Monthly Archives: June 2012

how hot is hot?

Sunday evening at 7 PM, we met Brent Wallace, Arash Taheri, and Steve Shaffer at the South Farm.  Decided to do the route clockwise for a change of pace. For the most part recently, we had been running the course counter clockwise. The advantages of this are that the west side of the loop we typically do is somewhat shaded by a line of trees at this time of day, then as we get to the other side, the sun has usually dropped enough to where its not unbearable. The disadvantage is that when I go this way, I sometimes skip the last mile loop and don’t do the entire 7 mile route. Or, sometimes I get to a certain point where I can just head straight back for a 5.5 mile route. For whatever reason, the second half of the 7 mile loop going counter clockwise from the parking area just about always gets me! Those rolling hills are killer, especially if I do the first half at a decent pace. But, if I run clockwise and get that first mile loop in, it is much more difficult to cheat, and I pretty much always do the 7 mile route. Today, again hot! But, I was able to do the first 3.5 miles in just over 22 minutes. Pretty sweet. I think I was trying to prove I could still run ok despite the sudden 10 lb weight gain! Joseph was in front of me. Brent decided to go straight, instead of doing the 7 mile loop, and he ended up doing the 5.5 mile trek. Steve followed Joseph and I, and our CRAZY bud Arash the magnificent rode Joseph’s bike and carried water for us, which I greatly enjoyed at the halfway point! Another cool thing about this route is that we get to run up a tremendously annoying hill at around the 4 mile mark! Yeehah. The fast paced first half was fun, but wore me out with the heat! The second half was 26 minutes plus! Big difference, but still, the average for the entire 7 miles was not terrible given the hills, gravel, and HOTNESS.  Of course, the punk (Joseph) was well ahead of me. Steve did a fine job today, and he ended up finishing only a few minutes behind me.

Monday, got a few pushups in early in the morn. Joseph did a more comprehensive workout later that morning. That evening we ran 5 miles out here in Sessums. First half mile easy, then 4 miles at an average of 6:30, then easy last half. Joseph just ran the entire route easy today. Even at 7 pm, the heat was quite intense.  I noticed that each of my 4 faster miles got slower as I went along.

Tuesday evening at 7 pm, we met at the South Farm parking lot, but ran through the campus, around the Research Park, and back. Another decent crew today. Joining Joseph and I  were Jorge Villarreal, Abigail and Shaunika Musser, Steve, Brent, John Mitchell, Christian Kingery, and Renee Masterson. Steve, Shaunika, Abigail, and Jorge did a route that was a bit shorter, about 4.2 miles. The rest of us ran the 5.5 mile route.  Joseph lead the way, and Brent, Renee, and I ran along with him for the first 4 miles or so, before absolutely having to get some water along the way back at the Sanderson Center Intramural Center. Joseph continued on back. Despite the first mile being at a 6:56 minute per mile pace, we averaged 6:35 for the entire way. I thought this was pretty darn good considering the heat. It was so hot, Renee mentioned that the soles of her feet were burning from the hot road. All I know is I wanted some water! This pace was actually faster than I was planning on going today, but with Brent and Renee there, we sort of fed off of each other. Felt pretty good though. Near the end, thanks to Renee’s prodding we did a few strides of various lengths. Renee is a freakin’ beast, and it was awesome to have her come run out with us.

Wednesday, we were going to run pretty easy, as we had planned on doing a 5k time trial on the MSU track on the following night with Meggan Franks. But, Meggan called it off because she was sick and because with temperatures over a 100°F , this was not the time to do that. So, we ended up running about 6 miles in town. Parked at the South Farm, and John Mitchell was there. So, he joined us too. We ran through campus, downtown, to the Greensboro Center, down Louisville Street, back toward campus through the Cotton District and back to the parking area. I ran the first mile with John at an easy 7:50 pace, then picked it up with the next two at 6:15 and 6:27, then the following two were slower, around 7 minutes, with the last mile being relatively fast. John cruised in a bit later. Not a super fast day, but not bad either.

Well, since there was no time trial on Thursday, we just did our normal Thursday run at the South Farm at 7 pm. Today was probably the hottest day of the year thus far. Supposedly around 102° today. Could not believe it, but despite the heat, we had another good group of jokers.

