Thursday Track Crew

2007 Thursday Track CrewThursdays 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!"

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Thursday Track: Track Schedule For The Summer

June 1, 2017

We’ve been having trouble lately using the PSU tracks. The outdoor track seems to be open intermittently, but not reliably. And there have been events at the indoor track the last couple of weeks. On June 1, the outdoor track will be hosting the opening of the Pennsylvania Special Olympics. If it’s like most years, we should be good to use the track as the opening ceremony is later, but athletes are arriving as we do our workout.

Future weeks: For June 8, we’ll try the outdoor track and if it is closed, we'll use the MSF indoor track. After that, if the PSU outdoor track is still not open to use, State High will be on summer break and we’ll use the State High track as we did last year. Hopefully, there will be some decision on access to the PSU outdoor track before State High begins the next academic year.

You can run with the group from Rec Hall (about a mile-and-a-half warm-up). They leave around 12:10. Or meet at the track for the workout at about 12:25.

Thursday Track Report: Process Of Elimination

July 6, 2017

It was warm, drab, misting, and humid as Jim Myers, Lance Bland, Tom Cali, John Domico, Costas Maranas, CJ Wagner, Kevin Becker, Bob Shafer, Doug Schunk, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, last week’s newcomer Logan (I’ll get his last name next time), Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the State High track. The kind of day when summer, even if it’s mild, starts to work its attrition magic on you. 

Doug Schunk had earlier pointed Bwana to a video of a one mile elimination race on FloTrack. The races starts with 6 or 8 runners. The last person to finish each lap is eliminated, and those who remain chug it out on the last lap to see who wins. As you might expect, the race has some wild pace swings. Everybody is fresh on the first lap, and nobody wants to be the last guy, so its pretty fast, with a sprint start and sprint finish. These guys did it in 58 seconds, a low-3:50s mile pace. The second and third laps are a lot slower, though there’s always that sprint near the end. Average pace in the middle half-mile was about 4:30! Then, the last lap is when the guys pull it all out, whatever is left. This one finished in 4:09 with a 56 final lap (a high 3:40s mile pace), and it went down to the wire. Could we do that at the track? Or something that simulated it? It turns out that one of Bwana’s seldom used stand-by workouts does the job: Mad Minutes. Run 5 X 1 Minute. No breaks between the minutes. Inside each minute, jog slowly for 30 seconds, run at mile race pace for 20, and then sprint, with legs and arms lifting and working, for the last 10 seconds. Doesn’t sound too bad, and it feels easy on the first rep, but that 30 second jog after a 10 second sprint is NOT enough before you have to start picking up the pace. After each 5 Mad Minutes set, take a longer rest, then do it again for 2 or 3 cycles. 

Speaking of elimination, Jim Myers remarked that Bwana is the “Last Man Standing” among the Thursday Track “Original Originals”. (Anyone who joined the group in the last 25 years is a newbie.) What he meant was, the last one running regularly. Mike Dooris is in great shape, but hasn’t run in years due to a very old injury that came back to haunt him. Myers is also in great shape, but mostly bikes and swims and stays off his tricky knees. But when you get down to it, the running part is not as important as the “still standing” part. These guys will outlive Bwana. And all the “old newbies” like Domico, Lance, Judd, Costas, etc, are still going and helping to attract the “young newbies” that keep this thing going. As I say every week...Keep Running!

Thursday Track Report: Star-Crossed Track Lovers

July 20, 2017

Ushered in by "Arts Fest Weather”, dog days of summer are here, and we’ve got some Sirius heat and humidity. It was hotter than the surface of Betelgeuse as Tom Cali, CJ Wagner, Tara Murray, Mike Casper, Jaimie Wright, Mike Zimmerman, John Wilcock, Mark Lee, Michael Goldfine, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Dan Coughlin, Seth Senior, Logan Midill, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. Bwana had gotten there early and found only Lloyd, Ilgen, and Harter. Then a woman showed up at the track whom Bwana didn’t recognize from 100 yards away, until, that is, she started running. It was the familiar gate of Tara Murray. Long time no see! Greeting Bwana, she said, “Do I get a gold star just for showing up?” Well, coming all the way in from Bellefonte on the hottest day of the year so far deserves some kind of accolade! And Tara had just gotten back from Phoenix, where she’d been running in the desert heat, albeit before sun up and on flat terrain. The next thing Bwana knew, the rest of the Crew was making the turnstile whirr. That included John Wilcock, visiting all the way from North Carolina, where it may be hotter than here, but it’s a whole lot flatter, at least where he’s located. Yet JW plans to run in Rothrock this weekend!

Bwana didn’t want anyone to be seeing stars on a day like today, so he gave a workout of all short stuff: 8X200, and 12 if you wanted a platinum star (though Adam insisted on doing a roll-yer-own thing of multiple 800s!). The Crew got through the workout safely. No hurling. No ECNALUBMA’s.

This Crew must really love track, and all the star-crossed lovers can paste a gold star on the calendar on their refrigerators, not just for showing up, but for not dogging it!

Thursday Track Report: Five Minutes' Peace

June 29, 2017

It was sunny, warm, and humid as Bob Cornwall, CJ Wagner, Mike Casper, Costas Maranas, newcomer Logan, Andy Maguire, Jaimie Wright, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, Kevin Becker, Rob Peterson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur. Summer hasn’t really hit yet and the crew was thankful for the strong breeze.

Bwana’s workouts can sometimes be a respite from other stresses in life. If you have kids, maybe you remember reading to them the children's classic Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy about an elephant mother of three elephantettes (who live in a house and dress like people). Mom can’t get the kids to settle down, stop destroying the house, and behave so she can have five minutes to herself. She finally duct tapes them to the kitchen table and draws herself a nice bath. (I made that last part up.) Jaimie has a similar situation at her house, with 3 young boys and a teenage girl. Well, the two older boys are at grandma’s, the girl is at camp, so it’s heaven at home with “only” the baby. And somehow, she managed to dodge out to come to the track without using ANY duct tape! She got there just in time for Bwana’s hot weather, short rep workout of NX3X300. Do N sets of 3X300 with each 300 run at mile race pace and 100 meters of very slow rest between each rep. Take 500 meters of lollygagging between sets.

We’re starting into the heavy vacation season. Bwana will be here next week, but not the week after. Similar stories from others as the weeks unfold. Just keep your running up, even if it’s slow and on a sandy beach somewhere.