Monthly Archives: August 2012

food for thought


Started the week out with our Sunday evening run. Meeting us at the South Farm were Steve Shaffer, Jorge, Arash Taheri, and Kate and Walker Mattox. Beautiful evening, not too hot and not even super humid! Steve and the girls were doing a 5 mile route, and since the SHS XC will be at the South Farm running tomorrow afternoon, Walker and Kate opted to run on campus with Steve. The rest of us hit the farm roads. Jorge is still taking it easy, but looking much  better. He did the 5.5 mile route, Arash ran 3 miles, and Joseph and I got in 6.1 miles. Felt great again today. First mile was easy, 7:07, then averaged 6:32 for the rest of the way. Pretty good for these hilly gravelly roads! Felt easy too. Worked a bit more on more relaxed and deeper breathing trying to let as much air out as possible when breathing out. I have been running a long time, and know this stuff, but even so, I find it helps to keep thinking about it off and on. Similarly, I find that I constantly need to monitor my posture, otherwise I turn into a tight, slouching slacker.

Checking my GPS watch after the run…

Of course, you can’t run without fuel. I try to eat pretty good, but I definitely balance that out with some junk food! Maybe that is good, maybe bad. I don’t know, but after running I often find that I crave salty and sweet things. My supper tonight was typically weird: sweet and red potatoes that I had broiled in some olive oil with rosemary, M & M’s with peanuts, an imperial nut brown Tommy Knocker ale, a hunk of roast beef, and some juice.

Monday evening, it felt great! Actually almost cool. How cool is that? Just ran out in the country today, out in the Sessums community where we live. I measured a 1000m section of road, and, after a warm up jog, we did 5 X 1000m with 3 minute rests between. First couple felt good, but they got hard after that. Have not done this workout in a while. I plan on doing it about 4 more times the next few weeks. First time is always the hardest. My first one was not bad, 3:10, then each of the next 4 got consecutively slower with the final one being 3:21. Joseph was 3:03, 3:01, 3:05, 3:10, and 3:12. So, we both need to work on getting them all at about the same pace.  Still, all in all, not bad for the first time doing this workout in a while.

Tuesday,  some triptacular ant researchers, Doug Booher and Rick Duffield, who I am collaborating with on a project or two come into town. Needless to say, we spent the day in the woods checking traps and collecting ants! Awesomeness.  Hanging out at the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and the Tombigbee National Forest grubbing around for ants is pretty danged sweet! Well, maybe not for normal people, but for those of us who have never quite grown up and are constantly intrigued by the natural world around us, the unique southeastern forests that surround us offer an amazing diversity of life. In fact, while collecting this week we found a couple of colonies of a new species of ant.  Of course, all this walking around was a little tiring, but not enough to skip out on our evening run. As it worked out, I got a good run in with Joseph and Brent. Left them, and went back to work on ants!

Joseph got in an early morning run with the SHS XC team. But, for me, Wednesday was a repeat of Tuesday for me at work, again out collecting with Rick and Doug. Ran a short tempo with Joseph that evening at 6:30. First got in a 1.5 mile warm up then planned on a 2.5 mile tempo, which was basically two loops through a neighborhood. Man, I was beat today from walking up and down some steep ravines at the National Forest. My first 1. 25 miles were good, too fast really, 5:36 pace.  But, I had to slow down for sure. In fact, I ended up only doing 2.20 miles. At the 1.25 mile mark (one loop), I turned around and went the opposite direction until I met Joseph, then ran back with him. He ended up doing the 4k distance in 13:19, about a 5:19 pace. Not bad at all. Got done with that and we did a slower cool down run. Next time we will do a farther tempo, but we thought this would be a good distance to start with. After the run, we joined the ant guys for some Chinese buffet action!