Shaunika, Steve, and Abigail

We met Steve, Arash, Jorge, Brent, Abigail, Shaunika, and some crazy climber dude friend of Steve’s named Cleat. Cool name. He also had a cool daddy 4 door black jeep with all the doors and roof pealed off. Sweet ride. Wish I could afford one. Somebody should buy me one!

Brent, Cleat, John, Jorge, Joseph, and Arash

Did I mention it was was hot? Yeah. Oppressive, heavy air. Stifling. Even my Garmin watch did not like the heat. Did not get it working until the half way point. Brent and I followed Joseph out, going counter clockwise today. Cleat and John followed us. Steve and the girl ran behind us for 2 miles, before heading back. Jorge just ran straight down the main road until he reached a gate, where he stretched, then headed back. Because of the heat, I had left a cooler of water at that gate for anybody who needed it. Arash also carried water in a back pack for us. From the start I felt tired. No energy. I guess it was the heat, plus the fact that I had run at a decent pace for the past five days in a row. Decent for me anyway. Even though my Garmin did not get set right, I knew more or less what pace were going based on our time. The first 3.6 were around 6:45. By the time I got to the water stop, I was hot! Stopped to drink about 20+ ounces and poured some over my head. Stretched a bit too. While we three were stretching, Cleat caught up with us. Joseph took off to finish up the 7 mile loop, but Brent, Cleat, and I opted for the shorter way back (1.9 miles) for the 5.5 mile loop. Those last couple of miles were not fast at all, about 7:30ish. Quite a bit of sweat left my body, that is for sure. I was freakin beat when I got through. I think everyone was. But, it felt good. I even got in 3 sets of pushups, with one set angled with my feet on the bed of my truck, and a couple sets of dips. Nothing crazy, but it felt good. When I weighed myself later that night, I was 166 lbs. Yeah, 14 lbs lighter than Saturday night! Crazy! After noting my change in weight on Saturday, I decided maybe I should not eat such big meals at 9:30 pm each evening. Also, did not drink any cokes this week. Quite a difference.

Jorge, Joseph, and Arash

Yep, everyone seemed to find today fairly tough I think. Instead of the 7 I planned on, only 5.5. Joseph was going to do 9 or 10, but he only did 7. Not sure what John did, but he said it was crazy hard. Of course, he also did some biking that morning I believe. Arash maybe had it the easiest, as he looked like a kid riding the bike out there. He said he did 12 miles on the bike.

Friday, we took the day off from running. Today was even hotter than Thursday, and supposedly Saturday will be hotter yet. That night I did get a nice workout in at home though. Dumbbell curls, shoulder flys, dips, and crunches. About 30 minutes worth.

12 mile run this morning with the Boardtown Running Club! Even though we started around 6:40, it was already warm. Glad they have some water stops! Joseph ran most of the way with Houston Franks and Micah White. I got to run with Brent for the first 4 miles or so, before he turned around for an 8+ mile route, and Renee ran with us some until she turned around at 5 miles. I was pretty much on my own for the next 7 with Joseph, Houston, and Micah well in front of me. The first 6 miles felt pretty good, but on the way back I slowed down quite a bit. Did not want to push it. Sometimes on these longish runs in the summer, my hamstrings cramp near the end. Today, I an electrolyte tablet before the run started, and one after. I don’t know if they helped, but no Charlie horses in the legs today. And today would have been the day! John Mitchell also showed up to run today. He did about 7 miles I believe. Renee talked several of the newer female MSU distance runners to come today too. They cruised along for about 8 miles. Of course, after the run everyone hung out at the White’s home eating fruit and chilling out in the pool! The water felt very nice.

Running in the summer in Mississippi is challenging for sure. Its hard to describe how hot and humid it is here. The heat is bad. The humidity is bad. The air is heavy. And, even if the weather man says its only 102° or whatever, it may be much hotter on the roads. Of course, temps vary depending on where they are taken. For example, at my home in the country, my thermometer measured 110° in the shade yesterday! In this heat, all you can do is go slower and not go as far. If possible, morning runs are better, but if not, anything after 7 pm is better than during the day. When people move here from more northern climates, they are often overwhelmed by the summers here. It makes breathing difficult for people not used to it. Very easy to become dehydrated too. Even if you hydrate all day, if you go for a longish run, you will be drained. You really have to have some water or other type of hydration along the way somewhere, or it could be dangerous.

Probably will go a few miles in the morn tomorrow. For sure will do some kind of workout this afternoon. And, we will meet at 7 PM tomorrow at the South Farm for a run.


