Monthly Archives: May 2012

decent running despite the temps increasing


Since it is now summer here in Mississippi, things have heated up considerably! We are still getting runs in late afternoon, but are gradually moving the start times later. Additionally, we have started doing our long run each week on Saturday mornings with the Boardtown Club to try and beat the heat some.

Sunday, we got started at 6 pm at the South Farm. Did an easy 6 miles on the South Farm with Steve and Joseph. Nobody went crazy. With Joseph having exams on Monday and Tuesday, we took Monday off. But, we did get an easy 6 mile run in Tuesday at 6 pm with Juan Villarreal and Steve Shaffer. Today’s route started at the South Farm and went through the MSU campus, University Estates, Bardwell Road, and back through the campus. Joseph was completely zapped out today, probably with exams and all that. He ended up running with Steve today, and they actually took a short cut, so probably ran more like 5 miles. I ran with Juan the entire time, around 6:45-6:50 per mile. I imagine I greatly slowed him up, but he did not know the route, so he needed me. Anyway, he said he wanted to take it easy today. Unfortunately, we will not see Juan again until August because he is going back home for the summer.

I had some Entomological visitors in town Wednesday through Friday, but was able to slip in a 5 mile run in on Wednesday. Decent run too, 6:25 pace. Although, it was relatively flat. Did not run again until Saturday morning when we joined the Boardtown group again. It seemed that some of the speed demons were away for races or what ever, so I ran with Joseph since he did not know the route, which was about 10 miles. For what ever reason, it seemed easier today and I was able to run the 10 miles at a 6:40 pace without too much struggle. Of course, this was slow for Joseph, but he did not seem to mind.

We spent today (Sunday) at Choctaw Lake kayaking around a bit, swimming a bit, hiking some, and chilling out. Pretty nice early, but got hot later. The sun really zaps you! But, we are still planning on getting in a run this afternoon at 6 pm. Again meeting at the South Farm Parking Area. We will also meet there at the same time on Tuesday and Thursday if anybody wants to sweat a bit.

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base work…..


Following the Gumtree 10k last Saturday, we started back to doing some base training for the summer. I imagine we will start out somewhat slow and easy and pick it up the pace and mileage as the summer moves along. Especially these first couple of weeks following the harder spring training we did. Sunday we only did 4 miles at a 7 minute per mile pace. Monday afternoon was similarly easy with 6 miles at a 7:05 pace. We changed up the Monday run a bit by running through our  MSU campus, the wonderfully hilly University Estates neighborhood, and Bardwell Road route. We love this particular route because it is very challenging, but tend not to do it much during the fall and spring university sessions, because the campus get ridiculously busy. Pretty nice now though!

On Tuesday around 5 pm, we met Juan Villarreal, who is a redshirt freshman on MSU’s XC and track teams, and happens to still be in town for some of the summer. Starting from the South Farm parking area, we scampered across campus and around  the Research Park on Old Hwy 82 for a little over 5 miles. I managed to hang with them for about 3.5 miles, but they picked it up  a little (or I slowed down?). I ended up running the route at a 6:36 per mile average, which I was actually pretty happy with considered I have been banged up with the plantar fascia deal. One thing for sure, running that pace today was not as easy as it was 6 months ago, and obviously way harder than the ease in which Joseph and Juan were running. It looked quite effortless. Juan had already run a few miles earlier that morning as well.

Wednesday afternoon, Joseph and I just did an easy 4 miles through Longmeadow neighborhood and down Industrial Park Road and back. Nothing remotely fast today. We both seemed a little tired, but me less so than Joseph, so I actually did that last 2 miles faster than him today. Joseph was still recovering from his cold/flu deal, not to mention being overwhelmed this week with some extra work he was doing as a result of this being the week before final exams.  Its funny how the body works. If you are tired, you can’t run as fast. Go figure. And if you do run too fast when you are tired, you will probably pay for it later.

