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: http://ms.milesplit.com/meets/128328/results/227914

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: http://ms.milesplit.com/meets/128328/results/227915  Also, for those interested, there was a nice Starkville Daily News article about the meet at http://www.starkvilledailynews.com/node/11969

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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