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Father’s Day, Birthday, and some crazy warm weather…

Started off Sunday morning dragging. Probably due to a lack of serious sleep the last few weeks. We got up early Saturday to drive to Meridian for the race, then we got up early Sunday for some casual kayaking on the Buttahatchie Creek. Unfortunately, I do not seem to be able to make myself go to sleep earlier just because I have to awake earlier! Even if I go to bed early, I then will read for a while. Usually some type of fictional work. I love old science fiction and fantasy, even things such as the Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which I read as a kid and still read. For my birthday this week, Joseph got me a great compilation of Ray Bradbury stories! Man, what a writer that guy was! But, back to Sunday. Father’s Day. Joseph was born on the 14th of June, and my birthday is on the 21st of June, which in 1964 when I was born, was on Father’s Day. Pretty cool I guess. Not this year though. Today we pulled out our kayaks and canoe and drove to a little place on the Buttahachie Creek near Caledonia for paddling before the heat set in.  We met Audrey Sheridan and her father for a dual father and kid type of escapade on the water.

Buttahatchie Creek

It took me a couple of wrong turns before I finally found the put-in spot. Dropped the boats off with Joseph, then drove to the takeout spot, which was farther down the creek on Hwy 45. The Sheridans were there waiting, and we headed back to the boats to begin our aquatic journey. This creek is pretty cool. It is certainly worth paddling on. It is still very natural and has not been channelized. It meanders through beautiful wooded stretches with numerous gravel bars, various loops, sloughs, and raised bluffs. With only an occasional camp house along the way, it is very isolated and you basically have the entire creek to yourselves. The wildlife is tremendous, with many birds, turtles, fish, and other assorted creatures. Depending on the time of year, the creek is faster or slower, and because it is not channelized, downed trees sometimes play a pivotal role in navigation. For the most part, there are long stretches of fairly slow moving water, Its nice to just chill out and let the current carry you forward along these stretches. But, around various curves and narrowed stretches, the creek’s speed picks up as you must work your way around the various obstacles. There were several areas that were basically gauntlets of downed trees. Sometimes tricky, because it always seems that the water wants to flow directly under the trees. So, you end up with short and furious paddling bouts to move your boat out of the flow and around the trees. There were actually  a couple of areas where the trees basically extended all the way across the creek, which necessitated either getting out of the boats and carrying them around on land, or picking up the boats over the horizontal tree trunks. Along the way we stopped for snack and lunch breaks on a couple of gravel bars. Good opportunities to check out the cool tiger beetles and other associated fauna. Had a great lunch with BLTs!

Joseph on the Buttahatchie

By the time we finished up, we had been out about 4 and half hours. Although hot and somewhat worn out, I think everyone enjoyed the journey. Packed up and headed home. Later that evening at 7 pm, we got our Sunday afternoon run in. Not too many folks today. Only Steve Shaffer and Abigail Musser joined us. Steve and Abigail ran 4 miles on the South Farm, then Steve added a couple more. Joseph and I did the 7 mile loop. I ran at just over 7 minutes per mile. Did not feel bad today, and found the second part of the loop was easier than usual. But, that may have been because I did the first part slower than usual.

Monday, we planned to do a 3 X mile tempo run out here in Sessums. Nothing serious, just something to keep us honest. But, as we were doing the first mile, we realized right away that we were not going to be able to do this workout as planned. Even though we started at 7 pm, it was too hot to push the pace. Even the warm up seemed hard. I suppose we may have still be drained from the weekend. Certainly being out on the water all day Sunday had to have taken some tole. In fact, Joseph had done some sort of crazy punching bag workout on Saturday, before doing his upper body workout. His arms and shoulders were sore the entire duration of the paddling trip. By Monday, he was still sore! Anyway, our first mile was not outstanding. Mine was 5:43. And that was hard! Took a break and drank some water. Decided to forego the planned workout. We then did a 800m run instead, which I ran at 2:45ish, and we followed that with a 400 at around 1:11. Did a cool down run, stretched at called it a day.