Thursday was a different story, as we again met Juan for a run. Today we did the 6 mile plus loop on the South Farm. Today, I basically could not keep up with them at all. After about 400-600 meters I had already fallen behind their pace. I was probably a little tired from the decent Tuesday run. I ended up doing a 7:09 minute per mile pace. Not terrible by any means, but nothing crazy. I guess those guys ended up around 6:30 or better, with Joseph keeping up with Juan for most of the way before dropping off 5 miles.

Juan Villarreal, Joseph MacGown, and Joe MacGown

Juan Villarreal, Joseph MacGown, and Joe MacGown

We got up early Saturday morning and ran with the Boardtown Running Club. Had not been since January, so it was nice to see all those crazy running jokers again. Juan and his brother Jorge also  joined us. Jorge still has some kind of injury, so he rode his bike, but Juan and Joseph ran together. I am glad he showed up for sure, as it is great for Joseph to have somebody to run with. All three of us (Juan, Joseph, and I) ran a 10 mile route, although many of the other runners there ran a 14.7 mile loop. There are some really good runners out there for sure. Joseph and Juan averaged  about 6:20 per mile for the 10 miles, and did not seem to be overly taxed. I ran much slower, at 7 minutes per mile. Definitely easy though, did not feel sore or very tired  at all. I think I will continue to not push it too hard for a while. I can still feel some soreness in my right heel, but not too bad. I figure I should not push it too hard for a while, not to mention, I am not in good enough shape to do much more! I imagine we will do our longer runs with the Boardtown group for most of the rest of the summer. Its a lot easier to run farther in the morning than later in the day for one thing, and the Whites put out water/Gatorade stops along the routes every 3-3.5 miles. How freakin’ cool is that! Plus, there are some amazing runners, such as Meggan and Houston Franks, Micah and Kelly White, David Dycus, and many others out there that can push Joseph. Its not always easy to do a long run at the right pace by yourself, and  I can’t really push him anymore unless I am on a bike! The only problem with that is I don’t get the run in myself. Today was a perfect example.  At one point, Joseph, Meggan, and Juan were cruising along together. We are so lucky to have runners like that around here!

Today, we are planning to get in an easy 6 miles or so at the South Farm. We will meet there at 5:30 pm.

In other news, results for the State 5A meet are now online at http://ms.milesplit.com/meets/118510-mhsaa-state-championships-5a . As I mentioned in an earlier post, Starkville High’s boys came in second overall behind Pearl at the meet. Quite a few boys and girls qualified for the state meet, and I suspect that this was one of the more well rounded teams that SHS has ever had.  As far as the distance boys who made it to the state meet, Kamau Bostic placed 2nd in the 1600m race with a 4:36.46 and 2nd in the 800m race with a 1:59. He was closely followed by Starkville’s Damian Grady in both events with Damian coming in 3rd in the 1600m race with a 4:36.79 and 3rd in the 800m race with a 2:01. The first place finisher in both of those races was Matthew Oneal of Calloway who ran a 4:21 in the 1600 and a 1:56 in the 800m. Matthew also won first place in the triple jump with his 49′ jump, giving him a fairly unique set of state awards. From what I hear, he is also a very talented soccer player.  Kamau and Damian were able to get a first place award though, as they were two crucial components of SHS’s first place finish in the 4 X 400m event!  They easily won the event beating the 2nd place team by 5 seconds with their 3:23.61.  Also finishing well for Starkville in a distance event was sophomore Alex Ross, who placed 6th with a time of 10:49. This kids greatly improved from the XC season last fall, and you can look for him to be awesome this coming fall.

On the girls side, the team placed 5th overall. Not to be outdone by the guys, the girls running the distance events excelled. Starkville High junior Mary Elizabeth Stringer posted a 2nd place finish in the 800m race with her 2:27! Last year, she ended up 5th at the state meet with a 2:29, so this was significant improvement for her. She will certainly be a favorite to win 1st next year.  Seventh grade superstar Kate Mattox won both the 1600m and 3200m races with her times of 5:31 and 11:59. Her sister Walker Mattox also made it to the state meet and placed 8th with her time of 13:31. Starkville’s 4 X 400m team also did well placing third with a time of 4:13.33.  For Kate Mattox, this was an amazing year for running as she also won the state meet in cross country last fall. In fact, just this week, Kate received “The Pop Star Award” for having been the fastest female runner in all divisions in MS during cross country season You can read more about this in the Starkville Daily News article at http://www.starkvilledailynews.com/node/10047. Congrats to her!!! Making Starkville look good.

