Monthly Archives: March 2013

cold frame, vegetables forthcoming


Wednesday afternoon, got in a nice 6 mile run with Kamau Bostic and Joseph. We took off at 6 PM through the campus and downtown streets of Starkville. In contrast to the night before when we ran the Glo 4 Haiti 5k and temps were in the upper 30’s, it was 60° at 6 pm. How crazy is that! Joseph and I did not even wear a shirt. Anyway, it was supposed to a recovery run from the race, but with Kamau, we always end up running faster. Today was no exception and we finished up right at 40 minutes. Felt pretty good though.

Joseph and I hit the gravel roads of the north farm on Thursday afternoon. As we were stretching, some of the MSU runners came striding by. We did a mile easy, then 30 minutes tempo run, trying to maintain a steady pace, then about a mile cool down jog. Don’t know what are pace was, but it felt ok, especially considering the gravel.

Took Friday off, but did get in a morning upper body workout: pushups, curls, pull ups, and ab stuff.

Saturday, rain! Even so, we got in a few 400’s on the SHS track at 4 pm. Being a painted concrete track, it was slippery! With the weather being bad, we only did 8 of them. Also squeezed in a couple of 100’s just to work on form a bit. We were both pretty even paced today. Mine were mostly 1:15, one was 1:14, and one was 1:16. Almost all of Joseph’s were 1:10. Not bad considering the rain, slippery track, and having to run in standing water in places.

Got up Sunday morn and did a short workout. Three sets of pull ups, 3 sets of pushups, 3 sets of dumbbell military presses (40 lb dumbbells, 30 reps each set), 3 sets of 40 lb dumbbell curls, and various ab exercises. Would have done more, but I was anxious to finish up my cold frame that I started yesterday and put some plants in there. Success! Don’t know if it will work or not, I made it maybe a little too tall. But, I wanted it also for some bigger plants on occasion. It is about 30 inches on the back side and 22 in front. Top is made from some old windows that I made a frame for and I have bisquene on the sides and front. Back is wood. Transplanted some tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, and other plants from little 4 or 6 packs into larger pots. Trying to get them a head start before I put them in the two raised beds that I made a couple of weeks ago. Typically, we can put those things right in the ground by now, but the danged weather has been so back and forth, that I am reluctant to take a chance just yet. Supposed to be in the 30’s again this week. Hope to also start seedlings in there.

Kamau, Brent, Joseph and I managed to sneak in a run Sunday afternoon between storms. A little wet and slightly windy, but actually quite nice out, about 68°F. Kamau and Brent did our Sunday afternoon 6 mile route through town. Joseph and I  ran with them, then added a loop around campus for 8.22 miles total (according to mapmyrun.com). Beautiful day to run!!! We were both slightly sore from the 400’s yesterday, so today was pretty easy. Joseph was even nice today and did not take off. He and I ended up running our loop at 56:21 for an average pace of 6:51 per mile.

8.22 mile MSU/Starkville Route

8.22 mile MSU/Starkville Route

After my run, I went home and cooked up an awesome stirfry of chicken, carrots, onion and portebellos with lemon, garlic and basil seasoning. Put that on some yellow rice and, boy, that was some kind of good! Ate out on my deck as the sun set. What an extraordinary evening. As I ate, I was entranced by the multitude of bushes and trees of many shapes, colors, and sizes. I love seeing such diversity. Makes me happy. Several species of frogs were singing, and birds were flitting about in the holly bushes. All this ambiance made for a delightful meal.

out on the deck

out on the deck

Sunset in Sessums

Sunset in Sessums

sunset2

Sunset poking through the pines

Less than a week until the Biggest Loser 5k and Half Marathon in Jackson, MS. Joseph and I are signed up for the 5k. Still time to register. For more info go to http://www.biggestloserrunwalk.com/Jackson_MS_half_marathon  It should be lots of fun. Our buddy, Rod Simmons, who promotes running and racing will be there helping to promote the race.

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Glo 4 Haiti 5k Run/Walk


Saturday afternoon, drizzly, not too cold. Easy run with Joseph through the MSU campus, about 5 miles. Did not time it. Nothing crazy. On the way back, we saw several Big 10 and SEC runners cooling down after the SEC-Big 10 track meet that was held today. Cool. Don’t know how the meet went. If I had more time, I would have checked it out. We thought about stopping, but it was just ending as we ran by the track.

