Monthly Archives: January 2012

Still injured, but my pushups and pullups are getting easier!

Still injured, obviously plantar fasciatus does not go away over night, but I sure want it to! Been pretty good this week, no running at all (well, very little anyway). Been biking with Joseph and whoever else goes while he/they run. Also been getting some awesome upper body workouts at home. Nice routine: pullups, crunches, pushups, curls, crunches, dips, lateral dumbbell flys-then repeat for about 4 or 5 sets. No or very little rest between exercises or sets. My running has been suffering for sure, but feeling really good otherwise!

On Sunday following the half marathon, we headed over to our favorite running site, the south farm, and Joseph got in an easy 5.5 mile recovery run. However, on Monday, it was anything but easy as he did a workout along a road out here in Sessums where I have marked 200, 400, and 800m points. The workout was 4  X 200m/with 200m jogs (32-33 sec per 200m), 4 X 400m/400m jogs (1:10-1:12 per 400m), 1 X 800m/400m jog (2:18 sec for 800m),  4 X 400m/400m jogs (1:07-1:09 per 400m), and  4  X 200m/with 200m jogs (28-31 sec per 200m). Of course, a warm up mile first and a cool down jog after. He did a pretty good job considering he had run a decent half marathon on Saturday.

Tuesday afternoon we met Ethan Musser, Arash Taheri, and Juan Villerreal at the South Farm and they all did an easy 8.5 mile run while I cruised along on the bike. On Wed, I took Joseph over to the Research Park, where he did a mixed tempo/interval type workout. After a 10 minute warm up he did a 10 minute tempo run, then 3 minute jog, another 10 minute tempo, 3 minute jog, 1000m at 3:15, 2 minute jog, 1000m at 3:18, 2 minute jog, 2 X 400m/400m jogs between (1:10-1:12 per 400), 2 X 34 second runs fast, with 1 minute jogs between, and a cool down jog.

Thursday was just an easy 6 mile run at the South Farm. But, on Friday, Joseph did a 20 minute almost tempo paced run with a warm up and cool down at the Research Park. Saturday we went to the South Farm again and did a 6 mile run. It was crazy windy, with strong winds from the North. Needless to say, the first part of the run with the wind at our backs was easy, Joseph was running at about 6 minutes per mile for miles 2 through 4, then slowed down to 6:50-7:05 on the way back into the wind. While we were there, we saw about 30 other people running including the MSU distance runners, but others as well. Despite the windy conditions, it was a beautiful day!

Went back to the South Farm today at 3 pm where we met Kamau Bostic, Ethan Musser, and Steve Shaffer. Ethan and Steve probably did about 8 miles, not exactly sure, as we turned off a different way, and Joseph and Kamau ran 13.1. Joseph was doing a 90 minute run, and Kamau decided to join him for the duration. They were so close to the 13.1 mile mark at 90 minutes that they added a bit just to get the distance in finishing in 1:32:49. The first mile was slower as they warmed into the run with a 7:40 pace, then the next 10 were at a 6:45 pace and they slowed the last 2 down to a 7:25 pace. When they got done, they both felt good and did not look particularly tired.  So, yeah, they can basically run a half marathon in 90 minutes and not even look tired. These guys are in awesome shape!!!! 15 and 17 years old. Impressive. The only part I don’t like about it is that I am still having to ride my bike and don’t get to run with them:(  I actually jogged a little bit before everybody showed up, but I could tell my foot was still pretty sore. At least today I did not run to the point of hurting myself further!

MSU South Farm

Tomorrow, we are going over to the SHS track around 5:30 for a workout following the high school track team’s workout. Workout tomorrow will be 3 X 400m/400m jogs, 3 X 800m/800m jogs, and 6 X 200m/200m jogs. Should be a good one. Wish I could do it! Really missing the running.