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2012 Gum Tree 10k, Tupelo, MS


About a month, I registered Joseph for the Gumtree 10k, which is held annually in Tupelo, MS. This is listed online as one of the top 75 running races in the country and the best race in Mississippi. The cash prizes that are eight deep in the open category and also three deep in the  masters and grandmasters bring in some quality runners. The race is no where near as large as it was 20-25 years ago, but still pretty big. Joseph had never done this race before and was looking forward to running it. He also wanted to break his own MS 15 year old 1ok record, which he set earlier in the spring in Vicksburg. Unfortunately, he caught a nasty cold this week, and even missed a couple of days of school. Did not get to run much this past week either, and has been full of medicine and no energy. BUMMER. Even so, he still wanted to run the race. Our friend Arash had planned on running it with him, and he did not want to let him down either. Plus, even if he had a slow day, you don’t get many opportunities to run in a race with world class runners from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and other countries, not to mention the best runners from our region. So, Arash spent the night with us here in Starkville, and we got up early and headed to Tupelo.

I don’t know how many people participated in the 10k, but it was quite a bunch. There was also a 2k for kids, which started simultaneously. This race is super well organized, with road blocks at most turns, tons of volunteers directing the runners, arrows painted on the road, and with water stops. The course was new this year, but still is a certified 10k course. However, being certified does not mean it is exactly 6.2 miles (10k) long. Apparently, if it is slightly long, that is ok too. Folks with Garmin watches that I talked to said they measured it between 6.27 and 6.3 miles. Arash had 6.3 miles on his watch, and a 0.1 difference in the mileage would add 30 seconds or more to a true 6.2 course. But, at least it is a certified course, which means records could be set here.

Gumtree 10k start

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the first 8 runners were all African guys who had come in for prize money. However, 23 year old Tupelo native Drew Kellum did very well coming in 9th overall with a time of 33:39.  Drew is a super enthusiastic dude who loves running!

Drew Kellum at start of 2012 Gumtree 10k

Drew was followed by his friend and New Albany native Bo Boatner, who at age 41 easily won the masters division with his time of 33:51!

Bo Boatner at start of 2012 Gumtree 10k

Bo is now an assistant coach for Tupelo High School’s running program, and they are extremely lucky to have someone of his caliber helping the team! With Bo helping the new head XC coach, Jonathan Begnaud, who is also a seasoned distance runner, you can expect Tupelo to be even better than they have been in the past!

Gumtree 2012 Male masters winners: Bo Boatner, Eric Butze, and Rob Laher

Despite Joseph’s being sick, he came rambling in 19th overall with a time of 35:48 (chip time was a couple of seconds better than clock time). This time will give him the new 10k record for 15 year old males in Mississippi breaking the record he set in that category at Vicksburg by over 30 seconds. I feel sure that he would have run at least a minute faster had he not been sick. He said he was running up near Bo and Drew for 2 or 3 miles, then had some severe coughing fits and had to slow down. I imagine he was pretty exhausted. Having run a 16:29 5k two weeks earlier, we figured he had at least  34 flat 10k in him. But, that was before he got sick. So, he was happy to finish and break the MS record for sure, but annoyed that he was not healthy enough to go faster! 19th at the Gumtree is very good for 15 years old, so he should be happy. He won the 15-19 year old division, which had 40 guys in it.

Joseph at finish of Gumtree 10k

Joseph at finish of Gumtree 10k

Second place in that group was 16 year old Brayden Timmons with a time of 38:18. Brayden runs for Pontotoc High, and their well coached XC team has dominated the 4A division for many years. And  17 year old Sam Ivy was 3rd with 38:34.

14-19 male winners: Joseph MacGown, Brayden Timmons, and Sam Ivy!

Arash also ran well, coming in 22nd overall and second in his age group behind Drew Pellum with his time of 36:07. He thought he started too fast, as did Joseph, but he finished very strong.

