Thursday Track Report: Adiós, Summer!

August 24, 2017

It seems funny to bid adieu to summer on the second-last Thursday in August, but if the long range forecast holds up, summer ended on Tuesday. That day it was nearly 90 with horrendous humidity, but today the temperature didn’t get above 70 and the air was dry. The forecast says we won’t see temperatures above 80 until…next May? With a nice mild day for a workout, John Domico, Tom Cali, CJ Wagner, Mike Casper, Mike Weyandt, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Mike Martin, Andy Maguire, Rich Harter, Doug Schunk, Logan Madill, Erin, Kelly Lehtonen, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the State High track.

Bwana thought the milder conditions called for longer reps. How about 4X800? Run the 8s at 5K+ pace with a slow 400 meter recovery. The workout is best done with negative splits on each 800 with a strong kick on the final 200. Oh, and maintain consistency if not continuing improvement on each 800. This workout isn’t so hard, particularly if your goal is Yasso 8s for your next marathon or half. Take the same idea and slowly work your way up to 8 or 10X800. That’ll put some hair on your chest (which you’ll definitely need if winter comes early!)

We’ll be moving back to the Penn State track next week. Which one, indoor or out, won’t be known maybe until then. Bwana is working on it. Stay tuned!

Thursday Track Report: Cheat Sheet

August 17, 2017

Summer’s making another stab at it. It was hot and humid as Jim Myers, Tom Cali, CJ Wagner, Bob Shafer, Mike Weyandt, Rob Peterson, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Seth Senior, Ryan Burke, newcomers Erin and Andrew (I’ll get their last names next time!), Kelly Lehtonen, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur made it to the State High for the penultimate workout at that track this summer.

Bwana had the initial idea of having the Crew run a bunch of 200s, the usual wuss-out when the temperature peeks up. But this bunch has been working out in the heat for a few months now, so it was time for Bwana to turn up the heat. Today would be the Fortitude Workout: N X 400-200. Run a 400 at 5K+ race pace, then after a very short 100 meter rest, run a hard, kick pace 200. Rest for 400 meters, then repeat N times. The “fast group” decided to cheat the rest between. That usually cheats the quality of the next set, but these guys (and gals) were not noticeably slowed. All the same, don’t cheat on this workout! If you feel like you can cheat the rest, you’re sandbagging the reps! Today, Bwana suggested N=4. If you want shorter rests, then do the reps a bit slower, but increase the volume!

Bwana’s got an email in to the PSU track people and hopes to hear back in time for two weeks from now when we’ll hopefully be able to use the outdoor track there. No promises yet, but stay tuned!

Thursday Track Report: Rejuvenation

August 3, 2017

Hot and hazy was the order of the day, though it was nothing like last week’s swelter. Jim Myers, John Domico, Michael Goldfine, CJ Wagner, Mike Weyandt, Bob Shafer, Michael Zimmerman, Rob Peterson, Mike Martin, Doug Schunk, Seth Senior, Logan Madill, newcomers Sharon Lester and Kelly Lehtonen, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. A good turnout, despite the usual absences for summer vacations, business travel, etc.

Bwana tries to draw some new blood into the group during the summer months. We’ve already gotten a one (Logan), and today we got a couple more, a nice accomplishment. Sharon Lester and Kelly Lehtonen joined us. Sharon is a local and a State High classmate (early 90s) of Meira Minard. On top of that, her dad was one of the founders and the first President of what was then (around 50 years ago) known as the Nittany Valley Track Club (we changed our name to the Nittany Valley Running Club in the early 2000s). Her dad’s tenure goes back well before Bwana’s time (he landed in State College in the late 80s). Kelly is relatively new in town, has been to the HS track before, but today decided to join the Crew. Bwana took it easy on today’s group and called NX3X300. Run your 300s at a hard 5K kick or mile race pace. Take a short (100m) rest and repeat. After a set of 3, rest a bit longer and then do another set. Do as many sets as you’re up to. Today we did N=3 and felt, if not rejuvenated, at least as if we’d accomplished something. 

