Monthly Archives: December 2011

Vacation almost over:(

The group was somewhat sparse Saturday morning at the Boardtown Running Club. Not surprising, considering it was the day before Christmas. Actually, I guess it was more surprising that anybody was there! The scheduled run was only 8.7 miles, which was nice for a change. Started the run with Joseph and Ethan Musser, and we made it to the water stop (about 3.5 miles out) doing about a 6:35 per mile pace. More or less kept that pace up the rest of the way, except ran the last mile, which I did in 6:19. Joseph eased in just behind me, and Ethan came in a few minutes back.  Pretty decent run all in all, not great, but not terrible.

Took Christmas day off altogether, and as it turned out, took Monday off too because it rained ALL DAY!!

Back to the South Farm on Tuesday with Steve, Joseph, Brent, and Christian Kingery. Ethan, who has been pretty regular with us, was out of town for the rest of the break. Most of us did the 7 mile loop, except for Steve and Christian who did about 5 miles. Steve finished up with a couple miles after they finished. Joseph and I broke the run up a bit, with the first 1.5 miles at a 6:40 pace, the next 2 at about 6 minutes each, with Joseph’s probably about 5:45 (he was in front of me a good bit, so that’s my best guess), then 2.5 at an easy pace, then the last mile pretty fast (6 minutes for me and 5:20 or so for Joseph). When I got done, I jogged back to cool down a little and came back with Brent. We lost him somewhere around 3 miles and he ended taking a different turn, so he may have run farther. Looked like he was doing alright though.

Joseph and I met Steve at the North Farm on Wednesday at 3 pm, where we ran 4.5 miles. Steve had already done 4 X 400m and 4 X 200m intervals that morning with some of the Starkville High Track kids! Joseph started out by running the first mile in about 5 minutes, then jogged along with Steve and I for another mile and a half before he and started doing a few fartleks. The longest was 1:30 and the shortest was about 40 seconds. All were pretty good I thought. Julie ran some intervals on the gravel road after warming up. Apparently, an unleashed dog jumped on her while she was running. And, of course, the dog’s owner was rude to her. Rudeness seems to be something shared by dog owners that walk their dogs in areas clearing marked with signs that state “dogs must be on leashes at all times”! The North Farm is one of those places. From now on, we are bringing a cell phone, and every time I see a dog out there unleashed, I am calling campus security. This is getting ridiculous!

Back to the South Farm on Thursday afternoon. Today it was just Joseph, Brent, and I running together, with Julie also running a 5k distance. We added a little extra loop today and ended up doing 7.6 miles. Brent kept up with us for the first 4.5 miles, which, excluding the first easy warmup mile, we averaged at a 6:35 per mile pace. That’s not bad for this hilly, gravel road. Brent is getting faster every time he runs with us! In just a couple of weeks of running with us, he is knocking time off like crazy. For the rest of the way back, Joseph and I picked up the pace.  I averaged 6:16 a mile, and Joseph averaged about 6:04 per mile for the remaining 3.1 miles. I think we wore Brent out on the first part, and he ended up finishing about 4 minutes after me. But, even so, I am guessing this was one of his best runs ever.  Probably the best.

Next run will be Saturday morning with the Boardtown group, and then back on Sunday afternoon at the South Farm at 3 pm.


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Feeling Good this Week

Its been a somewhat wet week thus far, but somehow or another we have been able to get some running in. On Monday, it was just me and Joseph. We thought we would do something semi fast, since we hadn’t in a while, so we headed over to the track and did a few light intervals. After jogging around as a warmup, we started with an 800m, not very fast-Joseph was around 2:30. Then a couple of 1:08-1:09 ‘ish 400’s, then some 200’s. Mine were 29-30 seconds, with Joseph in front of me by about 3 seconds. It had been so long since we had done anything remotely fast, we had to remember how to move our legs! But, it was nice for a change.

Got my last weight workout of the year at the Sanderson Center on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, the gym will not reopen until January 3rd. That afternoon, we met again at the South Farm. Joining me and Joseph were Ethan and Brent. Looks like Brent is really getting into this! We ran through campus, then University Estates, down Bardwell Rd, and back through the campus to the South Farm. We do this route occasionally and find it very challenging due to the many hills in University Estates and on Bardwell Rd. We all started out together, but gradually Joseph took the lead and after about 1.5 miles, I started picking it up as well. He stopped to stretch at about 4 miles, and I caught him and kept going. I ended up averaging 6:35 per mile for the 6 mile route, with the second half being faster than the first. Joseph finished up a few seconds behind me. Brent and Ethan pretty much ran the entire way together and both seemed to be doing quite well. They came in a few minutes later.