Arash Taheri at finish of Gumtree 10k

Top two 20-24 year old males, Drew Kellum and Arash Taheri!

The women’s field was incredible with runners from all over the place. African and Russian names were the norm for the top few spots. However, Meggan Franks of Starkville made the top 8 coming in 8th with a time of 37:10.

Meggan Franks at finish of Gumtree 10k

Just two weeks ago, she came in 6th in the Canadian National Half Marathon Championship with a time of 1:19:01. So, basically she was still recovering from that, but still able to run a fast 10k. She was not overly pleased with her time, as she has run faster 10k splits in longer races, but it was still good enough to break the female Mississippi 10k record, which was held by her friend and former MSU team mate Tiffany Dudley (formerly McWilliams). Way to go Meggan! Beast!

Top 8 female finishers at 2012 Gumtree 10k. Meggan Franks is on the far right.

Got a picture of our Starkville crew Joseph, Arash and Meggan after the race. Quite a few other Starkville runners made it to the race too, such as Jennifer Spradling and others. Full results of the race are posted at http://www.besttimescct.com/results/Gumtree12.txt

Meggan Franks, Joseph MacGown, and Arash Taheri with their awards (still in the wrappers)

As we were leaving, we ran into former Tupelo High standout Max Holman and his dad. Max is now running for Ole Miss, and recently posted a time of 14:47 for the 5k! Sweet!

This past Friday, Starkville High’s track team competed in the 5A state meet. Results are not yet posted, so I don’t know how everyone did. I believe the boys team placed second, which was good for them. I know that Mary Elizabeth Stringer was 2nd in the 800m race! Way to go ME!! When results are posted, I will put up a link.

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rainy evening here in Starkpatch…


Joseph was still coughing Sunday afternoon and not feeling too good. But, he came along and jogged 5.5 miles when I went to the south farm at 5:30 pm. He probably should not have gone, but I think he was tired of sitting around. Steve Shaffer was there  when we arrived. I took off ahead of them today, cruising through the first 3.6 miles at about 6:35 per mile. At that point, I met Ethan Musser. Apparently he and his younger sister Shaunika showed up right after we started. Steve happened to look back and see them, so he waited and ran 4 miles with Shaunika. He told Ethan were Joseph and I where headed, so Ethan took a short cut and met me. Joseph was somewhere behind me today, just taking it easy. I finished up the run with Ethan doing the last 2.5 miles at about a 7 minute mile pace. Joseph did not push it today, which was good, since he was still sick.

Monday, Joseph woke up still coughing and was kind of groggy and weirder acting than usual. Probably due to some medicine he was taking. And probably, running the day before did not help. I told him to go back to bed and not go to school. After work, I came home and did a couple of 800m intervals and threw in a 400. Also jogged a warmup mile and did a mile after. Nothing crazy. It had just rained, and the road was pretty wet.  The 800’s were pretty good for me though: 2:27 and 2:32.

Tuesday was a repeat for Joseph, and he again stayed home. After work I met Ethan Musser, and we ran 6.5 miles around the MSU campus and around the Research Park. I dont’ know what our pace was, but it was comfortable. Thought we might get rained on, as it was thundering now and then and quite cloudy. As it turned out, with the cloud cover, it was not too hot! We did not get rained on, although the rain did come in right after we finished. Joseph did not run today either. But, he did seem to be feeling somewhat better. Definitely going to school tomorrow regardless. I think he is planning on trying to run tomorrow afternoon if he feels like it. He is really hoping to be able to run the Gumtree 10 on Saturday, but unless he is feeling a lot better, that may not happen.

Tomorrow, I am heading back to the Gulf Coast to be interviewed about crazy ants for a tv show that will be later aired on the Animal Planet station. Pretty cool. Hopefully, weather and scheduling permitting, I will be able to get a run in afterward. It is wonderful to run on the coast with the flat terrain and cool breeze.

Whether we get the Gumtree run in or not, next we week we will start taking it easier and begin our summer base training phase. We still may throw in a couple of races here and there, but nothing to serious in the way of training.

