Thursday Track Report: Trackbirds

October 27, 2016

The Snowbirds always make their way to Florida and Arizona when the weather turns cold up north. Likewise, the Trackbirds, largely absent when the weather was good, are coming indoors to the MSF now that Fall is getting more “autumnal”. When it was too nice out through late Summer and early Fall, runners skipped the indoor workout. (Our outdoor track venue, as you know, has been under construction). We’d get maybe 4 or 5 show up. Today, with temperatures in the 40s and a steady rain, there were 13 at the track: Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Mike Martin, Andy Maguire, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Ron Cunfer, Adam Ilgen, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur.

Most people were there for a pre-mOUnTaiNBACK tune-up. The faster bunch did sets of 3X300 to get their leg turnover going. Some others did a few longer reps, but not too many.

The weekend looks a little better: 70s on Saturday, but we may get a warm little rain on Sunday. Hopefully not too much. The outdoor track really looks “done” now. Lines painted. Construction guys looking over their handiwork. But it’s not open yet, and there are still No Trespassing signs all around the fencing. Hopefully we can use it soon. There were a few real Trackbirds sitting on the fence. A bunch of crows just waiting to christen the perfect new surface...

Thursday Track Report: The End of Indian Summer

October 20, 2016

As I sit here, I am experiencing the end of Indian Summer,…excuse me, Autochthonous American Summer. Wind. lightning, and a falling barometer all portend the major cool down coming over the weekend. Earlier, those portents were not present. It was warm, sunny, and humid. Since the outdoor track is not yet open, the Rec Hall Crew, for the most part, decided to do some outdoor running somewhere else rather than head to the stuffy MSF for an indoor workout. Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur workout out inside. Sam Thompson was there, too, prepping for his big 73rd birthday run.

Bwana gave a new workout today: 2X(2X400-2X200). With a 1+ lap rest between each rep, the reps should be run hard, and indeed they were.

Still no word on the “done date” for the outdoor track. Teri Jordan says the "rumored schedule" has been slipping all summer. The track itself looks done, though no lines are painted. Some of the construction trucks are no longer there. But the track is definitely not open yet. Indian Summer is over, but the snow has yet to fly, so there’s time for hope.

Thursday Track Report: Roughed Up

October 6, 2016

The weather is getting harder to judge: long-sleeve or short-sleeve? Tough to tell. Depends on what time of day you go for a run. At noon it was definitely up in the air. Cool, but a break in the fog was coming. Maybe. Hard to say. Anyway, Judd Michael, Marty Klanchar, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

Bwana gave a new variation on an old kind of workout. Sets of laps in lane 5 followed by the same sets in lane 6, trying to keep the same time-per-lap as you move out. This time it was 2-3-3 in lane 5, then 3-3-2 in lane 6. THat’s about 3500 meters, a little more than we usually do. Pretty rough if you haven’t kept up your training.

Speaking of rough, whereas the new surface on the Penn State track had looked like a giant calf’s tongue, smooth and slick and shiny, today it looked rough, more like a track, more like something you could get traction on. Not everywhere. It’s a work in progress, but they’re obviously scrubbing along. There’s hope we may get to christen it before Christmas!

Thursday Track Report: When I'm 64

October 13, 2016

Sparse crew again today, since the weather was nice and the outdoor track is not done yet. Costas Maranas, Mike Renz, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur did the workout, while Sam Thompson warmed up for his birthday run. Sam has been doing a birthday run for several decades now and will do a 3 miler on his 73rd birthday coming up soon. Birthday runs are a great tradition. They give you something to shoot for every year, though it’s best to stay away from traditions that add distance as you get older. Bwana knows of people who have run miles per year of age on their birthday into their 60s. Did someone say joint replacement? Bwana himself likes to do (more reasonable) furlongs per year of age, but that’ll be 8 miles when he’s 64. Doable, but for how much longer after that? And George Etzweiller (age 96) has publicly stated (so don’t be shocked) that he plans to die at the finish line of the run up Mt Washington when he turns 100. Sam’s got the right idea. Just be glad you’re running and do the same, reasonable amount every year.

Bwana was pretty reasonable today. He called the NX3X300 workout, an indoor standby. Run 300 meters at your mile race pace (or better). Rest until the 300 start line (just over 100 m), then go again, three times. That’s low recovery for those hard reps. Take an extra lap recovery between sets of 3, then do another set. And another, if you can. Keep it consistent, but work hard.

Speaking of working hard. the outfit putting in the new track must be getting paid by the hour, because they’re maximizing their hours, for sure. The “scuffing” of the track is done, so it looks like a track now and not a glistening lake of cinnamon lava. No lines yet. Not making any promises, but the day it’s done slowly gets closer.

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….