Thursday Track Report: Retrogression

It was cool, partly cloudy, and very breezy as Jim Myers, John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Jim Moore, Greg Dillon, Ken Davis, John Sheakoski, Tom Hilands, Meira Minard, Tara Murray, Tim Aydin, Matt Soccio, Joel Niemann, Kirk Rager, John Ake, Michael Goldfine, Rob Peterson, Dana Todd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. It seems Spring started out as Summer, with near 90 degree weather in early April, and has been slowy moving backward toward early April weather since then.

A lot of people were retrogressing at the track today. Artie Gilkes, whose Harry Groves team won the 20K Team Race at the Penn Relays, was there with a workout partner. Thursday Track is definitely a step back for these guys. Meira Minard, Tom Cali, John Domico, and assorted other recent long race participants were back at and almost in full stride. Bwana had the Crew do a two-person ladder relay: 200-400-600-800-1K-1K-800-600-400-200, with the two runners alternating. The wind on the backstretch had several participants running retrograde.

The Crew has its share of backsliders. For every Tom Hilands and Kirk Rager who find their way back to the track, there's a Lee Culver and Marv Hall who seem to be lost in a different county. Jonathan Thurley went from following an ultramarathoner around campus last week to ogling sunbathers in Central Parklet this week. Tim Aydin was at the Kentucky Derby last weekend and still managed to get to the track. Mark Traband, on the other hand seems to get lost sweeping out the stables at his pony palace. Ann Marie Oldani and Janet Jonson were back to their schedule of one week on, several weeks off. And Kathy Koetje-Simin was practicing her breast-stroke at the Nat. Kathy: You run marathons with your legs. If you're really gonna run three of those within a month, you've got to work on your legs.

Thursday Track Report: Our Efforts Pale

Spring is going through its cycles: hot one day, cool the next, rainy, sunny, calm, then breezy. Today was three of those as Jim Myers and newcomer Chris, John Domico, Judd Michael, Jim Moore, John Sheakoski, Marty Klanchar, Costas Maranas, Jeff Smucker, Mark Fedkin, Jonathan Thurley, Tim Aydin, Rich Harter, Michael Goldfine, Meira Minard, Kathy Koetje-Simin, Ann Marie Oldani, Dave DeGroote, newcomer Eric Heiden, Rob Peterson, Matt Soccio, and Marty Mazur ran down to track hollow.

As the Crew arrived, it seemed like Media Day for the CVIM team. There were cameras and reporters at the track. What was the occasion? World-class ultramarathoner Lisa Smith-Batchen was at the track and running as part of her 50 miles on the Penn State campus. Lisa is running 50 miles in all 50 states over the course of 62 days to try to raise $1 million dollars for charities that benefit orphans worldwide. Her support crew and running companion, Sister Mary Beth, were there. One of Smith-Batchen's running disciples, Sherry Tirko, was there, too. Sherry ran high school track with Lisa as her coach, and has helped organize Lisa's run in State College. Cub reporter Tara Murray, who ran some miles with Lisa earlier, was there furiously scribbling in her reporter's note book. And Jonathan Thurley had run some miles with Lisa earlier, while Kathy Koetje-Simin plans to go a few later on with her.

In honor of Smith-Batchen's ultra effort, Bwana had the Crew do about the longest reps he ever has them do: 3X1K. That's about 1/27th of what Smith-Batchen was to run today. She has already run in the last two weeks more than I run in 3 or 4 months. And she still has 40 states to go. We are unworthy.

Others whose efforts pale were legion. But all of the slackers can redeem themselves and their Karma (Sister Mary Beth, one ecumenical nun, actually used that word today) by going over to Smith-Batchen's web site and donating to her cause:

http://www.runhope.com/donate.html

Thursday Track Report: We All Deal With Pain In Our Own Way

It was sunny and really nice, a fine April day (of the kind we're getting much too accustomed to) as John Domico, Tom Cali, Bob Cornwall, Judd Michael, Greg Dillon, John Sheakoski, Marty Klanchar, Jim Moore, Tom Hilands, Ken Davis, Jonathan Thurley, Meira Minard, Esther Prins, Tim Aydin, Rich Harter, Jerry Steffy, Dana Todd, Matt Soccio, Ryan Booze, Kevin Becker, Rob Peterson, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

Today was the Boston Marathoners' day off, but a few of them were there anyway to kiss the track for good luck and say they'd been there. Kissing the track is about as close as John Domico has been to a date in several months, so the workout started out as a big pity party for him. Bwana agreed to invite Tammy D. to the next track workout so John could at least trade lewd sexual innuendo with her. A few runners who are at the tail end of their marathon training (Pocono) did some hard miles in the outside lane. Most of the rest of the group did "Indians" at a pretty nice clip (though slower than the marathoners!). But at least a few of the Crew were limping around, but just glad to be out on such a nice day.

