Thursday Track Report: French Quarters

February 1, 2018

It was mild for the first day of February. Time to get ready for the last Indoor Mile. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Mike Casper, Andy Maguire, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Jim Laudermilch, Logan Madill, Ryan Murray (FKA Red Beard Guy), Ron Cunfer, and Marty Mazur headed to the track under cloudy skies.

As usual, there were two groups. The faster, high volume crowd did some sets of 600s. Bwana’s group did 600s, too, but broken up: Do a 400 at mile race pace. Then take 15 seconds or so of heavy breathing while you walk up to the stagger line in Lane 5 before starting a hard 200 at kick pace. That’s one set. Take a lap very slow jog between sets and do 4 to 6 sets (or just 2 or 3 as a tune-up if you’re running a mile race the next day). The French have a word for the way you feel after that. Something like “Merde!"

Once the indoor miles are over, what are we going to do? Get ready for spring marathons or spring 5Ks, depending on your preference. Jim Laudermilch is running a marathon in New Orleans in early March, a couple of weeks after Mardi Gras. He’ll miss the party, but at least he won’t have to chug booze out of a stripper’s shoe every mile just to navigate his way through the French Quarter. This will be Marathon #31 out of 50 in his effort to do one in each of the 50 states. He’s been at that since 2009 and at the rate he’s going, might be able to finish by about 2023.

Thursday Track Report: Let's Not Get Ahead of Ourselves

January 25, 2018

It was cold and sunny outside, meaning ideal track-hack conditions inside. Dry air greeted John Domico, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Andy Maguire, Ron Cunfer, Jaimie Wright, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Dan Coughlin, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Logan Madill, Harriet Smith, Harriet’s Harem (a couple of younger guys who look like they run on one of the PSU Club teams - I’ll get their names next time), David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur at the MSF Indoor Track. Tom Cali, still recovering from foot problems, stopped in with Meira Minard just long enough for Bwana to harangue Meirkat to sign up for next week’s 3K at the end of the Indoor Mile Series. The Masters Women’s time in that race is the only low hanging fruit left among Series records, and Meira, who owns the mile record, would do that longer race justice.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves (or we’d be looking at our own backsides on the oval track). We still have this week’s Indoor Mile, which is tomorrow, to get past. Bwana purposely gave a "light option” for today’s workout: NX400. For those not racing the mile, do N=6 or 8 at mile race pace. For those racing the mile, do 2 at mile race pace, and 2 a little harder. The fast group, including at least a few running tomorrow’s mile, did at least 8 of them with pretty much no rest. I’m sure at least a few of them saw their own backsides. I hope they can hang together in tomorrow’s race.

As I said, we have tomorrow’s mile, then next week’s choice of a mile or a 3K to finish the Series (some people do both), then it’s time to get ready for whatever we’re doing in the spring, be it 5Ks, marathons, or just long, pleasant runs with the birds chirping around us…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Thursday Track Report: Back At It!

January 11, 2018

An early January thaw made the trip to the MSF Indoor Track pleasant for John Domico, Judd Michael, Mike Weyandt, Andy Maguire, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, Josh Litofsky, Nikita Fedkin, Logan Madill, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur. It would have been warm enough to hit the IM Fields, but they were probably going to by muddy. That won’t last too long. Winter will be back at it by Saturday.

The break flew by, hopefully without too much damage to our individual training programs. Many of today’s trackers are going to run this weekend’s first Indoor Mile. Bwana suggested an easy tune up for all those doing that, but Adam (who isn’t running this week’s mile) wanted to do 3X1K to honor the memory of Horace Ashenfelter III, for whom the MSF is named. Ashenfelter, a Penn State graduate, was one of America’s top middle distance runners in the late 40s and early 50s and won the Gold Medal in the 3000 meter steeplechase in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Bwana thought that volume was too high for those running on Saturday, but quite a few of the “fast guys” threw the throttle forward and did a high volume pyramid (400-600-800-1000-800-600-400) even though many of them will run the mile. Bwana and a few others ran 400s as a pre-mile tune-up. We had one newcomer show up today, who hopped in with the fast guys. For now he will be known as Red Beard Guy until Bwana gets his name.

