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” (http://time2run.yolasite.com/).  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: http://time2run.yolasite.com/resources/2012_State_Games_of_MS_5K_RR_Complete.txt

Today, back to the south farm for a run.

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