron did a much better job with the 1000’s this week also. I ran with the JV boys today, who I thought did not put forth enough effort at the Memphis race. However, today, they all did a good job today! The girls all ran well too, so the day was successful. We followed the 1000’s by some fast hills.

On Wednesday, Joseph got in an early run in the morning. That afternoon, we ran in Long Meadow neighborhood, McKee Park, and down Industrial Park Road going various distances between 6 and 9.5 miles depending on who it was. Joseph, Kamau, and Arash (who ran with us today) went the farthest. I ran with the other varsity boys for 6 miles, then Stuart showed up late, and I ran with him for another 3 miles or so.  Everybody looked pretty good, and both Kamau and Aaron again did a much better job than earlier in the season. Of course, Ethan and Joseph again were as steady as ever! Damian and Stuart have really picked up the pace this year too. I don’t know for sure how everybody did, but they all seemed to be running along pretty well. Steve Shaffer paced the better girls and next group of guys, which he has been doing this year. I think that is really helping them.

On Thursday we met at the South Farm where most of the kids did 400m repeats on a hilly section of the gravel road (of course most of the South Farm is hilly). The varsity boys ran with me to the MSU Cross Country course where most of them did a 30 minute tempo run, except Joseph and Kamau, who did a fartlek based run (since they had already done a tempo on Monday). They all did pretty good, with Joseph and Kamau really pushing each other, and Aaron doing a nice tempo run. Ethan also ran pretty good.

On Friday, we went to the high school and ran in the neighborhood, etc. Again, varying distances for different people, don’t know what everyone did, but Joseph got in 8 good miles. I did not think that this was Joseph’s best week, but he did pretty well even so. And, overall, I thought this was one of the best weeks of practice the team as a whole has had – top to bottom, boys and girls – maybe ever!  Kamau and Aaron Remotigue really stood out this week as working harder than they had been, and I really think this might have been the best string of practice days in row that either of them have ever had. Yes, ever! That was great, because they had not previously showed this level of effort or commitment, and we really need it! Alex Ross was down a little early in the week due to being sick, but he also picked it back up later.  Damain Grady, who is really putting forth some great effort this year, was a bit sore from a sore achilles strain and mild shin splints, but after wrapping his achilles a few days, he seems to have recovered. And, with a new pair of training shoes, his shins also seem much better! I think the varsity guys are starting to smell a state championship ring. But, they all will have to continue this effort for almost two more months to get that.

On Saturday, several of us met at the MSU Cross Country course at 4 pm to run the course. Steve Shaffer joined us, and surprisingly, Christian Kingery, Patrick Bell, and Jacob Wood showed up! Anyway, after a warm up run, we ran the course. It was pretty warm, and the course was much harder than I remembered. We basically ended up running the course at a tempo pace, too hot to push a race pace! I wish more people had joined us, because I don’t think most of them realize or remember how hard this course is! The hill is nasty, and the varsity boys have to do it twice! I think Joseph was glad he ran it, just to remember the overall layout and know how hard it will be to run a fast race there.

We got up early Sunday morning and met at the South Farm parking area for a 10 mile run. Kamau and Damian joined Joseph and I. We went through the campus, downtown, to Airport Road, Industrial Pk. Rd, back through McKee Park, then back to the South Farm.  We got through at about 1 hour and 15 minutes after having ran 10.3 miles. We ran a 7:25 mile average, which was okay, but a good bit slower than what Joseph and I had been doing. But, it was nice to run together, and we did run the second half faster than the first, so that was good. It was a beautiful morning to run and only about 60° or so! When we got back, Stuart Woomer and his dad Mark were at the parking area. Apparently, we just missed them, so Stuart ran the South Farm and Mark rode his bike with him. I am pretty bad about not waiting for folks when we meet for runs. I am always early, so I guess I expect everybody else to be, and when its time to go, I usually take off! But hopefully, next week we can get on the same schedule and run together, and with Ethan Musser as well. Ethan did not join us today because he had food poisoning from some bad food at Wendy’s in West Point. Supposedly, he lost almost 10 lbs yesterday! Next Sunday, I hope to have all 5 of these guys out there for this 10 mile run, as they are currently the top five varsity runners for SHS. I am hoping we can get Aaron Remotigue out there with us some day, as he is currently our 6th runner and it would be great to have all of the best varsity boys running together whenever possible. After running, Joseph and I joined Kamau and Damian at McDonalds for breakfast, which was cool.

Tomorrow, back to the Starkville High for a semi-easy run. Next Saturday, we will be running at the Mississippi State Invitational, which will be held at the MSU Cross Country Course on Poorhouse Road. The MSU guys run first at 8 AM, followed by the MSU girls, then the high school varsity boys (9:30), varsity girls(10:15), junior high boys (10:45), and junior high girls (11:15).

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