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 (http://nvrun.com/index.php/training/area-tracks/psu-msf/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!

Thursday Track Report: Bwana's Sauna

September 8, 2016

The weather was very warm and very humid. Very much like a sauna: we were inside and there were a lot of half-naked people. But unlike in Finland, there was not way to transition to cold, then hot, then cold….Just a non-stop steam bath. And unlike in Finland, we weren’t sitting on wood slats but running around like idiots. Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Rich Harter, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur did their workout in the steam and were quite happy when they were Finnish.

Just like Dean last week, Costas was doing his own workout: repeat 800s. Dean’s were at an impressive and consistent sub-3:10 pace. Costas was even more impressive, keeping sub-2:50s coming. The rest of the Crew did sets of 3X300 at mile race pace (or better) with short rests between 300s. Most of the Crew did 3 sets, for 9 X 300.

The other “track crew”, the one working on refurbing the outdoor track, was out there today doing something. Bwana couldn’t tell what. They were spraying something (water? pre-treatement?) all over the substrate. It looks like there’s a tractor trailer full of material ready to go, but so far the track looks the same as it’s looked since they ripped it up a few months ago. We’re looking forward to christening the new track, but we’ll keep the sacred oils locked up for now.

Thursday Track Report: Track Limbo

August 25, 2016

Our mini-respite from heat and humidity took a respite today. It was “kinda hot and pretty darn humid” as John Domico, Randy Jepson, Mike Casper, CJ Wagner, Mike Renz, Dean Capone, Mike Martin, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the State High track. The whole Summer-Fall thing is kind of in limbo. The kids are headed back to school, but the trees are still green. The weather is getting cooler, but not all at once.

Bwana’s not so undecided. We should be used to the hot weather enough by now to do longer reps, even if we get a hot sticky day. Today’s workout was NX600 at 5K race pace with a really slow 200 meter rest between reps. Those most used to the heat could do N=5. Everyone else did N=4. Except Bwana, who did N=3, and then threw in a bunch of 200s to make up.

And while we’re in limbo as the weather tries to decide if it’s still Summer, the Track Crew is about to step into Track Limbo. Today was the last workout at the High School track, at least until next Summer. But the PSU outdoor track is still at least a couple of weeks away from being done. So next week, those who want a track workout can come to the PSU Indoor Track at the Multi-Sport Facility. Bwana will be there, no matter how nice and sunny it is outside. See you there!

Thursday Track Report: December in September

September 1, 2016

It was definitely cooler than it’s been the last few Thursdays. Low 70s. Cloudy. But Fall isn’t here yet! Not even semi-officially until after the Labor Day weekend, which has a habit of being pretty hot around here. Unfortunately, as of Monday, we have no outdoor track for our workouts. So Judd Michael, Mike Casper, Dean Capone, Michael Goldfine, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to our winter quarters, the MSF indoor track.

Thankfully, summer followed us inside. It was warm and humid, but not unpleasant, so Bwana gave out some long reps: 5 X 3 laps (about 680 meters) at a 5K pace. Bwana suggested a 2 lap jogging rest, and everyone immediately halved that. I guess that was to make up for the fact that nobody else was doing Dean’s workout, which was 6X800. Dean’s obviously getting ready for something. Actually, already *is* ready, since he peeled off his 800s in consistent sub-3:10 pace.

The PSU outdoor track is still not resurfaced, though there was a lot of construction worker activity as Bwana looked down on the site. Maybe before Christmas?

Thursday Track Report: Sweater Weather

August 18, 2016

There was a marked difference between this week’s weather and last. Just a week ago, Bwana thought he should have had an ambulance standing by as runners were nearly fainting doing a short workout of short 200 meter intervals in sweltering heat and humidity. This week, we were still sweating, but the good kind, the kind earned by doing longer reps in less-than-heat-stroke-inducing weather. And the healthy breeze helped take away the sweat and cool us down. So where was everybody? Only 5 showed up at the track: Andy Cunningham, Rich Harter, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur. Maybe everyone else was sipping hot cocoa in their warm jammies…

Today’s workout was a little longer than last week's, though not the full-up high volume workouts we like to do in the Fall. Bwana called out the old “No-Brainer”, the tune-up middle-distance workout we’d always start every track season with before we had an indoor track. The workout is 400-800-800-400, all run at 5K+ race pace with a 400 meter rest between reps. Run the back half faster than the front, if you can.

It may be hard to believe with all the sweating we’ve been doing that real "sweater weather” is just around the corner. That’s the time of year when those who have worked through and endured the horrors of August heat and humidity find that they can suddenly run faster. At least that works for the youngsters in our group.