Monthly Archives: December 2013

Running and biking in Mississippi while trying not to get shot by redneck hunters

Monday, Chilly this morning, mid 30’sF, and windy. What a change from the last few days! We got up and ran a bit around 8 AM. I only did 2.5 miles, then hopped on my mountain bike for a few more miles. Joseph did an easy run of some distance and time.

Tuesday, Christmas Eve. But, a pretty nice day. Biked along with Joseph as he did 3 X 1 mile tempo repeats with 2 minute jogs between, then 2 X 800m with 800m jog between. Of course, a warmup and cool down. He averaged low 5:30’s for the mile repeats, then did 800s at 2:25 and 2:28.  When I got home, I did an upper body workout. Felt pretty decent.

Wednesday, Christmas, whoohoo;) Nothing crazy, but did get a couple hour hike in.

Thursday, Morning, arg. Woke up and did a nice workout: pullups, bench press, curls, pushups, military dumbbell presses, and crunches. Later, at 2:30 PM,  I biked with Joseph at the South Farm. Pretty day, about 54°F. He was running easy, averaged 6:35 per mile with first one being 6:40, the last one 6:43, and the 5 in between in low 6:20s. Nice day. Good run.

Saturday, Rained pretty much all day! Could have done something, but nah. Well, I did workout in inside with quite a few pushups, pullups, curls, military presses, some dips, and crunches. So, not a total loss.

Sunday, Joseph and went out to the Noxubee NWR for a midafternoon run/bike deal. I biked, he ran 10 miles. Really nice out, mid 50s and pleasant. Lots of folks walking an riding bikes, much to the chagrin of at least some of the redneck hunters. Although we are biking and running on a public paved road, some of the hunters don’t like it. I had my bright orange shirt on too, just in case someone was lost and pointing their rifle toward the public road. One truck with a couple of older rednecks seemed particularly bothered and slowed down to tell us that we were in an area of heavy deer concentration and that wearing orange was not enough. I just waved and smiled. Not worth trying to communicate with ignorance. Especially when ignorance carries a high powered rifle. Interestingly, the hunters tend to group together and hunt in the same areas. Surprised they don’t shoot each other more often than they do. Perhaps if these very hunters who are unhappy with people biking and running got a bit of exercise themselves, they might not be so concerned with these bikers, walkers, and runners. I strongly suspect that they are simply in such bad physical condition that they want to hunt as close to their overly large 4 wheel drive trucks as possible. Anyway, back to the run. Taking the kid to a race in a couple of weeks, probably the half marathon in Pensacola, so he will need to maybe start chilling a bit. He averaged 5:43 per mile for the run today with a stop just before the middle. Not bad. The big test will be doing the half with no stops.


Monday, AM – 2.5 miles run, bike ride followed; Joseph easy run

Tuesday, PM – 6 mile bike, upper body workout; Joseph, warmup, 3 X 1 mile tempos, 2 x 800 reps, cooldown

Wednesday, PM –  2 hour hike

Thursday, AM – upper body workout; PM –  7 mile bike; Joseph 7 mile run, 6:35 pace

Saturday, PM – upper body workout

Sunday, PM – 10 mile bike; Joseph, 10 mile run, 5:43 per mile


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Joseph, finished with high school, celebrates with 55:58 10 miler!

Sunday, Morning-well, got up pretty late, so did some pullups, pushups, crunches, curls, and a few shoulder presses. Did them in between household chores, so it took longer than it should have. By the time I got thru, it was essentially lunch time. Later, Joseph and I met Brent at the South Farm for a 5.2 mile run. Pretty chilly, about 36°F and with wind chill it was supposedly 29-30°F. But, not really super cold so we wore shorts, but long sleeves today. Brent punked out and wore tights. By 3/4 of the way thru the run, I took off my long sleeve deal (had short sleeves under) and tied it around my waist. Gloves had to come off too. Pretty good run, we averaged around 7:05 per mile with first mile slower, next three right around 7 minutes, and 5th mile 6:45. Probably should have only went about three today, as I could tell my calf was acting up again. At about 4.5 miles I could feel it pretty good! But, not as bad as earlier in the fall when it was hard to walk and eat oatmeal at the same time.

Brent in tights

Brent in tights

Monday, 4 pm, Joseph got in an easy 5.3 mile run on the south farm while I biked along. His first 3 miles were a bit too fast, so I told him to slow down. He ended up with a 6:35 mile average. Yeah, think I will take it easy on the running this week with my calf feeling a bit sore the last few runs.

