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.
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!
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.