Monthly Archives: March 2012

International Weekend at MSU

I did not get to run Wednesday afternoon, but Joseph met Arash and Ian at the high school and they were all able to get in the tempo based workout for the day: 3 X 1 mile with 1 minute rests, 4 x 400m at about 1:15 with 400m jogs, and 1 X mile at tempo pace. From what they told me, they did a good job, other than maybe running the first one too fast. Arash was 5:14 on his first one, and he said Joseph was a good bit ahead of him, maybe near 5 minutes or close to it. Arash said his next two were 5:32 and 5:38, then his 400s were 70 to 75 or so, then a 5:36. He did not know for sure what Joseph’s times were on the miles, but apparently they were a good bit faster than Arash’s. Sounded like they were around 5:20ish? Don’t know how Ian did either, but they said he did a good job.

We got our Thursday afternoon run in at the South Farm. Just Arash, Joseph and I today. I ran 6 miles. First four were decent, under 7 minutes, last two were around 7:30.  I thought I was doing good as my first mile was around 6:40, but Arash was way in front of me, and Joseph was in front of him. I am guess Joseph’s first 4 miles were around 6:10 or so, with Arash probably about 6:20ish. Then they both slowed down a little, but still finished the 7 mile loop at a good pace.

Took Friday off from running, but did go to a cool Iranian new year deal at the MSU campus where we ate for free and heard some amazing classical guitar music by a world famous Iranian guitarist. What a treat! Arash, who is Iranian, was there as were quite a few people from the Boardtown Running Club.

Also on Friday, Starkville High’s track team ran a meet at Ole Miss. At the previous meets, the distance runners did not look very good, but they did much better at this meet. Kate Mattox ran a 5:28 1600m placing 4th and an 11:33 3200m coming in 1st, which was a great time for a 7th grader. Her sister Walker ran a 2:37 800m, a decent 1600m with her 5:58, and a good 3200m race with her 12:22. Mary Elizabeth Stringer ran a 2:34 800m, which was good for her considering she has been injured. In the boys 3200m, Alex Ross PR’ed with a 10:51 and Nathanael Houston also PR’ed with an 11:10. These two guys were decent in XC, but no where near this fast. This bodes well for the XC team next fall.  If Joseph can go into next fall’s XC season running 16 minutes or better,  Damian Grady can run in the 16s (he ran in the 17:20s this past fall), Alex and Nathanael can run in low 17s or better, and we can get some solid running from Ethan Musser, Stuart Woomer, and Aaron Remotigue, we could have a great team. In the boys 800m, Kamau Bostic ran much better than last week and posted a 1:58 for 3rd place and Damian Grady PR’ed with his 2:00:09. Kamau also did better in the 1600m with his 4:37 coming in 5th. Stuart Woomer also ran the 1600m with a time of 5:16.  Good job guys! Complete results are posted at:

Lunch Saturday was freakin awesome. The International Fiesta was held today, and with that was tons of amazingly cool food from all over the world. I ate a lot! So many things to choose from including fare from various parts of Africa, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Iran, China, Turkey, and many other countries. I tried many things and was so full, it was difficult to run later! Worth it though. You don’t get this stuff every day.

Sri Lanka booth

Saw lots of friends at the Fiesta too including several that I have played volleyball with such as Marta AmirSadeghi, Mohammed Rouhi (both from Iran), Ondor Tor (from Turkey), and Clau Ferrari (from Brazil). The latter three were all on my intramural volleyball team last year, which won the championship here at MSU. We had the oldest team with grad students, one professor (who was only about 32), and me. I was over twice the age of most of the participants! All four of these jokers are really nice and very good at volleyball. Marta can dig and set quite well, Mohammed, who is only 5’7″, can actually spike quite well and is adept at placing the ball strategically, Ondor can jump about 4 feet and can pound it, and Clau, who is a Brazilian jujitsu master, just about tears the ball in half every time he spikes it!

I got someone to take a picture of me with Marta in her traditional Iranian garb!

In addition to the wonderful food, there were some very interesting performances including a Sitar player, lots of dances, and other forms of music and song. When I see so many people from so many parts of the world getting along so well, it amazes me that our governments cannot seem to get along. Basically, I think people are good everywhere, but with a few bad apples thrown. If we all hung out and shared food and music, we could probably avoid lots of strife!