Tuesda, Again biked with Joseph at about 4 pm. Freaking 65°F outside! Crazyeeey. Most of our running buds are out of school and out of town right now. Brent and Max are still around, but decided to run early today to catch some sun! Really. Anyway, after a warmup mile, Joseph did 3 X 1 mile with 2 minute jogs between each, then 2 X 400m with a jog between them, then a cool down jog. Trying to pick up the pace of these mile repeats a bit. Today he averaged 5:18 for them. 400s were 1:06 and 1:09. Thought that was pretty good for right now. While running, we saw some SHS kids once again and the brightly shoed wall climbing Steve Shaffer along with them. Once again Patton Little was cruising along. He informed me that I was a punk and needed to spell his name right when mentioning him in my blog! Punk;) Maybe I got it right this time! Keep up the running, poser. Got home and did 6 sets of pushups, 6 sets of dumbbell curls, and 6 sets of dumbbell military presses. Feel better now.

Wednesday, Joseph got in a easy run, few miles, not sure how far. I did not run today. Calf sore, a haunting injury that comes back. Did a few ab things when I got home.

Thursday, I biked along with Joseph as he ran 5.5 miles on the South Farm. Pretty nice out. He averaged 6:45isth today. Got home and did an awesome workout: pull ups, pushups, curls-normal routine, but felt good.

Friday, We both took today off. This was Joseph’s last day of high school. He had enough credits to graduate early, and so he is now a high school grad! Next step, figuring out where he is going to go to college. So many choices! Despite his not having run track since 9th grade and also not even running XC this year, he has been recruited by over 40 university coaches from NCAA I, II, and III and NAIA schools from all over the US. They seem to be as happy or happier with his 5k, 10k and half marathon road races than with his state championships when he did run for the school. Obviously, its not practical to seriously think about and visit every school, so he is narrowing down choices based on several factors. He wants to major in art, so that is a factor for sure. The feel of a school is very important as well. If he does decide to run in college, positive connections with the coach are crucial, as is the coaches way of doing things. Anyway, lots to think about! He has already had some really good offers, so we know that if he wants to, he will be able to run someone and basically not have to pay for college. Now, if he decides ultimately not to run, you may see me taking on another job;) If you are a parent of a high school distance runner who might someday want to run in college, there are a few things you should know. First of all, its all about the TIMES and CHARACTER of the kid that coaches look at. How fast did you do a race. Its also helpful if you win some races, because that shows you know how to win. And, they want to know what you are like, will you be a good fit for the team. There are some fallacies about being recruited though, that are often generated from high school coaches. FALLACY 1: YOU HAVE TO RUN TRACK OR YOU WILL NOT BE RECRUITED. One of the biggest fallacies I have heard came from Joseph’s 9th grade coach, Coach Barnett (this coach is no longer at SHS). He said that college coaches don’t care about XC times and races, and that they only look at track times. I have to call bullshit on this one. Sorry coach. Yes, track times are objective measures of success and are very helpful, but that is not the only thing college coaches look at. There are several divisions of colleges, and within each one, there are different levels of competition. Sure, the best in the country tend to go to the most competitive schools, but all of the other schools still have to fill rosters. Some of these schools don’t even have track programs, they only have XC ! Yes, true. Also, college runners have longer races, usually 8k to 10 k for boys. The NAIA and community colleges even have  half marathon/marathon national championships. Guess what? Most high school runners don’t run that far. So, if your kid runs in and does well in certified road races, especially longer than 10k, then that can be just as important as running for their school. In fact, if you don’t have a strong program at your school and you are a good runner, running for your school could make it unlikely that you will be able to run in college. Sometimes you might be better off training on your own. Depends on your personality, if you have someone good to help train you, how good your high school coaches are, if your coaches work with you on what is best for you, and many other factors. I am not advocating that everyone run on their own, either. Its good for some, but not others. Running for their school is great if it all works out, don’t get me wrong. If you can win a state meet in anything, that looks good. But, you don’t even have to run in high school to run in college.  FALLACY 2: YOUR HIGH SCHOOL COACHES WILL HELP YOU IN THE RECRUITING PROCESS.  Probably not. I am sure that there are exceptions to this, but by and large, if you are a high school runner or parent of a runner who wants to run in college, you are mostly on your own. If you are amazingly fast, regularly win races, and have good times posted on, then you may not have to do a whole lot. Coaches will see you and contact you. But, even then, they will mostly be local coaches. Fortunately, we live in the age of the internet. As a parent, you can go online and post your kid’s times and accomplishments, or, the kids can even do it. A prime example would be:  Other places where you need to go are the NCAA  eligibility center web site and the NAIA Eligibilty Center.  The last two are not optional if you are thinking about running in these divisions. This is a process that will also involve getting transcripts sent from your school and other things. About spring of their junior year, you should start posting info to these sites. Pay the few dollars for the full accounts. Coaches see this stuff. Another thing you can do/should do is be proactive. Go online, find a list of colleges with XC and/or track programs. Go to their web sites, look at the times being run by their runners. If you think you can do it, contact the coach by letter, email, and/or phone and talk about the possibility of running there. Coaches want to hear from you. They can’t call you until summer before your senior year, but you can contact them. Simple. But, you have to do it. Your coach is not going to do it for you. You might think, well, I only ran a 17:55 at my state meet for the 5k and there are guys running 15:01, but believe it or not, you are still really good and could do very well on many teams. Not only that, we are in Mississippi. As mentioned in some of my earlier posts, we are at the bottom of the heap as far as times go for distance races in the country. Most of our XC coaches are not really coaches (sorry, I know there are some exeptions), and even the absolute best coaches in MS pale in comparison to some average coaches in other states. It is just not that important here. The numbers back it up. Success of a coach within our state is not indicative of how good that coach at a national level. And, I don’t mean having one or two fast distance runners now and then that would have been good on any team. You know you have a a great coach when year after year many of the runners  on the team are competitive nationally. In MS, we are lucky to see the top five boys on a team average 16:50. On good teams in other states, those runners would be junior varsity, and barely. But, thats ok. With that in mind, if you are a guy, for example, running under 18 minutes for a 5k, then chances are you are doing that mostly on your own, and/or despite the poor coaching you have received. Imagine what you could do in college with a really good coach?? You could easily be running with that 15:01 guy within a year of good training. He has much less potential.

