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.
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!!