Asian dancer at the Fiesta

Went to the MSU track at 5 pm on today so Joseph and Arash could do a 2 mile tempo paced run. When we got there Juan Villarreal jogged up. He was doing an easy run around campus and the research park, so we joined him for about 20 minutes, using that as a warm up run. When we got back to the track, Juan finished up the rest of his run on the track. After stretching, Joseph and Arash got their 2 mile run going. We have been doing longer tempo runs, or splitting up some mile tempos, so I thought we could do something in between today. Actually, this was probably slightly faster than a tempo, but still not super fast like a race. Joseph got his in at 10:19-10:20 and Arash was 10:43. Immediately following that, they jogged an 800, then they did 4 X 200m at 29-31 seconds. I also did a couple of 400s in there, and a couple of the 200s with them. After the 200s, they got in a mile cool down, then some stretching, and we got out of there.  Might do something similar to this the next two Saturdays, then we do the Old Cotton Mill 5k on April 21st.

Nest Saturday, Arash will be running the Crescent City 10k in New Orleans. Both Joseph and Arash are planning on doing the Gumtree 10 in Tupelo on May 12, so lots of what we are doing is in preparation for that. But, more than that, in preparation for next fall, and the next, and the next. Realistic gains don’t have to be achieved overnight.  Take your time over the course of several years. Keep the progress going man. Gradually, you keep running, keep pushing, then one day you find that you are much faster than you once were. Crazy how that works…

Will be at the South Farm tomorrow at 5pm for a longish run.


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Decent Sunday Run

Sunday afternoon was another hot one, but we did not let that stop us from getting in a run. At 3 pm Joseph and I went over to the MSU South Farm gravel roads so he could get in his weekly semi long run. Usually, when he has done a race the day before, especially a 10k or more, we worry less about the distance on these runs, but still try to get in at least 10 miles at an easy pace. Boy, considering it is still only March, it has been really hot! Anyway, Joseph got in about 80 minutes today, as did I. This was the longest I had run since being plagued with plantar fasciatus starting mid January. Very promising! Over 10 miles. It was not easy for sure. The first 7 were not too bad. I made the loop and got some water, then headed back out. The next mile was not bad either. But, it suddenly felt much harder after going up a decent hill in the sun, so I slowed down for a few minutes and relaxed. About the time I started heading back I met Joseph and Steve Shaffer. I actually saw Steve earlier as well. He had arrived late and did a 5.5 mile run. Not sure how far Joseph went, as he did his own thing.

On Monday, I met Joseph and Ian Prestor at the SHS track at about 5 pm. We were also expecting Arash today, but he could not make it. Ian is on the MSU triathlon team and is wanting to work on his running. He was the winner of the Starkvegas 5k last week with a 19:24. Ian is only 20 years old, and apparently his 5k times have been getting much better the last couple of years. With the shape he is in, I think he could easily be running in the 17’s before long. For a warm up, we jogged 16 or 17 minutes; just a nice little loop through Longmeadow. Got back and loosened up a bit, then waited for the SHS track team to finish practice. I think it was about 5:40 before the last of them were finally through. Long practice considering they get out of school at about 3:10!  In fact, these 2+ hour practices are one reason Joseph decided not to run track this spring. Last year we were not getting home until 6 pm or later every day, and he was not having time to finish his homework some nights! This spring, he actually has a tougher class load, which would have made things even worse. While we were waiting, Steve Shaffer showed up to run with us. Today’s plan was a few 1200’s: 4-6 of them with 800m jogs between each. I actually felt good enough to do some myself and did 4 of them with Ian. Our pace was not crazy or anything, but felt good all things considered. My first one was 4:15, then 4:30, 4:30, and 4:26. Ian was with pretty much with me on all of them except the 2nd one, which was only a few seconds slower. Man, it was hot!!! Joseph got five 1200’s in and averaged 3:47 for the five. Mostly all the same pace, but with the first and last ones the best (3:43 and 3:46).  I believe Steve did a couple of the 1200’s before then just jogging for a while. After the workout, Joseph and Steve a cool down run around the high school campus. Ian and I did ours on the track. Pretty good day all in all. Although not very fast, I was happy to be able to get in any kind of decent workout in! And,  Joseph again mostly hit the marks I wanted him to hit for now.

