Monthly Archives: November 2012

Thanksgiving break

After a week off, I was ready for some kind of run on Friday. Man, I was hyper! Got Joseph after school and we got in 5 miles at a 6:54 pace on the South Farm before it got dark. Would like to have gone farther, but the day was quickly becoming night.

Saturday, Joseph headed to Oxford, MS  for some kind of choir competition. Cross country to choir! Actually, quite a few of XC kids are in the school choir. Similarly, key elements for being successful at both are being relaxing and confident! I got in a run of about an hour later in the day at the XC course and South Farm. I met a couple of MSU runners out there and ran with them for a couple of miles. When I came upon them, they were trying to figure out how to circumvent a couple of young bulls that escaped their fenced pasture. These two fellers, Patrick and Andrew Moneghan, are ridiculously fast freshmen from Ireland. Fortunately for me, they were only doing an easy recovery run! The pace we were running at was 6:25-6:30. You should read their bios on the MSU Athletic site (Andrew’s bio: and Patrick’s:

Joseph got up early Sunday for a easy run around our trails. I don’t how he got up, as we stayed up late watching the new “Taken” movie and got to bed pretty late. It was a beautiful day, so I went ahead and got in a run on the trail around noon. Did an easy jog, then 8 X 400 on the back loop of my trail, then an easy jog. I did not wear a watch, so don’t know my pace.  Still felt pretty hyper later, so I got in another run at the South Farm. Ran 5.5 miles at 6:32 with the last 2.5 the fastest. It was pretty chilly, so  I wore a shirt today, but it was off by the end! Meant to get there by 4 pm in case anybody showed up, but got there late. Saw both Steve and Kyle running together though. They ran 7 miles together, then Kyle got in another 10. That crazy joker went and got engaged this past week! Congrats to Kyle and his lady.

On Monday, ran a loop through MSU and beyond with Joseph. Along the way we crossed paths with different groups of MSU distance runners. Those jokers all seemed happy as clams as they ran.  One thing is for sure, whenever I am running behind a group of them, I always pick up my pace and it actually seems easier. Today was no exception. Anyway, we did 5.6 miles at 6:55, with our first 3 miles the slowest by far. It was a beautiful day to run! About 70°F and little to no wind. I was feeling good today! My spirits were slightly dampened later, however, after I dropped my Garmin forerunner 405 on the floor and the screen went blank!!!! @#$@ It only dropped about 2 feet, but anyway. I tried all the recommended methods I could find online to restart it, even called the Garmin folks. They suggested that I buy a new one! This was a pretty good watch, but I did have some problems with it. This model was controlled by applying pressure to the bezel (outer ring). Works ok when dry, but get sweat on it, and it did not work until after it was dry. In Mississippi, it gets pretty warm and humid, so that was a problem.

Tuesday, we just ran an out and back 4.9 mile route out here in Sessums. Another spectacular day!! We were 17:30 out, then picked it up and ran back at 15:01.  Not bad.

Wednesday, we again ran through the MSU campus and headed toward the quite hilly University Estates. Since I  don’t have a functioning Garmin watch at the moment, I don’t know our pace. The campus was almost deserted today, with most students having already left for Thanksgiving. Joseph wore his Kinvarras today, and seemed to be feeling spry. He took off ahead of me and I just barely kept him in sight. At about 3 miles, I picked it up, and he slowed down. We ran the rest of the way together, with the last couple at a much faster pace. I was wearing some Brooks shoes today and am starting to really like them.

No running on Thanksgiving. Instead went over with Audrey Sheridan to hang out with her parents on their sweet land over near Hamilton, AL. They have a beautiful piece of property with rocky slopes and creeks crisscrossing the area. Her mom, Renee, is an artist, and she also has a small studio on the property.

Renee and Audrey Sheridan

Her dad Greg spends much of his time there keeping up the property. The weather was incredible with temps in the 70’s. We ate a Thanksgiving dinner of sorts outside on a makeshift table made by placing a piece of wood on top of two sawhorses! We had turkey, potatoes, dressing, beans, salad, and some tasty fudge for desert!

Greg and Renee Sheridan, and me (Audrey took the picture so is not in it)


The rocky creeks running through the property were amazing and in some places the creek was bordered by rock walls. We had plenty of time to roam the area both before and after lunch.

nice view of a creek

me hanging from a rock formation beside the main creek

The dogs also had a great time and spent their time running through the woods and playing in the creek.