Sunday afternoon, Joseph and I met Brent the crazy Air Force joker for a 6 mile run through town. MAN!! It was windy! 25 mile per hour sustained winds with stronger gusts. Anyway, Brent stayed with us for the first 3 miles, which were against the wind. He fell back a little on the return, but still did great. He is a pretty big guy too. Joseph and I averaged right at 6:35 per mile for the journey.

Monday, Joseph and I ran an easy 30 minutes in Longmeadow. Normally, we do a faster run today, but we were planning on running the Glo 4 Haiti 5k the next evening, so we opted to not do that.

Tuesday, we headed over to the MSU Research Park for the Glo 4 Haiti 5k Run/Walk. Race started at 8 pm, which is past my prime time to run! Feels weird running that late. Anyway, this was a fund raiser for Haitian aid. With over 300 runners and loads of sponsors, they must have raised quite a bit of money. The race was 3+ laps around the outside loop of the Research Park. The first lap was awesome! The 2nd lap was pretty good, although somewhat congested with walkers and slower runners. The 3rd loop was very difficult due to the many walkers and joggers who filled the loop and were often spread across the entire road. Although the race director asked walkers and slower runners to stay to the right, most people thought that meant the left or meant to create a line of walkers/joggers stretching across the road that made much of the last loop and some of the 2nd seem more like an obstacle course! I had to get off the road several times and almost ran over some folks who suddenly veered in front of me! For any of you who I almost ran over, sorry! Despite the congestion, it was a very enjoyable race, and I think pretty much everyone enjoyed it. Definitely a well organized effort as well as a successful fundraiser. Kudos to race director Laura Richardson Walton for all her hard work!

Before the race

Before the race

The race was a little weird in that only the overall 1st and 2nd place male and females received an award. As it worked out, Joseph was the overall winner with a 17:04 (which, given the number of people he had to run through, would probably have been in the mid 16’s), and I was 2nd overall with an 18:28, which felt pretty easy. The first place award was $100, but Joseph, who still may or may not try to run in college, opted not to accept, as monetary awards are not allowed for high school or would be collegiate runners. So, he told them to keep the $100 for the Haitian fund. For 2nd place, I won $50, which I kept;) Drew Anthony came in third overall with a time of just over 19 minutes. I did not know the top two girls, but they were both just over 21 minutes. Our friend Nathan Gaudin was 7th overall at just over 21 minutes! Pretty good for a 190 lb weight lifting dude! Lots of folks we knew were there, and we met lots of new folks too!

Nathan Gaudin, Joseph MacGown, and Joe MacGown

Nathan Gaudin, Joseph MacGown, and Joe MacGown

Greg Grimes!

Greg Grimes!

Joseph, Nathan, and Madison Buntin

Joseph, Nathan, and Madison Buntin

Stringers!

Stringers!

 

 

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Another week of running in Starkville…


Sunday afternoon, beautiful-75°F, fairly windy, but not ridiculous. Started out with Lucas, Joseph, and Steve Shaffer. By about 2 miles, Steve had drifted back a bit, but a new feller joined us for little while. Will Kallfelz, a professor in the philosophy dept. here at MSU, was out running, and jumped in with us. How cool is that. Then, downtown, our crazy happy bud Ian Prester was running and also joined us for bit. Lucas stayed with us for a little over 3 miles, then headed back. Joseph and I did our 10.4 mile loop. At about 5 miles, he started picking it up. He came back and joined me here and there, but basically did the route in 1:07. I was just over 1:09. Felt pretty good afterward, even sort of hyper. Cool.

Monday. We got a late start on the run. Ended up doing 8 X 400s on a road out here in Sessums. I have one of those cool measuring wheel deals and marked us out a 400m segment. We rested 2 minutes between each. Mine were between 1:09-1:14, and Joseph’s were between 1:05-1:08.  Neither of us were overly tired after we finished, but he had lots of homework, so we stopped with 8 today.

Tuesday.  Ran at the South Farm with Arash and Joseph at 4:30 pm. We did a 6.1 mile route with the first and last mile being slower and the 4+ in between faster. We all jogged the first mile together, then I picked it up. Joseph stopped to stretch a few minutes before running faster.  I was 41 minutes for the entire route, but I don’t know about Joseph and Arash.  It was very windy again today, especially from the north, so the return of our loop was much harder! I guess we could have waited a couple of hours and paid money to run in the Zombie 5k, which was being held on the MSU campus, but too much to do!