On Tuesday afternoon, Joseph and I met Arash for an easy run on the South Farm. Another hot one! The folks out there were burning random bales of hay here and there, which made running in those areas less pleasant than usual. Both Joseph and I altered our routes accordingly. I only ran 6 miles, and not very fast, around 7:30 per mile. I don’t know how far Joseph went, although he ran for the same number of minutes as I did. Arash, on the other hand, plowed right through the roads whether smoke filled or not! Animal! He planned on running for an hour, and I assume he did. We were stretched and ready to go before he returned to his truck, so we did not see him before we left.

On Wednesday, Joseph will be meeting Arash and possibly Ian at the SHS track parking area for a tempo based run through Longmeadow neighborhood.  Workout will be 3 X 1 mile at tempo pace with 1 minute rests, then 4 X 400m at interval pace, then one more tempo paced mile, and of course a warm up and cool down. I will not be joining them for this one, as I have something going on at work.  Back to the South Farm on Thursday at 3:30 pm.

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Starkvegas 10k

It rained almost all night Wednesday night and into Thursday, but yep, by the time 3:30 pm came around on Thursday, it had pretty much quit. So, we were able to get our run in. Picked Joseph up after school and headed to the South Farm. We ran the 6 mile loop today and it was definitely muddy! Even so, this was probably the best my foot had felt in a while. Could have went farther, but since Joseph was planning on doing the Starkvegas 10k on Saturday, we decided that was enough for today. As we were heading back we intersected paths with Steve Shaffer, who ran a 4 mile route. He had been planning on running with some of the SHS kids, but apparently they canceled practice the last couple of days due to rain chances, so he came out here hoping to catch us.

Joseph and Steve…

We decided to just take Friday off from running, since we had a good couple of weeks of training in. Instead I got in a good upper body workout at the house. Joseph got some stretching in. Followed that with some cheese stuffed tortellini with pesto sauce, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, and sliced kalamata olives with some Italian bread! AH, tasty. Then we chillaxed while watching a netflix movie with The Rock in it. Apparently, Steve Shaffer ran with some ROTC deal on the MSU campus Friday afternoon running 17 miles in total! Beast. Awesome.

Got up about 5:40 for a light breakfast Saturday morning: breakfast bar, apple, and orange juice. Then around 6;40, we headed to the Starkvegas race in town. After getting Joseph signed in, I jogged a warmup with Joseph for about 11 minutes. Got back and stretched and drank more water. I think he drank at least 40 ounces before the race started, which may explain his 2 or 3 trips to the bathroom. Walked around a bit and found his running partner of late, Arash Taheri. They stretched some here and there and got a few strides in before settling in for the 10k start. A 5k was held at the same time and for the first part of the course, the two races followed the same route. Between the two races there were over 300 people, with well over 200 more than last year’s first race. I decided again not to run today.

race start

This was a relatively difficult 10k course with lots of hills and sharp turns. But, it was also a pretty course that wound its way through the heart of the historic district of Starkville and the MSU campus. The morning was beautiful as well with temps in the upper 50’s with relatively mild winds. The course was well marked with arrows on the roads and lots of people helping to direct the runners. The only negative was that the course was not accurate, it was actually about 6.43 miles instead of the 6.2 it was supposed to be! Very annoying for runners trying to PR, but at least it was not short. The race directors were aware of the almost extra quarter mile in the race, and they said that it would be accurate by next year. And, apparently the 5k was accurate.

At the end of the day, Ian Prester won the 5k with a time of 19:24 and Corey Martin won the female division of the  5k with a 22:36.

Ian Prestor, 1st place overall 5k winner, Starkvegas 5k

Corey Martin, overall 5k winner, Starkvegas 5k (2012)

A couple of our SHS eighth grade XC boys also ran the 5k and were 1st and second in the 9-14 year old age division. Patrick Harris was first with a 21:56 and Issac Jackson was 2nd in that age group with a 22:11.