Thursday, another day of anting. Went to Wall Doxey State Park today to collect! That evening, Joseph and I ran the south farm roads at a relaxed pace of about 7 minutes for mile for 5.5 miles. Not too bad, then I got back to the ants!  Did not run on Friday, but got up for our weekly run with the Boardtown Club. Lots of folks out there again. The route today was a 12 mile, or with an optional loop, a 15.8 mile run. However, Joseph’s summer base period is over and he is toning back his distance runs to 10-12 miles. Today we were both exhausted after a long week of work and school, so we opted for 10 miles. Even though we were tired, our bodies responded well, and we again averaged right at 6:38 per mile, even with the slower first mile. Joseph appeared to be a little under the weather, so he ran with me the entire way today, but was not struggling. Good run for sure!

Sunday we ran at the South Farm at 6:30 pm.  Arash, Brent, and I hit the farm. Along the way, we met another feller running named Kyle. He was cruising along pretty well, about 6 miles he said. Steve Shaffer, Kate Mattox, Patrick Bell, and Philip ran a route through the campus. Joseph skipped the run today, he was not feeling too good, seemed to have picked up some kind of cold or something. Bummer. Hopefully, he will get over that before long. Arash only did 4 miles, but Brent and I got in over 7 as we cruised thru the farm to the MSU XC course, which was only recently mowed. Cool! Nice to run on grass for a change. I love running out here with the rolling grass hills bordered by trees along much of the way. After the run, we all hung around a while stretching and talking. Kate was super excited about the upcoming season. She is an awesome young runner and I am sure she will have a great season. Her great attitude and enthusiasm is wonderful to see, as is her humility despite being such an incredibly talented runner!!

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finally a couple of cool days!


Sunday, 7 pm run through downtown Starkville and beyond. Steve, Kamau, Damian, and Ethan joined us. Damian and Ethan are all excited after seeing that the SHS XC is ranked 2nd in the preseason poll, and not off from 1st by much. Of course, a lot can happen in the course of a season, but its nice to start out on the right track. Run was pretty good today. I was super sore from the long hike on Saturday, but still was hitting 6:20’s and 6:30’s pretty much the whole way today. I ran along with Joseph today and finished up the last mile at 5:45. The others went a bit slower and we dropped after the first mile or so.

Monday, some more hill repeats at the South Farm. Last week of these before changing the routine! 6 X 1 minute, then 8 X 30 seconds. Pretty good today. The weather was awesome at 7 pm, coolish, windy, cloudy, storm coming in. Awesome!

Tuesday, Cleat, Richard McCrory, Ian Prester and his friend Matt (who ran XC in high school) joined us for run on the South Farm. Brent and his friend Dominic (who also ran XC in high school) dropped by for a few minutes to talk. Brent had some crazy foot injury which he sustained while playing soccer with some ninjas. He should be alright when his foot grows back. Ran the 7 mile loop the hard direction and averaged 6:38 per mile. Not bad. It was not too hot, so that helped. Richard and Cleat basically ran together, also did the 7 mile loop; and Ian and Matt cruised around for just under 5. 5 miles I believe. Great evening for running. Not too hot. Crazy humid of course! I had about 500 tiny beetles plastered to my body when I got done! Crepuscular flying Coleoptera! Probably some good species, but I did not collect any.

On Wednesday morn, Joseph got up early and did an easy 45 minute run with the SHS XC team. He said quite a few folks were there. Later, that evening we did our last hill workout. Today, 4 X 30 seconds, then 8 X 1 minute (with jogs back down the hill between each)! Whew, a little warmer today. Harder. Made it through somehow. Went a little slower today, because I am a slacker and also because I felt some slight soreness in my quads. By the last few I felt better. Going to miss these a little, but its time to move on….

Not many folks on Thursday, just Brent and his buddy Dominique Belcher, who joined us for the first time. I believe he ran XC and track at Ocean Springs. They always have a good team down there! Figured we would take it easy today after the hill workout and do something more flat. Joseph and I ran a 5.5 mile route through campus and the research park, and Brent and Dominique ran about 4. Started out slow and easy. First mile was 6:58, then we averaged 6:29 for the rest of the way. The other two were behind us and I have no idea what their pace was. Maybe not as slow as I meant for us to go, but it feels a lot easier to go that pace lately. I think its a combination of the hill repeats and the lower temps we have had lately.

