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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