Had a pretty nice run Thursday afternoon with Steve Shaffer and Joseph at the South Farm. The MSU distance runners were again out there running. That makes three days in a row that we have run at the same place and same time as the MSU team. Great minds think alike I guess. But, seriously, I really like running on the north and south research farms at MSU. The roads at both farms are gravel, but the roads at the north farm are flat; whereas, the south farm roads are hilly. Taken on back to back days, these farm roads are ideal workout sites. Running on gravel is not for everybody, but these are not busy roads. The things I like about them are that it is much less stress on your joints compared to pavement, especially if you run in the areas worn down by vehicles; not much traffic, so I don’t worry as much about getting run over; running on gravel forces you to have good form, because leaning forward or other problematic running styles are very inefficient on gravel as you tend to “spin out”, so in order to have any kind of speed, you have to run relatively erect; gravel forces you to pay constant attention to your surroundings and road surfaces, which I think is important, otherwise you may end up tripping or twisting an ankle; running on gravel (if you are careful), may actually strengthen your ankles and knees (I don’t have a reference for this, its just something I personally believe); and running on gravel is very difficult, which means that running on any other surface later is much easier. The south farm roads are really tough, with rolling hills throughout much of it, and with the large area present, you can run around the outside loop one time and get in 7 miles, more if you include the adjacent cross country loop, or hit some loops in between! On this particular Thursday, we did the 7 mile loop cruising through at a 6:42 mile pace, which was not hard, but not easy. Steve did pretty well himself, stayed with us the first half mile or so, then kept us in view most of the way until we hit the serious hills at the back of the farm. Talked to Jorge Villareal after his run with the MSU team, and they ran a semi easy paced 40 minute run (easy for them is under 6:20 per mile!). This is Jorge’s first year at MSU, and he is really enjoying it out here. His brother Juan is planning on coming to MSU to run this spring. Those are two of the nicest guys you will ever meet and hard workers as well. I am really glad to have met them.
Did not run Friday, but got some weight lifting in. Third time this week! Awesome! Starting to feel like I am getting back in shape. If I don’t lift weights at least three times a week, I don’t feel right. I can tell a difference with my running already too. Its probably not going to hurt that I have decided to quit drinking cokes again either. I drink a lot of coke! Joseph told me one day that if he did not drink so much coke, I would probably be in good shape! I periodically get sick of it and quit, but always come back again. Maybe I will do better this time?? Joseph does not drink soft drinks, but he is much smarter than I am!
Got up early for another Saturday morning run with the Boardtown group. Mid thirties this morn, so we wore our CW-X running tights, long sleeved underarmour cold gear shirts, and running gloves. The tights are FREAKIN awesome! These tights are made for runners with compression straps sewed in just the right places to enhance movement. My knees, calves, and hips feel much better when wearing them compared to wearing shorts. These particular ones are insulated, but the fibers in the fabric are supposed to keep you from getting too hot or too cold. They felt good today. But, just to be safe, I wear underarmour compression shorts underneath, to make sure I am warm where I don’t want to be cold!
Nice to see Ethan Musser there today! Ethan is one of the hardest working runners on our cross country team, and nobody has a better attitude than Ethan! He is a prime example of what everyone wishes their kid was like. He is also a great leader and was one of our team captains for the XC team and received the Prefontaine award for his hard work and dedication all season.
We started the run out really slow, running along with Micah and Kelly White, Houston and Meggan Franks, and David Dycus. These guys are all amazing runners. Houston is MSU’s Men’s XC and Track coach, and at about 37 years old, still a very fast runner! In high school, when running for Tupelo, he was probably the best distance runner to come out of MS, and was equally as successful as an MSU runner. His wife Meggan, who also ran at MSU, but is from Canada, is the 8th ranked Canadian female for the marathon. I am pretty sure she is the best female marathoner to live in MS as well. Kelly White is likely the second best female marathoner from MS! Both David and Micah are excellent as well, and run marathons at about 3 hours! Nice to run with people of this caliber! They were all planning to intergrate a tempo run into part of the long run, so I guess they wanted to be thoroughly warmed up. In fact, the first 3.4 miles to the first water stop were all slow, averaging about 7:20 per mile. After the first water stop, I picked it up and Ethan and Joseph joined me. Ethan kept up with us most of the way to the next water stop, which was at about the 7 mile mark. Joseph and I ended up averaging about 6:25 from the first water stop to the second. I filled cups and waited for Ethan, and then Kelly, Micah, and David came in. We all waited for Kevin, who works at Boardtown Bikes, and is a great runner in his own right. Houston and Meggan came flying by after a bit, as they were in the middle of their 7 mile tempo run. They would have been in front of us, except they added an extra loop somewhere. In any event, we stayed way too long at the water stop. I can’t do that again, too hard on my knees to start back! But, I then again, I am 10-30 years older than the other runners up there. As we got going, I took off with Micah, who was just starting his tempo portion of the run. I kept up with him for a mile or so, with a 6:06 pace, then I slowed down a bit doing the next two miles at 6:19 and 6:22. Joseph was hanging back a bit, but must have run a 5:45 mile or so to catch, then pass me as he followed Houston and Micah. Eventually, he slowed down, because he wasn’t sure where to go (Micah was going a different route, which was about 16 miles, instead of the 12.4 we were doing). So, he turned around and ran with me to the next water stop. We ran the last couple of miles with Ethan and Houston. All in all, a very good day, with the middle 7 miles at about a 6:24 per mile pace. Overall, even with the slow beginning, we averaged 6:45 per mile for the entire run. But, the best part was we felt really good afterward…Sweeeet…….