Took Friday off, as I have been doing lately. But, I did get a core and upper body workout in that night. Always makes me feel good.  Got up Sat. morn to a crazy thunderstorm! But, again, we headed to the Boardtown Running Club because we know that those crazy jokers run no matter what! THATS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! Actually, by the time we got there, it had mostly cleared up. Quite a few folks. Rod Simmons, of Rod’s Racers was in town and joined us. Rod is the greatest promoter of MS races ever!! Several of the SHS kids were there again including Damian Grady, Ethan Musser, Abigail and Shaunika Musser, Anna Jackson, Haley Jenkins, and two new girls-Madison and her twin sister Chandler.  Our good buddy Steve Shaffer was there too! The route was 15 miles today, but since we did that and a bit more last Saturday, we decided to only do 10 today. Damian and Ethan opted for the 8.8 mile route. Felt great outside and I actually felt pretty good too, despite the fact that I woke up several times the night before because of the storm. No MSU runners today, so Joseph had to run by himself. Poor feller.  He  took off in front and reached the first water stop well in front of me and everyone else. I would guess he was averaging about 6:20 or better for the first 3.6 miles. I did alright too. First mile was 6:48, then 6:28, 6:29, and 6:20. Even with the last mile of the run being sort of a cool down at a 7 minute pace, I averaged 6:37 for the entire 10 miles, which was pretty good for me. Joseph was out of sight from the first water stop on, so I have no idea what pace he ran. Obviously faster than me! Punk. Good run today for sure. Good running all week.

Tomorrow evening, we plan on being back over at the South Farm at 7 pm to run.

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back to school for the kids…


Me and a couple of runners after running with the Boardtown Club on Saturday (Photo by Mrs. Harden).

Following the awesome Saturday morning run, I figured the Sunday evening might be more difficult. But, it was pretty decent too. I ran the 5.6 mile loop through campus with the following splits: 7:14, 6:32, 6:30, 6:35, 6:30, and 5:45 pace for the last 0.6 mile. Joseph killed me on the last 300m, although I did alright. Brent was not far behind. Jorge helped pace us, so that was helpful. But the water he gave me at 3.5 miles was more helpful. Our new buddy Jay also joined us, and came in a few minutes after us. Kamau ran 2 miles with us, then turned back around for 4 miles. The Musser sisters-Abigail and Shaunika, Kate, and Steve also did a 4 mile loop.

Joseph….(photo by Jim Harden)

Monday-rain! Thunder. Lightning. Power went out at home around lunch, but 4-county Electric Co. had it back up in no time! Those guys are awesome! Later at about 6:40 we did some hills at the South Farm-6 X 1 minute, 8 X 30 seconds, 1 X 1 minute, plus warm up and cool down. Joseph worked on relaxing his shoulders today, trying to get his arms in the right place. They tend to be too high, and he gets tense in the traps and shoulders. If you run relaxed, you notice a tremendous difference right away. Much easier. This was evident in Joseph’s killing me on the 30 second hills today!

me, running at the whites (photo by Jim Harden)

Tuesday, first day of school for our local kids. Bummer for them. Ha.  Hardly anybody ran with us today. Brent joined us, and Cleat showed up later. Most of the college kids are on break until they start back on the 20th. Of course, our MSU XC friends will be done with us and joining their teammates for their running starting next week. The Starkville junior high and high school kids that run with us have started practices with the school team, so we won’t be seeing any of them except on Saturdays at Boardtown when they don’t have meets and on Sundays, if at all, until the season is over in early November.  Steve will be helping out the SHS kids again, so we will probably only see him on Saturdays/Sundays. Joseph will still be running with us for a while because he can’t run with the team at the time they practice after school right now due to some medicine he is taking. Apparently, the sun or heat or something interferes with it. He either has to run early morning or later in the day after it cools down a bit. Anyway, he got in 6 easy miles, Brent and I did 5.5 easy miles, and I don’t know about Cleat. Probably seven. That joker has got the bug!

