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A couple of weeks of running, more of the same, some of the other

Wednesday, just an easy jog at lunch. Very easy. This followed a workout earlier that morning. One of those trying to wake myself up deals.

Met Lucas and Brent Tuesday for a 6.5 -7 mile run thru town. It was cold and windy! We all wore shorts, longsleeves, and gloves. The wind was the problem, hit ya in the face. Anyway we cruised along at an easy pace gradually picking it up. Averaged about 6:50 per mile.

On Friday, I met the high school punks Armon, Patton, and Patrick for a workout over near the Research Park. It was cold again! I even wore tights today, a fleece over my short sleeved under armour shirt, a hat, and gloves. Of course, it did not take long to remove my outer long sleeved garment once we got going with the workout.  First we did an easy 1.5 mile warmup jog, then 4 X 400m, 2 X 200m, 4 X 400m, and 2 X 200m with the same distances for recovery between each. The fun part was they were all uphill. Not a super steep hill, but a good, steady one with the second half of the 400m stretch more steep than the first. We all did ok though considering the hill and cold. Armon and Patton was a bit faster, usually around 1:14-1:16 or so, followed by me and then Patrick. We kept the 200s slightly faster, mine was 33 to 35 seconds. Armon and Patton had a couple of speedier ones, and Patrick did really well on these as well. All three concentrated on good posture and overall form while doing these repeats. We grabbed a swig of water then did a cool down jog in the dark around the Research Park loop.

The weekend started out chilly and then basically it rained all day Sunday. I took this opportunity to rest my legs a bit and did not run. Usually, I take time off after I have some minor injury, and, of course, two day off is not much, but I am trying to be smarter with my running as I get older. So I took two days off when I felt great! I did an upper body workout on Sunday. Mostly a bunch of pushups and dumbbell curls and shoulder presses with 35 lb dumbbells. Was doing lots of reps and super setting stuff. Lots of reps with 35 lb dumbbells for shoulder presses means first doing 15 reps of curls, then about 50 reps of shoulder presses in a row, then another 10 or so reps of curls, then some shrug type deals, then some pushups (slightly elevated with my hands on the dumbbells). Interspersed this stuff with loud music, weird drawing and painting, and some lively stretching!

Monday, COLD!! At least for Mississippi. I again met Patton, Armon, and Patrick for a workout as they gear up for the USA Track & Field XC Junior Olympics South Regional Meet this coming Saturday. We met at 4 PM and ran the main loop in Longmeadow, a wonderful residential neighborhood with little traffic. We all wore long pants, jackets, gloves, and hats today. I had CWR running tights on under my warmup pants, and a short sleeved shirt under a long sleeved Under Armour shirt and a loose Nike running jacket over that! I lost the jacket pretty soon, but was happy to have everything else on. Today was the last “real” workout for them. Nothing crazy. You don’t get better the week before a race and you sure don’t want to hurt yourself! So, we started with a warmup jog of 1.25 miles. Needed that warmup too because it was in the mid 30’s F and quite windy! After the wamup, we did some leg swings and light stretching.  So, yep, then we did 4 X 25 second strides to loosen up those legs a bit. Then some mile repeats at tempo pace with 2 minute rests. I had Patton and Armon, who have been running a little more and a bit faster than Patrick, do 4 of these. I wanted them to be around 5:45 each, and they were spot on averaging about 5:46. Patrick and I did 3 of them. I wanted him to be about 5:55 to 6:00 minutes per mile, and he also was spot on averaging about 5:55 for each one. Mine were 5:54, 5:46, and 5:44. Patrick’s shins were a bit sore, I think from running in some VERY worn out Saucony Kinvarras, which should have been replaced two months ago! PATRICK! That was partly why he only did 3 of the mile repeats. Anyway, we finished up with a cool down jog around the neighborhood. Did some leg swings and light stretches and got out of there just after dark.