Saturday, A crazy windy day with serious storms moving in later! Decided to post phone the long run until Sunday afternoon when the wind is supposed to be a lot less than 25 miles per hour. Instead, we got up in the morn for an easy run. Joseph did 5 miles, and I did 3. We got home and then did an upper body workout! Yeehah Baby!!

Sunday, Gloomy, cloudy, gray day, but fairly warm in the mid 60°sF. At about 2 pm, we headed out to the Noxubee Refuge so the kid could get another longish run in.

gloomy day at the refuge

gloomy day at the refuge

As I was getting my bike out and stuff, Joseph did a bit of a really short warmup jog. Then we got to it.  He said he was more sore than usual, which was not surprising given the good 13.14 mile run last Saturday and the nice workout on Tuesday.  But, he again had a very nice run, with only a couple of brief water stops in there. So, today, he was going to only do 10 miles. This was for sure his best 10 mile run ever, and he finished up just under 56 minutes at 55:58! His average pace was 5:35.8 per mile. Splits were 5:41, 5:27, 5:33, 5:41, 5:52, 5:36, 5:33, 5:36, 5:27, and 5:32. Obviously, that 5th mile was slower. It seems as though the last mile before turning around is always his worst mile, and it does not matter what the distance is! Need to work on that. Of course, that was a good point to stop and stretch a minute.


Sunday, AM – upper body workout; PM – 5.2 mile run, 7:05 minute pace

Monday, PM – 5.3 mile bike on gravel; Joseph, 5.3 mile run at 6:35 pace

Tuesday, PM  – 6 mile bike, upper body workout; Joseph, 1 mile WU, 3 X 1 mile at 5:18 average with 2 min jogs between + 2 X 400m at 1:06 and 1:08, CD

Wednesday, PM – Joseph did an easy run on his own. I took it easy today.

Thursday, PM – 5.5 mile bike, upper body workout; Joseph, 5.5 mile run Friday, – rest

Saturday, AM – 3 mile run, upper body workout; Joseph, 5 mile easy run, upper body workout.

Sunday, PM – 10 mile bike; Joseph, 10 mile run at 5:35.8 minute pace

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Joseph has nice 13.14 mile long run – 1:14:59

Sunday, Cold and wet! Did an upper body workout in the morning. Pretty good one, but a little weird. Did various sets of pushups, pullups, curls, and stuff in between random other activities. We thought about running later, but with the almost constant rain, we ended up skipping the run. Plus, Joseph was pretty much busy every second of the weekend working on one of several of those ridiculous “creative” projects that for some  reason, high school teachers of non art classes love to assign students near the end of the semester. Final exams are not enough I guess. I suppose it sounds weird coming from me, an artist, to think of these projects as ridiculous, but they are just that. Basically, they are just time consuming projects that take time away from learning.

