Got up early Saturday morn and left the house around 5:30 toward Clinton, MS for the Millsaps Cross Country meet. So weird to have a cross country meet at this time of year, but this was some sort of fund raiser for Millsaps’ track team. Wow, what a crazy morning weather wise! Freezing temps and wild wind! On top of that, the course was waterlogged and runners had to deal with slogging through standing water while braving the temps and 20+ mile an hour winds! Glad I did not run to be honest, as everyone looked chilled to the bone!
It was a cool race even so, with many of the runners being college runners from Millsaps, West Alabama, and other places. A few high school kids, including Kurt Knight, another great 15 year old runner. Kurt goes to Jackson Academy and when Joseph went to Starkville Academy, they were great competitors. Also some other kids that attended the Millsaps Running Camp last summer with Joseph. There were even some random grownups there braving the cold and the difficult cross country course!
I don’t know if it was the weather and the rough course, but nobody ran particularly fast today. It might have also been the fact that everybody seemed to treat the race as a group run, the goal of which was to just have fun and cruise along. The winning time was just 16:40 something, and everyone else was over 17 minutes. Joseph was 4th at 17:34,which sucked for him. In fact, he had run this course in 16:42 in the mid fall. Of course, the conditions were different and it was not wet. But, that had nothing to do with it. He has been running like a beast lately, and on rough terrain. In fact, he ran slower today than he had earlier in the week during some tempo training. I actually figured he would have run closer to 16 flat. If anybody had pushed it, he probably would have. I think he just felt like running along with everybody else at a somewhat relaxed pace instead of trying to kill himself with the weather. One thing is for sure, everyone seemed to be having a great time. Millsaps’ Coach Andy Till is a super nice guy and his runners seemed to be the same way! This seems to be a trait of XC runners in general. They are just about always super nice, very goofy, and somewhat strange!
Anyway, crazy day! Thanks to Coach Till for hosting the race! We made a couple of detours before heading back to Starkville. First, we stopped by the Music Store on Lakeland and oggled the many beautiful guitars and pianos! Then got some Mexican food at a place we like down near Dick’s Sporting Goods. Of course, we then visited Dick’s Sporting Goods. Bought a couple of 40 lb dumbbells, new pair of Brooks running shoes, and some inserts for my shoes.
When we got back to Starkville, we dropped by the SHS track where Joseph did 6 X 200m runs at a pace of 27-28 seconds each with 200m jogs between. Then he did some plyometric skips and what have you. Got home a bit later and did our fabulastic upper body workout!
Sunday we made it over to the South Farm and Steve Shaffer and Brent Wallace joined us for a run. Before they arrived, I ran about a mile just to test my foot. It is of course still sore, but apparently I can run a mile. Jumped on my bike while they were running though. Joseph sped off ahead and I cruised along with Steve and Brent until the 3.6 mile mark. They then ran 1.9 miles back to the parking lot while I caught up with Joseph. I left him a while and biked here and there, and eventually headed back to the truck. He showed up after about an hour and 20 minutes.
We were planning on going to the North Farm gravel roads on Monday for a workout, but it was raining/sleeting, so decided to go to the South Farm instead, because the hilly roads there drain better. In light of the weather, we opted to forego the workout as well, and just did an easy 5.5 miles in rain. We went home and did an awesome workout while listening to Zeppelin and Hendrix!
We met Arash Taheri over at the Research Park on Tuesday afternoon for some threshold paced mile repeats. Arash has not been running as much as Joseph lately, but has been using the stationary bike to keep some aerobic conditioning. He wanted to come out and kind of see where he was. After a good warmup, about 2 miles, we got started. I rode my bike along to pace them. The plan was to do 5 X 1 mile at tempo pace with 1-1:30 minute rests between each repeat. I was thinking Joseph should be at about 5:30 per mile. First mile was 5:22, a bit ahead of Arash; 2nd mile was 5:21, Arash had slipped back a bit, but still pretty good; 3rd mile was 5:17, Arash was 5:40 on this one, and obviously did not need to do any more, so he called it quits and started a cool down; 4th was 5:18, and the 5th was 5:23; then a cool down and stretching. The last one probably would have also been about 5:17 or so, but I was bugging Joseph as much as possible, talking to him, messing with him, and all that. He is in great shape physically and I feel sure he could run a 15:50 5k right now if he believed that he could. Like many people, he limits himself by not believing in himself. He lets other people get in his head. So, I sometimes try to get in his head a little to get him used to dealing with it. At any rate, today was a great workout for him. He was running 5:20 miles like they were nothing, with very little rest. Form is looking better too! It probably did not hurt that some of the girls on the MSU track team were also out there doing a tempo run!