We did a 4 mile loop over at the MSU North Farm on Wednesday afternoon. Steve Shaffer and Christian Kingery joined us today. Christian had run a PR for the 1600m race this past Saturday at in indoor meet in Birmingham. With that positive motivation, he was inspired to get in some extra running I guess. Running with Joseph, who is only a couple of months older than him, is certainly a good way to push himself to get even better. The gravel road conditions were again rough, with deep gravel and lots of gooey, sticky mud to weigh our shoes down!  I ran the first mile with Steve and Christian in 7:12, with Joseph probably about 6:30 or so. When we got to the first mile, both Joseph (who was ahead of me) and I picked the pace up. My next mile was 5:55, then 6:25, and the final one was 6:27. Not coincidentally, the 5:55 mile was on a portion of the road that was at least marginally, more run-able. The next two miles were much more difficult, with some points near the 3 mile mark being ridiculously muddy! Somehow, the mud bothered Joseph less than me. Maybe because he weighs 45 lbs less? Either way, his last 3 miles were all pretty decent, averaging around 5:50 per mile, which was not bad given the road conditions. He finished a couple of minutes before I did. Both Steve and Christian ran at a more relaxed pace and finished up several minutes after I was done. I think everyone felt pretty good after the run. I was pretty hyped up myself.

Thursday looked bleak as I awoke to rain and thunder. The weather report called for a million per cent chance of rain pretty much all day. Nevertheless, we decided to chance it and drove to the South Farm at 3 pm to see if anybody else would show up. As luck would have it, the rain actually stopped when we pulled in the parking lot!  Steve was already there, also wondering if any of us wackos would show up. As we were starting the run, Brent and Ethan pulled up next! Crazy jokers. Because it was crazy wet out, we opted to not run the muddy gravel roads on the farm. Instead we did our campus, downtown Starkville, Louisville Street, Gillespie Street, then back to campus route, which is close to 6 miles. After the last few day’s relatively fast paced runs, today was going to be much easier! We all started together, but Joseph could not take our slow pace for long and was soon far ahead. I ran most of the way with Brent, since he did not know the route, with Steve right behind us most of the way, and Ethan stayed with us for a couple of miles before picking the pace up. Even on easy days, I still like to run my last mile or so somewhat faster, and today was no exception. For the first 5 miles we were only running at about a 7:15’ish pace, which felt very comfortable. Somewhere about a half mile to go, more or less, I picked it up, as did Brent. I ended up running my last mile in 5:40, and almost caught Ethan. Brent came in a just a bit later, and was followed by Steve, who again had a good run. We got done just in the nick of time, as within minutes of finishing,the skies darkened, the wind picked up, and the temperature suddenly dropped! We used that as a sign that we should leave. Looks like Brent may be a regular with us-three days in one week! His immediate goal appears to be running at my pace, which probably won’t take him long since he is already  in great shape and 23 years younger than me! I imagine if he sticks with it, I won’t be able to keep up with him by this summer. And Ethan continues to run strong, which I really like to see. Joseph, of course, usually makes us all look bad. Unless he is sick, sore, or just being nice, we are rarely able to keep up with him.

After the run, we were still pretty wound up, so when we got home, Joseph and I did some pushups, crunches, pullups,  and a couple of other upper body type workouts.  But, we will probably take tomorrow off altogether.

Even though Christmas is this Sunday, the Boardtown Running Club will again be meeting for a run at the White’s house on Saturday morning at 6:30 AM. The scheduled route is only 8.7 miles this Saturday. If the weather is decent, I plan on joining them. I imagine it will be a much reduced crowd however!

Due to the Christmas holiday on Sunday, we will likely skip our 3 pm run that day, although that could change if we get super hyper!

Merry Christmas and happy running!

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Two weeks off from work!

Got a decent 4 mile run in on Wednesday at the North Farm with Joseph, Stuart Woomer, and Michael Lee. Stuart had not run with us in a while, so it was nice to have him out there. Michael had already run the 4 mile loop once, albeit, at a slow pace. We took off at a decent pace, with Joseph and Michael running the first mile at about 6 minutes. I was 6:08, and Stuart was somewhere behind me. Somewhere about a quarter mile later, Michael veered off for a pit stop, and the rest of us kept moving onward. Slowed down a bit by the 2nd mile; I was about 12:20 and Joseph was still in front of me. I ended up catching him at the 3 mile mark, where he decided to slow down some. I ended up finishing the 4 miles in 25:15, which was not bad for me. Joseph finished up about 20 seconds later. Michael had clearly made up some time after his stopping, and finished up next, followed by Stuart, who was around 28 minutes. I will say that the road was crazy hard to run on today. The road must have just been graded, as the gravel and dirt was very thick and uneven. The deep tractor/grader tire treads made running interesting as well. The road conditions were worse (for running) than I had ever seen! So, yeah, I was pretty happy with running about a 6:18 average pace, especially after the last two good paced running days. The weather was great though, as evidenced by all four of us running shirtless! The middle of December, and we were running in shorts and no shirts! Crazy. Every other day here in an adventure with the weather.