On Tuesday, we met at the South Farm at 7 pm. Meeting us today were Steve Shaffer, John Mitchell, Brent Wallace, and Jorge Villarreal. We did our campus/research 5.5 mile loop today. With Jorge pacing us on his bike, we kept up a decent pace. Joseph and Jorge lead the way, with Brent and I running together behind them, and Steve and John mostly running together behind us. Brent had not run with us in while, and he just got back from some Air Force training, which he said was very similar to basic training. It was evident that he was in great shape, and I thought this was one of, if not the best run he had ever done with us. It was as fast or slightly faster than others, and at much higher temperatures! Even with the first half mile being around 7:20, our first mile average was 6:49, then 6:28 for the second. The next three were a bit slower, but not bad, and we finished the last half mile in 5:58. Cool. We averaged 6:37 for the 5.5 miles. It was not long before Steve and John showed up, which meant they had also kept up a great pace! Along the run today, we met Cooper Fulton, who was out running himself. Cooper is an affable dude from Florence, MS who will be entering MSU as a freshman this fall. He saw us running, introduced himself, and joined us for a couple of miles. He had run XC and track while at Florence, and is in great shape. Hopefully, we can get him out there with us some more! After we got back, Joseph and I joined Jorge for another short easy run, as he is and will be slowly rehab’ing his leg.

One thing is for sure, its hot out! Have I mentioned that? Not just hot, but humid. We have not had much rain lately either, so it has been dusty along the gravel roads. With the heat, it is hard to stay hydrated during runs. I know I have not been drinking enough water myself.  Fortunately, during several of our recent runs, we have had someone riding a bike with us who was carrying some water along. Unfortunately, the reason they are riding a bike is because they are injured! But, I sure appreciated Jorge having water with him today!! Today, we stopped at about 4 miles for that much needed water break.

Joseph and I again ran out here in Sessums on Wednesday evening. Ran 1.1 miles easy, then 3.1 at a 6:21 average, then did an easy mile. Nothing crazy. Joseph, of course, was in front of me. For whatever reason, both of us have felt somewhat lethargic this week, and some last week. For sure, I don’t have my normal energy level. Maybe its the heat. Maybe I have not been properly hydrated. Not enough sleep? Eating supper too late? Weird summer dietary habits?

Thursday, June 21st, my 48th birthday! Celebrated by going to work, then going for a run that evening.  We again met at the South Farm at 7 pm. Today, we actually ran on the farm. Today, Steve was there, some big joker he knows named Chap, Jorge, Arash, and Audrey. Arash and Audrey rode bikes. Arash is still recovering from some crazy groin strain he had, so I brought him a bike to ride. Jorge, who had been biking, just ran a couple miles with us, before heading home to study. Steve and Chap ran the 5.5 mile loop today, which I though was pretty good for Chap. He’s a big ole football playing looking dude (he played in high school) going about 220 lbs, so running 5.5 miles on the gravelly, hilly South Farm roads in this heat was pretty danged good! Of course Steve is always awesome. He was not even going to run, because he was planning an early morning 7 mile run the next day with one of his climbing buddies, but, when Chap showed up (also one of his climbing buddies), he sprang to action! I ran along with Joseph for the first 4 miles of the 7 I ran. We were running at about 6:50-6:55 for that stretch. Then he sped up and I slowed down a little, and he was suddenly far in front of me. He never looks like he is doing anything different. He just goes faster or slower. I usually can’t tell if he is even tired or not. Anyway, I managed to finish up as the sun started to set. This time of day is beautiful on the farm with the rolling hills, horses, and wonderful sunsets. Joseph added 2 or 3  more miles to the run, as he is starting to increase these midweek easy run distances each week. Ideally, he can get his Tuesday and Thursday runs up between 70 and 90 minutes, and his longer Saturday runs between 90 and 120 minutes.

Friday, we did not do any serious running. But, got up early Saturday morn for a run with the Boardtown group.  I knew before I started that I would not be having a great day. My legs were tight, especially my hamstrings, and I felt tired, non-energetic and heavy in general. Some of the beasts were again present today, Meggan and Houston Franks, David Dycus, Micah White, and Renee Masterson. Brent Wallace also showed up today! And, a couple of our buddies on the Starkville High XC team actually showed up: Damian Grady and Nathan Guadin. Both of them will be seniors this year. Damian should have a great senior year coming up, especially in track, where he should be ranked number one in both the 1600m and 800m events in the state for 5A category! Nathan, is not as fast, but I guarantee that not many people are in better overall shape than him. He is into the cross fit exercise phase and do things like over 70 pullups in a row. Crazy beast.