Audrey’s dogs Maggie and Bina

Friday, got in a 5 mile run at the South Farm. Still no Garmin, but ran about 7 minute per mile pace. Got an upper body workout (a quick  one) when I got home. Today was again nice, shorts weather. But, a cold front was on its way. Got up early the next morning for a run with the Boardtown Running Club and it was about 30° out!! Had not been out there since August. What a difference! Both Joseph and I wore running tights today.  Not a big crowd, but quite a few considering it was a holiday week. Two routes were mapped for the day, a 15 mile route and an 8.7 mile route. We opted for the 8.7 distance today. Will likely do about 12 next time as we get back into it. It was chilly! We pretty ran by ourselves today once we got going and based on time and distance, we averaged 6:53 per mile. Not bad.

Footlocker’s South regional cross country championships were held today in South Carolina. Joseph had planned on doing this race, but decided that he will wait until next year. Starkville’s Kate Mattox  ran in the 13-14 girls division, and placed 1st place with her time of 11:00 flat in the 3000m race! Congrats to Kate for another awesome race!  See the full girls 13-14 results at:  Our friend Jon Luke Watts from Columbia, MS also ran and had a good day and ran a 15:53 5k! Congrats!

Tomorrow, we  plan on being at the South Farm at 3 pm, if anybody wants to join us.


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Mississippi Public Schools 5A Cross Country State Championship 2012

Time change this weekend! Had to run a bit earlier so we could get through before dark. Joseph, Brent, Steve, and I started out together for a 6 mile run through the campus and downtown Starkville. Another gorgeous day!! About 60°.  We all started together with the first mile being a relaxed 7:39, then picked it up some to 6:49, 6:37, and 6:43 for the next 3 miles. It felt so good, we picked it up some more and the last two miles were 6:08 and 6:03. Steve, who had already done an hour and a half upper body workout earlier slipped behind a little and may have run a different route. Brent kept up with us easily until about the last mile, where he dropped off maybe 30 seconds at the most. All in all, a great Sunday run. Invigorating!

Monday, I ran a tempo type run through Longmeadow and McKee Park. After a mile warmup, I ran 3.5 miles in 20:35, then jogged about 3/4 of a mile. The SHS kids were apparently doing something similar. Joseph said he ran with his former teammate Kamau Bostic (now in college). According to Kamau and his Garmin watch, they did a 3 mile tempo at a 5:20 pace.  It was a crazy day for a run, slightly chilly and raining. The rain was not bad though.

Tuesday, I ran six miles on the South Farm at a 6:58 pace. The SHS kids had another hard track workout with 4 x 400 and 8 X 200 m sprints on the track.  Another chilly, windy day. Wednesday was similar with temps and wind. I only ran a little over 4 miles on the XC course, and at a pretty easy pace. I got a very nice pushup/curl/pull up workout in when I got home. Joseph did an easy 30 minute run with the team followed by some downhill and uphill sprints.  Only a couple of days until their final meet,the 5A state meet, this Saturday at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, MS. For Thursday’s run, Joseph did an easy 30 minutes before joining his team for some dinner deal. They also ran for 20 minutes or so on Friday afternoon.

This next sentence is going to sound unbelievable to anyone who reads this blog. From this Thursday to the next Thursday I did not get to run at all!!! To be fair, I was busy with stuff, watched the XC State Meet on Saturday (lots of driving), then was in Knoxville, TN for the rest of the week for the National Entomological Society of America’s meeting. Lots of crazy bug people from all over. Okay, one day I attempted to run on the treadmill in the hotel that was in a room about the size of a closet. I have never run on a treadmill in my life. It was FREAKY! Took a couple of minutes to feel safe enough to let go of the sides, and that was at about 4 miles an hour.  But, after I got going, I started moving the speed up and did 25 minutes at 6:10 per mile to 5:52. Never really felt comfortable as I could not help but lean forward too far. When I got off the room seemed to me moving strangely. Also, I was sweating like a mug! The room was hot.

No other running (no real running) in Knoxville, but lots of walking! Even hiked the Laurel Falls Trail in the Smokey Mountains one afternoon. Saw a good sized bear just off the trail looking for food under logs. It was maybe 40 feet away! What a beautiful place the Smokies are!