Tuesday afternoon I met Brent, Patton, Armon, Patrick, and Lake Spradling for a 5.8 mile run thru town. Lake is the star runner for Starkville Academy. He is a sophomore with lots of potential. He and some of his SA teammates will be traveling to Nashville, TN this weekend to participate in the Cross Country Coaches Youth National Championship. This is a fun deal and one of about 5 different national meets in the USA. Of course, the other three high school boys running with us will be at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, MS this Saturday for the USA XC regional. Cool. And cool also described the temps again today. About 37° when we started and closer to 32°F when we finished. Brent and I wore running tights, jackets and gloves, Armon also wore long pants (warmups), a hoodie, and gloves, but the other three wore shorts. Lake even wore a short sleeved shirt and seemed fine. I was way fine in my tights though. Easy run today, started super slow and ended with about a 6:55 average. I had the high school punks finish off with 6 X 200m strides. They are all looking really good right now.

Patton, Armon, Lake, and Patrick

Patton, Armon, Lake, and Patrick

I did not get another run in until Saturday this week, as I traveled to Savannah, Georgia to pick up Joseph for his rather lengthy winter break. When we got back, we both snagged an easy 7 mile run with Brent Wallace Saturday morn at 11 am at the refuge. It was beautiful! Run was harder than usual. I think the fast out and back trip to Savannah played a part in that. In fact, my left calf was pretty sore, I think mostly from the 18 hours spent driving. Still we averaged 6:34 per mile fairly easily.

The high school kids ended up first, second, and fourth at the South Regional meet in Clinton, easily qualifying for the national meet. I should mention that hardly anyone actually runs in this south regional. However, lots of awesome runners do participate in other regions and there will be some quality runners at the national meet. I met one such runner, Ammar Moussa, about four years ago when I took Joseph and some other high schoolers to the national meet. This young feller now runs for this year’s and last year’s NCAA I national champion xc champion University of Colorado’s team. In fact, he came in 5th at this year’s national meet himself leading his team to a second straight national championship!

Did not get to run Sunday, but did work out. Did an easy 5 miler on Monday at a 7:27 average pace. Still recovering from trip and being somewhat sore. Not bad today.

Tuesday, just me and the kid, 6 miles thru town at 6:39 pace. Wednesday, a repeat of the same route with Brent and Joseph at 6:40 pace. Felt ok.

Did not run on Thanksgiving day. Back to it on Friday with a 4 mile run in Sessums with Joseph at a 6:25 pace. Planned on getting in a nice run on Saturday, but did not. Worked out, of course. Sunday at 3 pm, I ran with Joseph and Brent again. I was feeling a bit dehydrated today, but managed to make the 6 mile loop at 6:36 pace. Hard though. Combination of low energy and not enough water the last couple of days. Can’t complain about 6:36 pace too much though.


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Sauconys Rock!

Had some really sweet runs this week including a super one Wednesday afternoon with Joseph. It was freezing! As we started our run, some of the MSU distance runners were coming around the corner. Joseph was cruising along with them as they finished their run, then he picked up his pace. He ran 30 minutes, with about 24 being at a good clip, somewhere under 5:45 per mile. As I was running,  Jorge Villarreal, also on the track team, came along and ran with me for about a mile and a half as he finished his run up. At that point, I was running about 6:08 per mile. He headed back and I looked for Joseph, but he was long gone! Punk. I ran through and around the campus, then made my way to University Drive where I met some of our High School runners: Kamau Bostic, Ethan Musser, Aaron Remotigue, Stuart Woomer and Damian Grady who were out for a 6 mile run. I ran with them for a minute, then picked up my pace to finish the last mile in about 5:45, which was good for me.

Thursday was still cool, but much better than Wednesday afternoon.  I ran 7 miles with Joseph, than Musser, Steve Shaffer, and Joerg Bergbauer at the South Farm. Felt pretty good considering the pace of the day before. Was able to stay under 7 minutes per mile pretty easily (except for the first mile, which was basically warmup). The next six were about 6:40ish for me and Ethan. Joseph was way ahead of us, then Steve came strolling through. I went back and checked to make sure Joerg was not lost and ran back in with him. I think he enjoyed the beautiful scenery at the farm more than the gravelly, hilly roads! But, he actually did quite a good job and maintained about a 7:40 per mile or better pace!

Another nice Saturday morning run with the Boardtown running club! As Joseph and I traveled the back roads from our home in Sessums to the White’s house off South Montgomery, we were rewarded with a luminous full moon that lit up the still dark morning sky. As we passed one pond, the moon’s reflection in it was mesmerizing! On this sub freezing morning, I was so distracted by the beautiful foggy morning scenery that I drove by the entrance to the White’s and had to turn around and go back.  Upon arrival, I wondered if it was the right day as not many cars were there yet. But, I guess we were slightly early, and with the temps being cooler, maybe folks were waiting to the last minute to show. As it turned out, I would say there were fewer runners than usual, but still a good crowd.

