Thursday Track Report: No Substitute

March 8, 2018

The Thursday of Spring Break has become “iffy” for track workouts in recent years. The MSF has been the venue for an archery competition the last few years during the break. There’s nothing that will put a damper on a good workout like an errant arrow in our left butt cheek. The reserved indoor track, coupled with our loss of the use of the PSU outdoor track, the lock-down of Rec Hall but for paying customers, and the still-wintry weather, made us wish we could sprout wings and head for Florida. Tom Cali, John Domico, Bob Cornwall, Mike Weyandt, Meira Minard, Andy Maguire, Dean Capone, Mike Martin, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for our new outdoor venue, the IM Fields under clear skies, though with a cold wind coming from the north, thinking we might make an early try of it there.

That cold wind made us all decide pretty quickly to just take a break from speed work this week. So we headed past the services buildings and down Big Hollow Road to Four Hills. Should we do another “Hill Repeat” day? Nah, lets just go for a jog. Bwana hasn’t been up or down Four Hills in several years and so was surprised to see all the new service buildings that have gone up recently. Bwana and Dave fell behind the main group, which ran up Rocky Top Lane probably to take the long way back to campus by way of Overlook Heights and the bike path back to Sunset Park. Bwana and Dave took the Toftrees Trail to the little dirt road that heads back to near the top of Four Hills and back to the IM Fields, a shorter run.

We’ll be back at the MSF next week unless there’s a big movement in the weather toward real Spring by next week.

Thursday Track Report: Cycling Through

March 1, 2018

And so the cycle continues. The weather cycle I alluded to last week will be whipsawing us for the next month. It was mild and cloudy as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Mike Casper, Meira Minard, Mike Weyandt, Bob Shafer, Michael Goldfine, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Mike Martin, Josh Litofsky, Dan Coughlin, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the MSF track. But the forecast for Friday is for cold temperatures and tempestuous winds.

The cycle of life also continues. Mike Weyandt turned 47 today, and Bwana threatened the Crew with a “47 by something” workout. And why not? When Bwana turned 60 last year, he did 6X600 (which is 60X60), not bad for an old guy. And his tradition is to run his age in furlongs on the weekend closest to his birthday. That’s coming up in a few weeks and this year the tally will be close to 8 miles. Who doesn’t want to go for a leisurely jog in the woods with Bwana reminiscing every furlong about what he was doing at that age? Today’s torture was a lot easier for Mike. The Fast Young Guys and Gals (FYGGs) were doing the Trapezoid of Terror: 200-400-600-800-800-600-400-200 with extremely short rest between reps. That adds up to 4000 meters. Though Mike, at the prime numbered age of 47, thinks he’s “in his prime”, he’s really about to age out of any sane person's conception of a FYGG. But Mike kept up with the tail end of that group, and then tacked on another 700 meter rep to bring his workout up to 4700 meters. Nice! Bwana settled for doing 4X600 with longer rests with the Slow People of Various Ages (SPOVAs).

Bwana will be a prime age this year as well. He’ll spend the next couple of weeks dreaming up an appropriate workout, and also figuring out if he can survive it.

Thursday Track Report: Things Are Heating Up!

February 15, 2018

It was warm and humid today, with temperatures in the 60s, as John Domico, Judd Michael, Meria Minard, Michael Goldfine, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Jaimie Wright, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Seth Senior, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Adam Ilgen, Joel Niemann, newcomer Maz from Bahrain, and Marty Mazur headed for the indoor track. We had quite a few days like this last January and February, with the temperature sometimes flirting with 70. It’s nice to get our first really warm thaw at this part of what has been a colder winter.

Things sure heated up on the track. The fast guys (and gals) wanted to do a lot of 400s with low recovery. Bwana went along with them, though not quite at their level. The workout was 2 sets of 5X400. Run the 400s at a little faster than 5K race pace, but keep in mind that the rest is really short. Just slow-walk the 40 meters or so to the stagger line for the next 400 start. After 5 reps, take a longer rest (a lap plus the stagger), then do another set. That’s a tough workout. The best thing about it is that for that kind of volume, it’s over about as quick as it can be!

Things are looking up for spring. The long range forecast, while calling for some ups and downs, does not show a return to sub-20 degree days or big storms. That’s good (if we can believe it!). People have marathons to get ready for! If you’re running a marathon this spring (or, really, and long-ish race, even a 5K), and you’d like to help your neighbors in need, consider signing up for the Marathoners For Medicine (M4M), which raises money for the Centre Volunteers in Medicine. Details here: http://nvrun.com/index.php/107-uncategorised/3651-join-the-2018-marathoners-for-medicine-m4m-team 

Thursday Track Report: Staggering Through

February 22, 2018

After a brief fling into April territory the last couple of days, “Winter Lite” has returned. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Andy Maguire, Meira Minard, Jaimie Wright, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the track through near freezing rain. This is the time of year when we stagger our way through a number of "false springs” until we get “real Spring”, which lasts about two weeks until we start getting “false summers”.

The FYGGs (fast, young guys and gals) ran an interesting ass-kicker today: 3X(1K-200). Start at the 1000m stagger line that’s marked in Lane 5. Run a 1K at whatever consistent pace you can manage (just under 4-and-a-half laps). Then slow-walk from the finish line to the 200 meter stagger and run a hard (kick pace) 200. Give yourself a slow walk to that 1K stagger mark again and do another set. Then another. Bwana gave an alternate workout for the SPOVAs (slower people of various ages). A downward ladder using the same idea: 1K-200-800-200-600-200. Get faster on the longer run as you progress down the ladder. And take a longer rest between sets. One lap slow jog plus the jog to the appropriate stagger mark. Whichever workout you chose, done appropriately, this one leaves you staggering!

The high volume workouts will continue for the people who give a FYGG about Spring Marathons. And Bwana will continue to to give slightly less intense options for those who are SPOVA be taking it a little easier.

Thursday Track Report: 84 Lumber

February 8, 2018

It was cold with a mix of sun and an occasional blustery flurry as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Andy Maguire, Dan Coughlin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Logan Madill, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Ryan Murray, newcomer Ken Knappenberger, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. With yesterday’s snow day, Bwana wondered how many of the Crew had run out to the hardware store to pick up a new shovel, or better yet a snow blower.

Speaking of hardware, Bwana’s idea for today’s workout was to do a downward ladder: sets of 5-4-3-2 laps in Lane 5. You know the drill. Rest is a 1 lap very slow jog or walk. Do each set with consistent lap times, but decrease the lap time as you go down the ladder. Start at about 5K race pace (the 5-lapper is close to 1200 meters) and finish with mile kick pace (that last 2-lapper is just over a quarter mile). Bwana lumbered through that workout, almost blowing a gasket on the last rep, while some of the faster group doubled down on last week’s 400-200 sets: they nailed 3 or 4 sets of 800-400 with low recovery between the 800 and the 400. They definitely did not lumber through theirs!

I don’t know how else to frame this, so I’ll lay it on the level: This weather is screwing up my training. I am plumb sick of winter. I can’t wait until we can go back out to the IM fields, follow the chalk lines, and construct some new workouts outside.