Rain, Rain, dry, warm, warmer, rain, cold

Update on the Corinth Invitational Results are online- http://ms.milesplit.com/meets/120109-corinth-high-school-xc-invitational

Did not run on Sunday!! Rained all day. Should have got up early for a long run. Some of Joseph’s teammates did just that. But, we had some folks over Saturday evening, and yep, stayed up too late! Hoped the rain would be gone by late afternoon, but it did not stop until the next day. Oh well. Joseph’s Monday morning run with the team was cancelled too. He did get to run with them that afternoon. I did not get to run though. I had a reception for my art exhibition at Mississippi State. The show was awesome! Lots of folks attended, including some of our running buds (Brent and Dominique).  So, yeah, the last time I ran was on Thursday!! AHHHH. I did get some pushups and stuff like that in during this time, but that was it. To make matters worse, I was a slug this weekend, ate lots of junk food and binged on cherry coke. WHAT? I know. Slap me.

Tuesday. FInally got to run. Me, Mr. Brent, and Joseph the punk tackled a fartlek run on the South Farm. Crazy awesome with the hills.  Today we did 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds fast sections with the same amount of jogging after each. Of course, warmup mile and cooldown mile. Brent and I kept with the punk (almost) for the first one, but as the time/distance spread out, he got farther and farther ahead. Even so, I though we did a good job, especially on the hills. The 4 minute one was killer!! Brent, who had run a timed mile that morning with his ROTC group decided that after the 4 minute stretch, he had had enough sprinting, and he jogged back the shortest way possible, getting in a total of 5.5 miles. Joseph and I finished up with the 7 mile loop. Tough workout for me, but he said not tough enough. Will fix that next time!

Wednesday, collected traps and bugs at the Scattertown Trail in the Noxubee Refuge. Beautiful hilly upland hardwood forest. I love that place. While walking about through the woods, I stepped in hole that I thought was solid ground and my right leg went into the hole almost to my hip! Stretched out the muscles on the inside of my other leg pretty damned good. Lucky I did not break my leg! Went over to the South Farm about 4:30 for an easy run. The XC team was there doing stuff. I  was curious about my leg, but it felt ok. I ended up running faster than I planned actually. Just did 5.5 miles, but ran a 6:15 pace. That is really pretty good for me on this terrain. Who knows what Joseph did. When I got back, all of his teammates were back finishing up some strides (or as they call them, sprints). I asked a couple of them where he was, and they said, “like always, he disappeared”. He showed up about 25 minutes later, did his 10 strides (about 100m?), stretched a little, and we finally got out of there. He said he felt like he was running pretty well, easy.

Thursday was pretty decent, slightly warm. Did 3 X 1 mile tempo repeats at the Research Park after a warmup run, and followed it with a 1 mile cool down. I averaged 5:55 for the three, which was about what I was shooting for. Did not seem too hard today. Joseph’s averaged 5:34, also about what he was shooting for.

On Friday afternoon, Joseph and I headed over to Moulton, Alabama for the upcoming Jesse Owens XC race scheduled for the next day. We got to the course around 5 pm and jogged it. Fairly easy course really, with only a few winding hills in the middle. Otherwise, its fairly flat, but with a variety of terrain. The course starts in a big field that funnels into a wooded section around a lake, then continues on through various wooded and somewhat open areas. Parts of the course were slightly wet, as it appeared that the area had significant rain recently. However, it was very runnable, and we jogged through in 22:30 very easily.  With only a 10% chance of rain for Saturday, the race was looking good! This is a giant race too, with runners from all over the Southeast and several divisions, including an elite (Gold) division.

We were woken early in the morn to violent thunder and a deluge! Wonderful. Not. So much for good weather. We headed to the course (about 35 miles from our motel) and parked in a muddy field. Would have preferred being in my 4 wheel drive today! Anyway, the course was less good shape than the night before for sure, but not terrible for the first couple of races. Joseph found the rest of his team, most of whom had rode up that morning on the bus.  The first race for SHS was the girls gold division. Superstar Kate Mattox again raced well coming in 3rd in this elite race with a great time of 18:24! Kate received a medal and tshirt in a ceremony later (top 15 got medals and top 50 got shirts in the elite race). Basically now, every time Kate runs, she is finishing in national elite high school times. Not bad for an 8th grader. She has been good since I first met her when she was in 3rd  grade. If she can keep this up through high school, she will be an amazing runner. In fact, right now, she could run for many colleges. A very competitive young lady. She wants to win. Loves the competition. Kate was followed by Walker Mattox (83rd, 20:56), Shaunika Musser (106th, 21:22), Carla Bohna (136th, 21:51), Carys Snyder (144th, 21:26), Anna Jackson (156th, 22:10), and Abigail Arinder (170th, 22:25). As a team, they 17 out of 35. This is a great girls team: fast, funny, and all very nice! The course was getting muddier as the day went, and it did not help that it rained during this race. By the time the race was over, the girls were soaked, muddy, and in some cases bloody!! But, they were really happy, because running in the mud is fun.

Muddy SHS girls after the race

The boys gold race was at 10:40, and by then, the course was ridiculously muddy in many places, and with standing water in the non-muddy areas! The SHS boys did not fair as well as a team, coming in 31st out of 44 teams.  From the start of the race, it was obvious that our boys made a critical mistake in not getting out in front before getting to the turn out of the field. In these large elite races, if you don’t get a good start, then you basically get stuck in the crowd and have no real chance of running your best race (unless you are slow, then you may get stuck in the pack and have to run faster than usual).  None of the guys were where they needed to be by the 300m mark, or really, even by the 100m mark. Of course, lots of the teams in the race have been here before and knew how to get out quick and how to block the path once there. Joseph said early on that when trying to pass folks, runners from other teams physically pushed him back.  And, of course, the mud compounded everything. But, even so, they all ran well once they were spread out a bit, and were passing people left and right.  Joseph once again lead the team coming in 44th at 17:03, respectable on the course today, especially with his terrible start. Also good enough for a tshirt (top 50 got shirts). Last year on a dry day, he was 16:36. I think today with if he got out like he should have, and with the mud, he likely would have been around that same time. Once again, Damian was the 2nd SHS runner coming in 113th at 17:56. Stuart Woomer, who did not run the prior week, was our 3rd guy at 213th at 18:47, then Ethan Musser (246th, 19:10), Christian Kingery (2:55th, 19:11), Aaron Remotigue (281st, 19:32), Alex Ross (302nd, 19:52), and Jack Bryan (335th, 20:27). Despite their times or places, I thought the boys, like the girls, ran great today. Sure, slight tactical errors early cost them some places and time, but today was crazy with all the mud and shoving and slipping!! One thing for sure, they all, and I mean all, enjoyed the race today. Mud equals fun. A good shared, bonding experience. Afterward, some of them waded in the lake overflow to wash some mud off! Crazy day for sure. For complete results go to: http://www.cfpitiming.com/2012_Cross_Country_Season/Jesse_Owens_xc_2012/Jesse_Owens_xc_2012.htm

some of the boys after the race: Christian, Stuart, Alex, Ethan, Damian, and Joseph

Back to it tomorrow, with a run at the South Farm at 5 pm. If you are joining us, note the earlier time.

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