I spent a few minutes stretching outside and tried to get a bit warmed up. It was not super cold, probably about 30°F, but supposedly the wind chill was like 24°F! I opted for my thermal CW-X tights for sure, long sleeve Under Armour shirt with a short sleeve shirt over that, Under Armour winter cap, Under Armour gloves, and my bright orange Saucony running shoes. Man, did I mention that I am really loving Saucony running shoes lately! I have been wearing them the last couple of years, as has Joseph. They have been great for both of us. We have several pairs for different conditions: Excursion TR-5 trail shoes for gravel road, Kinvarras for faster runs, spiked and non spiked cross country shoes for XC races, and ProGrid Mirages for running several to quite a few miles on pavement. I love all of these shoes! They work for me. I have recommended the trail shoes to a bunch of our high school XC kids for everyday running, a good bit of which tends to be on gravel roads. But, these shoes work great on pavement too, and they are not super expensive-$50-60. Man, these Under Armour and Saucony people should pay me considering how much stuff I have bought and or convinced others to buy!

Anyway, everybody finally got motivated and left the house toward the starting point and ventured forth.  Today’s route, for those so inclined, was a 15.8 mile trek out to Browning Creek (i.e. neighborhood for the elite Starkvillians off of Oktoc Rd.). Of course, some folks did less or more. I was going to wait until getting to the 6 mile mark to decide whether or not I was going to include the extra 3.8 mile Browning Ck. neighborhood loop. I started the run with Joseph, Ethan, Micah, Kelly, and Michael Lee. After about a half mile, Ethan, Joseph, Michael, and I picked it up a bit and ran together for about a mile and half, then Mike and Joseph picked it up further finishing about 20 seconds ahead of Ethan and I, with Mike being a bit ahead of Joseph at the first water stop (about 3.4 miles). I felt really good, so did not stop for water and just continued toward the next point. Mike was only doing 7 miles, so he stopped, got some water, stretched and headed back. Joseph and Ethan also stopped, and then ran the next section together. Since I did not stop, I ended up doing the run by myself. Got to the next water stop (6 miles), got a sip of Gatorade, and continued on through the neighborhood. Man, what a beautiful, but remarkably hilly place to run! I made it though, albeit, at a slower pace. Got back to the water stop, cup of Gatorade, and headed back for the remaining 5.8 miles. With the mighty hills conquered, the rest of the way was pretty easy, and I averaged about 6:40 the rest of the way back. Joseph, on the other hand, did not know the route, so ended up running with Kelly, Meggan, and Micah, who added a little loop at the end making their run 17 miles! That was a pretty good run for him, but he seemed ok with it!

Of course, following the run, we stretched, hung out with the crazy runner people, ate other people’s food, and then headed home. When I say crazy runner people, I don’t really mean crazy, I mean wacko. You know, jokers who go run run 16 miles at 6:30 or earlier in the morning on cold winter mornings or hot humid mornings. Wait? That might be me too? Most of the folks who meet at the club are really cool, and all are very interesting. Take Joerg Bergbauer, for example. He’s a German dude who has been working at Eurocopter as of late, but will be moving back to Germany in about a week. This guy had a serious achilles injury about 4 years ago, which required cutting off some of his calf muscle or something crazy of that nature to replace damaged tissue. Doctors told him he would not run again, but now he is out there running 9-15 miles! Joerg is super friendly, plus he has the way cool German accent, so I like him. He seems to attract cool friends too, and they all hang out, eat outrageously interesting potluck dinners, and that sort of thing.

On Sunday afternoon I ran 7 miles at the South Farm with Kamau Bostic, Damian Grady, John Mitchell, Michael Lee, Joseph [MacGown], and Steve Shaffer. Today’s run was basically a recovery type run from our long Saturday jaunt. Michael and Joseph lead the way, I ran with Kamau and Damian (at about 6:53 per mile), and Steve and John came in pretty soon thereafter. It was almost 50°F and felt a lot better than the morning before!!

Next stop, tomorrow afternoon at 3:50 -4 pm meeting in front of the Sanderson Center. May do something a little faster tomorrow!

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