Mississippi Public Schools 5A Cross Country State Championship 2012

Starting line at MS 5A State meet

Now, for the highlight of this long blog entry–the Mississippi Public Schools High School Cross Country 5A State Meet.  The meet was held at the Choctaw Trails course in Clinton, MS on November 10th. It was hot! By the time our boys ran, it was about 80°!! The girls ran at 2 pm and the boys followed at 2:30 pm. Joseph is now a junior and he approached the meet this year completely different than last year, when he finished 3rd overall. Although that was a good finish, he was disappointed because he had been clearly the number one 5 A runner in the state last year, but had two late season injuries that really hampered him. Similarly, he was coming into the meet this year as the number one 5A runner in the state, despite his times actually being slower than last year. He was running really well this past spring and summer, but has slowed down considerably while running with his team because their workouts on not on the same scale as what he does on this own. Nor do they do any long runs, which he seems to especially need. But, because he has run fast, especially last spring, he has much more confidence. In the past, he was somewhat timid, not wanting to always to take charge, but he was here to win this year. He went into the race planning on winning, and his confidence payed off as he easily won the meet with his time of 16:50. Like the other two races he won this year, he had basically won by the first 600m.  The second place finisher, his teammate Damian Grady, finished at 17:11.  We talked a bit about how to approach this particular race if he wanted to win. It really helped that he knew how many of the top runners in the race run. He needed to go out relaxed, not worry about the rabbits, but then run “his” race.

Start of boys 5A race

Start of boys 5A race (arrow points to Joseph)

He can run a good pace for a while, and even if he runs a fast mile or two, he seems to be able to hold on without completely dying from lactic acid buildup. Other runners who do not possess this stamina can essentially be taken out of their race if forced to run the first mile too fast. With this in mind, we felt like if he could get to the first mile between 5:00 and  5:05 and could pull the other runners with him, then he would probably win this race.  On the other hand, if he had run the race with even splits, I think he would have played into the hands of stronger sprinters, such as Damian, who could have hung around and possibly out-kicked him late.  At mile 1, he was right around 5:04, in first place, and looking very relaxed.

Joseph at mile 1

From that point on, Joseph was by himself. At at about 1.4 miles he had a good lead on everyone, and Damian had moved into 2nd place.

Joseph at about 1.4 miles (with some girl looking on)

Joseph said he slowed down a lot by the 2 mile mark and was only about 10:40 something. Anyway, it was not his best time, but it was for sure his best race and he looked good coming in at the finish. I was happy for him, because he almost did not run XC this year. This was the first time in the 20+ year history of the program that a SHS boy had won the state meet!! My younger brother Mike, finished 3rd when he was a senior back in 1993, and they may have a had a 2nd place finisher a couple years later. Probably Nathan Moore, who is still running around Starkville and was awesome! So yeah, very exciting day for sure!

The 5A All State XC team (top 14)

As I alluded to earlier, Senior Damian Grady for SHS was 2nd overall. Fantastic. Ethan Musser, also a senior, placed 12th overall with his PR of 17:42! Best race for him ever, by far. Previously, he had never broken 18 minutes for the 5k distance, but had been close on numerous occasions. Not today, he was focused and ready to go. Ethan is a wonderful kid and gives his all. In fact, I would say that 80% of the reason Joseph ran XC this year was to try to help the team win first place for Ethan. Unfortunately, for them to win first place at this meet it was going to take everyone on the team to have their best day. That did not quite happen. However, they did manage enough points to place 2nd behind Saltillo! For their efforts, they received a nice trophy! Complete 5A boys results are at:

SHS boys team at State Meet. From left to right: Stuart Woomer, Nathan Methvin, Christian Kingery, Jack Bryan, Aaron Remotigue, Damian Grady, Nathan Gaudin, Ethan Musser, Joseph MacGown, and Alex Ross.

