Thursday Track Report: Hysterical Ignorance

April 6, 2017

The weather was very threatening today as John Domico, Tom Cali, Lance Bland, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, Mike Weyandt, Andy Maguire, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Dan Coughlin, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Jo Ohm, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur. headed for the track. Sam Thompson was already there doing his own workout.

Today would be another “themed workout”. Bwana noticed this morning as he pulled into his workplace parking lot that the flag was at half-mast. Who died? Upon getting to his desk, Bwana Googled and found out that the flags were to be at half-mast to honor John Glenn, who died back in December, but who was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery today. Glenn, of course, was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth in a spacecraft back in 1962. Glenn will always be something of an American hero, but it’s hard these days to appreciate just how big a hero he was back in ’62. So Bwana’s workout was 7 X 400. The question Bwana posed was, “What’s the significance of the 7?” A lot of historical ignorance was on display by the 30 to 50 year-olds. The only guy in the Crew who’s old enough to have been around at the time of Glenn’s flight (besides Bwana) was having a hard time containing his hysterical laughter from a joke that had been told 5 minutes earlier on the run down to the track, so he (Cali) was of no use whatever. The answer is below. Glenn’s orbital first will probably be remembered for some time to come, but other things every schoolboy knew about him in the 60s will slowly evaporate from the corporate memory. The same is true even with figures of popular culture. Don Rickles, one of the most popular comedians of the 60s and 70s, died today at the age of 90. Bwana mentioned this to a co-worker in her early 40s and she didn’t know who Don Rickles was, even though the guy was active (and hysterically funny!) until the end, and was the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies she probably saw with her daughter. Sic transit gloria mundi…

So what was the significance of 7? There were 7 astronauts in the original Mercury team that started our space program. Of those 7, 6 piloted capsules into space. Each of them named his spacecraft something with a “7” in it. Glenn’s was Friendship 7.

Thursday Track Report: Busted Bracket

March 30, 2017

The last workout of March. We seem to have broken Winter. Summer’s still a few warm-cool cycles away, but no more snow. We hope. But let’s not jinx it. Tom Cali, John Domico, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Mike Casper, Costas Maranas, Mike Weyandt, Jim Laudermilch, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Mike Martin, Mike’s cousin-in-law Alan Dravenstott, Dan Coughlin, Torrie Raisch, Rob Peterson, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track on a cool, cloudy, end-of-March day.

Alan Dravenstott, a junior in high school and a state-competitive track athlete in his native Ohio, is in town to check out Penn State. “Cousin” Mike brought him and his family to the MSF to check out the facilities and for Alan to do the workout. Bwana obliged by giving one of his patented themed workouts, which Alan ran easily enough as his family looked on. By now, with the Final Four this weekend, everyone betting on March Madness knows whether or not their bracket is busted. Bwana’s workout was to bust the Trackers with brackets. Bracket 500 meter in reps of increasing difficulty bracketing our usual runs in Lane 5: Run 3 laps , then after a rest, 2 laps (slightly faster) in a set in Lane 4 at a 5K race pace. That’s 660 meters followed by 440. Take a rest of a slow lap, then do the same two reps (680 meter, 455 meters) in Lane 5, keeping the same per-lap time. After another rest, do that again out in lane 6 at the same per-lap time. This time it’s 700 meters and 467 meters. So, for example, if you can work up your pace to run 700 meters in the same time you ran 660, you’ve done a good workout. Better if you can do it in *less* time. That was the game today. If the brackets didn’t bust you, you won!

Next week, the NCAA hoops tourney will be all over, and Bwana will be looking for a new theme. Show up and find out!

Thursday Track Report: For Those Of You Who Missed The 60s

March 16, 2016

It was cold and blustery and with Winter’s return, John Domico, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, Mike Weyandt, Andy Maguire, Jaimie Wright, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Dan Coughlin, Elsa Hansen, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur returned to the MSF Indoor Track to do a Hope For Spring workout. Megan Marshall was there already doing her Mad Comeback Reps.

Bwana announced last week that this week’s track workout would be 60s-Themed. No, not a workout in patchouli-scented paisley Nehru jackets, but a workout for someone old enough to remember the 60s. All of them. That person would be Hisself, Bwana. And, as Bwana is turning 60 this coming weekend, he carried forward his tradition of calling birthday-themed workouts. And since Bwana is such a square fellow, how about a square number of meters? 60X60=3600, broken into 6 X 600. That’s about as 60s as you can get! The workout was a little longer than our usual, but Bwana’s been around a little longer than most, and if he could do it, why not everybody else?

Bwana’s gonna continue the theme after his birthday. He’s been running his age in furlongs on his birthday every year for a few years. He can’t do it on his birthday this year, so it’ll be next weekend. A group run. I think you can guess how long the run will be. (Well, you may have to Google ‘furlong’). He’ll announce the time and place next week.

Thursday Track Report: Spring Renewal

March 23, 2017

Spring is back. Or, finally here in its appropriate time of year. Strangely, it was nowhere near as warm as it was a month ago, but MUCH nicer than the last 8 or 10 days. John Domico, Bob Cornwall, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Dana Todd, Jim Laudermilch, Mike Casper, Jaimie Wright, Mike Martin, Andy Maguire, Mike Weyandt, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litofsky, Rob Peterson, Monica Acosta, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the track under sunny skies and temperatures just above freezing.

Bwana greeted several returnees. Dana Todd, who moved to South Carolina late last summer, is back in town for a Spring Break (for Clemson) visit. Jim Laudermilch has been battling a few injuries, but is back to the track and preparing to run three marathons this year. Bob Cornwall has been hiding awhile, but he must have been working out in his hiding spot because the track workout today didn’t do him in. Mike Capser and Rob Peterson haven’t been super regular, but turned in a good workout nonetheless. Monica Acosta took a break to attend to grad school and hardly missed a beat on her return today. And Mike Weyandt was back last week, though not properly credited by Bwana, continued his return from the ashes. To welcome them all back, Bwana gave an old standby: NX3X300 at accelerated pick-up pace with 100 meter recovery between each 300 in a set of 3 and 300 meter’s slow recovery between sets. Today, N was 3 for the gold star (4 if you wanted a platinum star, which nobody went for. I guess everybody has enough platinum.) The marathon crew did 10X800, a truly impressive pile of meters.

It seems like attendance is back up along with the weather. One thing that’s not back yet is the outdoor track. Bwana suspects we won’t be able to use it until after the Big 10 Championships on the second weekend of May. We’ll keep Spring’s hope alive until then.

Thursday Track Report: Earning Our GED

March 9, 2016

It was warm, sunny, and windy as Tom Cali, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, John Sheakoski, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Bob Shafer, Dan Coughlin, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. Spring Break, the traditional week when everybody who is here in town has gotten used to winter being almost over, and everyone who goes away hopes that it really WILL be over when the get back. History tells us that this is almost never the case, and this year is no exception. The forecast calls for 3-6 inches of snow and a whole lotta cold for the next few days. So it was a good idea to try to get in an outdoor workout while it’s still nice! The Penn State outdoor track is still closed and the MSF is indoors (and being set up for an archery tournament), so it was back to school. High school.

The State High track seemed longer than a quarter mile in the wind. Bwana gave an easy workout: 400-800-800-400 at mile race pace with 1 lap rest between reps. In earlier days, when the tracksters couldn’t decide on a workout, this was know as the Default No Brainer. But we couldn’t call it that today since we were back at school to get our GED. We all tested out fine and headed home to sharpen our snow shovels.

Next week will be the last Thursday Track workout with Bwana legally young enough to get a GED. That is, under 60. So be ready for some kind of 60-themed workout.