Wednesday. Joseph and I again ran the South Farm 6.1 mile loop.  Another late start, 5:30 pm. Easy day  today.  Joseph was around 43 minutes and I was 46:16. Nothing crazy. 

Thursday. The kid is out of town for a few days. He went up to Austin Peay University in central TN  to check out their school. Meanwhile, I ran  7 miles with Lucas on the South Farm. Sort of a leisurely run, ended up at 48:06.  Got in a decent upper body workout when I got home.  There was a 5 k on the MSU campus this evening at 6 pm, but I don’t really do many races, and there seems to be one every three days now, so I could not afford it anyway. Our bud and MSU XC Country Houston Franks did run it, however, and in a time of 16:15! That joker is 38 years old and still running strong! Way to go Houston!

Saturday. I thought about getting up and running in the Starkvegas 5k/10k, but at 6 AM, it was raining, so I turned over and went back to sleep.  I did an upper body workout when I finally got up. So, not a total loss. Last year Joseph won the Starkvegas 10k and Arash was 2nd! Neither of them ran this year. Don’t know who run. I thought I might have had a chance to do ok in the 5k, but not getting up really hampered that! We may run in a 5k coming up this Tuesday in Starkville. This will be a “Glow Run” and will be at 8 PM at the Research Park on Old Hwy 82.

Tomorrow, we will again meet at 3 PM at the South Farm parking area for a run. Been going at least 10 miles on these Sunday afternoon runs, but some folks do a shorter version.

 

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Spring Break?


Its spring break week, but that does not mean a lot to me. Although, I work at Mississippi State University, I am not faculty, and this is just another work week for me. But, its more than a work week, because its an awesome place to work. Always something happening at the museum and always something new to learn. This week, Christopher Wilson from Sam Houston University in Texas came to visit me and look at our Brachymyrmex ants! How cool is that! Ants in the genus Brachymyrmex are tiny little buggers and are commonly called rover ants. I don’t get many species around here, but I have collected some undescribed species and have loads of records of the common ones!

To start the week off right, Joseph and I did our 10.4 miles route Sunday afternoon. Just us today, and I suspect with it being spring break, it will be that way the entire week. It was super windy with sustained 20 mile per hour south winds.  The difficulty level was increased for me because I seemed to be suffering from some sort of allergy, which has had me sneezing and watery eyed.  Managed a 6:40 pace even so. Joseph was 2 minutes ahead of me at our water stop, which was at around 7-7.5 miles. He decided to run the rest of the way with me, but even with that slower part, his total average pace was 6:29 per mile. Did I mention how windy it was today!  Almost got ran over twice today. The first driver was lady who was not interested in our running past her car as she was stopped at a stop sign. Then, about a block later, some guy decided to turn right on red at a light as we were running by. Problem was, he did not stop. Joseph managed to split off and go behind him, but I was already committed. Suddenly, I was in front of his car with him glaring at me and still moving. I basically just stopped running and put my hand up in a stop motion and told him to stop the car. Crazy.

Monday, did a 5 mile run out here in Sessums with the kid. I finished up at 32:23 and he was a little in front. Planned on doing a workout type run today, but we were both too lazy. Spring break? Anyway, ended up not running Tuesday and Wednesday, but did get a really good upper body workout one day!

Thursday, we went over to Longmeadow for a cruise tempo type workout. After jogging a mile, we did 3 X 2 miles with 3 minute breaks between them. Pretty good weather today at 5 pm. Perfect actually. Bummer though, right as I finished my warmup jog, my left calf felt sore! I guess that started at the track Saturday. Wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run, but I ran with pretty good posture and avoided hitting my heel and was able to do the workout at the pace I wanted. I ended up doing 11:48 for the first one, then 11:56, and 11:58 on the last one. Joseph was 11:34, 11:48, and 11:49.

Woke up Friday morning pretty lazy, as was Joseph. So, we did some pushups, pullups, curls, and ab stuff to get going. I think it helped! That afternoon we went for a short 3.4 mile run out here in Sessums. Joseph’s friend Cody rode a bike along. It was another beautiful day! We just ran together and finished in 21:36 (about a 6:21 pace). This was probably too fast, but it felt easy today and we did not go far.