I started the run out with the main group, but it was only a mile or so before Joseph, Meggan, Houston, David, and Micah had put themselves ahead of us. Renee, Brent and I ran together to the first water stop, which was at about 4.1 miles. While we were stopped there, Damian, Nathan, and a couple of others caught up with us. Damian, who is in great shape, then joined Brent, Renee, and I for the next stretch. Somewhere along the way, Renee stopped for a pitstop, and Brent slowed down a bit. Damian and I arrived at the next water stop together. As we arrived, Renee was not far behind us, and Brent was not far behind her. She said she had to run a couple of 6:30’s to catch up! This was awesome, as she is obviously getting back in shape following her injury earlier in the year. The next 2.5 miles were my slowest of the day, which I don’t like, but I just was lacking the energy! In contrast, Renee and Damian ran faster and were almost keeping up with the front group! Awesome guys! Some where along the Mount Olive Road area, and before the 2nd water stop, apparently Meggan and Joseph were cruising along at 5:20 for one mile and 5:40 for another! Crazy. On the last leg, Houston and Meggan added another 2+ mile loop, and most everyone else headed back. Joseph, for some reason, headed back too, but then kept running another 3 miles or so before finishing.

I ended up running a 7:02 mile pace. Two weeks ago I ran 11 miles out here at 6:54 per mile, and the week before that, I ran 12 at 6:42. Going in the wrong direction here, so I guess I need to change something! As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think I have been properly hydrating myself throughout the day. Iced tea does not count! Nor does cherry coke, which maybe I should avoid in the summer. And, I am pretty sure that hard cider and dark beer are not the best choices for hydration either! Because we have been running at 7 pm, we have been eating supper at about 9-9:30 pm. This is probably a terrible idea. Need to eat more good stuff earlier in the day. Plus, eating late makes it hard to go to bed early enough to get any real sleep before work the next morning creating a perpetual cycle of being tired. Of course, it is crazy hot here, so that does not help, and I am not getting any younger obviously, so maybe I should quit complaining! I have felt heavier too, so out of curiosity I weighed myself last night and found that I am now 180 lbs: 10 pounds heavier than two weeks ago! So, there you go. Have to change something. No wonder my long runs are slower. Punk.

Tonight we will be back at the South farm at 7 pm, as well as on Tuesday. Thursday this week, we will not be meeting at the South Farm, as Meggan Franks has planned some sort of 5k mid summer time trial on the MSU Track for her, Joseph and some other folks. So, we will be there around 7 pm, with the run planned for about 8 pm.


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2012 Mississippi State Games 5k Road Race

Another week of life and running here in Starkville, Mississippi. As usual, we got in about 6 miles Sunday evening. Rained all day, and it was not looking like we would be running, but as luck would have it, the rain had mostly stopped by 7 PM. So, Joseph and I did a loop through campus and the research park at about a 7 minute per mile pace. However, Monday ended up being a “no-go”. As we were headed out for a run, a dark wall of clouds blew with an ensuing storm. Instead of a run, we ended up with downed branches. Luckily, we did not lose power this time.

On Tuesday at 7 PM, Joseph and I met Steve Shaffer, John Mitchell, Jorge Villarreal, Walker Mattox, Abigail Musser, and Shaunika Musser at the South Farm parking area for a run.  We did not run on the South Farm, but instead John, Joseph, Jorge (who paced us on his bike), and I ran through the campus, going around the Sanderson Center and Lake, and around the research park before returning to the starting point for about 5.5 miles. Steve and the girls skipped the Research Park loop and ended up doing about 4.3 miles. Nice day for run for sure, with the temps being lower than usual following the last couple of days of bad weather. My average time for the run was 6:29 per mile, with Joseph in front of me. I kept with him pretty well for most of the way, but at some point slowed down. I don’t know John’s time, but he seemed happy with his pace, especially considering his later supper! Abigail, Walker, Shaunika, and Steve all seemed to be running together well. After we got through, Jorge hopped off of his bike and did an easy 15 minute  jog with Joseph. He is gradually trying to rehab his leg, so is still mostly biking.

Me and the kid ran on our own out here in Sessums on Wednesday evening at 7 pm. First a warmup jog, then a moderate tempo 5k, then cooldown. I was 6:20 per mile, with Joseph somewhere around 17:40. I felt pretty good, but not great. At least my foot still feels fine!