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Frostbite Half Marathon-Starkville, MS

Leading up to Saturday the weather was looking crazy for the Frostbite Half Marathon held annually in Starkville, MS. Forecasts were calling for stormy weather, mid 60°s temps,  and 12 mile an hour winds from the south. The course is basically north to south, so head winds the entire way would have been terrible! Fortunately, the weather moved out of the area by the time the race started (12:30), and the wind changed direction to coming from the NNW. Temperatures dropped to mid/low 50’s and it was overcast the entire time. Not bad really!

Just before noon the 300 plus entrants loaded a bunch of school buses and rode down Hwy  389 to the start 13.1 miles away in Pheba, MS.  At about 12:30 pm, the race started and they began the trek back toward the Wellness Center at the Oktibbeha County Hospital.

Frostbite Half Marathon, about to start

The race is deceivingly difficult as it starts off moderately flat, but then the next 7 miles or so you are treated to rolling hills. At the 10 mile mark the course transforms into a beast with a steep hill that is almost a mile long with several smaller hills still remaining. This last 5k portion is what separates the real runners from everybody else! I am pretty sure that during a 2 mile stretch in there nobody could keep the same pace that they had kept for the previous 10 miles! Being in Starkville, we knew many people in the race, although lots of folks came from out of town and out state. Met some pretty cool new folks including some guys that had ran for the University of West Alabama. If fact, one of them, Jonathan Sellers, won the race with his respectable 1:16:06. As well as he ran, he was not actually the first runner to finish.  A friend of my son’s from Corinth, Kyle Suitor, who Joseph beat by a couple of seconds last year with a time in the 1:24 range, finished the race first, just ahead of Jonathan, but he was not registered so he did not get credited with the win. He arrived yesterday early to register, but this race does not allow race day registration. Just the same, he ran a great race, being in 2nd place for much of the race before finally overtaking the leader late. And what a dramatic difference in time from one year to the next! He graduated from Kossuth High School last year in Corinth where he was a good runner having placed 2nd in the XC state meet with a 17:04. I don’t know if he is running college now, but he running at a much higher level for sure!

Michael Lee and Joseph at start


The next finisher for the full half marathon was my son Joseph MacGown who got credited with 2nd place overall and 1st in the 19 and under age group with his 1:19:45 finish, which was 5 minutes faster than last year. This was really good for his age (15) and considering that he does not train for this length race. Instead, this was simply his weekly long run. When he finished he did not appear to be tired or sore, and ran a couple mile cool down. I was very happy to see him at the 10 mile mark under 1 hour.  I am guessing he could probably run this distance in 1:16 or less if he trained for it. Additionally, Joseph was part of 2 person relay team in which his first half of the race counted as the first leg, even though he ran the whole race. His partner was Kamau Bostic who ran the 2nd leg. They won the relay event with a  combined 1:18:04 beating the next team. Kamau ran a really strong second leg. Joseph ran with him some and almost caught him again, but by the time he got to the hard part of the race, it was evident that he had less gas in the tank and Kamau had basically just started. There were not many teams this year, but the competition was good and another team composed of two guys was had run college track at West Alabama each ran one leg of the relay. I am pretty sure they thought they would win, and I was extremely proud of Joseph and Kamau’s efforts and composure in beating them. In fact, Joseph’s individual 13.1 mile beat their combined time! One of the guys was very gracious and commented on the fact that were well trained.

Joseph MacGown and Kamau Bostic

Stuart Woomer and Mary Elizabeth (ME) Stringer, who also run Starkville High XC, paired up a team and did a great job. I don’t know their times or splits, but Mary Elizabeth, who ran the 2nd leg, crossed the finish line around 1:39. She has had some serious injuries the last couple of years, and it was great to see her running smoothly again. Hopefully, this will be cross over into the SHS track season she will have a banner year! Another girl from our XC team, Anna Jackson, won 2nd place in her age group with a time in the mid 1:40’s. Apparently, she had run with our buddy Steve Shaffer, and they pushed each other along the way! Way to go guys! Michael Lee, our superstar triathlete, finished up the race with a 1:31:23. Nice job. And, the results were littered with other folks we routinely run with, especially members of the Boardtown Running Club. Of those, Meggan Franks was amazing. She easily won the women’s division with her 1:20:08, which also good for 3rd overall. Her time smashed the previous course record by over 3 minutes. She looked particularly strong the last mile. Early in the race, she and Joseph had run together, which I think helped him tremendously in keeping the right pace. Thanks Meggan! Hopefully, he helped her a bit too.