Not only did Joseph win overall, but Kate Mattox of Starkville won the girls race with her time in the 4k of 14:50! She had absolutely no competition with 2nd place being 16:26. How amazingly coolorific is that? Kate also won last year, and who knows, she could win the next 4 years. Her sister, Walker, also placed in the top 14 to make the all state team. Overall, the girls team finished 3rd. They probably had a chance for 2nd, but our 3rd runner, Anna Jackson, who was looking spectacular and possibly having her best race, had problems at mile two and could not finish the race. She may have been overheated. Not sure. This was her best season by far, and being a senior, she was giving it everything she had. Complete 5A girls results are at:  Also, for those interested, there was a nice Starkville Daily News article about the meet at

Joseph MacGown and Kate Mattox, 2012 5A XC State Champions!

Anyway, XC season is over. I am back in Starkville. And so ready for a crazy run somewhere today!!!!!!! I am hyper like a beast. Been doing random sets of pushups all week. But, not satisfying my energy needs…

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cold weather (almost)

We actually wore shirts for our Sunday afternoon run. That may sound a bit weird, but here in Mississippi, it stays so warm for so long, that we often run shirtless like a bunch of cavemen. I say we, of course I mean the guys. The women wear fur covered jog bras. Obviously.  But, the weather is finally feeling a bit nippy, and coupled with the steady 15-16 mile an hour north wind we had today, it was definitely time to don some more outerwear! Mixed bag of runners today with Richard McCrory, Steve Shaffer, Jorge Villarreal, Kamau Bostic, and Nathan Ball! Richard had just run a PR (I believe) for the Run for the Cure 5k in Tupelo the day before! We had not run with Nathan in quite some time. This great young man ran at SHS and is now a sophomore at MSU. He ran two miles with Joseph and I, then returned and finished with some type of sprints. Richard did the 7 mile loop, then finished up with some strides. I believe Steve also did about 7 miles. The other two hooligans were doing about 5 miles, although Kamau actually ran from his house to the farm, so he got in a couple more. Joseph and I did 10 miles at an average of 6:55 per mile. Our pace was definitely slowed when facing the wind. Whew! Glad I had my shirt on, it was downright chilly on the way back as the sun was setting!

Monday afternoon was crazy windy once again! Got my 6 miles in at the South Farm and XC course. The first half was relatively easy with the wind at my back, and I averaged 6:40 per mile for the first three. The last three were much more difficult and I only averaged 7:20 or so for that part. The worst part was the dust from the gravel roads being blown into my eyes and under my contact lens, which are of the harder variety. Man, that dust stings! Of course, it does not help that many of the various Ag students that take classes on the farm seem to find delight in traveling the gravel roads as fast as possible seemingly to create as large a dust storm as possible for the sundry walkers and runners who frequent this area.

Tuesday, Joseph did some kind of fast workout with his team on the track. A few 400s and then some fast 200s. He said the 400s were around 1:05 and the 200s were 25-26 seconds. I don’t know what the rest was or anything.  I  got a short run in late afternoon. Nothing crazy. Then, for some ridiculous reason, I decided at the last minute to participate in the Bully United Way 5k slated for 6:30 pm. I was not going to run, but posted something about the race and a crazy dude I know who goes by the name Newman Kazery said he was going to go. I felt guilty for posting it and not going, so I went. I wish I had made that decision before my wonderful and typical Tuesday luncheon at Hardees! For some reason, I like Tuesdays. My favorite day of the week.  And I like to reward myself on my favorite day of the week with a big fat hamburger! Often at Hardees. What’s a burger without tasty fries and at least one refill of a large coke! Anyway, stomach was churning all afternoon. But, I still say its worth it!

Well, over 70 folks showed up for the race, and quite a few of those crazy jaspers were decked out in costumes for Halloween. One couple I know, Thierry and Joby Czarnecki, were dressed as the “hare and tortoise”. In this race the hare won.  I also met a couple of facebook friends in person for the first time including Stacy Barr and his son Aidan of Meridian, and Gunnar Olson, who lives in Starkville. Aidan is only 9 years old and already is a force to be reckoned with. He ran this very difficult course in 22:50! Gunnar is an extremely athletic 45 year dude who does a multitude of triathlons and extended running races.  Obviously, he did well in the 5k this evening. Some of my other running friends showed up including “Mr. Personality” Ian Prester and wildman Newman “Noomdawg” Kazery!

Newman Kazery!!!