Following our decent Wednesday night run, we got up early Thursday morning and jogged an easy 5 miles, also on some back roads in Sessums.  After getting home, Joseph also did an upper body workout. I just went to work! Joseph had some things going on the rest of the day, so did not join us that evening for a run at the South Farm. Today, it was only Steve Shaffer, Abigail Musser, and Audrey Sheridan, who rode her bike along the gravel roads. I did a 5.5 mile loop at a 6:45 pace. Steve and Abigail ran 4 miles, then Steve ran with her as she biked home, before he returned with a total of about 6 miles.

We got up early Saturday morning and drove to Meridian, MS for the State Games 5k road race.  Race start time was 7:30, and we always try to be there about an hour early, so we left just before 5 AM. Early! Too Early! But, we made it. Before the race, we met Tim Irvine, who was a great runner a few years back running 5ks in the low 15’s, and still very into the sport. He even has his own timing business now called “Time2Run” (  Tim is very enthusiastic about running for sure!

A couple of kids from Starkville we know also were there for the race: Walker Mattox and Pierce Fondren.  I thought about running today, but was too freaking tired from getting up early, so opted not to. Joseph got to sleep some in the truck on the way there, but he too seemed pretty beat. Probably the day of swimming on Friday did not help either.

I did a warm up jog with Joseph, as well as one with Walker later on. But, that was the extent of my running on Saturday! Slacker. As race time approached, I was beginning to think Joseph was going to miss the start. With about 2 minutes to go, he was still in line at the port-a-john. Fortunately, he made it to the start. If the race director had not been giving a nice talk about the course, which probably went a little past the race time, he might have been late. However, it would have been nice for Joseph to have heard the talk about the course, because it was a new course and he was in front for most of the race.

I think the course was relatively straight forward, as it wound through part of Bonita Lakes Recreational Area, then around the perimeter of the Bonita Lakes Mall, and back to the Recreational Area. But, apparently Joseph and the other lead runner, Anthony Stricker (an awesome young man from Hattiesburg), were somewhat unclear about where to go even so. They said the first problem was leaving the road and getting on a sidewalk, followed by some issues with cars exiting the Mall parking area, which they had to weave between. Once hitting the perimeter loop of the mall, it should have been relatively simple, but being unfamiliar with the mall parking, apparently Joseph kept wondering if he should be taking a turn at one of the many roads going toward the stores. He said both he and Anthony slowed several times to make sure they were going the right way, and he was also unclear on which exit to take out of the mall area until he finally got to the right one. Finally, near the end, with the finish line and clock in sight, he thought he was about done, but still had to curl around the sidewalk and back down a road to finish on the other side of the finish chute. To be fair, Joseph’s head is generally in the clouds, and he does not pay a lot of attention.   I have noticed that in every race where there is no lead vehicle Joseph has not had a great race.  On the positive side, the race was well organized, with plenty of volunteers, and a great timing system.  If they get a few details ironed out such as getting the  course certified, having a lead vehicle,  having  mile splits announced, and maybe some type of arrows on the course, this would be a great race, because it appears to be a fast race. The only major hill is during the first mile, and much of the rest of the way is either relatively flat or downhill. If they use this same course next year, I think Joseph will do quite well.  I am not sure how to gauge this race as far as Joseph is concerned, because even though he did not have a great time, he won the race with a time of 17:20. His last 5k, which was accurate as well (according to Garmin watches), was 16:29. But, we are just doing base training right now with nothing really fast, so 17:20 is probably ok, and he was not overly tired at the end. Plus, it was nice to be able to beat a quality runner like Anthony Stricker, who finished second with at 17:28. Anthony just graduated from Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, MS and will be running for William Carey University this fall. Of course, Anthony is likely also doing base training at this time of year, so 17:;28 may be about what he wanted as well.

Not only is Anthony a great runner, but so are his siblings. His sister Kayla won the female division with her time of 20:30, his other sister Christie was the 2nd female with a time of 21:12, and their 6 year old brother Dallas ran a 28:59!! Coming in third in the female division was 25 year old Diana Link of Starkville with a time of  21:26. She was followed by our buddy Walker Mattox (15 years old) who finished 4th in the female division and 2nd in the 15-19 year old female division with her time of 22:42. Pierce Fondren, a 15 year old who runs for Starkville Academy narrowly missed getting an award in the 15-19 category with his time of 22:07.  I think this may have been a PR for Pierce. Either way, he had a good race, especially considering he had spent the previous day at some kind of football camp.

