Thursday Track Crew
- Written by Martin Mazur
Thursdays are track days for a small group of men and women. This is not a formal thing -- the exact workout depends on who's there (usually numbering from a dozen to as many as thirty or more) and what they feel like doing -- but the group is very reliable about showing up. A typical workout might be something like six 400 meter intervals at 70-115 seconds (that's a pretty big spread, but we get a big spread of ability, too), or a 400-600-800-600-400 pyramid, or laps that include 100m striders, with folks doing more or less, faster or slower. We even got covered in the Centre Daily Times! If this appeals to you, meet under the Rec Hall bleachers at noon, or show your face at the Penn State outdoor track (indoors in winter, at the new Multi-Sport Facility) around 12:20 or so on Thursdays. Say "hey!"
Thursday Track Report: Loading Up For The Weekend
- Written by Bwana
May 16, 2013
There was no threat of bad weather today, just some stiff breezes as Jim Myers, Lance Bland, Judd Michael, George Lesieutre, Ken Davis, Michael Goldfine, Aroline Hanson, Jaimie Wright, Esther Prins, newcomer Gina Torretti, Kevin Becker, Jeff Welsh, John Iceland, Dana Todd, Forrest Briscoe, Ron Cunfer, Sara Noss, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.
A pretty good crowd today, with one newcomer (Gina) and two returning lost sheep (Forrest and Aroline). Gina had come via Kevin Becker on a dare. Kevin gets a lot of recruits, particularly female ones, from his workplace, the Tavern, by all manner of subterfuge. But Gina may have gotten the better of him. Her side of the deal is that Kevin has to do sprints up Mt. Nittany with her! Gina is late of State High (2009) and wants to try to get on the PSU sprint team as a 200 meter runner. Our track workouts generally revolve around training for longer distances, but Gina is also getting some advice from Artie Gilkes, so she's in capable hands. Today's workout was a "lite" version of the Front-Loader: 1600-400-400-400 ("lite" because we only did 3X400 rather than 4X). The rest was very short (200m) so the key was to run an honest but not TOO fast 1600 at 5K+ pace, and then do your 400s successively faster while recovering from the 1600. Gina, though she'd never done a mile, acquitted herself well. In her 400s, she showed her 200 spirit, doing the front end of each pretty fast, then slowing down for the second 200. Everyone else showed themselves better able to deal with the short recovery than Bwana.
A big weekend of racing is coming up next weekend. Two of the longest-standing local races (33 years each!) will be run. On Saturday, the Black Moshannon 5K and 10K will be run in Black Moshannon State Park. The 10K is the older race, the 5K only being added recently. The 5K is a real beginner's race: relatively flat and easy. The 10K is for the 'real' runners: mostly benign, but with a monster half-mile climb in Mile 3. And the *real* real runners do a Memorial Weekend double: Black Mo' on Saturday AND the Boalsburg Memorial Day Run, a tough little race of an oddball 3.8 mile distance, on Monday. Bwana will be out of town on Saturday, but is definitely on board for the Boalsburg Classic!
Thursday Track Report: Band of Gypsies
- Written by Bwana
May 2, 2013
Just 900 miles northwest of here, it's still Winter, with snow falling thicker than your momma's gypsy accent. But here, it's Spring, Spring, Spring! So Jim Myers, Lance Bland, Dana Todd, Esther Prins, Mark Fedkin, Michael Goldfine, Andy Maguire, Lee Culver, Ron Cunfer, John Wilcock, Kevin Becker, Rob Peterson, Mike Martin, Fred and Heidi Wright, Jake Clements, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track to take advantage of the mild, dry breezes.
Bwana welcomed back "travelers" Jim Myers, Heidi Wright, and Esther Prins, who have been away for awhile with their caravans, swaying to the music of a Django Reinhardt revival band with roses in their teeth. Bwana's workout was more grounded. Rather than having the crew wander aimlessly, or just squat in place until the University cops told them to move along, he called something to get them going: 3X(600-400). Similar to last week's workout of 3X1K, but with a break in the thousand. The 600 was to be run at 5K+ pace (faster than last week's 1000s). Then, after a 200m breath-catch, do 400m at a faster pace. Take a 400m rest, then do it again.
This band of gypsies runs every Thursday, whether or not there's a purple haze in the air. Thursday Track is open to everyone. You can come with a bandana on your head!
Thursday Track Report: Schooled By The Noob
- Written by Bwana
May 9, 2013
Who's got it in him or her to do a track workout on a "threatening" day? That used to not even be a question. Recalling an old Harry Groves quote, when he was asked by a new member of the PSU track team whether there'd be practice if it rained: "Son, if you see a flash and a mushroom cloud, wait for the shock wave to pass over, then get your ass to the track!" Bwana got to the track under cloudy skies with a bit of drizzle and clouds moving in. Attendance looked like it might be low and slow (except for a young woman, more on whom later). But Tom Cali, Bob Cornwall, Lance Bland, Randy Jepson, Esther Prins, Andy Maguire, Lee Culver, Ron Cunfer, Kevin Becker, Jeff Welsh, Rob Peterson, Jake Clements, and Marty Mazur all showed up.
As Bwana was doing his warmup, there was a young woman obviously working hard on a set of repeats, with her boyfriend?/coach?/trainer? doing diagonals across the infield and giving her times. In a breathless (for her) chat with her, Bwana found out she was doing 16X400 (!) with 1 minute rest. The girl looked fit, and like she'd done some track workouts (she even said, with a knowing and pained expression, "400s suck!"). But when Bwana asked what she was training for, she basically conveyed that she was new to racing. She wants to try to run some 5Ks and half-marathons...had never run a race in her life... wanted to see what she could do. Now this gal was doing very consistent 400s in the mid 90s with relatively little rest. Yet she said "I'd like to keep my time under an 8 minute mile"! Bwana's head was spinning at the newbie-ness of her utter lack of self-knowledge regarding her own raw talent! He let her know that at the level she was working out, she should shoot for a sub-22 5K, no problem! And just so the rest of us, despite out relative decrepitude, would feel less shame, Bwana gave 6 to 8 X 400, with 200m jogging recovery as the workout. (That's a longer rest than the newbie was giving herself.) We're all a little too time-constrained to do 16, but 6 seemed like such a wimpy number after talking to the noob!
So are you one of those that Bwana can count out if there is a cloud in the sky or a touch of green on the radar screen? What are you made of? Running in a light drizzle is actually kind of fun! So come on out! And get faster while you're at it!
Thursday Track Report: Long Time Comin'
- Written by Bwana
April 25, 2013
The most beautiful day of the week finally waited until Thursday to make itself known. The last few weeks, Thursday came after a change from nice to cold and drab. It was sunny and mild with light breezes as Boston Marathoners Tom Cali, George Lesieutre, Andy Maguire, and Randy Jepson, Michael Goldfine, Dean Capone, John Wilcock, Andy Arndt, Kevin Becker, Fred Wright, Jake Clements, John Iceland, David Lloyd, Sara Noss, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.
Bwana will probably pile on workouts with longer reps while the weather supports it. When the sun starts beating hot (and that should be soon), we'll probably switch to shorter stuff. But for now it'll be volume and distance. Today's workout was 3X1K at about halfway between mile and 5K race pace. The rest was 400 meters, enough for a rest, but not enough to feel good about it. Don't run the 1Ks too fast. That's not the point, and the length of the rest keeps you honest. It's about finding and maintaining a strong pace that's consistent through the workout. If you have time and can build up to it, try this sometime at 6X1K.
So now you know what the next few track workouts will be about. You've gotta be tempted to see what it's all about, no? Better step up while the weather's cool!