Wednesday, south farm, hill repeats. After the warmup, we did 6 X 30 second hills, then 4 X 1 minute hills, then cool down. Not as many as on Monday. Want to keep the second workout easier than the Monday one. It went pretty good today. For sure my best day.  The minute repeats were especially good. By the 30 second mark on each of them, I was farther up the hill than when I was just doing the 30 second repeats. Pretty awesome. I was even able to push Joseph a little. I think he was surprised! We concentrated on relaxation more today, which really helped. Loose lips and facial muscles and all that. Relaxed shoulders. Trying to not tighten the muscles we were not using. Bounding up the hill with relaxed energy! Crazy. Joseph is planning on also working more on deep breathing techniques. When I say deep breathing, I mean when you inhale you let your lower abdomen expand, and when you exhale your abdomen should flatten out as the air leaves. I would like him to do deep breathing exercises for at least 15 minutes before any race if possible. He was thinking of maybe putting some trippy music on his headphones while he sits cross-legged doing deep breathing. Sounds crazy, but if you want to run a good 5k, you need to be relaxed and oxygenated. Running is about many things, not just workouts and mileage. Attitude, form, good breathing, being relaxed, genetics, desire, being a weirdo, and many  other things play important roles in determining what kind of runner you will become.

Thurday, south farm at 7 pm….They had a “meet the jackets” deal at the high school tonight for the fall season athletic teams at the high school. Mostly that is for the football players, but the others also get to mill about on the field and be seen by parents. Joseph and his mom made it. I was working. But, he got done in time for a 6 mile run after. It was only Steve, Joseph and I today. Pretty danged nice out though.

Jorge, Me, and Kamau

Whew! The temperature on Saturday was awesome!! Mid to upper sixties. Still humid, but you can’t beat that for this time of year. Perfect for a longish run with the Boardtown Running Club. Lots of speedy folks there today. Several of the MSU XC girls such as Renee Masterson, Katie Huston, Jessica Comer, Jodie, McGuff, and a couple of others; Kamau Bostic, Damian Grady, Ethan Musser, Meggan Franks, Micah White, Brent Wallace, David Dycus, and others. Had a nice group from Starkville High’s XC there two, which was cool. Of course,  I already mentioned Damian and Ethan, and in addition to them from the team were Nathan Gaudin, Anna Jackson, and Haley Jenkins. The scheduled route for today was 9.8 miles. Both Damian and Ethan are looking great. Definitely running better and faster than the last two years. They said they finished up  the route in about 1:05 or so. Kamau, who graduated high school this year,  finished in front of them. Joseph and I ran the first 3.5 miles (to the 1st water stop) with the first group: Meggan, Kamau, David, Micah, and Damian. After the first mile, which most of us did slower – around 7:30 (except for Joseph and Meggan, who picked it up early before twice taking the wrong turns, so then deciding to run with us for a while), then our next 2.5 miles  were 6:28-6:30, with that last half mile being a little faster. Katie, Renee, Jodie, Ethan, and Brent arrived not long afterward. After the run last week that Joseph did ridiculously fast with the MSU XC dudes that were there, he thought today’s pace was slow! Funny kid. Since we were going so “slow”, we deviated from the route and added another 5.5 miles down some awesome gravel roads. Ended up back behind Dorman Lake somewhere and out to Hwy 25. Turned around and got back on the main route. Unfortunately, only  a couple of sips of  water and Gatorade were left at the first water stop, and that was about it until we got back to the Whites. Anyway, it was not hot, and we made it back. We ran together most of the way, except for the last three miles or so when he took off on me, probably running in the low 6’s, as I was in the upper 6’s. The gravel portion of our run was the slowest, as it was fairly thick in places, but even so, I ran the 15 plus miles at just under 7 minutes a mile, and Joseph a little faster than me.