Meggan Franks

Micah White (1:25:28), David Dycus (1:26), and Kelly White (1:26:11), all of whom we run with at the Boardtown group, also ran well. Another one of our XC runners, Damian Grady, did not register, but ran the 2nd leg trying to pace Kamau and Joseph, especially early on before they got ahead of him. However, his timing was good as at a mile to go, he was near Meggan, and I told him to push her. I don’t know if it helped or not, but I like the fact that he was out there helping other people in his own way!

Our own Starkville High head cross country coach Caroline Woomer PR’ed today with her 2:02 (don’t know the seconds), which was several minutes faster than her previous best time! Loads of other folks we know ran today, but obviously I can’t list them all. When results are posted I will put a link up.

Will be meeting at the South Farm today at 3 pm for a recovery type run, probably 7 miles or so.

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Changes in the wind

Martin Luther King Day was a holiday for the kids on Monday. We used that opportunity to go to the SHS track (such as it is) at 2 pm. I said such as it is, because the track is basically pavement with a thin layer of maroon paint and no lanes. But, it does appear to be the right length! They have talked about actually redoing the track someday, but I suspect that will end up happening after Joseph has graduated. Today, Joseph did a 10 minute warmup jog, then was about to start some 400’s when Kamau Bostic and Damian Grady showed up. I guess they had some kind of workout they wanted to get in also. So, they jumped in with Joseph for 4 of the 400’s before continuing on with some 200’s. Joseph did 12 400’s with 400m jogs between. He did all of them between 1:02 and 1:09, with the last two being the fastest two. He then finished up with a cool down run. Pretty good workout I thought. Sometime along along the way, Ethan Musser took a break from playing tennis and ran a few 400’s with Joseph as well. Kase Kingery showed up later to hang out a bit I guess, as did Peyton Wolf. School holiday, and everybody was hanging out at the track. Steve Shaffer even showed up to say hello! Kamau and Damian looked good on both their 400’s and 200’s, which they followed by a couple of 150’s. I don’t think I have ever seen Kamau look as good  as he did on his last 150, it was pure fluid running! I videotaped all three of them running 400’s, and of the three, Kamau had the best running form. Of course, he is a senior, Damian is a junior, and Joseph is only a sophomore, so that is to be expected. However, I see great improvement in both Damian and Joseph. Last year, both of them, especially Joseph, had a serious tendency to bend too far forward while running. They both run much more vertical now, especially Joseph. He has worked hard at that. He tends to be an unfocused runner, just cruising around, but gets by because he loves running and is in great shape. His strides look wonderful, long and powerful, but he is still able to land with his torso over his foot on impact. He is able to spring forward a good distance with each step, which is basically how I run, so maybe its genetic. This enables him to cover maximum distance with each step. Now, he is focusing on his other two main problems: not enough strides per minute and having his arms cross the mid line of his body too far. This causes him to turn his body and head constantly while running, meaning not all of his energy is expended on going forward. If he can fix those two things, he will be awesome. I have seen him on occasion run with his arms actually at his sides and at a faster stride rate and was very impressed. I think partly it is just a matter of confidence, but also age correlated with upper body strength not fully developed. His upper body workouts have definitely helped with his posture, so I suspect they will help with the rest, along with some nice drills. Anyway, working on these form issues will be the primary focus for him during the next few months. Really, I think its a good idea for everybody to think about their form on a regular basis. One thing was evident today, Kamau, Joseph, and Damian all looked better today than at any point in the track season last year, which is pretty cool considering they have not done any real speed work since the end of XC season.  I guess the only negative thing about their current ability is that for various reasons and unless something changes it looks like none of them will be running track for SHS this year.