Monday, Cold and wet. Go figure. Even so, we did run some. Starting at 4 PM, Joseph and I ran around McKee a little, then I got on my bike as he did a couple or three laps around Longmeadow at an ok pace. Not as fast as normal. Possibly the lack of a recovery run on Sunday was the reason for his somewhat lackadaisical run today. Or maybe the fact that he spent pretty much the entire weekend working on school work. When I say lackadaisical, I mean compared to his normal Monday afternoon runs. Today, he was only scooting thru the neighborhood at about at 5:53 mile pace. Man, it was cold and dark out! While there, 3 SHS kids who I guess are running some indoor meets, jogged thru the area. Patrick Bell, Nick First, and Payton Little. They had their warmup suits on and still looked cold. They seemed amazed that Joseph was only wearing shorts and a shirt. It was about 37°F when we started, but that temp was rapidly dropping as darkness descended upon us. And the wind did not help. After his 3 laps around, each about 2000m and with brief rests between, I put my bike up and ran a couple of miles at a 6:38 pace. Still had my sweats and two layers of longsleeves on, and was sweating pretty good by the finish. Whew!

Tuesday, I met Joseph and Brent at about 4 pm for a run thru town. Got in 5.2 miles at an average pace of 6:51. Fairly chilly, about 40°F and windy when we started, but it was 37°F when we finished. Those mugs had shorts and short sleeves on, so I had to follow suit, or would have looked like a punk! We all wore gloves though. Thats the way we roll. Passed quite a few folks running. Most of them were bundled up with long pants, running jackets, hats and gloves. The only runners that we saw dressed similarly to us were some MSU runners here and there! Anyway, first mile was 7:20ish, then the rest were under 7. Good deal. Finished up good with the last mile about 6:35.

Wednesday, Easy 4PM run with Joseph thru McKee Park and Longmeadow. Nice afternoon, about 48°F. Still short sleeve and shorts weather!

Thursday, calf was a little sore today, probably pushing it too again too soon! Ran about 4 miles with the kid in afternoon. It was chilly-ish, mid 40’s F, but not too bad. Shorts, short sleeves, no gloves. Averaged right at 7 minute mile pace. Got home and did some benchpress, curls, pullups, and crunches.

Friday, no workout of any kind today. Calf still a bit sore. Not terrible.

Saturday,  Earlier in the week, we had talked about going to Jackson for a half marathon held this morn, but with only one week of school left and exams, decided against it. But, that was the distance we had planned for today either way. So, I took Joseph out to the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge for another run. We arrived at 2:00 pm on a drizzly gray day. Temps started out at about 54°F but dropped to the upper 40’s by the end of the run. The second half of the run was pretty much in a drizzle the entire way, and we had some 9-10 mile per hours wind, especially on the way out, then from the side on the way back. I again rode my bike and Joseph ran. As with other long runs, and similar to the Boardtown long runs, we stopped a couple of times for water, which I carried with me. Joseph was fairly consistent today with his pacing, and for the first time, none of his miles were above 6 minutes. Cool. Overall he was 1:14:59 for 13.14 miles with an average pace of 5:42. Splits were: 5:59, 5:35, 5:43, 5:31, 5:50, 5:48, 5:44, 5:40, 5:44, 5:40, 5:35, 5:42, 5:41, and 0:47. Good run. Now to do this without any stops!

Check out this awesome damselfly sculpture that is out at the refuge on a pine tree. A retired USDA entomology guy named Gerald McKibben made this!