Yep, ole Ethan and Damian are now seniors at Starkville High and excited about the upcoming XC season. This is their last chance to win a XC state championship. This would not be unprecedented for SHS, as I believe they won three state titles in the 90’s (1994, 1996, & 1997?) with some really good runners such as Nathan Moore who is still running here in Starkville. They are in a good position this year after finishing 3rd last year (girls were 2nd) at the state meet and being ranked no. 2 preseason in the 5A (http://ms.milesplit.com/articles/90605-mississippi-5a-boys-preseason-cross-country-team-rankings) behind Saltillo by only 3 points.  Of course preseason rankings don’t mean you will win the state meet, but its good to be up there. In fact, I would say the team is much better than the rankings indicate.  Joseph is ranked no. 1 ahead of the 2nd ranked 5A runner from Pearl by 31 seconds, but Joseph is running much better than last year. The same is true for Damian who is ranked 6th, Ethan Muser who is ranked 16th, and Alex Ross who is ranked 29th. Both Damian and Alex had an excellent track season with Damian running a 4:36 1600m run and Alex running a season best 10:37 3200m run. Ethan is running as good or better than he did last year already as evidenced by some of his awesome runs with us here lately.  I don’t know about the rest of the team, because they don’t usually run with us in the off season or weekends, but if these guys are any indication and they can stay healthy, it could be a banner year for the SHS jackets boys XC team. And, obviously, the girls probably even have a better chance to win the state meet after being led to a 2nd place finish last year by Kate Mattox.  The girls team looks really good.  Whether or not the boys and girls teams win the state 5A championship, look for them to have a great season.

After the Saturday morning run, I hiked the trails at Tombigbee N. F. for about 4 hours or more with Audrey Sheridan.  Then, later when I got home, got in a pretty good core workout in! Full day for sure. I think the hiking made me more sore than the running. Different muscles I guess, or maybe the fact that I ran earlier?

Sunday, planning on meeting at the South Farm for a run at 7 PM.

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crazy joker running and hill repeats on gravel in Mississippi!


Joining me for the  Sunday run were Joseph [MacGown], Kamau Bostic, Steve Shaffer, Brent Wallace, Ian Prester, and the Musser siblings-Ethan, Abigail, Shaunika. We again started at just after 7 PM, and will continue running at least this late until the temp/heat index drops below 105° F . Heat and humidity equal bad things like serious dehydration, heat stroke, and not to mention, you really can’t get a good run in with those conditions. Mornings are good too, although, the humidity percentage is higher then than later in the day. But, at least the temps are lower in the morning. One thing is for sure, my body and shoes are always soaking wet when I finish, even going later in the evening or early in the morning. I cycle through shoes wearing one pair one day, then another pair the next day, another pair the third day, and usually back to the first pair by the 4th day. That way I can run in dry shoes! Even so, keeping my feet dry is impossible right now, which means I occasionally lose a toenail or two after getting some gnarly blood blisters under the toenails at the end of the toes. Lots of foot powder helps, but its still a battle. I imagine if I did not run, my feet would be much prettier for sure, but what would I do with all this energy!!  Anyway, back to the run. Tonight, we headed through campus, downtown, to the Greensboro district and back. I believe Steve and the girls ran about 4 miles, but the rest of us did the complete route, which was about 5.8 miles.  I took  a picture of some of the jokers before the run (pre sweat). I know, they look like they are in pathetic shape, but they actually do ok. Of course, Kamau is always posing. Such a poser. Maybe he thinks he is a power ranger or something? You can see the girls in the background chilling under a sprinkler. Even though they are only in 7th and 8th grade, they seem to be smarter than us.  And, man, they are so dedicated. They again rode their bikes over to run; whereas, their brother Ethan drove his minivan (manvan). I asked the girls why he did not give them a ride, and did they embarrass him. Abigail said he should be more embarrassed to be driving up in a minivan! Ouch. I liked that. But, Ethan is no slouch, and had just got through doing a weight workout with some other folks before joining us!

