Thursday Track Report: Jingle Bell Running Late

December 22, 2016

Everything has been different this year. What do you expect after the weirdest political campaign in living memory? Well, NOBODY expected NOT to have a track on which to do the last track workout of the year. But with the workout postponed last week due to bitter weather, and moved to a week late in the season when State College is almost a ghost town, we should have known. Most of the Crew met at Rec Hall ready for the usual run to one of the tracks on the east side of campus. But word came down that not only was the outdoor track still locked up, but the MSF Indoor Track building was closed for the Holidays. So, improvising, the group did our usual “Look Back / Look Forward” on the jogging track above the stands in Rec Hall. The banking on the curves, and the presence of a press platform, made the backward running part of the workout especially treacherous. Then, John Domico, Tom Cali, Jim Moore, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Mark Fedkin, George Lesieutre, John Sheakoski, Esther Prins, Torrie Raisch, Mike Renz, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Mike Martin, CJ Wagner, Bob Shafer, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed out into the elements. Well, all except Costas, who was in earnest about actually doing a workout today!

Heading across campus, the Crew nearly ran over Vicky Mazur, who was spreading Holiday Cheer and ringing some golden bells at the group as they ran by. The group decided to head past the tracks on the east side anyway to pick up any strays. There they found Joel Niemann, Jaimie Wright, and Jim Myers and headed downtown. First stop, as usual, the South Halls steps, a trail-runners workout. After that, up W. College to Rapid Transit Sports to pay a visit to Terry and the gang. And then, like bulls in a china shop, we went to Kitchen Kaboodle, to say “Hi!”. The Beaver Avenue parking structure afforded another hill workout, as well as a view of Mt. Nittany on the blustery top deck. The group then broke up, some heading back to Rec Hall, and some going on to a downtown mid-day happy hour.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Healthy New Year to all! We start again next year on January 5 AT REC HALL (due to a Penn State all day practice at the MSF). Workouts at the MSF will resume on January 12, just in time for the first Indoor Mile Series races on January 14.

Continue on for a few photos from today's run:

Read more: Thursday Track Report: Jingle Bell Running Late

Thursday Track Report: Songs In The Key Of Pain

December 15, 2016

It was COLD out, and windy on top of that. NOW people are appreciating the Indoor Track. Tom Cali, John Domico, Judd Michael, Marty Klanchar, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, CJ Wagner, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Dan Coughlin, newcomer John Williams, Josh Litofsky, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, newcomer Rob Krankel, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track for a symphony of pain.

Today’s serenade was in the key of pain, A-sharp minor. It’s a key with 7 sharps, all of them sharply painful. Not many musical pieces have been written in A-sharp minor. Those few are somber, grating, and richly annoying to the ears. The fast crew certainly felt every one of those musical hashtags. Their workout was 4800 meters of unresolved harmonic distemper: 3X400 - 3X800 - 3X400. Even the slower group did not escape. You music theory buffs should know that the key of A-sharp minor is enharmonically equivalent to B-flat minor. There are 5 flats in that key, whose music is brooding, ulcerous, and funereal. And the group was nearly flattened by the dolorous intonations. The slowpokes’ workout was a nocturne of nastiness: 3X300 - 3X400 - 3X300.

The Jingle Bell Track Workout has been moved to next Thursday. It’s the last run of the season, and hopefully the weather will be milder and the music will be in a jollier key.

Thursday Track Report: Force Of Habit

December 1, 2016

Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, CJ Wagner, John Iceland, Mike Renz, Dan Coughlin, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur were inside to avoid the cold breezes outside. Not *real* December cold, but colder than what we’ve been used to in this long autumn drawdown. A nice turnout, but why? Most of those present are signed up for the Nittany Valley Half-Marathon. Who needs a track workout 3 days before a 13 mile race?

It doesn’t matter who. We’ve been doing this for decades. Show up at the track before a big race to top off the tank. Plan race strategy. It’s force of habit. The “fast” crew did a bunch of 800s. I hope not too many. Bwana and a couple of others did just a couple of 8s. Enough to clear the pipes.

Planning ahead, we’ll have one more workout, next week, and then the Jingle Bell Track Workout on December 15. But don’t stay away from the track too long. And don’t indulge the cookie and egg nog habit too much over the Holidays. The Indoor Mile Series will be here before you know it!

Thursday Track Report: Haulin' Ass

December 8, 2016

Today it *felt* like winter. Cold, windy, a good day to be inside. At least there was no snow, though that’s coming. Soon we’ll be flexing our glutes and lifting with our legs just to haul the snow off of our driveways. But for now, a different kind of glute flexing and leg lifting was in order. Tom Cali, John Domico, Michael Goldfine, Meira Minard, John Iceland, Mike Renz, Dan Coughlin, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, Josh Litofsky, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the Indoor Track for the regular workout. George Lesieutre, Bob Cornwall, and Esther Prins came indoors just to do a ceremonial lap so they could be counted as “present”.

Bwana and David Lloyd were still in recovery mode from Sunday’s Nittany Half, so they just did a few miles at an easy pace. Ditto Tom Cali, who’s still working on his ailing ass. It’s coming along and will soon be propelling to more age group wins. The rest of the “fast crowd” did a long metric pyramid: 200-400-600-800-1000-800-600-400-200. That’s 5K, almost double our normal workout. And they weren’t messing around. Haulin’ ass was more like it! Whatever they’re training for had better watch out.

This was the last regular workout of the year. Next Thursday, we’ll do our annual Jingle Bell track workout. Meet at Rec Hall decked out in whatever Christmassy running attire you can get together. We’ll head to the track and do our traditional 2X400: one backward look at 2016 and one forward look at 2017. Then terrorize shoppers downtown as we visit some of our favorite spots along the away: the Meira Steps, Rapid Transit, Kitchen Kaboodle, and the Beaver parking garage. Then back to Rec Hall. Distance is a bit over 4 miles and the pace will be easy.

Thursday Track Report: A Lot To Swallow

November 17, 2016

The beautiful Fall weather continues with sunshine and 50 degree temps in mid-November. Great time to run outside. Nonetheless, the turnout at the indoor track has been growing! John Domico, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, CJ Wagner, Mike Martin, Dan Coughlin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David, Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the cozy confines of the Multi-Sport Facility.

The runners broke up into workout groups, some doing repeat 800s and some alternating 2 and 3 lappers in Lane 5, thus bracketing 500 meters. Depending on the volume (and the more you do, the better as the Nittany Half approaches), that can be a tough workout to get down! The swirling vortex that was generated on the infield indicated a successful workout.

We may have to do our annual Jingle Bell Track Workout in a few weeks not only with no snow, but without an outdoor track. I’ve been advised that we won’t be able to use it until Spring (and hopefully then: they’re still working out “rules of engagement” on the new track for non-PSU clubs like ours). So, for now, we’re outdoors until the swallows return to Capistrano.