Thursday Track Report: Steamy!

April 27, 2017

The weather is warming up and it would be a great time for an outdoor workout. But the Penn State outdoor track is still not officially open. (My guess is it won’t be until after Big 10s in a couple of weeks.) So Lance Bland, Mike Casper, Dave DeGroote, Michael Goldfine, Jaimie Wright, Torrie Raisch, Adam Ilgen, Joel Niemann, Elsa Hansen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the indoor track, where it can get pretty humid in the warm months. Tom Cali, John Domico, Mike Martin, and several others poked their heads in, but took off for a non-track run in the great outdoors.

Bwana’s workout was the relatively easy 6X400. It’s easy because there are no mountains to climb either in terms of volume or long reps. But do the reps quickly, close to mile race pace. And with about 250 meters of slow jogging rest, there is plenty of recovery to do each rep at that quick pace. If you have time, you can extend this workout to 8 or more reps.

Big 10s are just two weeks away. Penn State has one of the best middle distance crews in the country, both men and women. There should be some great races. Get out to the meet!

Thursday Track Report: Lost Sheep

April 20, 2017

It was another amazing if slightly warm Thursday as runners from various locations tried to find an oval to run a workout on. The MSF was busy with a kids’ event, so it was not clear what to do. Bwana, as previously announced, could not be there to lead his flock this week, so aimful wandering began. Mike Casper, Judd Michael and Joel Niemann found an alternative location to meander in a circular fashion. Mike and Joel did 4x400 and Judd did 3x1600. David Lloyd was glimpsed doing valiant hill repeats on Porter Road. And others, including Costas Maranas, Elsa Hansen, Tom Cali, Meira Menard, Mike Weyandt, Mike Martin, and John Domico, well they surely were doing some sort of speedy repeats, somewhere.

Bwana will be back in charge next week, and hopefully we'll have the MSF, or some nearby suitable location, at our disposal.


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: Beantown Send-Off

April 13, 2017

It was a glorious Spring day, the Thursday before Easter and, notably for our Crew, one more day than that before the Boston Marathon. The Marathoners For Medicine runners are all special in terms of the work they put into running for a great cause, but there will always be a special place in the NVRC’s collective heart for the Boston Marathoners. It’s the marathon that John Domico ran when he started M4M (as it was not yet called) back 14 years ago. Traditionally, at least a few of the Boston runners show up on the Thursday before the race, not so much to top off their training (though you couldn’t tell that to Costas), but to get the well-wishes from the Crew. Jim Myers, John Domico, Lance Bland, Judd Michael, George Lesieutre, Mike Casper, Costas Maranas, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track under mostly sunny skies and Spring temperatures.

Costas, for reasons unknown, did his obsessive’s workout of 2 X 1 Mile at race pace. The rest of the Boston runners did a perfunctory track jog. And the rest of the Crew did Bwana’s workout, a mini-Front-Loader (Indoor version): Two times the following: 3 laps in Lane 5 (about 700 meters) at mile race pace, then with just a half-lap recovery, 3X1 lap (about 230 meters) at mile kick pace. The 3-lapper front-loads you for the rest of the rep. If you run your 3-lapper hard, you will still be recovering through the 3X1 lap, so each one of those should get a little faster, though not easier. Take a long rest after the rep, then do the whole set again. This type of workout can be scaled: A Full Front-Loader is 1 mile (about 7 laps in Lane 5) followed by 4 X 400 (a little under 2 laps in Lane 5) with 1 lap rest.

It’s also traditional for at least some of the Boston runners to come to the track workout after the marathon to tell their tales and to hobble around the track at a jog. Wish them, and all the M4M runners good luck on their coming races!

Bwana will not be at the track next week. He hereby appoints/dubs/anoints David Lloyd “Bwana For A Week”. It’s all yours, David!

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!