Patrick Harris

Isaac Jackson

The 10k overall male winner was Joseph MacGown with a time of 36:18. However, due to the fact that the course was long, his actual 10k time was likely 34:55 to 35:00. According to the gps, he averaged 5:38 per mile, which was significant improvement from his first 10k three weeks ago. And, yes, Arash Taheri, who has been running with us the last few weeks, was second overall with a 37:55 (or about 36:35 for the actual 10k)!

Joseph MacGown, overall male winner of the 2012 Starkvegas 10k

Arash Taheri, 2nd place overall 2012 Starkvegas 10k

Superstar Meggan Franks was the overall female winner of the 10k and was 3rd overall in the race with her time of 38:16 (which was probably really a 36:55 or so?). Another fellow boardtown runner, Kelly White, was the 2nd overall female running a 41:40 (or around 40:20ish).

Meggan Franks, overall female winner of the 2012 Starkvegas 10k

Kelly White, 2nd place female finisher 2012 Starkvegas 10k

Overall awards were unique-antique doorknobs mounted on raised wooden platforms. Very strange, but cool.

Joseph and Arash with awards.

Meggan and Kelly with awards

After the results, Joseph and I went over to the Mississippi State High School Track and Field Invitational to watch some of the kids we knew. Obviously, we were mostly interested in the 3200m, 1600m, and 800m races. We got there in time to watch Walker Mattox run the 3200m. I believe she came in about 8th. Did not get her time, but it looked like it was around 12:50ish. But, the race of the day was the boys 3200m with three boys battling it out the entire way with our friend Jon Luke Watts from Columbia Academy pulling off the win with his 9:39, which I believe was a course record. The two other boys were both from the Memphis area and were 9:50 or better themselves!  Joseph used to race against Jon Luke when he was at Starkville Academy and seemed to really want to be out there pushing him. Jon Luke is an awesome kid, and we were glad to see him run such a good race!

Top three 3200m boys-Jon Luke Watts on left.

For Starkville, Alex Ross PR’ed with an 11:01 3200m, and team mate Stuart Woomer ran an 11:52 (I believe). Kate Mattox of Starkville easily won the girl’s 1600m with her 5:34. She also ran the 800m race and ran around a 2:34 or so. Not sure of her place.

Kate Mattox, 1600m girls winner…

Both Kamau Bostic and Damian Grady ran the 1600m and 800m races, with Damian beating Kamau in both races, which was highly unusual. Damian was about 4:52 in the 1600m race with Kamau around 5:01 or so, which was about 30 seconds slower than he should have been. He looked better in the 800 for about 500m, but then appeared to die and was one of the last finishers. Don’t know what happened really. He just seemed to not be in good condition for the races he was running.

Tomorrow we will be at the South Farm for a longish run at 3 pm…..

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raining in Starkville

Got our 400m workout in on Monday at the SHS track. Joseph and I met Arash at about 5 pm and we did a 2 mile warm up through Longmeadow neighborhood. Got back and stretched a little, and about that time the SHS track practice was finished up. So, we got to it! The workout today was again 16 X 400m with 400m jogs. A difficult workout at best! I did not do the same workout, although I did get in a few 400’s at 1:09-1:12. I also did several 200’s. For most of those, I jumped in with Joseph and Arash at the 200 m point of their 400’s to keep them honest! I thought they did a pretty good job overall. For the most part, Joseph’s averaged around 1:09 with Arash just a bit behind him. Although, for some reason they both ran one of them much slower-around 1:15. I think it was an anomaly, and they just lost focus, because the rest were fine. On the other hand, there were some pretty good ones in there, especially considering the heat.  Joseph did one at 1:04 and several at 1:06-1:07. All of the others, except for the slow one, were 1:09-1:11 or so. We got a 10 minute cool down following the track stuff, stretched, and called it a night. While we were at the track, there were quite a few folks walking and jogging. Phil Cunningham, assistant coach for the MSU basketball team and a graduate assistant for the team were among those. In fact, Phil told me I looked like John Mellancamp.