Back out at the South Farm for a nice 7 mile run on Thursday. Both Joseph and I were dragging today, so did not push it too hard. Kamau, on the other hand, was cruising along very nicely finishing well before the rest of us! Ethan also ran well, running with me and Stuart for much of the way until about the 5 mile mark when he picked it up. Stuart skipped the last loop and opted for the 6 mile route because he was still a little tight from his run with us the day before. This was probably my slowest paced 7 mile run at the South Farm in quite some time, but that was not surprising after the previous 3 days, which were all relatively fast (for me!).

Skipped Friday, but I did make it to the Boardtown run on Saturday morning. This was the first run with them in a while where Joseph did not come. His lower left leg, which he injured toward the end of XC season, was a little sore all week, so he took both Friday and Saturday off. Some of our other Starkville Striders were there though, including Michael Lee, Russ Patterson, John Mitchell, and Ethan Musser. Interestingly, like myself, all four of them are somewhat atypical distance runners in that we are heavier, more muscled runners who all put more emphasis on being in overall good shape, rather than the more typical very thin, long legged distance runners (such as Joseph or Kamau Bostic). We all completed the 11.4 mile route today. I started out the run in the front with Meggan Franks, Michael Lee, and David Dycus, with Houston Franks joining up soon thereafter. First mile was slower, as usual, but the next 2.5 or so averaged under 6:25. I was feeling pretty good, so skipped the first water stop to keep my momentum going. The others all stopped at the water break, so I was on my own the rest of the way. Got to the second water stop, which was at about 5.6 miles, and still felt good, so I kept running. My pace was still decent, about 6:30, until I hit the gravel road, then I slowed down some. Picked it back up when I hit the pavement, nothing crazy.  Along the way back, I did stop at the last water stop, got a quick cup of Gatorade, and finished up. My last mile was 6:30, so I was pretty happy with that. Because I skipped water stops and only briefly stopped at the last one, it was a while before the others showed up. But, that does not mean I was running a faster pace than them by any means. Houston, for example, said that he hit many of his miles at about a 5:50 pace. Awesome! Michael appeared to do pretty well also, and obviously Meggan and David did their usual great pace. Ethan and Russ ran together, and both said they had a nice relaxing run. To give you an idea about how much extra time it takes to stop with the group at water stops, I finished my run about 28 minutes ahead of Russ and Ethan. Overall, it was a great morning for running though, if on the cool side!

On Sunday afternoon, we met again for a 7 mile run at the South Farm. Joining me and Joseph were Ethan Musser, Kamau Bostic, Steve Shaffer, and Brent Wallace. This was Brent’s first time to run with us, although we know him from the Boardtown group, where he often runs. Brent is in the Air Force ROTC, and is in pretty good shape. Didn’t know how I would feel today, after the good run on Saturday, but it went well. First mile was somewhat of a warmup, and I was 6:58. Joseph and Kamau were already far ahead. Ethan ran with me, and Steve and Brent were not far back. Next mile was 6:33, then 6:44 (the really hilly part!), then 6:27, 6:14, 6:20, and 6:09. Ethan kept up with me for about 4.5 miles, which was were I picked it up some, then he slowed down. We met Kamau and Joseph at 3.5 miles, with Joseph getting to that point about 20-25 seconds ahead of us, and Kamau about that far ahead of him. Then Kamau took the short way back for a 4.5 mile loop (more or less). He was wanting a faster paced shorter run. We waited a minute or so as Brent, and then Steve came running in, before continuing on. Joseph started a little behind me and Ethan from that point; he said he ate too much pizza for lunch, which I can corroborate! He was able to catch Ethan with about 1 mile to go, but I had too much of a lead for him to catch me, although it was getting close. Overall, even with the slower first mile, we both averaged about 6:29 for the entire route. Not bad for this hilly gravel road. Ethan came in about a minute later, and Steve and Brent came cruising in a few minutes later. I thought that they both did a great job, probably about 7 minutes or even slightly less per mile. Brent’s first run with us showed that he has lots of promise! And Steve, all 58 years of him, continues to show that fitness doesn’t stop because you hit a certain age!