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weird week of running, sort of hot too…


As we often do on Sunday evenings, we ran at the South Farm. Joseph and I started the run at 5:30 pm with Steve Shaffer. It was pretty warm still, but not unbearable. Nobody was in a mood to kill it today, although I though we all did alright. I ran with Steve for the first 3.5 miles at a moderate pace, then I picked it up some for the next 3.5 miles back to my truck. Somewhere along the way Steve took a shortcut and met me from another direction. When we got back, Joseph was there getting some water. Steve did his battery of crazy stretches, and Joseph and I headed back out for some more. I ended up running for an hour and 25 minutes, and Joseph got in an hour and 40 minutes. Pretty good day all in all.

Monday after school I took Joseph over to the Research Park where he and Arash did 5 X 1 mile repeats. It was the first really hot day that we have had I think. They were struggling! Of course, Joseph may have been worn out from his nice 5k race Saturday and his long run Sunday. Or maybe it was just because it was hot! They almost did not do 5, but talked each other into it. As usual, I biked while they ran. But, I did do one decent mile myself, just to do something. It was 5:20. Not terrible.

Tuesday, easy run through Longmeadow, McKee Park, and Industrial Park. About 5 miles-6:45 pace. Joseph went longer and faster. Wednesday, it rained pretty good, so we skipped the run. On Thursday, Joseph said he ran about 45 minutes. But, dang it, I had to skip Thursday because I had a juried art show to judge in Columbus, MS.  The show was good though, and so was the dinner afterward!  Also met some interesting folks after dinner at a trippy cool basement art gallery on Main Street. One of those folks was Abby Malmstrom, who has started some sort of running clinic for beginning runners. Abby has quite an educational background in exercise physiology, and is especially knowledgable about proper running form. For anybody interested, she has a web site at: www.liveforitall.com

When I picked Joseph up at school Friday, he was coughing. Not a good sign, as he had planned to run the Coca Cola Classic 10K in Corinth the next morning. Thought we would wait until the morning to see how he felt. Basically it was worse, so we did not go to the race. He got some sleep though. I don’t think he would have run well, he was pretty tired. Even if he did, it would not have been worth it. Running hard when you are sick usually only serves to prolong the sickness, at least in my experience.

The day was not a total bust though. We stopped by the MSU track and watched the 2A, 5A, and 6A North State 32oom races. Our high school is in the 5A division and had 2 girls and 2 boys in the races. Top 4 in each race qualified for the state meet next Saturday.  Kate Mattox was 1st and her older sister placed 4th. Kate pretty much lead from the start, and ran around 12 minutes. Not a great time for her, but she easily won the race. On the boys side, Alex pulled in at 4th. Stuart Woomer looked good early, but faded after the mile and did not qualify for the state meet. Even so, this was farthest that either of them had made it before, so they should be happy with that.

After the 3200m races, Joseph and I went and got some lunch, then took our kayaks over to Tibbee Creek to float around a while. Pretty warm day, but it was nice to be on some water, which was surprisingly cool. We had never been out there before, despite its being not very far away. Not much current, but it is very scenic as it flows through some nice hardwood forests. Not pristine everywhere unfortunately, as there was lots of trash in the water near the bridge where we put the boats in. Saw lots of turtles and spotted gar floating around. After a couple hours of that, we headed home. Along the way, we stopped on the MSU campus and got a 4 mile easy run in. Nothing fast. We saw Kamau Bostic and Damian Grady out doing a cool down run while we were running. They apparently had both qualified for the state meet in the mile coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Planning on running at the South Farm again tomorrow at 5:30 PM. Probably will start going later here pretty soon as its getting hot!! Probably starting after the Gumtree 10k race, which is next Saturday. Will start back on a base training phase for a while. I imagine we will get some long runs in on Saturday mornings with the Boardtown running club. Maybe do a couple road races early summer as well. At some point we will get back to doing at least an easy interval or fartlek run and maybe an easy based tempo run each week. Depends. We will see.

If you have not been outside tonight, you should go out and see the ginormous super moon! Biggest full moon of the year. Cool.

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