Joseph, Ethan, Kamau, and Brent

During the run, Ian and Joseph were jumping on hills and concrete walls on Main Street. Ian jumped over some long concrete planters and even leaped  from one low concrete wall to the top of a large trash can then back to the ground. Crazy joker. It was starting to look like one of those free-running videos. But, all that jumping got to him, and we dropped him at about three miles. He was not too far back until about the 4 mile mark, then we picked it up again, and Joseph and I finished the last .75 miles even faster. Felt invigorated. After we got back, we walked, stretched and hung out a while. I caught Ian (aka, the vandal) drawing on the back of my truck. He is apparently quite the artist [see photo below].

Ian Prester, artiste extraordinaire

Monday, Joseph and I did the hill repeats at South Farm. As we were getting started, the Starkville Academy XC team was just finishing up their practice. They looked hot and happy to be through. We started with a warmup jog, some very light stretching, then did 8 X 30 second hills with jogs between, then 6 X 1 minute hills with jogs between, then a cool down and stretching. Crazy hot, even at 7pm! Hard, but we made it.

Tuesday morning, Joseph did his trippy core/circuit/plyo workout. That night at 7 pm, we had crazy crew at the farm. Joseph, Brent, Kamau, Jessica and her sister Anna, Katie Huston (another MSU XC/track runner), and Brent’s friend Dustin. Katie is about to be a junior and is in great shape. She is primarily a 1500m runner and looking to improve on her already good times of around 4:30. She has some awesome abs too!

Katie and her great abs…

We headed toward campus, I did about 5.5 miles at a 6:45 pace, part of which was thru the hilly University Estates neighborhood, then back around the Sanderson Center pond and back to the farm. Joseph did the complete neighborhood loop with the Bardwell Road section and back. Guess he did not get enough hills in the day before. He was way in front of me. My first couple of miles (and last) were about 6:30, and so I would guess he was 6:15 or less. Looked pretty easy, so I guess that was cool. I can already tell the few hill repeats we have done are making my legs stronger. Dustin, who does not run much, probably went about 3 miles, and the rest did an easy 4 miles, as most of them  had already run that morn. Actually, Kamau got in a couple miles just before our run with the SHS XC team. Man, these were some crazy jokers! Katie is a nut. Her nickname is even crazy Katie! About 6 feet tall and a lean mean running machine. After the run, everybody stretched and hung out for a while.

Kamua, Dustin, Katie, Jessica, and Anna-group stretch

A couple of folks were pretty sore from all the running they have been doing, so they massaged each other’s legs to loosen up. Pretty cool. Additionally, Kamau’s “stick” was utilized quite a bit. I was still pretty amped up after the run, so I got a quick core/circuit workout in when I got home.

Anna, Katie, Brent, and Jessica stretching and using the stick on Brent’s calf. He seems to like the attention!

Wednesday, Jorge Villarreal moved in with us and will be staying for a week, as he is in between places here at the end of the semester. Joseph and I were planning on some more hill repeats, but a pretty good lightning storm moved in and we ended up not going. Instead, all three of us did a core/circuit workout. A good one with Rage Against the Machine to fuel the effort. Jorge showed us the ab workout he does, presumably one he got from the MSU XC/track team. Pretty danged good baby. Interspersed with pullups, dips, pushups, curls, shoulder presses and flys, and some light lunges and squats (no weight), it ended up being a fairly decent workout. Got pretty hungry, so I fixed up a bunch of spaghetti and salad. Man, that Colombian runner dude can eat! We finished off the evening by watching Chariots of Fire. Awesome movie. Awesome music. Jorge had never seen the movie, so we had to watch it. It was either that, or Vanilla Sky.  Next time.