Saturday, me and the Joseph checked out some of the action at the MSU Bulldog Invitational Track Meet. He was hoping to see his classmate and friend from SHS Alex Ross compete in the 3200m race, but as it turned out, Alex was not allowed to run because he missed practice this week.  Of course, if you miss practice, you should not be allowed to run in an upcoming meet. Well, maybe not always. This week was spring break, and his family went on vacation for the week, so he could not have come to practice. So, yeah,that is ridiculous. Anyway, Alex is a 3200m runner who after 3 meets has yet to run in his event. Bummer for him. Did I mention that Joseph does not run for his school anymore? I can’t really blame him. But, to be fair, he is participating in a wide variety of extracurricular activities that occupy his after school time. Even though we did not get to see Alex run, we hoped to see our awesome buddy Ethan Musser run the 3200m race, but apparently, he was not entered in that race either. In fact, of the top four 3200m runners on the team, none of them ran that event? Weird. Yes. Of course, I would have loved to see Joseph run that today, given that he was close to 10 flat last year for this distance as part of a longer workout!  SHS did have two runners in the race, but both were over 12 minutes.  Curt Knight of Jackson Academy, who was Joseph’s primary distance competition when Joseph ran for Starkville Academy in 7th and  8th grade, won the 3200m race with a 10:04, and Joseph’s friend Andrew White from Tupelo High came in second with a 10:30. Similarly,  none of Starkville’s better 1600m boys ran the 1600m race, such as Damian Grady, who ran a 4:35 last year. Ryan Campbell (another private school runner), won the 1600m race with a 4:48.10 and Andrew White from Tupelo was 2nd with a 4:49.96. Not times that should win a mile race, but in Mississippi…  Ethan Musser did run in this race, but only ran about 5:12. However, Ethan is not a super speedy guy, but rather, one of those guys who can keep up a good pace. Hence, why he should run the 3200m. In the 800m race, Starkville High’s Damian Grady easily won the race with a average time of 2:02. He had absolutely no competition at all. If Damian were so inclined, I feel sure that he could win the 5A state meet this year in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m races. Except for a couple of individuals here and there, long distance runners in the 5A division (and other divisions) are mediocre at best this year (usually every year), and he would have no competition from what I have seen. Unfortunately, he is apparently not running the 1600 or 3200m races this, which he is actually more suited to. Not sure why, because this would be a nice triple.

It is so frustrating to see distance running at the high school level in Mississippi lag so far behind other states year in and year out. There have been a few exceptions here and there of course. In fact, one of those exceptions is Kate Mattox, who now runs for Starkville. Although she is only in 8th grade, she is ranked no. 1 in the state in the 3200m and the 5k. At the meet today, she set a meet record in the 3200m race with her 11:32. She was closely followed by Tupelo’s Christian Daniels at 11:36, also well under the meet record time of 11:50 set by Christian. Kate won the 1600m race as well with a 5:41, with her sister Walker placing 2nd! Good for them. But, other than an anomaly such as Kate who pops up once in a while, the distance scene is not competitive at all in our state. Ironically, one reason we moved Joseph to the public schools from the Academy was for the supposed higher level of competition in the public schools. As it turned out, his two major competitors in the privates schools, Curt Knight and Jon Luke Watts, are now the fastest two distance runners in the state, with the public school kids not really being in their league. While at the Academy Joseph usually beat them in races, but did not compete against them after leaving the private schools. Now, Joseph does not even run track at all, but instead just runs on his own. Ah well. Such is life.

After leaving the meet, we headed to the Starkville High track for a workout. Today’s plan was 200m fast/2000m easy, 200m fast/200m easy, 800m fast/400m easy, then repeat for 4 reps. It was pretty warm at 3 pm, and  a bit windy, but we managed. Mostly, we were really lazy today! We ran the track backwards today, and I have to say, I liked it better! Joseph ran his 200’s between 32 and 35 seconds, and his 800’s were 2:21 to 2:34. I ended up modifying my workout slightly by doing 3 sets of 200/200/800, then 200/200/400/200/400. My 200’s were between 35 and 39, 800’s between 2:46 and 2:55, and 400’s were 1:16ish. This is a pretty hard workout for me, because you don’t ever stop moving with the jogs between! I confess, I did stop a couple of times to snag some water!

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Southeastern Branch Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Baton Rouge, LA


I headed down to Baton Rouge Sunday morn for the Southeastern Branch Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. Unfortunately, I did not have time to run after driving down and then registering for the meeting. Stayed at the Hilton down near the Capitol, and it was pretty nice.