We’ve got a couple more weeks at the State High track, then it’s back to Penn State. Bwana doesn’t know the situation yet with the PSU tracks, but will let you know as soon as he does.

Thursday Track Report: Up Front

August 10, 2017

The intersection of Thursday Track and mOUnTaiNBACK training is a little earlier this year due to the mOUnTaiNBACK being three weeks earlier than last year. Today is the day of the first Discovery Series run in Rothrock. The Series takes apart the mOUnTaiNBACK course and doles it out in 8 slices over the coming weeks. The runs sometimes take runners away from Thursday Track, at least those runners who aren’t hip to the value of running two-a-days in training for a multi-stage relay race. But you wouldn’t know it from today’s turnout! John Domico, Michael Goldfine, Mike Casper, Joel Niemann, Mike Weyandt, Dan Coughlin, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Rob Peterson, Doug Schunk, Logan Madill, Sharon Lester, Kelly Lehtonen, Ryan Burke and newcomers Ken Farnsworth and Noah Christie, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track under warm, sunny skies.

Bwana welcomed the new recruits Ken Farnsworth and Noah Christie, brought in by Ryan Burke. The Burkes’ family operated gym, One On One Fitness on Aaron Drive, has been responsible for numerous Thursday Trackers over the year. Ken is the son of one of Bwana’s neighbors. Noah is Julie Christie’s son. Julie is an experienced runner who used to be a Thursday Track regular with Julie Grubb. The “Two Julies” weren’t messing around when they came to the track! Today Bwana gave what he keeps hearing is one of the Crew’s favorite workouts, though he can’t figure out why. The Double Mini-Front-Loader. One rep is an 800 at 5K race pace followed closely by 3X200 with just 100 meters’ rest after the 800 and each of the 200s. The 800 front-loads you and the idea is to to run the 200s, each faster, while recovering from the 800. Do 2 or 3 reps. Maybe people like it so much because it’s NOT the Front-Loader (without the “Mini”), which doubles the distance in each of the steps of a rep.

Hopefully, today’s workout front-loaded the crew for this evening’s Discovery Run. The mOUnTaiNBACK is only 8 weeks away!

Thursday Track Report: Track Sucks!

July 27, 2017

The heat and humidity were down a bit from last week, so what would have seemed like a swamp a month ago was only mildly unpleasant. Jim Myers, Tom Cali, John Domico, Chuck Phillips, Joel Niemann, John Sheakoski, Lilith Aninori, Rob Peterson, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Doug Schunk, Logan Madill, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track under hazy skies.

Track sucks. That’s the first thing John Sheakoski said to Bwana when we arrived back at our workplaces. And Bwana agreed! But John has been coming semi-regularly for over 10 years and Bwana has run this circus for about 25. People really stick with it for some reason. One guy who has been sticking with it for even longer is Paul Bolin. Paul was a Thursday Track regular in the 1990s, as well as a regular at the old Penn State summer all-comer meets. Paul, who moved to Texas around the year 2000, does a regular thing every year, similar to what Bwana does, but twice as intense: He runs his age in laps on a track. (Bwana does his age in furlongs, about half a lap, out on a road or trail). Paul turned 63 this week, but could not do his 15.75 miles due to a serious health problem. So Chuck Phillips, who keeps in touch with Paul, put Bwana on to something Paul’s daughter Maddie organized: Run some laps for Paul. We weren’t up to doing 63 each, or even 6300 meters, but among the Crew we totaled up to at least that many laps. Bwana gave a workout of 6 x 400 at 5K race pace. (Adam rolled his own workout and did 5 X 800.)

Bwana had Lillith snap a pic for Paul Bolin. I think maybe 5 of us hail from as far back as Paul’s tenure (Myers, Cali, Phillips, maybe Domico, and Bwana). The rest are “new” faces, still getting used to how much track sucks!

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