Millsaps 5k Cross Country Challenge

I am still not running, and I imagine it will be a while before I do. My foot, the heal especially, is still fairly tender when I do more than walk, and depending on the shoes I am wearing, that is sometimes annoying as well. But, I think its getting better. Probably should go to the doctor, but that’s crazy talk. Runners don’t do that sort of thing. Can’t complain anyway. I can still bike and everything else. In fact, I biked about 10.5 miles on the South Farm gravel roads on Sunday afternoon. Mostly rode along with Joseph, but also Kamau Bostic, Damian Grady, Ethan Musser, and Steve Shaffer. Everybody seemed to be going different distances, with Kamau, Damian, and Ethan only doing a 5.5 mile loop, Steve doing 6, and Joseph doing 10.5. Steve looked as happy as ever! The other three did not push it overly hard, and all seemed to be fairly worn out by only 3.6 miles. Of course, they have not been going with us too much lately, so maybe they are getting a little out of shape. Joseph was cruising along pretty well, with his first 3.6 miles being at a 6:20 pace. He stopped at that point to drink some water (I made him) and then he took off again. Slowed the rest of the run down a bit, but still well under 7 minute miles. He said stopping got him out of the groove for a while, but he found it later. Gotta get in that groove baby! I heard that.

We headed home and got in a great pushup, pullup, ab, curl type workout. We do our pullups on one of those crazy bars you can hang from a door frame. I like the traditional grip, but especially the side grip with the handle that stick out at 90° angles. We also hang ab straps from those bars for ab exercises.

pull ups on the awesome pull up bar!

Been using the perfect pushup handled deals for some of the pushups.Doing sets with arms at regular grip, wide grip, and narrow grip. Whew doggies! Those jokers are a lot harder than regular ones!

Since I have not been running too much lately, I have been doing more pushup, crunches and pullups. Sets of 100 pushups are easy now, even did 220 in a row the other day. Not bad for me. But, I can’t do 200 on the raised perfect pushup rotating devices. As hard as pushups using them are, pullups are harder! I can get 25 to 30 in a row if I don’t go all the way down to a dead hang, but only 16-20  full hanging. At any rate, super-setting pullups, pushups, curls, dip, crunches, dumbbell lateral flies with little or no rest is proving to be a good workout. The only problem is that since I am not running, and only doing moderate biking, I am getting more muscled up. By the time I can run again, I am going to be slow as molasses, but I will be able to do a bunch of pushups.

Took Joseph over to the SHS track Monday at 5:30 PM. Kamau Bostic also showed up to do a workout. Maybe they worked that out ahead of time, or maybe Mondays are the best day for both of them to be on the track. Either way, it was nice to see Kamau out there running. Unfortunately, the lights were off, so they had to run in the dark! It was chilly, but not bad. After they warmed up, Joseph did the same workout  as he had done the previous Monday: 3 X 400m/400m jogs, 3 X 800m/800m jogs, 6 X 200m/200m jogs, and a cool down jog. 400’s were around 1:09-1:10, 800’s were 2:23, and 200’s were all 32 seconds. Kamau did his own workout, but ran 4 of the 200’s with him, but slightly faster. They have always been very good about pushing each other. Man, it was dark out there on the track! Especially on the back side. Not much choice though, since they are not on the track team this season, if they want to run on a track on  a weekday, they have to run after the team has finished practice. Even though they are out there on there own, they are working hard. I love seeing their intensity and love of running. The fact that they are running in the dark on a crappy concrete track with no lanes just to get a workout in speaks volumes for how much they love running and their dedication to it! As it happens, in our 5A division preseason rankings for the state, Kamau is ranked #1 in the 800 and #2 in the 1600 and Joseph is ranked #1 in the 3200 (not sure about the 1600). Unfortunately, since neither of them will be on the team, that is a moot point and  Starkville will not reap the benefits of their speed! Bummer. Don’t know what Kamau is planning on doing instead this spring. He is certainly good enough to run in college next year. Of course, Joseph is only 15 and is just a sophomore, so maybe he will decide to run next year. Who knows. He will probably do some AAU meets early summer and a few 5ks before then. He would like to be under 10 minutes for 3200m this year and whatever the equivalent is for the 3000m race for the AAU meets.