Thursday evening run, this time actually on the South Farm. Not too many folks today, just Joseph, Ian, Katie Huston, a new guy named Jay, and me.  Joseph took off a bit early because he had to be somewhere. He got a warmup in, then did a 3.5-4 mile tempo run on the farm. Got back looking sweaty as the rest of us were getting started. We all started together, then at about the half mile mark, Katie and I picked it up to a 6:35 ish pace until the 2 mile mark when she turned around to get in her 4 miles. I continued on at about the same pace for two more miles, then kept that pace up for a couple more miles before finishing up 5.5 miles. Pretty darned warm out today, but a decent pace for the day. Ian and Jay were behind me. Ian ran the entire 7 mile loop and it sounded like Jay did about 6. This was the first time Jay had run with us. He had seen us running in the area and decided to  joined us for a run. Cool.  Apparently , he had run XC in high school in Fulton, MS and still runs.

Saturday morn, yep, another run with Boardtown. Jorge, Joseph, and I headed over, with Jorge taking a bike today-resting his shins until his new shoes arrive. Some beasts there today including the likes of John Valentine, Julian Duarte, and Henry Li (all members of the MSU guys XC/track team) ; Renee Masterson and Katie Huston, also great MSU runners; Kamau Bostic, recently graduated XC/track runner from SHS; Damian Grady, a great senior XC/track runner at SHS; and some of the regulars such as Micah and Kelly White (these jokers have both completed an Ironman) , Keven Connerly (triathlete), and Drew Anthony (a local physician who does triatholons, etc. and is currently getting ready for a 100 mile race).  Some of Starkville High’s girls made it out today too including Walker Mattox who got in 8 miles with Steve Shaffer, Abigail, Shaunika, Anna Jackson, Haley Jenkins, and Carys Snyder. Looks like these crazy little jokers are serious about getting better! Some of our other Starkville Striders were there too including Ian, Cleat and Audrey Sheridan. Today’s planned route was 11 miles, and after the 15 mile run last Saturday, that was all that we decided to do today.  Joseph was happy today, as he got to run with the three MSU beasts. Somebody for him to run with finally! Sorry Joseph, I am too slow for you. Actually John, Henry, and Julian ran about 17 miles, but they said he hung with them fine for the 11 that he did. After the first couple of warmup miles, they were cruising at 6 minute or better paces per mile with at least a 5:40 in there along the way. Jorge rode along with them on the bike to help pace them.  Freaking awesome. Kamau also ran with them for the first 6 miles before dropping off. I ran with Damian, Renee, and Katie. Felt pretty good today. 6:48 per mile pace average, with the last 5 faster than the first 6. Kept up with them until the last water stop, then they got the jump on me as I was retying my shoes. Have to take them off and re-lace them after a few miles in this humidity! But, I was able to pretty much catch them, and only finished a few meters back. Sweet. Hung out at the pool a while, talked to folks a while before heading home. Talked to Cleat a minute, and said he ran the entire 11 miles, which I believe was his farthest run ever! He was running well too. He was able to catch up with us at each of the first couple of water stops. That dude seems to be improving by leaps and bounds every week. I was still energetic, so when I got home I did a ab/core workout, mowed the lawn and 1 mile trail, and did some weed-eating. Cooked some awesome thick, rare ribeye steaks on the grill, made some humongous baked potatoes, and some tasty salad! Good day fo sho! Boy, I have to say again, since doing only three sessions of hill repeats, I have already noticed a difference in my overall running. My easier and long runs are easier and faster. Maybe coincidence, but I don’t think so. No wonder XC teams do hill repeats. Go figure.

Looking forward to seeing how these various runners do this fall in XC. They are looking great!

Tomorrow evening at 7 pm, back to the South Farm parking lot to run somewhere or another.

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