I took Joseph to the South Farm after school for an easy run on Tuesday. The first part was anything but easy as it  was a crazy windy day with strong south winds. I started out pretty slow and Joseph was quickly out of sight! Punk. I decided  to only do 4 miles today, so I just went out 2 miles then back. A lot easier on the way back with the wind at my back! I ended up doing the 4th mile in 6:35, but all the rest were 7 to 7:30. After about an hour and 10 minutes, I went to look for Joseph, who was still running. Figured he might want some water. When I found him he had been planning on doing another 3 or 4 miles, but I reminded him that he was already late for some group project thing with some fellow students. Today was the 4th day in a row that I was able to run, so I was pretty happy with that!

We again met Arash on Wednesday afternoon at the Research Park area off old Hwy 82. I got a 2 mile warmup run in with them, then jumped on my bike to pace them for 6 x 800m runs with 2 minute jogs between, which was followed by a mile cool down. While I was biking with them Tyler Hutchinson biked a lap around with us on his new mountain bike, which was sweet!  Several MSU runners were also cruising around including Steve Shoto, who was an 800m star at Pearl high the last couple of years. As far as today’s workout,  I told them to shoot for 2:28-2:32 for the 800’s. Joseph’s were  2:27, 2:32, 2:41, 2:27, 2:28, and 2:29, so other than the one that was 2:41, he was right on target. About half of Arash’s were also at the right pace, and the other three were a bit off.  After the workout, we did a mile cool down. The guys probably would have done more of a cool down, but a storm suddenly descended upon us!

We plan on running at the South Farm tomorrow at 3:30 pm if the weather holds out. It is raining right now and is supposed to rain much of tomorrow. But, maybe it will clear out by then.

Both Joseph and Arash are planning on doing the Starkvegas 10k Saturday morn. Hopefully, they will both run well under 36 minutes. Guess we will see!

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Lake Lowndes St. Patrick’s Day 5k

I took the lean mean Joseph Machine over to Lake Lowndes State Park Saturday morn for the St. Patrick’s Day 5k that the Golden Triangle Cycling and Running Club put on. Beautiful morning, not too hot, although it was a bit humid. Race start time was 9 am, so we got there around 8 to register and get warmed up. I actually contemplated running the race, as my foot is starting to feel much better, or at least it does not hurt as much.  Also, the course is beautiful as it winds through the hilly state park roads. I have enjoyed running races here in the past. I even won a 5 mile race here years ago. But, I decided that I would wait on the races a while longer. The first two miles are actually pretty tough, but the last mile is not bad. I did a warmup jog with Joseph for about 15 minutes as we checked out the course a bit. Headed back to the park office for some light stretching and communing with the various runners from MS and AL. Always nice to see folks at these runs. Everybody is always so nice. Met a dude named Mitch from Sulligent, Alabama who drove over on his sweet baby blue Harley. The Johnson brothers and a sister were there. They are from around the Columbus area somewhere and the siblings have been running since they were little kids. Three of the brothers ran the 5k and another brother and sister ran the mile fun run after! Some crazy chics wearing tutu’s and wild calf high socks ran the race. Quite a few guys from the Columbus Air Force Base ran as well. Peter Rabideau was there and still running strong at 71 years of age (I believe that is his age). He ended up with a 24 minute something race today!

crazy ladies and one of the Johnson boys.

The race got off without a hitch at 9 AM. Nobody super fast was here today, so Joseph was pretty much by himself up there in the front. He ended up winning the race easily running 17:04, which was okay for him, but not great.

Joseph cruising along...

But, its hard to push yourself. Second place was an Air Force dude who ran in toe shoes with a 19:05 time. We have been doing some tempo runs on Saturdays, so Joseph’s pace for this race was about what I wanted him to do today anyway. He received a beautiful, fairly big, green trophy for his efforts. He had run this race two years ago as well when he was 13, and he won then too. I guess I came in 2nd. So, that was cool. I think I could have managed second today too, but who knows.

Joseph getting his award...