Don’t know what time or where we are running tomorrow, but we plan on being back at the South Farm at 3 pm on both Tuesday and Thursday, if the weather is good. Also, we will run at the North Farm at 3 pm on Wednesday. Hopefully, these next two weeks will be semi productive and relaxing. I don’t have to be back to work until the 3rd of January, so I like that!



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Hyper this Week

I don’t know if its the fact that I have not had a coke in two weeks, or that I have been doing some tedious, monotonous stuff at work the last few days, but by quitting time each afternoon I have been quite hyper the last few work days! That’s fine with me, and maybe I will actually not starting drinking cokes again! Used that energy for a quick two mile run yesterday with Joseph. I don’t actually know how fast we went, because we had a stop watch malfunction, but it was definitely faster than our regular runs. Then we jogged around a while to cool down. Temps weren’t too bad, but we did wear long sleeve shirts.

Picked up Joseph this afternoon and headed to the South Farm for one of our nice hilly, gravelly road runs. While waiting for Joseph at the school, we saw Steve Shaffer, who decided to run with some of the kids doing training for indoor track. He said we wore him out last week running too fast and he was taking it easy this week! As far as our run, it started out with just me and Joseph. We decided to only do the 6 mile loop (actually, about 6.25 miles). First half mile was a little slower, then we picked it up. My next 3 were 6:18, 6:25, and 6:31. As we made our way to a gate we needed to cross, we spotted  Ethan Musser. He apparently got there a little late, and took a shortcut. So we ran the rest of the way back with him, and averaged 6:25 per mile most of the way, except for the end, which was faster. Ethan is really coming along! Its nice to see him getting in such good shape. He’s a great kid who puts the work in. I think he will have a great XC season next fall for his senior year. I pushed Ethan pretty hard on the last half mile. Felt good too, according to my Garmin watch I ran that part at a 4:50 pace. That felt great!! When we got through, Steve Shaffer came by. He told how good the kids ran at the high school. He ran with some of the varsity girls and jv boys. He mentioned that Stuart Woomer was running very well and had to run by himself because he was much faster than everyone else! Way to go Stuart.

I think we will hit the North Farm tomorrow at 4 pm, maybe do a tempo type run on the flat gravel road over there.  We will park at the Rose Garden off of old Hwy 82. Then on Thursday at 3:30,  we will be back to our favorite place to run, the South Farm! That is, if the weather is conducive. Decent chances of rain on Thursday and Friday.

The route for Saturday’s Boardtown Running club is 11.4 miles. Sounds great to me, as we went farther last Saturday. I like to alternate long run distances each weekend from 11.5-12.5 one weekend to about 15-16 the next weekend. Seems to be working out pretty well.


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Sauconys Rock!

Had some really sweet runs this week including a super one Wednesday afternoon with Joseph. It was freezing! As we started our run, some of the MSU distance runners were coming around the corner. Joseph was cruising along with them as they finished their run, then he picked up his pace. He ran 30 minutes, with about 24 being at a good clip, somewhere under 5:45 per mile. As I was running,  Jorge Villarreal, also on the track team, came along and ran with me for about a mile and a half as he finished his run up. At that point, I was running about 6:08 per mile. He headed back and I looked for Joseph, but he was long gone! Punk. I ran through and around the campus, then made my way to University Drive where I met some of our High School runners: Kamau Bostic, Ethan Musser, Aaron Remotigue, Stuart Woomer and Damian Grady who were out for a 6 mile run. I ran with them for a minute, then picked up my pace to finish the last mile in about 5:45, which was good for me.

Thursday was still cool, but much better than Wednesday afternoon.  I ran 7 miles with Joseph, than Musser, Steve Shaffer, and Joerg Bergbauer at the South Farm. Felt pretty good considering the pace of the day before. Was able to stay under 7 minutes per mile pretty easily (except for the first mile, which was basically warmup). The next six were about 6:40ish for me and Ethan. Joseph was way ahead of us, then Steve came strolling through. I went back and checked to make sure Joerg was not lost and ran back in with him. I think he enjoyed the beautiful scenery at the farm more than the gravelly, hilly roads! But, he actually did quite a good job and maintained about a 7:40 per mile or better pace!