It was raining Tuesday afternoon, so Joseph just did an easy 5 miles at the South Farm (mine were on the bike, still injured). I got in a very nice upper body workout when I got home though. Trying to work on pullups more than in the past. Have a long way to go. Been trying to do some where I hang all the way down after each. Hard! Lucky to get 15 or 16 in a row. Supersetted those with close, wide, and regular width pushups, dumbbell curls, dips, crunches, and  lateral dumbbell presses. Got a good pump going and got all hyped up!

On Wednesday, we went over to the Research Park and Joseph did a fartlek type workout as I paced him on the bike. Pretty good workout, mostly done at tempo pace. Started with a 10 minute warmup, then 2 X 4 minutes fast with 3 minutes jogs between each, 3 X 3 minutes fast with 2 minute jogs, 2 X 2 minutes fast with 1 minutes jogs, 1 minute fast, then a cool down jog. This probably sounds easier than it actually was, because it was windy, some parts of the loop are slightly hilly (definitely not flat), and it was cold!

Thursday was another easy 7 miles at the South Farm. Weather was not bad, cloudy and 60°s, but pretty windy. No running tomorrow, but Joseph will be running the Frostbite Half Marathon on Saturday. In addition to running individually, he will also be part of a two man team with Kamau Bostic running the 2nd leg. This race is somewhat unique in that participants who run the entire course may be part of a two person team as well, with their partner having to run the 2nd half. Last year he did that with Walker Mattox and they won the team competition. Of course, Kamau is much faster, so they should do well.

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Biking/running on the MSU South Farm

Following my trial 4 mile run on Thursday, I again decided to take a few days or more off from running and stick to the bike until further notice. So, on Friday, when I took Joseph over to the Research Park Boulevard off of Old Hwy 82 after school. I cruised around with him on this chilly afternoon while he ran. He ran a one mile warm up, then did 3.5 miles at a 5:47 minute per mile pace, then finished up with a cool down run. Not bad, but the best thing was that each mile was no more than one second different from the next.

The next morning, we skipped out on the Boardtown Running group run, as I thought it would be a little too much following the late afternoon tempo type run Joseph did Friday. Also, it was like 25° Saturday morning! So, I took him over to the South Farm at 10 AM to run instead. Michael Lee showed up shortly there after, as did Juan Villarreal. Michael joined Joseph for the run and I rode my bike along. Juan started a bit later, as he was waiting for his brother Jorge and the other MSU distance runners who were all doing a 15 mile run. As far as Joseph was concerned, he was planning on doing at least 12 miles. Michael was also planning on doing something comparable, but wasn’t feeling great, so he cut out early. As I was riding around and about the farm roads with Mike, Jorge came flying by, so I rode along with him a while until I caught up with Joseph.  Jorge was running a 5:55 pace, which was pretty good for a 15 mile run, especially considering the wind today! He actually said he averaged that pace for 14 miles. His brother Juan said he averaged just under 6 minutes per mile for 9.5 miles. Those guys are in great shape!  I finally caught up with Joseph at about 5 to 5.5 miles or so in, then biked along with him as he ran another 8 miles around the various farm loops. It was really cool seeing all the MSU runners out there flying about today!

After Joseph’s 13 mile run Sunday, we headed back to the south farm Sunday afternoon for a 7 mile recovery run. I actually was smarter today and did not attempt to run again. But, I did enjoy my bike ride, as the temperature had warmed up considerably from earlier in the week. Joining us today were Steve Shaffer, Jorge Villarreal, Juan Villarreal, Brent Wallace, and Kamau Bostic, who had not been out with us for a while. Joseph and Kamau took off at a faster pace than everybody else, and also were the only ones to run seven miles. The other guys decided to only go about 6 miles, so I rode along with them. At a point with only about a mile to go, we could see Kamau and Joseph. At that point, Joseph slowed down and strolled in at a cool down pace, while Kamau picked it up and finished pretty hard, looking quite strong. For him, this was less of a recovery run than for Joseph, Juan, and Jorge, who had all done a long run the day before.  Kamau looked like he had something to prove today and ran great. Kamau knew both Jorge and Juan, having run against Juan last year in high school, and seemed happy to see them both again. Brent and Steve also had a nice run today. It was great to have this crew out there today. The only thing that would have been better was if I was not injured!!!!! I freaking hate not being able to run….

