USA Track and Field XC Junior Olympic South Regionals

Sunday,  Kind of a rainy, dreary day. Decided not to wait for a run, instead Joseph and I just ran out here in Sessums around 3pm. We live a good 10 miles from town, and if its a day when it looks like nobody is likely to show up, I figure saving 20 miles worth of gas is the better option. So, after Joseph’s really nice run the day before, I told him to do about 5 miles at an easy pace, no watch. I jogged about 2 miles, then biked a few myself. Ended up being a decent afternoon.

Joseph before run

Joseph before run

Monday,  At 4pm, it was just me and the kid again. I think the college boys might be getting down to the wire with some classes! We went over to McKee Park and jogged a couple of miles down Industrial Park Road. Then, I got on m bike to pace Joseph in Longmeadow neighborhood. Today he did 1 X 2000m at 6:30, 1 X 1200m at 3:59, and 4 X 2 minutes at sub 5 minute pace. Jogged around some more,  stretched and headed out. Pretty nice day, a bit chilly. He will run pretty easy the rest of the week with a Saturday race coming up. After the run, the sunset was beautiful! Check it out!

sunset at McKee Park

sunset at McKee Park

Tuesday, Met Ravi and Joseph at 4 pm for a run on the South Farm. Joseph took off ahead of us, and Ravi and I ran along together for about 25 minutes at a 7:30ish pace. Then Ravi ran home, and I jumped on the bike, went back and met Joseph. Later, got in an upper body workout at the house. Wednesday, No run today for me. Joseph did an easy few miles. Thursday, Joseph and met Nick Pettit and Ravi at the South Farm for an easy run. Ravi jogged over and did a couple with us before heading back. He probably got in about 5 or 6 total. Nick, who just completed his 2nd marathon in less than a month, was out for an easy stroll, which was fine by me. We all four ran together at a super easy pace. Nick, Joseph and I did a 5 miles plus a bit route. Pretty day. Saturday, Got up early to take Joseph to the USATF XC South Regional Junior Olympic Championship in Clinton, MS. We picked up his friend Alex Ross, who also wanted to run. That was cool, as Joseph was Starkville High’s XC MVP the previous two years and state champion last year, and Alex was Starkville’s MVP this year and 5th place finisher in this year’s state meet. Because Joseph did not run XC this year, they have not had a chance to run together in quite some time. The race today was held at Choctaw Trails, which is also the state meet course, so they knew the course well. As they are both seniors, this gave them one more opportunity to run the course. Alex had a very good fall XC season, finishing up at the state meet two weeks ago with a personal best of 17 minutes flat on a very difficult course. Joseph, who has been recently training for a half marathon, was in no way prepared for a 5k distance, but figured since the meet was in MS, that he might as well do it. I don’t believe it has ever been held here before. But, the new Madison Central coach, Coach Groll, is a big supporter of USA Junior Olympics and was active in Louisiana with it when he coached there. Now that he is in MS, he is trying to bring some enthusiasm. Well, weather-wise, it could not have been much worse! Pretty cold, raining, and windy. The course was a slime pit! It was just cold enough to be unpleasant. Probably about 48°, but the rain and wind made it teeth chattering cold. Everything was wet! Alex and Joseph planned on running in shorts and singlets even so.  Joining them from Starkville were Walker Mattox and Carys Snyder, who both run for Starkville High. Carys only got to run at Choctaw Trails once this year, so wanted another opportunity at the course. Walker basically came down to run with her.

Carys Snyder, Walker Mattox, Joseph MacGown, and Alex Ross

Carys Snyder, Walker Mattox, Joseph MacGown, and Alex Ross

Running XC, and really any race, is all about lining everything up. Sleep, food, warmup, etc. It all needs to flow in the right way. Driving down, it was pretty obvious that both guys were tired. Ok. But, we had food, and they got stuff in their systems at the more or less right time. So that was something. We arrived in time for Alex to register and for them to get their numbers. Their race, the 17-18 age group 5k, was to start at 11 AM. After sitting in the car for almost 3 hours, they were both pretty tight, so they did a light and loose jog for about ten minutes. josephalex3 Later, at 10:30,  they did a faster  10 minute warmup, loosened up some more, put their spikes on, and did a few strides at about 10:55. Well, they noticed that some of the kids at the start looked young and asked them what was up. Apparently, the races were way behind and this was the 13-14 age group race! AH. Sucks.

Joseph and Alex before the race

Joseph and Alex before the race

I am sure that Coach Groll announced something about the race times being way off, but we did not hear it with Alex and Joseph warming up elsewhere and me likely in the truck or elsewhere. This is pretty unusual, as I have rarely been to a meet that was this far off of the schedule. Doubly bad, because the weather and course was only getting worse as the day went on. So, yeah, they were now soaking wet from warming up in the rain, shivering, and all for naught! They went to the truck, grabbed a blanket and huddled in there for about twenty minutes. Got back out, and warmed up again! Finally, the race started.  USATF regionals are really small in our south region (MS and LA), so they ran the 15-16 and 17-18 boys and girls all together. Even so, there were not many people, although they were all pretty good. And, Louisiana always has some great runners at these things. Louisiana, unlike our backwards state of Mississippi, actually welcomes club teams, and as a consequence, they have a steady supply of quality runners year after year. This year was no exception, and a young man named James Turner from Monroe, LA easily won the 17-18 male division, with Joseph coming in 2nd and Alex third. In fact, this was the order already by the mile and it never changed.

Mile 1

Mile 1

Joseph, James Turner, and Alex Ross

Joseph, James Turner, and Alex Ross

I know that the Turner kid ran about 16:45, which for him was slow, as he runs about a 15:20 three mile. But the course was pretty rough today. I have no idea what Joseph and Alex ran, as there was no time clock and no results were posted. I know it was well over 17 minutes for each of them. Joseph was probably 20 seconds ahead of Alex, who was followed fairly closely by three others. Nobody ran particularly fast, and mostly I think they just enjoyed the crazy, mucky, windy day celebrating the camaraderie of battling the elements together. Even with the rough conditions, I would have thought Joseph could have easily won this race with the way he has been running, but it was not that important really. In fact, his pace was probably slower than his average pace for the ten miler that he did last Saturday, albeit on a dry day.  The top ten from this race qualified for the National Championship on December 14 in San Antonio, TX. In a race like this, the main thing is don’t do something stupid and get hurt!

Joseph's singlet after the race

Joseph’s singlet after the race

Anyway, after another hour or so, they gave out some medals, and we finally got to change out of our wet clothes. Man, my toes were cold!!! Headed to find food and opted for Mexican, before again driving through the rain back to Starkville!

Joseph at about the 1.5 mile mark. He looks pretty happy

Joseph at about the 1.5 mile mark. He looks pretty happy

In other running news, several of our Starkville Striders buds ran in the Turkey Trot 5k and 10k, which was held at MSU. One year, I actually won the 5k and Joseph won the 8k (now 10k)! That was awesome. This year, our trippy red headed glow master Zach Marsh won the 10k! Way to go! And Brent Wallace came in 2nd place in the 5k with an 18:21! Pretty sure this is his best 5k race. He has not really even been running all that much lately since I hurt my calf. [Perhaps I should explain that. I hurt my calf, so have not been running as much. Apparently, when I don’t run, some of these slacker punks also follow suit!] So that was pretty derned good. Max Roethig and John Mooney also ran the 5k, but I don’t know how they did. Awesome dudes!

Crazy Zach Marsh

Crazy Zach Marsh

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