Monday, Late afternoon run on the South Farm with Joseph following a storm. Roads were still wet and muddy in places, but plenty of gravel on those hills to keep you honest. I ended up doing a 5.5 mile loop at a pretty easy pace of 7:30. Joseph ran the 7 mile loop at an easy pace. I felt really good today, maybe even had some sort of life changing epiphany as I was running. As I was scooting along, I felt myself being overly tense, tight, trying to hard. So, I just relaxed and pretended I was a kid out running because its fun to run. My speed did not really change, but it sure felt better. As I relaxed and smiled like a foolish buffoon strolling down this gravel road, I realized that this was not just about running. My life has been tense and somewhat unfulfilling in many ways the last few years. There are some high points for sure, such as watching Joseph grow up and seeing his potential as and artist and musician. Its still hard to believe the amazing opportunity he will have at the Savannah College of Art and Design starting this fall. And, of course, I have had some success with my crazy artwork, interesting things to study at work, and getting to run with some awesome runner folks. But, at some point, and although it probably appears that I am a happy selfish punk because I spend time doing artwork, playing guitar, and exercising, I am in fact, wandering around in a strange fog, still trying to figure out basic things. Still living and doing things because I feel like I have to. Not relaxing and really enjoying life and what it has to offer. I am exaggerating a little, because I do get out and do some things such as random kayaking, hiking, biking, and stuff. I experience wonder every time I see a hummingbird or insects flying about. But, I have also become overly entrenched in my own little place in the universe, not willing to change for anyone, even if makes life less pleasant and my life less meaningful. I need to change. I suddenly and inexplicably realized that instead of finding ways to do things, I have been dwelling on why I can’t do things. Geez, its only taken me 50 years to come to that. Some people realize this when they are teenagers. Apparently, I am basically a really slow person. Reflection while running. The zen of running. Search your mind and soul and once in a while obvious answers pop up. Sometimes the answers come too late. I guess thats part of it. So, yeah, the run was good. This is part of why I run, to ponder the universe and my sometimes idiotic way of life. Occasionally, a random and meaningful assortment of thoughts pops into my head, and it is for these days and moments that I truly enjoy running.
Tuesday, Early morn run in Sessums with the kid. Super humid. Only did about 2.5 miles, first mile was slow, then 6:49 pace the rest of the way. Joseph got in maybe 3.5 miles, then we headed back to the house before going to work later.
That afternoon, we met some of the jokers for a run through campus and the research park. Joining us were Brent, Trevon, Alex Ross, and Jorge. Those guys took off pretty fast, and I kept them semi close for the first couple miles, at which point Trevon dropped off a bit. He was still in front of me, and pretty much maintained a respectable distance from me. I felt pretty good early, but the fourth mile or so was tough. I ended up with a 7:13 average. Apparently, Joseph and the guys were hitting 6:18s and 6:20s. After, Joseph threw in some strides to finish off the day. Worked out when I got home, pushups, pullups, crunches, curls, and shoulder presses.
Wednesday, At 7 pm, we me Trevon, Will, and Robert at McKee Park for a tempo run in the nearby Longmeadow neighborhood. Began with a 1.7 mile warmup job with Trevon and Joseph doing theirs slightly faster than our 7:38 pace. I then biked with Joseph during his 4 mile tempo, which he did at 5:46 pace more or less. It was super humid, and after a couple of miles, he was feeling it. Trevon also did 4 miles, probably in the low 6’s, not sure as he did not have a watch. Man, that dude is so excited to be running. Its truly contagious! Crazy Will and Robert did a 4000k tempo at somewhere around 6:45-6:50 mile pace. Nice work for them. Jogged a couple more miles with the guys after they finished. Got home and did some stray pushups.
Thursday, Early morn, got in some pushups, curls, pullups, and ab work. Still hanging around 180 lbs, which is too heavy for the pace I like to run. Maybe by another month. Six miles with Joseph, Lake, Brent, Will, and Jorge. I again averaged right at 7:13 per mile. Same as Tuesday, different route. Will, who had already done 9 miles earlier than morning, ran around an 8 minute pace, which meant that I basically ran the route on my own, ’cause those other muggs were flying! After the first mile, which we do at warmup pace, their next 5 were around 6:18 pace. Joseph added another mile or so at the end, then did some 200m strides. Pretty good running this week so far. Some crazy ladies who were participating in a wine drinking event in downtown Starkville seemed really glad to see me running by shirtless and with sunglasses on. I look much younger with the shades on you know, they hide those cracks and bags under my eyes from 50 years of living. So, its likely that they were confused. The ladies were pretty funny though, and told me inappropriate things that they wanted to do to me!
