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: 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: 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: 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!

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?