Hilton in Baton Rouge on Lafayette Street

Hilton in Baton Rouge on Lafayette Street

I hung out at the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum for a good bit on Monday, where I identified and catalogued their ant collection. Some decent things in there. I was able to get back to the Hotel in time for a late afternoon run before the evening events started. Ran along the walkway on the Mississippi River Levee, which was just across the street from the hotel. It was a CRAZY run! I ran the first 23 minutes south against 25 mile + wind! WOW! It was tough. I did 3 minutes hard with 3 minutes easy. The hard sections were very hard. I got in three of them against the wind. On the way back I did one 3 minute hard run, then 3 minutes easy, then a 6 minute hard, 1 minute easy, then 4 minutes hard and finished some where in between. Pretty good run!  That night I had crawfish, catfish, and beer.

Walkway along the Mississippi River Levee in Baton Rouge

Walkway along the Mississippi River Levee in Baton Rouge

Tuesday was a busy day, but somehow I managed to get up and do a few pushups before having to attend some talks at the conference. After a pretty heavy lunch, I was not really ready for my afternoon run, but, even so, I went about 7+ miles. Again on the levee. Today was exactly the opposite from Monday, super windy, but with wind from the north. So, I ran with it at my back to begin with, then ran against it on the way back. Lots of runners today, some walkers, some bikers, and many were struggling with the wind. Whenever I saw another runner, it picked me up a little, helping me maintain my pace!

No time for a run on Wednesday, was at the museum all day until after dark looking at ants! They have a great group of folks there and a pretty decent bug collection. The museum director, Chris Carlton, and curator, Victoria Bayless, were very accommodating.

Before leaving Baton Rouge on Thursday, I snapped a few photos. One of my favorite buildings was the old capitol building. Absolutely gorgeous! Looked like an old castle up on the river bluff. Check it out below!

The old capitol building in Baton Rouge, LA.

The old capitol building in Baton Rouge, LA.

Got home Thursday just in time to pick up Joseph from school and go for a run. We went to the South Farm where, after a warmup jog, we did 2 X 2 miles with a 2 minute rest between them. This was pretty hard to do on the hilly, gravelly roads there! We went out 2 miles, and then came back for the second one. The return was maybe harder, due to the wind hitting us. We were not trying to race or anything, but shooting for a tempo pace. Joseph was 11:20 out and 12:03 back. I was 11:50 out and 12:18 back.

Friday, easy run in Longmeadow with Joseph. A recovery of sorts from Thursday. Plus, I was pretty tired from the long week, as was Joseph from exam week.

Saturday, we did a speed workout of sorts. Today: 4 X 200m (200m jogs between), 2 X 400m (400m jogs), 1 X 800m (with 800m jog), 2 X 400m (400m jogs), and 4 X 200m (200m jogs). Planned on going to the Mississippi State track, which is sweet, but there was a baseball game, which meant, no parking anywhere near the track. So, we went to the Starkville High School track, which is painted concrete. My legs always hurt after running on this crappy track, and today was no exception. Not only does it have a very hard surface, it also is not flat, slopes from the outside to the inside. Oh well. Workout went pretty well. Joseph was 34-36 seconds on 200’s, 1:08-1:14 on 400’s and 2:28 on the 800. I was 37-39 for my 200’s, 1:17-1:20 on 400’s, and 2:46 on the 800. After the 800, my left calf felt really tight. I attributed that to the track. I guess I should have ran some in the opposite direction, but there were a few other people running. My right leg is at least a half inch shorter than my left leg, and I have often had ticky little injuries associated with my right leg, but sometimes with my left leg.  Over the years I have compensated for this by hitting the ground differently with each foot. My right leg is mostly straight when my foot lands and more of that foot hits the ground; whereas, I don’t completely straighten my left leg and I tend to land more on the front part of that foot. Strange, you would think it would be the other way around, but because of the bend in my left leg, it works. On a track that is slightly sloped inward, it seems to mess up the way I run. Weird. I was able to finish by carefully monitoring my posture and running as erectly as possible. Anyway, it was a gorgeous day, although again very windy. All of  the 200’s were in the wind!!

Don’t forget about the Biggest Loser 5k/half marathon coming up in Jackson, MS on April 6th. For those of you who follow the Biggest Loser, three former and one present contestant will be at the race: Dan and Jackie Evans from Season 5, and Patrick House winner of Season 10. Gina McDonald from Season 14 will also be there. 

Tomorrow, for those of you in town for this spring break week, we will be meeting at the south farm at 3 pm.

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