Next week, we’ll all do a harder workout since there’s a week’s break before the second Indoor Mile. Until then, keep it up!

Thursday Track Report: You Can't Put It Off Forever

January 18, 2018

It was sunny, but cold, though not as frigid as our recent weather has been. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Mike Zimmerman, Rob Shafer, Seth Senior, Harriet Smith, Josh Litofsky, Red Beard Guy (I'll get his name next time), Dan Coughlin, Jim Laudermilch, Rob Peterson, Keith Henderson, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the Indoor Track while Meira Minard and Mike Weyandt feigned being on course for an outdoor speed workout.

Our one week off between Indoor Miles would not be spent pretending to be doing something we should be doing. A hard track workout is what we needed, and a hard track workout is what we got right down to! Even Megan Marshall, coming off an injury, and lately bereft of her Indoor Mile record, was working out. Bwana’s plan was a workout that can be of benefit to those getting ready for either an Indoor Mile or a Spring (we can hope) 5K. It’s essentially 4X800(-ish): Run 3 laps in Lane 5. That’s a bit less than 800 meters. After a couple of laps rest, run 4 laps in Lane 5 (more than 800 meters) in the same time per lap. Rest again, then move out to Lane 6 and keep that same lap time, though going 4 times the stagger farther. After another rest, finish by running 3 laps in Lane 6 with whatever you have left. The pace you start this workout at depends on what you’re training for: If for the mile, run at a little faster than mile race pace; if for a 5K, at a little faster than 5K race pace. This workout can be scaled up (and slowed down) for longer races. The trick is to keep the pace you are aiming for.

Next week’s workout will be a quick, low volume tune-up for those running the next day’s Indoor Mile. The same the week after for the last Mile. Then we get back to the regular chaos, and the wait for Spring!

Thursday Track Report: The Whole Enchilada

December 21, 2017

The first day of winter was cold and sunny with no snow on the ground. John Domico, Bob Cornwall, Tom Cali, CJ Wagner, Esther Prins, Marty Klanchar, Mark and Nikita Fedkin, John Sheakoski, Andy Maguire, Mike Martin, Mike Zimmerman, Doug Schunk, Rich Harter, Andrew Tatusko, David Lloyd, Amy Blake, and Marty Mazur, dressed festively, headed out on the annual Jingle Bell Track Workout.

This year was hard on the old Crew. We’ve essentially been kicked off the PSU outdoor track due to Penn State’s new policy of closing down the University to all but paying customers. Maybe we can bribe the right people in 2018, but for now we can still use the MSF Indoor Track when the weather outside is frightful. But, back to the run, our first stop was our make-due “outdoor track”, the IM Fields on Park Avenue. There we did the “look-back/look-forward” on one of the squares there. After a photo-op, we headed past the tracks and ran down to College Avenue. The Eastview Terrace steps provided some entertainment to the Rothrock trail runners in the group. Too bad Meira was absent today. She’d have shown the rest of us how not to trop over our own feet. After the staircase, it was off to terrorize some downtown merchants, who were expecting our call. Terry and the gang at Rapid Transit safely escorted the Trackers through the store without too much loss of merchandise. And Kitchen Kaboodle was no worse for wear than if a bull had gone through their china shop. The last stop was the Beaver St. garage, where everyone climbed to the top for a picture with Mt. Nittany as the backdrop. In the course of a 4-and-a-half mile run, the Crew got in hills, trails speedwork, and agility. Not bad for the last Thursday Track of the year.

The MSF will be closed for the next couple of weeks. We’ll be back there again on January 11, just in time to get ready for the first Indoor Mile. Bwana wishes all a Merry Christmas, and a very happy, healthy, and speedy New Year!

(Continue for photos)

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