Some in the group persevere through all kinds of adversity. Lance Bland has been biking quite a bit to keep his edge for when he can run again. I hear that Katie Davis is slowly working her way back into her game. And Greg Dillon has been given the green light to run again as long as he has a taser clipped to his nipples with his thumb duct-taped to the trigger. But a few in our select group have a different way of working through injuries. Janet Jonson is going to take another three or four more weeks off to recover from the brush burn she got on a Game Lands run. I think Cheryl Capone is starting to enjoy her sessions with Dr. Pain a little too much. Lee Culver is getting fitted for a cushier Barcalounger. And Greg Luna is waiting for the huge box to appear at his door from the Mexican pharmacy he deals with.

Thursday Track Report: Up To The Challenge

It was a breezy day, with plenty of pollen and Game Lands smoke in the air as John Domico, Tom Cali, Randy Jepson, Judd Michael, Greg Dillon, Andrew Webb, Meira Minard, Kathy Koetje-Simin, Jonathan Thurley, Tim Aydin, Dave DeGroote, Joel Niemann, Mark Lee, Michel Goldfine, Jerry Steffy, Matt Soccio, Kevin Becker, Rob Peterson, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. The conditions made the track workout even more challenging than usual.

The Nittany Valley Running Club is full of runners with great gifts. The guys have their special powers. Tom Cali has discovered the Fountain of Youth. And while Costas Maranas keeps his Fabio Locks long to sustain his speed, John Domico takes a more aerodynamic approach to give him the edge. And Greg Dillon uses Wookie Vision as he blindly blazes round the track. But what makes the women of the NVRC so fast? Ann Skulas-Ray is packin' some powerful guns. Hill Queen Tara has pistons for thighs. And Kathy Koetje-Simin's used her jet packs on Monday for a Boston PR. And now we know that Meira Minard's got one heck of a Hyner! Meira Minard was the top woman in the Hyner View Trail Challenge by over 20 minutes! Congratulations, Meira! The Crew all wanted to pat Meira to get their own piece of that running skill. But Meira made us promise that after today we'd leave her Hyner alone! And congratulations again to all the runners who took on the challenge of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon for CVIM! From the Thursday Track Crew: Tom Cali, John Domico, Costas Maranas, Greg Luna, George Lesieutre, Marty Klanchar, Tim Spigelmyer, Jeff Smucker, Mark Lee, Tara Murray, and Kathy Koetje Simin.

Bwana started the Crew out on Sheakoski's 6X1 Lap challenge: Do 6 1 lap runs, increasing your lane number in each successive lap, but maintaining or bettering your per-lap speed each lap. That is indeed a challenge in a strong headwind, but Meira did fine with a tailwind.

There were a few Trackers who were feeling a bit "challenged" today. Bob Cornwall and Jim Moore are obviously the "My Dad is My Buddy" types who don't challenge their kids. They showed up at the track on "Take Your Kid to Work Day" with youngsters in tow but without the requisite gear! What kind of parent does this? Andy Arndt had enough of a challenge running in the Game Lands on Tuesday and is taking the rest of the week off. Dana Todd had all the challenge he could handle on last Friday's Herbstritt 5K. And Tom Hilands finds it more and more challenging every week to just make it up the hill to Rec Hall!

Thursday Track Report: The Slippery Slope

It was the start of what might be a record-breaking weekend, temperature-wise, as Jim Myers, John Domico, Tom Cali, Bob Cornwall, Marty Klanchar, John Sheakoski, Tim Aydin, Costas Maranas, Tom Hilands, George Lesieutre, Meira Minard, Kathy Koetje-Simin, Janet Jonson, Ann Marie Oldani, Kirk Rager, Mark Traband, Ron Cunfer, Rich Harter, John Wilcock, Matt Soccio, Michael Goldfine and newcomer Kelson Goldfine, Andy Arndt, Mark Lee, Jonathan Thurley, John Ake, Joel Niemann, Kevin Becker, Dave DeGroote, and Marty Mazur headed for the track under sunny skies. Our first 30-runner track day of the year!

It wasn't hot yet. That starts tomorrow. But Bwana decided to heat things up by giving out the "Most-Hated" workout: 200s on the minute. The back story on this is that many years ago, one of our regulars, a fast female (we've had a lot of them, haven't we?) suggested this workout and was reviled ever after. But back in those long-lost days, we literally would do them on the minute. 12 to 16 200s, boom-boom-boom, one right after the other. We'd actually do our 200s in about 40 seconds, so we'd have 20 seconds rest before the next one. It was a tough workout then. But now, most of us have a hard time even finishing the 200 in 60 seconds, let alone being ready for the next one. So we've let the standard slip a little. 200 every 65 or 70 seconds, and we break the workout into 2X6X200 with a nice nap between the sets.

But some Trackers have let their standards slip even farther. Nick Downs showed up at the gym and mumbled as many lame excuses as he could while he got changed to go down and stare at music videos while sitting on a bike. And he is going to teach your children. Tara Murray said something about a severe case of writer's cramp from penning her CDT column (not that that has anything to do with running - writer's cramp, I mean, not her column - and who gets "writer's cramp" anymore?) Amy Blake spewed out some gibberish about an "object-oriented programming seminar" as if saying nonsense counts as an excuse. And Lee Culver was busy putting a Globe and Anchor decal on the back of the side-view mirror of his walker!