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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