Lots of other folks I knew were there as well. The race was pretty fun, but super crazy and really weird, at least for me. The course wound through the roads of the MSU campus at night. We had some great Campus Security officers helping out as one, then another of the 3 police cars lead the way or stopped traffic at various intersections. But, it was crazy because the roads were open to traffic , and we were running from one side of the road to the other. I was literally running down the road between and in front of cars at times, and I am sure they had no clue what was going on.  The lighting was not optimal at some places, which made some of the turns very difficult and made finding irregularities in the roads interesting. Lighting may have been less of a problem for other runners, I don’t know, because my night vision is not great and is exacerbated by my ridiculously bad astigmatism. My glasses help a lot with that, but I typically run with my contact lens, which do not seem to help as much as my glasses.  This means lights spread out and are quite freaky at night. For some reason, my gas permeable (hard lens) do weird things at night and especially when its cold and windy. These things added together with the flashing blue lights of the cops as they zoomed about made the  entire evening a crazy surreal, dream-like adventure!! But, don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed the race, because surreal adventures are awesome. I do think they were lucky that nobody was hit by a car though. In the future, if they do a night run again, I would recommend doing it on a course that could be closed, such as the Research Park Loop.

Start of the Bully United Way Run 2012

As far as the running went, I thought I did ok, but slower overall than I have been running. In fact, I averaged about the pace I do during parts of some longer runs. Part of reason was that I had already run a lot this week and pretty hard (for me). I even did a 5k on Saturday. Before that, my last race was a year ago! Now, two in four days! Also, I  was really not planning on doing the race and was in no way prepared to run, even to the point of already gotten in a run not much earlier that afternoon. Additionally, this is a hard course! But, considering all that, I felt pretty good. I was the overall male winner with my time of 18:47, which is not great by any means, but maybe respectable on this hilly course (which I measured a bit long). I have gotten into the habit of using my Garmin watch to pace myself, but it was so dark, I could not do that. I started out with Meggan Franks, an elite runner who lives in Starkville. I ran beside her for the first mile, which is the easiest mile of this race with some downhill action, but once we got to the major hills I started losing some steam, and gradually she lengthened her lead until the finish where she placed first overall in the race at 18:33 and 14 seconds in front of me! I have to say, she looked as though it was effortless. I wish I could have run with her longer to at least try and give her some simulation of competition. But, I couldn’t hang! Meggan looks like she is barely touching the ground when she runs. Amazing. She really did not appear to be remotely tired at the end either.  For all I know, this could have been part of an easy run for her.  I thought our first mile felt pretty fast, and when I looked at my watch later it said the first mile was done in 5:20! Whew. I can’t really run that fast. Must have been confused! I had wanted to be about 5:45, so there you go. Each of the next two miles went downhill from there. I never really felt overly tired though, but was pretty uncomfortable being crazy full from my late and ridiculously awesome lunch. I had to slow down quite a few times in the race to avoid cars, and even the cops as they sped around us. I don’t know how this affected Meggan or the others, but I was extremely uncomfortable pretty much the entire way, except for the first mile around the Sanderson Center Lake, which was basically traffic free. I would say mile 3 was the worst in this regard. Regardless, I think most people really liked the night run, and it was cool to win a little cowbell. For anybody interested, here are the complete results of the race. Note that the results are not broken down into female, male, or age classes. 2012 Bully 5k results

Wednesday, just me and Richard McCrory. We got in a 7 mile run around the South Farm perimeter. Nothing crazy today. Richard is getting ready for the Shakerag half marathon in Tupelo set for November 10th.  And what a beautiful day!! I ran along with Richard for about 4.5 miles, then picked it up for the last 2.5 miles. My sixth mile was 6:32 and last mile was 6:19. Tried to work on  my arm movement today during that last couple of miles.

Thursday, Joseph did not have XC practice for some reason, so he just did an easy 5.5 mile run with me through the MSU campus. We did not push it, running about 7 minutes per mile as we enjoyed the day. He seemed to be a bit sick, coughing and stuff, but hopefully nothing serious. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! No shirts today!

No run on Friday. Joseph either. He was still a little under the weather. Dragging. On Saturday afternoon, we got in 9 miles at the XC course and the South Farm, about a 7 minute per mile pace. Another beautiful day. We were both dragging today, but glad to be out running on such a pretty afternoon.

We will be running Sunday afternoon at 4 pm meeting at the South Farm.  With the time change, we will be going an hour earlier than usual.

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