Joseph MacGown, Walker Mattox, and Pierce Fondren

Anyway, a good race, lots of happy runner people milling about, and nobody seemed to want to leave! For full results, go to:

Today, back to the south farm for a run.

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eclectic running partners this week

Started out the week Sunday afternoon with our 6 mile run at the South Farm. Steve Shaffer and Arash Taheri joined us. Very humid today! We were all sweating like crazy by the time we finished. At least the temps dipped a little by the time we finished. The run was pretty good, although I took it pretty slow today due to the humidity and the fact that I needed to take it easy! Joseph ran ahead of us, and I ran behind, and then with Arash for a bit, then Arash and I split off as he was doing a longer run. As we were running we passed John Mitchell, who was finishing up his run. Steve mentioned the humidity being crazy bad too, but he seemed to finish up strong nonetheless.

Monday, Arash met Joseph and I out here in Sessums for a run. We first did a warmup run, then mixed in some decently fast fartlek type runs in going 5 minutes fast, 4 minutes slow, then 5 minutes fast, 4 minutes slow, 5 minutes fast, then finished up with a cool down jog. Obviously, during the faster legs, Arash and Joseph left me behind. I ran my three legs of 5 minutes segments at an average of about a 5:55 per mile pace. The first one was definitely the best, and it was at a 5:45 minute per mile average. I don’t know how fast Joseph and Arash were going, but it was decent for sure!

On Tuesday morn, Joseph did a easy recovery type run on our trails, then did a upper body workout followed by some plyometric skips, bounds, etc. Later that day at 7 pm,  we again went to the South Farm for a 6 mile run. Joining us today were Steve Shaffer, Walker Mattox, Nathan Gaudin, and Arash. Pretty much everyone went 6 miles, except Arash, who did about 9. I ran mine at 7 minutes per mile (average). Joseph was running at about a 6:20 per mile pace for the first 4 miles, but slowed down later, especially on the last mile. Said he felt a little weak, and thought he did not eat enough food earlier that day. Nathan, Steve and Walker all ran together, and they seemed to be having a blast out there running and talking. They are all three awesome people who love to be in good shape and have amazing attitudes! After I got thru with my run, I brought some water to them in case they were thirsty.  Weather was still humid.

Arash again joined us in Sessums Wednesday at 7 pm. We ran about 1.3 miles for a warmup, then did a pseudo tempo run for a 3.4 mile distance, before doing a cooldown. Arash actually kept going and ended up doing 9 miles at 6:20 per mile. For me, I averaged 6:10 for the 3.4, and Joseph was somewhere around 5:40ish.  After the run, we sat around and watched a movie with Arash. The next morn, he and Joseph got up and did an easy run on our trails. Joseph then did his workout and plyos. Arash decided to skip that because his groin was sore. Bummer.

At 7 pm on Thursday, we hit the South Farm again for another 6 mile run. Today we had Steve Shaffer, Alex Ross, Shaunika Musser, and Abigail Musser join us! The latter 3 will all be running for the SHS XC team this fall. Alex was SHS’s top 3200m runner this year. He did quite well and was able to make it to the state meet. I could tell a big difference in his fitness level from the last time I had run with him, which was probably last November. He and I ran together for about 2.75 miles of difficult, hilly, gravelly roads at a 6:38 minute per mile pace. After that point, he slowed down, but still managed to get in a nice 5.5 mile run.  Joseph was flying ahead of us somewhere, and if we were running 6:40 or better, he must have done the first 3.6 miles at a low 6 minute per mile pace.  Steve said the Musser sisters did a great job today as well.

No running on Friday, although Joseph hung out at Lake Tiakata in Louisville, MS all day. Saturday morning we ran with the Boardtown Club for the 10.9 mile route. Lots of people today. Some were getting ready for a marathon in Minnesota next Saturday. I did not run super fast today, but ended up with a 6:54 average for the entire route. Joseph was far in front of me at each water stop. I figure he was doing 6:20’s more or less for the entire route. Finished up the run by hanging out at the White’s for a while.

Tomorrow, back to the South Farm at 7 pm. Come run with us, its awesome!


