Thursday Track Report: When I'm 64

October 13, 2016

Sparse crew again today, since the weather was nice and the outdoor track is not done yet. Costas Maranas, Mike Renz, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur did the workout, while Sam Thompson warmed up for his birthday run. Sam has been doing a birthday run for several decades now and will do a 3 miler on his 73rd birthday coming up soon. Birthday runs are a great tradition. They give you something to shoot for every year, though it’s best to stay away from traditions that add distance as you get older. Bwana knows of people who have run miles per year of age on their birthday into their 60s. Did someone say joint replacement? Bwana himself likes to do (more reasonable) furlongs per year of age, but that’ll be 8 miles when he’s 64. Doable, but for how much longer after that? And George Etzweiller (age 96) has publicly stated (so don’t be shocked) that he plans to die at the finish line of the run up Mt Washington when he turns 100. Sam’s got the right idea. Just be glad you’re running and do the same, reasonable amount every year.

Bwana was pretty reasonable today. He called the NX3X300 workout, an indoor standby. Run 300 meters at your mile race pace (or better). Rest until the 300 start line (just over 100 m), then go again, three times. That’s low recovery for those hard reps. Take an extra lap recovery between sets of 3, then do another set. And another, if you can. Keep it consistent, but work hard.

Speaking of working hard. the outfit putting in the new track must be getting paid by the hour, because they’re maximizing their hours, for sure. The “scuffing” of the track is done, so it looks like a track now and not a glistening lake of cinnamon lava. No lines yet. Not making any promises, but the day it’s done slowly gets closer.

Thursday Track Report: Roughed Up

October 6, 2016

The weather is getting harder to judge: long-sleeve or short-sleeve? Tough to tell. Depends on what time of day you go for a run. At noon it was definitely up in the air. Cool, but a break in the fog was coming. Maybe. Hard to say. Anyway, Judd Michael, Marty Klanchar, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

Bwana gave a new variation on an old kind of workout. Sets of laps in lane 5 followed by the same sets in lane 6, trying to keep the same time-per-lap as you move out. This time it was 2-3-3 in lane 5, then 3-3-2 in lane 6. THat’s about 3500 meters, a little more than we usually do. Pretty rough if you haven’t kept up your training.

Speaking of rough, whereas the new surface on the Penn State track had looked like a giant calf’s tongue, smooth and slick and shiny, today it looked rough, more like a track, more like something you could get traction on. Not everywhere. It’s a work in progress, but they’re obviously scrubbing along. There’s hope we may get to christen it before Christmas!

Thursday Track Report: Rolling Along

September 22, 2016

Fall was not quite two hours old, and it was sunny and warm as Costas Maranas, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. Yes, a very light turnout again. That should change as the weather turns. And who knows? We may have an outdoor track again soon. More on that below.

Costas did his own thing again, a thing that required metric-to-lap conversions. Again, too much trouble for the rest of us. Bwana gave repeat 3-lap reps with slow 1 lap rests. In lane 5 where we do our workouts, 3 laps is about 680 meters. Repeat 3 or more times.

Looking outdoors, Bwana could see that the outdoor track is completely resurfaced, but still curing. It looks shiny, almost wet, but a fat-tired, no-tread cart (steamroller lite?) was driving back and forth on it. No lines painted yet. Bwana will continue to keep you informed of the progress.

Thursday Track Report: Hello-Goodbye

September 29, 2016

It was cool and crappy, weather that finally felt like Fall, as John Domico, the Distinguished Tom Cali, Bob Cornwall, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Dana Todd, CJ Wagner, Joel Niemann, Dan Coughlin, newcomer Lilith, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. Attendance was up a bit with the change in temperatures, though the break in the rain right at noon meant that some runners still preferred outdoor running. When will the outdoor track be done? Hopefully before the snow flies. More on that below.

Thursday Track has been going on for almost 25 years. To keep it going so long, we’ve had to rely on attracting new and younger runners to the Crew. But it also means that over the years we’ve had a few sad good-byes. Today we had both. Lilith, a neuroscience grad student, warmed up her wheels with us today. And (sadly) it was the last workout we’ll have with Dana Todd. Dana is not a Thursday Original (a dwindling group), but he’s been with us for quite some time. (20 years?) Dana’s wife took a job at Clemson and Dana has some good prospects down there, though for now he’s a kept man. We hope to see Dana on return visits as he is able. He can fill us in on how ultramarathoners handle the swampy 7 month summers they have there. Best wishes to Dana in his new location!

Bwana gave an old standby we haven’t done in a while: NX400. Run your 400s at mile race pace (or 5K kick pace). Rest is short, about 280 meters, so it’s tough to nail a consistent pace. Do N of 6 (at least).

Not much progress to report on the outdoor track. No workers visible (probably due to the weather. Some line painting is done, but no lane lines yet. Twiddling thumbs….

Thursday Track Report: Pink Lava

September 15, 2016

A beautiful, cool day, one in the ever deepening dips between warm days (which get cooler themselves) as we head toward Full Fall, greeted Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Mike Casper, Rich Harter, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur as they headed for the track. Turnout was light again because we were going to the indoor track on a perfect outdoor day. Hopefully we’ll get to use the outdoor track before the Jingle Bell Jog. More on that below.

Costas has been “rolling his own” workouts the last few sessions. They usually involve large numbers of repetitions of longer distances (e.g. NX800) or ladders with a big largest step. Today was the latter kind of ladder. He wanted to start his ladder at 1200 meters, and running that on Lane 5 on the indoor track (the lane where we usually do our indoor workouts), it's not so easy to figure out where the starting line is. After a Math Powwow, we finally decided the start is near the beginning of the home straight-away; run from there to the starting line, then do 5 laps, finishing at the finish line. Later consultation of the online Stagger Chart ( confirmed this. Then he went down to 800, 600, and lower. We’re more familiar with the staggers for those distances. Bwana doesn’t usually bother with the higher math. He does his ladders and reps in terms of number of laps in Lane 5. Those distances are generally not at “canonical” fractions of a mile, but who cares? Key on your lap pace as you go and maintain a consistent pace. So Bwana’s workout was a downward ladder of 5-4-3-2 laps in lane 5 with very slow 1 lap rests between reps. Start with the 5 lapper at a 10K race pace. See if you can increase the per-lap pace as you go down the ladder.

So what’s up with the outdoor track? Well, last week, there was no new track. This week, it looked like there was about 20% of it poured out and curing in the sun. It looked like a gleaming tongue of pink lava. No estimated time to completion, but progress is evident. Once it’s done, they’ll have to paint the lines, stagger marks, etc. After that, who knows what else, but it’s moving along!