October 26, 2017

It was a little more Fall-like, breezy with cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s, as John Domico, Tom Cali, CJ Wagner, Meira Minard, Andrew Maguire, Jaimie Wright, Logan Madill, Harriet Smith, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

After last week’s chaos, Bwana was put back in charge, if only to see if he could measure up to the new venue. But Bwana only proceeded to sow more chaos and confusion. Bwana tried to tailor the mini-front-loader we do at the track to the field lines on the IM Fields. But there was a communication breakdown and so it took a while for everyone to get into the groove Bwana was trying to lay down. Here was the workout: 1 rep is 1 full lap around the rectangular perimeter of the 4 IM fields. Bwana was told that’s about 800 meters (more on that below). Then, follow that with 3 times a circuit of a 2 IM Field rectangle, with just the short rest of 1 side of this rectangle between each go. Do two reps. You recover from the long rep while doing the shorter ones, kind of like what can happen in a race.

So how did the workout measurer up? As a workout, it’s pretty tough to do in the crisp wind, particularly because each corner of each rectangular has a hard slow-down after which you must pick up speed. Harder than on the track with its smooth corners. And it’s also harder than you think to keep up a real pace on grass. Bwana remembers the days when we’d run some hard runs on the Penn State Cross-Country courses that are laid out on the golf courses. There are markings each half-mile, and Bwana recalls that his mile pace was a good 20 seconds slower than it would be on pavement. There are two reasons for this: There’s a bit of slip in the grass, but more importantly, the soft ground absorbs your down step and does not give you much springback. Both of these are the reason competitors wear spikes in cross-country: to have some grip for stability and to push off. So how does Bwana know we were running so slow? Because he measured the distances with his GPS watch. What was reported to be 800 meters by the stand-in Bwana was really about 700 if you go past the field edge markings all the way to the outhouses on the long side of the IM fields, or 625 if you hew to the edge marks. The 2 Field circuit is about 380 meters. Bwana will put these distances on the track markings section of the web site some time in the near future.

Bwana can feel that we’ll be indoors sooner than we think if the weather keeps cooling off.