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cool end to a hot week

Monday around 6:45 pm Joseph and I  ran a decent paced 4 mile loop from Barnes and Noble’s on the MSU campus through downtown Starkville, down  toward the historic Greensboro area, and then back down Gillispie Street, through the Cotton District, and back. We were shooting to keep the pace not too fast, but not slow. Ended up with an average per mile pace of 6:19, which felt pretty good considering it was still warm.

On Tuesday morning Joseph did a light run on our trails. Later in the morning he did a pushup/pullup/crunch type workout followed by a few sets of some plyometric skips and bounds and some fast arm movement type running drill. Later that day at 6pm, we met at the South Farm parking area for a 5.5 mile run. Jorge Villarreal showed up on his bike, and Christian Kingery and Steve Shaffer also joined us for the run. Jorge rode his bike along with Joseph and I as we ran 5.5 miles from the farm , through the campus, around the Research Park and back. Christian and Steve started with us, but opted to run to the Cotton District area, as they were only planning to do about 4 miles. Man, it was hot!! The first couple of miles were not bad, 6:30’s, but somewhere after about 2.5 or so, the heat slowed me down big time. I don’t think it bothered Joseph as much, but he was nice enough to not completely run off and leave me. The entire way back was slightly over 7 minutes per mile. Amazing. I was glad Jorge was with us on the bike, because he carried some extra water in his back pack, which I needed at around 3.5 miles.

Planned a run for Wednesday at 7 pm, but we had a crazy storm come through. Blew some things around, snapped a dead pine in half, with the top half landing on my power line! Yeah. Ditto for Thursday. Rain and storms prevented us from running, although apparently Joseph ran in the rain on our trails at some point. He also did an upper body workout. That tree top that had been hanging on the  power line finally knocked the power out at about 10pm, which was about 14 hours after I had reported the problem to the electric company. But, once it went out, a guy was out at my house within an hour to cut the tree down. So that was awesome.

Got up early Friday morning and we ran 5 miles out here in Sessums. I did not have enough supper and had not eaten any breakfast, both of which greatly affected my energy level. It should have been easy to run the route, which is flat, because after the storms the temperature had dropped a lot. It was gorgeous out! But, I ended up around 7 minutes per mile and it was not that easy. Joseph mostly just cruised along with me.

We joined the Boardtown club Saturday morn for a 12 mile run. It was again cool, so that was nice.  Made running easier for sure. This was the longest run I have done since my foot injury in January, and it was not too difficult, so I was pretty happy. Not a giant crew today, but still quite a few folks, including some of the local beasts such as Coach Franks and his wife Meggan, Kelly and Micah White, and David Dycus, to name a few. I started out the run with Kelly White, and Renee Masterson, a great distance runner at MSU who up until recently had been sidelined with an injury. We started out slow, with the first 1 to 1.5 miles at about 7:30 or so, then Kelly and I picked it up hitting about 6:30 per mile until the first water stop at around 3.5 miles. Joseph and the others in front must have been flying, because they were way ahead of us. But, they were nice enough to wait for us at the for the next section. The rest of the run was also at a decent pace. My overall average was 6:42, and that included the early warmup, so I was not unhappy. And my foot felt fine too! I have no idea what Joseph and some of the others averaged per mile, but it was obviously in the low 6’s.

Later that morning, Joseph did his upper body workout and some more plyometrics skips and bounds. I spent the afternoon mowing, weekeating, cutting a couple of trees up (from the storm), and things like that.

I got up Sunday morning and headed to the Noxubee Refuge to paddle around a bit before it got hot. I took my sit-on-top out on Bluff Lake and meandered through the beautiful cypress forested habitat.

Cypress swamp at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in MS

Plenty of fisherman out today. I heard a couple of them taking to each other about how crazy I was to be in a kayak in a lake with so many gators. Maybe they are right, who knows. I only saw one aligator today though, and it avoided me.  At one point, my boat skimmed over a barely submerged cypress trunk, and my boat got stuck on it. Took a couple of minutes to finally get off the stump. Crazy.

Nice cypress tree at Noxubee NWR

Found a bryozoan colony just below the water surface! These gelatinous clumps of colonial, aquatic microorganisms always remind me of some crazy alien brain! Lots of egrets and herons flying about as usual, always cool! Anyway, it was a nice start to the day.

Bryozoan Colony

We will be meeting at the South Farm parking lot today at 7 pm. We have been going at 6 pm,but with the summer upon us, it feels much better starting at 7 pm.


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