A much bigger St. Patrick’s Day 5k was also held on Saturday. This one was in Jackson, MS. We did this one a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. Big race with over a 1000 people. But, to be honest, I did not feel like driving all the way down there. I almost wished I had, just to have given the punk some competition to push him more. Our buddy Arash Taheri did run the race there and placed third with a 17:03. Another fellow we know, Avery Ainsworth, won the race with a respectable 16:02. Back in the day, I used to run against Avery’s dad, Gerald. Nice to see his son (and his other son) running well! Complete results are at:

Although Joseph got in a cool down run after the race, he felt like he needed a bit more when we got home, so he jogged around our trail barefoot for a while. Meanwhile, I got back to my crazy yard work trimming more bushes and taking a few more small trees down for yet another burn! I even mowed the lawn and did some weed eating. Yeah, March 17 and already mowing the lawn. It was at least 85° F out there too!

I spent Sunday morning helping a friend move furniture and randomly heavy stuff to his new place to be. The crazy joker bought some land, sold his home, and is planning on building a small cabin while living in a camper. He built a big shed this past week to store his stuff in temporarily. I got a decent workout just helping him! Went home and ate some amazingly tasty sausage stuffed tortellini that I had prepared the night before, then tried to get my chain saw going, which started giving me fits yesterday. Yeah, not much luck with that.

We went back to the South Farm at 3 pm for a run. Kamau Bostic and Steve Shaffer joined us today. Hadn’t seen Kamau in a while. That crazy hooligan always brings a heightened level of excited to any run. I was planning another 5.5 mile loop today, which I managed to do at a decent pace actually (considering). I ended up running at least 4 miles with Kamau. Joseph had taken off in front, then Kamau, who ran the first mile with me, took off and caught, then passed Joseph, then realized that maybe he was running too fast, since he had no idea of what his track workout might be tomorrow.  So, he turned around, rejoined me at about mile 2, and ran the rest of the way with me.  We averaged around 6:35 for the next 3.4 miles of hilly, hot gravel!  Somebody forgot to mention to Mother Nature that it is still March here and not mid summer! Steve also opted for the 5.5 mile route today, probably due to the warmer than usual weather. He was behind us, but still had a great run from what I could see.  After I got back to the truck, I jumped on my bike to bring Joseph, was doing a longer run, some water. Man, I rode all over the place and could not find that wily rascal. Finally found him after about an hour and 15 minutes. Fortunately, he showed that he had some common sense, as he had went back to the truck at some point and got some water before heading back out. I gave him some more, and we headed back to the truck. He ran somewhere between 80 and 90 minutes.  While we were at the South Farm, we saw Walker Mattox, who is on our cross country team at SHS, and Layton Little, who I used to coach when he was on the XC team  at Starkville Academy (I guess he is still on the team, but I am not over there more). They were not running, but were biking. Also, a couple other folks were out running, including one of the fast MSU runner dudes.

Anyway, great run today! And great to see Kamau too!

Ate some wonderful curry type food that I prepared for supper. Used some pork, potatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, cilantro, even some boiled egg, and served it over rice. I probably broke some strange sacreligious or cultural taboo by combining these particular ingredients. But, whatever the case, it was some freakin’ awesome supper!

Tomorrow we are heading to the SHS track for another 400m workout at about 5 pm (or whenever the track team is done).

Next Saturday, mark your calendars, the Starkvegas 5k and 10k will be held, starting at the Greensboro Center in Starkville, MS! Also next Saturday, MSU will be hosting a high school meet, which should be a good one with decent teams from the region including Starkville High. I imagine we will go watch some of Joseph’s friends run. I had planned on entering Joseph in that meet (and a couple of other university hosted high school meets) as an unattached runner. But, apparently that defied some ridiculous rule or another of the Mississippi Athletic Association. I was told that high school runners cannot run unattached in any Mississippi sanctioned high school track meet if the school they attend has a track team. In other words, you run for the team, or you don’t run at all. I actually tried to get several of the higher ups to show me in print this rule, but I pretty much got the run around on that.  Big surprise there! I even got some rules emailed to me: everything but the rule I wanted to see. It may actually be a valid rule, but as a scientific minded individual, I like to see the proof. Not quite sure what the punishment would be if he did run either. Some people suggested that the SHS team could be ruled inelegible at those meets, although I can’t imagine why that would be the case? But, who knows,we are in Mississippi, not exactly a place of reason. I guess, theoretically, Joseph could run meets in other states, but what the hell, its not worth the trouble, and he is having much more fun running these cool road races anyway. Maybe he will decide to run next year, who knows?

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