Tag Archives: USA Track and Field XC Junior Olympic South Regionals

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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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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