Tuesday was just an easy day, so we did 6.5 miles at the south farm. Joseph finished off the run with a series of 20-35 seconds strides especially trying to work on speeding his arm movement up. Nobody ran with us today. Most of the high school kids are either running track, playing tennis, or something else. So, it looks like Joseph will be mostly on his own during the weekday runs, except for the occasional college student that runs with us. One of our regulars, Ethan Musser, has tennis practice every afternoon. Actually, 3 of our top XC boys from the fall are playing tennis this spring. They should have some good endurance!!  When we got home, Joseph did some plyometric skips and bounds and some fast arm movement running drills. Then we played a game of basketball. Sweet! Hadn’t played in a while. Darn kid is taller than me now. Blocked a couple of my shots. Punk. Then we did another really good upper body workout. Listened to Rage Against the Machine to pump us up.

Wednesday, back to the Research Park Loop for the 3rd and last installment of the workouts Joseph had done the last two Wednesdays in a row:   a 10 minute warm up, a 10 minute tempo run, 2 minute rest, 10 minute tempo, 2 minute rest, 1000m at 3:14, 2 minute jog, 1000m at 3:10, 2 minute jog, 3 X 400m/400m jogs between (1:09, 1:17, and 1:10), 2 X 34 second runs fast, with 1 minute jogs between, and a cool down jog. The two 10 minute tempo runs were much better than the week before with each one being exactly the same pace, 5:32 per mile pace. The week before they were 5:40 for the first one and 5:45 per mile pace for the second tempo. In fact, he showed significant improvement for the entire workout from week to week. Just a matter of getting used to it I guess. The only part today that was slower was one of the 400s, which was done at 1:17. However, along the way during that one, somebody we knew started talking to us and he slowed down for that. So he did another one to make up for that. In fact, everything he did would have been faster than it was if he did not have to wind around the various walkers (some with dogs), runners, and cars that seemed intent on pulling out in front of us. Not to mention it was very windy on the back side of the loop. He did all of the 400s and 200’s into the wind and a good part of the 1000’s was against the wind. Very good day I thought. If he can get that tempo pace down to about 5:15-5:20 for a 20 minute tempo by this summer, he should have a very good XC season. The fact that his 5k tempo pace is about 17 minutes right now is pretty good already. Very nice to see his form getting better too. This is a pretty hard workout, and by the time he was done running, he had covered at least 9 miles with warmup and cool down. If you think this is easy, try it one day! 1.82 miles in 10 minutes, 2 minute rest, repeat, 2 minute rest, then 2 X 1000, then 3 X 400, and 2 X 200! Awesome workout, but not for the feint of heart. One benefit of riding my bike is, I can actually push him on these faster type workouts, because I can’t really keep up with him any more running.

Tomorrow we will be back at the South Farm at 3:30 pm. Probably will take Friday off, except for an easy jog around the trail at the house. We will be heading to the XC race at Choctaw Trails Saturday morning [http://www.msracetiming.com/Millsaps_College.php]. This race is open to anybody, not just cross country runners, which is way cool. Should be some decent college runners there, so there could be some good times.

In other cool news, I am now facebook friends with Cullen Crothers. He has a website at http://www.cullancrothers.com . Cullen was an amazing distance runner from Mississippi back in the day, as was his wife Teresa. For what ever reason, there seemed to be a lot more really good runners on the local circuit back in the 80’s. Lots of folks running 5k’s in the 15’s or better. Hell, I could even do that! Maybe it was the water? But, you just don’t see 5-8 guys running times like that around here now in any given race. Not sure what happened. It is weird, because running is considerably more popular now. But, the idea of pushing yourself to the limit has lost its appeal for most people I think. Its easy to run, but not easy to run fast. You have to push yourself in a different way. You have to punish yourself, but like it. A lot of things have to go right to run fast too, including luck, good training, minimum number of injuries, genetics, good form, and a love for cruising along at a nice speed. There is nothing like running 6-10 miles at a 5 minute per mile pace. I can’t describe how it feels. I long for those days! Ah, the joys of aging. But, I am so glad to see my son now loving it.

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