Tomorrow, I thing we will head over to the SHS track at 2 pm for a few 400m intervals during the Martin Luther King holiday.


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Plantar fasciatus type injury makes running a challenge!

We attended Devin Mitchell’s funeral Sunday. A sad day for everyone. He had many friends, as was evidenced by the fact that even though we arrived an hour early, we had to park a block away. The church was filled to capacity, and we had to stand the entire time. It was an amazing mix of young and old, black and white, and different economic classes. It was a very sad day, but it was wonderful that so many different people could come together as one community.

After the funeral, we decided to stop by the South Farm and go for a run to de-stress. And I was about to go crazy since I had not run in a week because of my foot injury! Actually, it was still sore, but there is no way I can miss an entire week of running just because I am in pain. This is not the advise I would give anybody else of course! Anyway, I ran 5.5 miles at a pretty slow pace, much slower than usual. And, yeah, my heel hurt much worse when I was done! Still think it was worth it though. Joseph got in an easy 7.

On Monday, Joseph did an decent workout out here in Sessums down a not very busy road where I had marked off 200m, 400m, 800m, and mile marks. Trying to get back into shape a bit as he has not really done much of anything hard all winter since cross country. Today, after a warmup jog,  he did a cool workout which consisted of 4 X 200m runs with 200m jogs between, then 4 X 400m’s with 400m jogs between, then 1 X 800m with 400m jog between, then 4 X 400m’s with 400m jogs, and finished with 4 X 200m’s, then a cool down. He did a pretty good job overall. I rode my bike along with him.

On Tuesday, Juan Villarreal, Jorge’s brother, met us at the South Farm, and he and Joseph ran 7 miles while I rode my bike on some extremely muddy roads! Lots of rain today! Juan, like his brother, is a great runner. Last year in high school at Horn Lake he ran a 16:30 5k (xc), 4:37 1600m, and 9:56 3200m. He was running for Ole Miss this fall, but has since transferred to MSU where it appears that he will be running with his brother Jorge!

Following the easy run on Tuesday, I again rode my bike with Joseph as he ran out here in Sessums. Another rainy,wet day. Today he did a mile warm up, then a mile at 5:30, then a mile at 5:09, then 4 X 400m intervals with 400m jogs between, then another mile at 5:09, and finished with a mile cool down. Decent day for him I thought. It was pretty chilly and wet too.

By Thursday, I felt like I was ready to test my foot again, so I ran some at the South Farm with Juan and Joseph. They went 6 miles, but I only went 4. I should have only gone 2! The first one was great, easy, and the second one was not bad either. Averaged about 6:30 a mile. But, by the time I got to the 2 mile point and turned around to go back, my heel was killing me!  I ended up hobbling back at a pathetic pace. But, if you are a runner, you know how hard it is not to run, even when you know you shouldn’t! Still sore to walk on, but I imagine I will attempt another run on Sunday. Definitely not this Saturday with the Boardtown club. I imagine it will be some time before I will be running any significant distance again.

Despite the foot injury, I have been getting some exercise riding my bike this week, albeit, just along side of Joseph or whoever else is there. Also got two pretty good upper body workouts at home. Pullups, pushups, dips, curls, dumbbell military presses, and crunches. Trying to do a better job with the pullups by hanging all the way down between each one. Much harder! I really don’t like doing them this way, it seems like too much of a stretch, but trying to get better at them even so. Super setting all of these is a great workout and does not take very long. Gets me hyped up too!

Tomorrow, Joseph will do a 20 minute tempo pace run after warming up. I think we are skipping the Boardtown club Saturday, as it is supposed to be very chilly that morn! He will probably do 10-12 miles later that day though. Last decent long run before the Frostbite Half Marathon coming up the next Saturday. For anybody interested in running it, go to:



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