Wet week here in Starkville. We went from drought-like conditions to monsoon type weather. Somehow, we have been able to squeeze some runs in on the three days a week that we meet at the South Farm. Sunday, it pretty much rained all day, but by 7 pm, it stopped long enough for us to run. With the wet weather, we avoided the gravel roads at the South Farm thinking they would be too muddy. Instead we ran the campus, research park loop and back journey, with some folks opting for a slightly shorter route depending on their goals for the day. Another decent group today with Steve Shaffer (our always happy runner), Brent Wallace, Jorge Villarreal, Jessica Comer, and Ian Prester. Ian was sporting his new and quite awesome Newton running shoes. To be honest, I think that was a big part of why we did not run the South Farm, to keep his beautiful shoes sparkly. Either way, it was a nice run at a moderate pace. Without Joseph there to follow, Brent and I led the way, running the 5.5 miles at about a 7 minute mile average. Most of the others did a 4 mile route. We got through and stretched, talked and hung out for a while. Jessica and Jorge gave us the finer points on stretching, as they are both members of the MSU XC and track teams and know quite a bit about that.
No rain on Monday! But, I used this opportunity to collect ants in Tennessee with JoVonn Hill. We collected at Big Hill Pond State Park and Chickasaw State Park. Hiked around the trails as we searched for ant colonies and different microhabitats. Collected quite a few species, but have not sorted through them all yet. Long day, we got back to Starkville about 8 pm. For anybody interested in ants, you should check out my Ants of the Southeastern US web site. Needless to say, did not run today.
Got an awesome workout in Tuesday morn, which meant that I got to work late. Ok though, just worked later. Lots of pushups and stuff. Sweet. Felt really good in general Tuesday. Not surprising as Tuesday is my favorite day of the week for some reason. Maybe my weekly biorhythmic peak is on Tuesday or something? When I met the crazy jokers for a run that evening at 7 PM I was still feeling good. Nice. Rained again today. I did not think we would be able to run with all the storms in the area, but again, the weather was nice to us during our run time. Another good group of people showed up today including Steve, Brent, Jorge, Jessica, Ian, and Cleat.
Even though it had rained a bunch, the farm roads were not ridiculously muddy, so we ran on them. The combination of not having run on Monday coupled with the great Tuesday feeling made today a good day for running for me. I did a 5.5 mile loop today and took off fairly fast (for me) with the first mile at 6:20 and the next 3 faster that! Pretty awesome. I slowed down to about 6:40 for the 5th mile, then kicked in the last half at under 6 minutes. So, good day. It also probably helped that following the rain, it was somewhat cooler than usual. Brent came in behind me, and he also ran well today. Most of the other folks ran slightly different routes, with Cleat and Steve going 7 miles, and the rest doing about 4 to 5 miles. Awesome day, one of my better runs on the farm since recovering from my plantar fasciatus injury.
Wednesday-RAIN-all day. Did not run:(
Thursday, it rained all day again, but quit before our 7 pm run. How cool is that! Lots of running folks today. As we were getting started, Rob Ellis was finishing up his 7 mile run. Rob is outstanding runner from Tupelo who ran for MSU for a while. Jorge’s roommate Henry was also running the farm roads today, which were again, surprisingly dry enough to run on. Another good group with Steve, Brent, Cleat, Kamau Bostic, Thomas McBroom, Jessica, Kate Mattox, Abigail and Shaunika Musser, Jorge, and Audrey Sheridan (who rode her bike). Thomas is now an MSU student, but ran cross country for us at Starkville Academy.
Felt pretty good again today, but nothing like Tuesday. Brent was determined to keep up with me today, and he did so quite easily. In fact, I thought he was running easier than me today. Or maybe I just sound like I am hurting more? Not sure, but either way, this was one of his better runs. The dude is getting faster every week. We both did the 5.5 mile loop, of which the first 3.6 are very hilly. On that hardest part of the run we averaged 6:30 per mile, then slowed to 6:40 from 3.6 to about 4.5, then started picking it back up with our last 800m at about 5:30. Sweet! Everyone else either ran 4 or 5.5 miles, except Jessica, who warmed up for a while, then did some hill repeats. Kamau was so fired up, he joined her. The younger girls, Kate, Abigail, and Shaunika, all finished up their run with 6 X 20 second strides. Lots of stretching, and talking after. Seems like nobody wants to leave anymore! The girls wanted to make sure I knew they were stretching, as they have sometimes tried to get out of it. But, I can attest that they stretched plenty today!
Got up Saturday morn and headed to the Boardtown Running Club for a long run. Lots of good runners out there again including our buds Kamau Bostic, Damian Grady, Steve Shaffer, Jorge Villarreal, Brent Wallace, and others. Three MSU XC guys were there leading the way once again. Not too hot today, but crazy humid! Supposedly 100% at 6 AM. The run started at 6:30, so, yeah. Running through a cloud basically. First 6 miles felt pretty good. I ran along with Houston Franks, who is much faster than I am, but was basically treating today like a recovery run. My 4th through 6th miles were 6:45 or so. Then I ran the rest of the way on my own at a more moderate 7:15 pace while Houston took with with Micah. Man, my legs felt heavy today!! By mile 8, my shoes and socks were completely saturated with sweat. I could actually hear my shoes squishing as they hit the road. And, I believe almost everyone who went at least 10 miles had the same issue. Anyway, I felt quite sluggish, so I added 2 miles to the 11.5 mile route to make up for my slow second half of the run. I got in about 13.5 miles, which was more than I had run in a while. Hung around the pool a while. Saw Liz Stringer there. She has girls that run on the SHS XC team, and she is now getting into running herself. She told me she ran 6 miles today, which I believe is her longest run to date!! Nice job Liz! Steve Shaffer did exceptionally well today. He ran a 12.2 mile route. He was smart and carried his own water, so did not have to stop at the water stops. While we were at the first stop he passed us, then we would gain on him a little until the next water stop, then we would stop and so forth. I finally caught up with him for good at about mile 11, which was the point where I added some to my run. He said this was his farthest run in quite some time. Impressive on a humid day like today!! After a while, I suggested that we should go to the refuge and bike some since it was not overly hot today. Audrey and Jorge were the only takers, and we went and got bikes and headed to the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. Jorge had a new road bike he wanted to try out, although Audrey and I had mountain bikes. We ended up riding on one of the main roads for about 12.5-13 miles. Saw one alligator, lots of herons, and Jorge saved a turtle that was in the road. Here and there, we got a few random sprinkles to cool us off, which was nice. Afterward, we ate some tasty grapes and enjoyed the day a little before heading out.
Sunday, another rainy looking day, but still planning on running this evening at 7 pm. Joseph is back in town, so he will be there today.