Thursday Track Report: Bring Back The Old Bwana!

June 8, 2017

It was mild again, with temperatures in the high 60s and a light breeze, as Mike Casper, Kevin Becker, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the PSU outdoor track. Yes, that’s right, the outdoor track. There was a gate open on the northwest corner (end of the backstretch), left that way for PSU athletes who were practicing earlier (and later). We were in this time, but I don’t have any feeling for how much we can count on that. As luck would have it, the MSF indoor track was closed (unexpectedly), so it was a good thing we had the outdoor track available to us.

It was a light turnout, but Bwana (by request) did not give too light a workout: A pyramid of 400-600-800-600-400 at 5K+ race pace, increasing pace as you went down the back end of the pyramid. Prescribed rest was 200 meters after the first rep and before the last, but 400 meters otherwise. I think they’ve toned down the backstretch wind as part of the track refurbishment, since it was in no way a factor today.

The ultra-regulars who made a showing were wondering why there has been a downturn in attendance lately. The only explanation is Bwana had was the uncertainty in venue week to week. The MSF track has been in use more often than we’re used to, and the outdoor track is only spottily available. To get around that, starting next week we’ll go to the State High track. Most of the recent regulars have heard tell of the old days when Bwana would put track truants on the rack in the third paragraph of the weekly email. Bwana has become and old softie, but those who make regular showings want the old Bwana back! Let’s hope the summertime switch to a regular venue will bring back the truants, or there will be heck to pay!

Thursday Track Report: A Marked Mystery

June 1, 2017

It was a nice day, a great day to be back at the Penn State outdoor track for the first time in about a year. And it’s a new track! Barely even broken in by the Big 10 Championships. It’s still not clear how regularly we’ll be able to use it. We really only got in today because it was the opening day of the Pennsylvania Special Olympics. The bean counters, pencil pushers, and “risk mitigators” still have a stranglehold on it. But Judd Michael, Mike Casper, Mike Martin, Joel Niemann, Rob Peterson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur took advantage of the opportunity under mostly sunny skies, mild temperatures and a nice breeze.

Bwana decided to give an old standby to check out the “Imperial Units” markings in the unmarked “Lane 10”: 1 Mile - 3X 1/4 Mile. Yes, the markings are there, not faded and barely visible as was the case with the old track. But have they recalibrated? The new track is the same size as the old one, but there seemed to be about 15 or 20 yards more to an imperial mile than was the case in the old days. All the other markings were proportionately farther away from where the old ones were. What could explain this? Bwana noted that the new markings are on the boundary between Lane 9 and the unmarked 10, whereas the old marks were on the outside of lane 10. So maybe the new marks are intended for running in Lane 9. Who can answer this question?

As mentioned in an earlier email, next week we’ll try the PSU outdoor track again and go inside the MSF if it is unavailable. After that, the State High track will be ours for the summer if the PSU track is still closed to us.

Thursday Track Report: Steamy!

April 27, 2017

The weather is warming up and it would be a great time for an outdoor workout. But the Penn State outdoor track is still not officially open. (My guess is it won’t be until after Big 10s in a couple of weeks.) So Lance Bland, Mike Casper, Dave DeGroote, Michael Goldfine, Jaimie Wright, Torrie Raisch, Adam Ilgen, Joel Niemann, Elsa Hansen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the indoor track, where it can get pretty humid in the warm months. Tom Cali, John Domico, Mike Martin, and several others poked their heads in, but took off for a non-track run in the great outdoors.

Bwana’s workout was the relatively easy 6X400. It’s easy because there are no mountains to climb either in terms of volume or long reps. But do the reps quickly, close to mile race pace. And with about 250 meters of slow jogging rest, there is plenty of recovery to do each rep at that quick pace. If you have time, you can extend this workout to 8 or more reps.

Big 10s are just two weeks away. Penn State has one of the best middle distance crews in the country, both men and women. There should be some great races. Get out to the meet!

Thursday Track Report: Fartlek Farrago

May (?) 4, 2017

We’ve had the most mixed up weather, with May in February, April in January, January in March, and a whole bunch of mixed-upedness in April. Well, it’s May, and so on Monday it was July and today it’s April again. Judd Michael, Andy Maguire, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Jaimie Wright, Elsa Hansen, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track under cloudy skies, cool temperatures, and the threat of rain.

The weather has been a savory stew, a crazy casserole, a mad medley, and so Bwana gave a fartlek farrago for today’s workout: A downward ladder, 5-4-3-2 laps in Lane 5, with 2 lap rests after the first two reps and a 1 lap rest before the last rep. Start at 5K race pace and pick it up with each rep, finishing at a mile kick pace on the 2-lapper. That and a little salsa picante (Bwana recommends Tapatío) will really spice up your regimen. Maybe Bwana will let the flavors marry a little more and mix it up next time (3-5-2-4?).

Next week is rare off-week for Thursday Track. With Penn State hosting the Big 10s and State High still in session, there will be no suitable venues except for Rec Hall, and who wants to run there in May? (Or August, or whatever month it decides to be next week.) We’ll get together again on May 18, venue TBA.

Thursday Track Report: Lost Sheep

April 20, 2017

It was another amazing if slightly warm Thursday as runners from various locations tried to find an oval to run a workout on. The MSF was busy with a kids’ event, so it was not clear what to do. Bwana, as previously announced, could not be there to lead his flock this week, so aimful wandering began. Mike Casper, Judd Michael and Joel Niemann found an alternative location to meander in a circular fashion. Mike and Joel did 4x400 and Judd did 3x1600. David Lloyd was glimpsed doing valiant hill repeats on Porter Road. And others, including Costas Maranas, Elsa Hansen, Tom Cali, Meira Menard, Mike Weyandt, Mike Martin, and John Domico, well they surely were doing some sort of speedy repeats, somewhere.

Bwana will be back in charge next week, and hopefully we'll have the MSF, or some nearby suitable location, at our disposal.