Another nice Saturday morning run with the Boardtown running club! As Joseph and I traveled the back roads from our home in Sessums to the White’s house off South Montgomery, we were rewarded with a luminous full moon that lit up the still dark morning sky. As we passed one pond, the moon’s reflection in it was mesmerizing! On this sub freezing morning, I was so distracted by the beautiful foggy morning scenery that I drove by the entrance to the White’s and had to turn around and go back.  Upon arrival, I wondered if it was the right day as not many cars were there yet. But, I guess we were slightly early, and with the temps being cooler, maybe folks were waiting to the last minute to show. As it turned out, I would say there were fewer runners than usual, but still a good crowd.

I spent a few minutes stretching outside and tried to get a bit warmed up. It was not super cold, probably about 30°F, but supposedly the wind chill was like 24°F! I opted for my thermal CW-X tights for sure, long sleeve Under Armour shirt with a short sleeve shirt over that, Under Armour winter cap, Under Armour gloves, and my bright orange Saucony running shoes. Man, did I mention that I am really loving Saucony running shoes lately! I have been wearing them the last couple of years, as has Joseph. They have been great for both of us. We have several pairs for different conditions: Excursion TR-5 trail shoes for gravel road, Kinvarras for faster runs, spiked and non spiked cross country shoes for XC races, and ProGrid Mirages for running several to quite a few miles on pavement. I love all of these shoes! They work for me. I have recommended the trail shoes to a bunch of our high school XC kids for everyday running, a good bit of which tends to be on gravel roads. But, these shoes work great on pavement too, and they are not super expensive-$50-60. Man, these Under Armour and Saucony people should pay me considering how much stuff I have bought and or convinced others to buy!

Anyway, everybody finally got motivated and left the house toward the starting point and ventured forth.  Today’s route, for those so inclined, was a 15.8 mile trek out to Browning Creek (i.e. neighborhood for the elite Starkvillians off of Oktoc Rd.). Of course, some folks did less or more. I was going to wait until getting to the 6 mile mark to decide whether or not I was going to include the extra 3.8 mile Browning Ck. neighborhood loop. I started the run with Joseph, Ethan, Micah, Kelly, and Michael Lee. After about a half mile, Ethan, Joseph, Michael, and I picked it up a bit and ran together for about a mile and half, then Mike and Joseph picked it up further finishing about 20 seconds ahead of Ethan and I, with Mike being a bit ahead of Joseph at the first water stop (about 3.4 miles). I felt really good, so did not stop for water and just continued toward the next point. Mike was only doing 7 miles, so he stopped, got some water, stretched and headed back. Joseph and Ethan also stopped, and then ran the next section together. Since I did not stop, I ended up doing the run by myself. Got to the next water stop (6 miles), got a sip of Gatorade, and continued on through the neighborhood. Man, what a beautiful, but remarkably hilly place to run! I made it though, albeit, at a slower pace. Got back to the water stop, cup of Gatorade, and headed back for the remaining 5.8 miles. With the mighty hills conquered, the rest of the way was pretty easy, and I averaged about 6:40 the rest of the way back. Joseph, on the other hand, did not know the route, so ended up running with Kelly, Meggan, and Micah, who added a little loop at the end making their run 17 miles! That was a pretty good run for him, but he seemed ok with it!

Of course, following the run, we stretched, hung out with the crazy runner people, ate other people’s food, and then headed home. When I say crazy runner people, I don’t really mean crazy, I mean wacko. You know, jokers who go run run 16 miles at 6:30 or earlier in the morning on cold winter mornings or hot humid mornings. Wait? That might be me too? Most of the folks who meet at the club are really cool, and all are very interesting. Take Joerg Bergbauer, for example. He’s a German dude who has been working at Eurocopter as of late, but will be moving back to Germany in about a week. This guy had a serious achilles injury about 4 years ago, which required cutting off some of his calf muscle or something crazy of that nature to replace damaged tissue. Doctors told him he would not run again, but now he is out there running 9-15 miles! Joerg is super friendly, plus he has the way cool German accent, so I like him. He seems to attract cool friends too, and they all hang out, eat outrageously interesting potluck dinners, and that sort of thing.

On Sunday afternoon I ran 7 miles at the South Farm with Kamau Bostic, Damian Grady, John Mitchell, Michael Lee, Joseph [MacGown], and Steve Shaffer. Today’s run was basically a recovery type run from our long Saturday jaunt. Michael and Joseph lead the way, I ran with Kamau and Damian (at about 6:53 per mile), and Steve and John came in pretty soon thereafter. It was almost 50°F and felt a lot better than the morning before!!

Next stop, tomorrow afternoon at 3:50 -4 pm meeting in front of the Sanderson Center. May do something a little faster tomorrow!

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