With cross country season over, things have really calmed down. Although Joseph and I are still running just about every day, we get home an hour earlier or more because I don’t have to wait for parents to pick up their kids. But, it was great fun, and I miss running with the kids for sure! Some of the distance runners are going to run indoor track this season, which Coach Barnett just got reinstated at the school. All meets will be at the new state of the art track in Birmingham, AL. The first meet is just around the corner on December 10, for those who will be running. There seems to be some excitement about this. However, Joseph will not be running indoor track. I prefer, as does he, a break from competition between seasons. We use this time of year, as well as the summer, to build a nice mileage base, with little in the way of super fast workouts. With that in mind, things are progressing well. We have done three longish runs the last three Saturdays with the Boardtown Running Club interspersed by 6-8 mile runs during the rest of the week. All runs have been semi easy, but not super easy, with a trend toward gradually picking up the pace for a better average pace. The first Saturday run was awesome (as I mentioned in the last post), and we covered the 12 miles in just over 1:18. But, I was pretty worn out the next couple of days, as I had not run that far since the summer. The next day I was able to do 7 miles at a 6:30 mile pace, while Joseph ran at a slower pace with Ethan Musser, Kamau Bostic, and Steve Shaffer until he got bored and picked it up. Steve actually finished ahead of Ethan and Kamau, which was not surprising as this was their first run since the state meet. Steve was happy as a clam though! Not many times do you run seven miles faster than those punks!
The next few days were pretty easy; I think we all needed some recovery type runs. The wonderful thing about the season being over is that you can run more intuitively. That is, if you feel good, go for it, but if you don’t, then its okay to take it easy. Some of the guys joined us again a couple of days that week, but mostly it was Steve, Joseph and I. We made a point to run with the Boardtown bunch again on Saturday, but only did a 11.4 mile loop. Some folks ran 15 to 20 miles in preparation for one marathon or another. Either way, our pace was slower than the previous weekend, although not bad, about 6:48 per mile. With Thanksgiving the next week, most folks were out of town, so running was kind of hit or miss. Mostly just me and the kid, which was kind of nice anyway. We even got a run in on Thanksgiving morn! On a warm Saturday morning (about 56°F), I managed to run 15:8 miles at 6:45 per mile with the Boardtown club. Joseph ended up doing about a mile more, as he and Houston Franks took off at some ridiculous pace and were soon out of eyesight. But, they took a wrong turn and did part of the course backward. By the time they met us, they had already run a mile extra. They then turned around and went back the same way they had come so they could run with us mortals. Actually, Joseph was pretty tired I think, so he ran back with me most of the way until the last water stop, which I skipped, but he stopped at. This was the longest run of his life, so he was pretty happy! I felt pretty good too and am pretty sure I could have gone another 5 miles at the pace I going. Pretty sweet! It probably helped that I ran my first mile slower than usual before picking the pace up.
After the long run on Saturday, we got up the next morning and ran 3.5 miles easy to loosen up our legs. Whew, good thing too! I was stiff as board. We ran another six miles that afternoon in the cold rain with Ethan Musser and Jorge Villareal (an MSU distance runner). It was cold, wet, and windy, but quite invigorating!!
We skipped the run on Monday because it was about 34°F and raining. Nice to take a day off anyway. Hit the South Farm on Tuesday afternoon and did about 7 miles at a 6:40ish pace per mile. When we arrived the farm, the MSU distance runners were all getting ready to run. They had different workouts depending on the distance events they run. Seeing all those fast jokers out there was very motivational!
After I lifted some weights on Wednesday, Joseph met me at the Sanderson Center and we cruised through 6 miles, including about 4 miles on the gravel roads at the North Farm running about 6:25 per mile. A little chilly, but not bad. Shorts and a long sleeve shirt.