Saturday, 10 miles in the rain to start the day! Ran with the Boardtown group, but had plenty of Starkville Striders there today including me, Joseph “Darth Vader” MacGown, Jorge “the Colombian chic magnet” Villarreal, Lucas “prima donna” Muniz, Brent “Captain America” Wallace, Wildman Will Kallfelz, Trevon (LL Cool Trey) Strange, Robert “superman” Morgan, and others. I was planning on doing maybe 12 miles, but could not sleep the night before; got maybe 3 hours! Then, with the rain, my feet were so wet, it was uncomfortable, so I turned back at a bit past 5 miles. Let me elaborate. The rain felt great, but it soaked my shoes and socks. My wet socks were killing my feet! Averaged 7:28 per mile on the slick roads. Felt better than expected given the lack of sleep. Joseph, Lucas, Houston Franks (MSU XC Coach), and Jay McCurdy (former pro triathlete) were killing it, with Jorge, Trevon, and Micah White not far behind. Brent hung with them until 3.5 miles, before turning back for a 7 mile loop. The top 4 averaged 6:20 or better with Joseph and Houston having a 3 mile or so leg at 5:40-5:50 pace. This was 12 miles in the rain on some slick roads. Joseph added some more when they got done, as he wanted to get in 13 or 14 miles. Crazy jokers. Keep in mind that their first 3.5 miles were probably about a 6:40-6:50 average. That tells you how fast the next 8-9 were! Wow, what an awesome group. Robert Morgan looked good too, and I ran with him and Vicky McCurdy for a while. They ended up doing the entire 12 miles though, so I ran the remaining 5 on my own.
Good start to the day. Hung out with the many runners afterward in the pool and patio area of Mike and Marcie White’s place. Despite the rain, there was a ton of folks here today. And, eventually, the light rain dissipated making the time in the pool even better. A ton of kids where playing and swimming in the pool, and I did my best to annoy them and the adults.
After leaving the White’s, Joseph and I headed to the Farmer’s Market to get some fresh stuff! Added that to some salmon that I grilled up for lunch, and whew boy! Nice lunch! My former girlfriend Audrey Sheridan, honey bee researcher extraordinaire (read more about her work at http://blogs.msucares.com/honeybees/) came by with her goober kids to enjoy the tastiness. I may or may not be suitable boyfriend material, but I can sure as hell grill some freakin’ awesome salmon and vegetables. Today was no exception. The vegetables included a mix of eggplant, red bell pepper, red onion, carrots, and zucchini cooked with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper in a wok over the open flame on my grill (side attachment). Threw that on some jasmine rice, then added some chopped tomato, cucumber, and basil. Everything was from the farmer’s market or from my own garden (other than the fish). I don’t always eat right, but when I do, it is soooooo satisfying.
Always good to see Audrey and her kids, who love playing with Joseph’s old toys. Joseph seemed to enjoy playing with the toys as well, I guess basically he is still a kid. Heck, for that matter, who wouldn’t? He has some awesome toys like teenage mutant ninja turtles from back in the day!
Audrey seems especially happy these days, so I guess things are turning around for her with this crazy weird art dude out of her life (more or less). I imagine having someone less artistically inclined in her life now will make things much easier for her. Artists are complicated weirdos. I am no exception. Just look at my artwork! No, really, check it out: joemacgown.com. Maybe I will figure it out one day. I am amazed and proud of her for the job she does with her kids. Those jokers are always doing something cool, staying fit, and have a vocabulary that probably surpasses mine. Not typical here in Mississippi!
Perhaps the highlight of my day was the super amazing blueberry chocolate bar that Laurie Burton brought me back from Alaska! Man, I love blueberries. And chocolate. Good stuff! Thank you very much! She said she also brought back a raspberry one, but somehow, it mysteriously disappeared! Hmm.
Sunday, Another semi sleepless night. Pretty much the norm the last few years following divorce and then crazy back and forth relationship with girlfriend/not girlfriend/girlfriend/not girlfriend, etc. Have not been able to find an inner calm, and the obvious lack of sleep does not help my energy level. Fortunately, my lowest energy level appears to be above the norm for folks, so I still manage to somehow manically get things done and even have some energy left over for exercise. I don’t recommend what I do for others. Its crazy and so much is going on it makes things like relationships really difficult. With that in mind, I did a workout on my deck doing pushups, curls, shoulder presses, and pullups on my arbor. At 9 am, it was already fantastically hot and humid out. Typical for Mississippi. Regardless, exercising outside is nice. Lots of things blooming in the yard, honeybees buzzing about, tree frogs and lizards popping in and out, cicadas singing their mysterious ululations, and the sky a pleasant and slightly lazy grayish blue. Anyway, I am starting to feel like I am getting back in shape gradually. Being able to run more consistently helps a lot, of course. Being 5’9″ and 183 lbs has not been helping, so I need to shed a few to save my knees! Actually down to 174 today, almost 10 lbs from week ago. When people say it gets harder when you get older, they are not exaggerating one bit! Here is a pict of me from today. 50 years old! Dang, getting old.