Sunday, AM – Upperbody workout

Monday, AM- warmup run, 5 mile bike, 2 mile run; Joseph, warmup, 3 X 2000m, cool down

Tuesday, PM- 5.2 mile run; upper body workout

Wednesday, PM – 3 miles easy run

Thursday, PM- 4 mile easy run, 7 minute pace, then upper body workout

Saturday, PM – 13.14 mile bike; Joseph, 13.14 run, 1:14:59

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Cold in Mississippi

Sunday,  Morning! Upper body stuff–pullups, pushups, abs, curls, and some dumbbell military presses. That afternoon at 3 PM, Joseph and I met Richard McCrory and Brent Wallace for a run. We did a 5 mile route thru town. We started out together, but it wasn’t long before Brent and Joseph were far in front. Richard and I, “the old guys” (Richard is 2 years younger than me), are both coming back from having some calf issues, so were not pushing it really. I ran with Richard for 2 miles at probably a 7:30-7:40ish type pace, at which point Richard felt like he needed to slow it down a bit. My calf has been feeling much better lately, so I picked up the pace to 7 minutes per mile, then 6:30ish pace for the 4th mile, and finished up the last mile near 6 minute pace. Felt nice to move a little faster. Of course, I could feel the difference with my increased weight as of late, but still, it was nice!

Monday, Joseph and I took off from McKee Park at 4 pm and headed to Longmeadow to run. I just did a mile warm up with him, then got on my bike to pace him while he did 4 X 2000m tempo paced intervals with 2 minute rests between each. He followed that with a cool down jog and some stretching. The repeats were pretty consistent, and he averaged 5:31 per mile for the entire 8k. First one was slightly faster and each got slightly slower, but only by a couple of seconds. Pretty good job on a really wet road.

Tuesday, Just a bit over 5 miles at 4 pm with Joseph and with Nick the Beast for part of the run. We started at the South Farm and did our downtown/Greensboro District route. Nick had already run about 7 miles a couple of hours earlier, so he was only doing 4, of which about 1.5 were with us. We started out together, but gradually Joseph got ahead of me, and I stuck with Nick until he turned back. After that, I was able to catch up with Joseph on this easy day. Averaged just under 7:20 a mile today and my calf again felt fine. Last mile was at 6:45.

When I got home, I did an upper body workout doing pullups, bench press, curls, and dumbbell military presses.

Wednesday, Joseph and I went over to the South Farm for a run. We decided against the gravel roads, and instead headed toward campus. Before we started Arash the Iranian menace showed up to say hello. What a guy! We saw our bud Zach out running, then ran into Ravi, who was running to meet us. Joseph, Ravi, and I made our way toward the Research Park, where we did the loop one time, then headed back for about 5 miles. I again averaged just under 7:20 per mile. As the day before, my last three were faster than the first two.

Thursday, In the morn, I took Joseph over to Blue Mountain College in north Mississippi for a visit. Checking out all the possibilities. Great visit! Small school, which is not necessarily a bad thing, and everyone was super nice. Enjoyed meeting the coach and many of the runners. Very friendly bunch. Got home in time for a brief run before dark. I did 4 miles slow and Joseph around 5 miles, less slow.

SaturdayTook Joseph out to the Noxubee Refuge for another longish run. We were going back and forth deciding on how far to go today. I kind of like alternating the distance each week with a longer run followed by a slightly shorter run the next week, then back up a little more the next week. He did 12 last week, so I was thinking about either less or more today, 10 vs. 13. Since 12 was the longest as of late, 10 miles made more sense. We arrived at the refuge at 2 PM, and it was cold and windy. Cold for Mississippi anyway! About 34•F with winds between 10 and 15 miles per hour. Not many people out and about today!  Since I obviously cannot keep up with that punk any more for his decent long runs, I once again paced him on my bike. With the cold, and me on a bike, I was definitely thinking 10 miles today. He started out a bit faster than usual today, maybe due to the weather. Perhaps moving faster made him warmer. I was cold on my bike for sure. As usual, we stopped a couple of times during the run so he could grab a sip of water and loosen up a bit. Very brief stops though. With the exception of his 5th mile, which was 6:01, everything else was under 6 minutes today. He seems to have an issue with slowing down during the middle of these runs, but is able to usually pick it back up. Overall, he finished the 10 miles in 56:59, which was for sure his best 10 mile run ever, with an average pace of 5:41 per mile. So, even though it was cold and windy, he did pretty well today. Mile splits were 5:51, 5:28 ,5:41, 5:39, 6:01, 5:28, 5:46, 5:44, 5:40, and 5:39.


Sunday, AM – upper body workout; PM – 5 mile run

Monday, PM – 1 mile run, 5.5 mile bike; Joseph 1 mile WU, 4X2000m with 2 minute rests between (5:31 mile pace)

Tuesday, PM – 5 mile run, upper body workout

Wednesday, PM – 5 mile run

Thursday, PM – 4 miles, easy; Joseph, 5 miles easy, but not as slow as me

Saturday, PM – 10 mile bike; Joseph, 10 mile run-5:41 mile pace

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