Thursday Track Report: Sturm und Drang

January 21, 2016

It was the day before this year’s Storm of the Century, and it was kind of cold and cloudy. Bob Cornwall, John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd and Davis Michael, Lance Bland, Marty Klanchar, Ron Cunfer, CJ Wagner, John Wilcock, Mark Lee, Mark Fedkin, Joel Niemann, Kim Nelson, Jo Ohm, Andy Maguire, Mike Renz, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Tony Kwasnica, Seth Senior, Ryan and Callie Burke, Dan Coughlin, Matt Soroka, Patrick Krispen, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur made it to the track. Huge crowd! Almost as big as the crowds at Wegmans stocking up on bread, eggs, and beer. Were people trying to get in a good workout before getting snowed in? In reality, we’re probably not going to get much snow. But Philly and DC are, and the people in Wegman’s had that look, like they come from a place where 4 inches of snow causes mass panic.

Bwana thought of giving the “Long Version” of last week’s pace workout for the mile. That 2-3-3-2 was the Lite Version of 3-4-4-3 (laps), a great pace workout for the mile race, and doubled up and slowed down, a great volume workout for longer races. But this workout gets harder as you go. Bwana decided to give just as long a workout (actually longer), but with increasing hope (and pace) as the run progresses. Today, we did 5-4-3-2-1 laps in lane 6. Start at 5K race pace for the 5 lapper. Increase pace with each decline in lap number. The 3 lapper should be a little faster than mile race pace, and the 1 lapper should be your kick pace (if you have a kick) for the last lap of the mile.

Not everybody did the workout as prescribed. It’s OK to tailor things to your needs. Adam “Hill-gen” came in for a few laps visit, but he’d already done a hill repeat workout on his own. Next week Friday is the Indoor Mile Meet #3, so the workout (for those doing the mile) will be just enough to stretch the legs. Everybody else? Back to work!

Thursday Track Report: All About The Pace

January 14, 2016

Winter came and went at a good clip over the last week. We went from warm last Thursday (warm enough for an outdoor workout in comfort) to “wintry mix” to brutal, then back to not so bad today. It was sunny and mild (in the high 30s) as Bob Cornwall, Tom Cali, Judd and Davis Michael, Lance Bland, Michael Goldfine, John Sheakoski, CJ Wagner, John Wilcock, Mark Lee, Andrew Maguire, Mike Renz, Jim Laudermilch, Mike Zimmerman, Kim Nelson, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Ryan and Callie Burke, Patrick Krispin, Rob Peterson, Alex Wouden, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, newcomer Matt Soroka, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

Last week there was some discussion of pace and the concept of pushing it over emails after last week’s workout. Bwana doesn’t care what your pace is, as long as you’re pushing it. Kim Nelson wants to do just that. She’s an ultramarathon trail runner, but says she hangs out too much with “hikers” (nominal runners at the races she goes to who pretty much walk the whole thing). I’ve seen these people. Doing the Rothrock Challenege with dual walking sticks, enough water to drown a dromedary, saddlebags full or trail mix, mess kits, overnight packs…you name it. But Kim’s entered a race with a time cutoff, so she’ll have to abandon the birdwatching crew and get some turnover under her. She doesn’t need much, and luckily it’s something you can train yourself to do on the track a little at a time. Kim did laps of pick-ups to get the training going. Most of the rest of us were also trying to train the old neurons to a pace. Mile pace. Whatever that pace is, whatever your goal is at the Indoor Mile Series, it pays to train at that pace for some shorter reps. Today’s workout: 2-3-3-2 at mile pace. (It’s an easier version of the killer 3-4-4-3). Run 2 laps in lane 5 at race pace. After a slow lap rest, do 3 laps at the same time per lap. More distance at the same pace. Then move it out to lane 6 and do 3 laps at the same time per lap. More distance and faster pace. Finish it off with 2 laps in lane 6 as fast as you can do them. That would be your mile kick, if you’ve still got one!

Bwana backed off on the volume because of the Indoor Mile race on Saturday. Of course, people could always do more. Next week’s workout will be up to full volume since it’s a “bye week” for the Indoor Mile Series. And we’ll keep the pace strong!

Thursday Track Report: Spring Into Christmas

December 17, 2015

We’ve had the weather of just about every month this December, excepting the weather of July, August, January, February, and…December, Today it was April, drab, rainy, and mild, as John Domico, Bob Cornwall, Tom Cali, Marty Klanchar, Mark Fedkin, Esther Prins, John Wilcock, Michael Goldfine, Andy Maguire, Mike Renz, CJ Wagner, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Dana Todd, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur for the track for the annual Jingle Bell Workout.

The Jingle Bell Workout has a lot of little traditions to it that have built up over the years. The Crew, decked out in Holiday attire, runs to the track from Rec Hall, then does a “Look Back” on the current year by running a lap backwards. It seems a lot longer than it is, and is actually quite therapeutic. Back at the starting line, we dash into the new year by running a lap in the forward direction. This feels really weird after the backward lap. After a photo op, it’s off to terrorize downtown. First we pay homage to Hill Queens past and present by running up and down the mountainous East Hall Steps (AKA the Meira Steps). Trail/Hill Queen Meira couldn’t make it today and she’s the only one who can sprint down the steps full throttle. Then we head up College Avenue and make the left at Allen St to visit Terry Losch at Rapid Transit Sports. The guys at RTS were in a good mood today. Next, we head up to Beaver and Allen and see if we can leave Kitchen Kaboodle the way we found it. Jeannie Klanchar knew we were coming so took the day off, but we gave the owner of KK minor heart palpitations as we blundered through her store. Finally, we headed to the Beaver parking garage for another spiral hill workout. At the top, there’s a great view of downtown and Mt. Nittany, perfect for another photo op.

Merry Christmas, to all, and Happy New Year. The next time we meet, on January 7, it’ll be the Shake Off The Cookie Crumbs And Get Ready For Indoor Mile Season Workout. (I’ll have to think of a shorter name for that one.)

Read more: Thursday Track Report: Spring Into Christmas

Thursday Track Report: What An Embarrassing Situation!

January 7, 2016

It was one embarrassment after another today. First, an embarrassment of sunshine and cold, but fair weather greeted Jim Myers, Bob Cornwall, John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd and Davis Michael, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Marty Klanchar, CJ Wagner, John Wilcock, Mark Lee, Mike Renz, Mike Zimmerman, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Seth Senior, Dana Todd, Jim Laudermilch, Dean Capone, Torrie Raisch, newcomer Dan Coughlin, Joel Niemann, Aaron Henrichson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur as they headed to the track. But which track? That was part of the embarrassment. Bwana had misread an email from Coach Gondak regarding the availability of the indoor track for workouts. We were to go to the outdoor track (which has been locked in anticipation of the coming construction of a new track). Coach G had gotten us a one-time pass to use it. After the embarrassment of barging in to the coach’s indoor Christmas break team workout, the Crew headed outside.

Thankfully, it was quite mild, with no wind (really unusual for January), since at least a few of the Crew were underdressed for outdoors. Another embarrassment hit Bwana: apparently everybody thinks he’s a big softie nowadays, and almost his entire Crew has gone soft themselves. Bwana called for the NX3X300 benchmark workout. Now everybody knows that N is taken to be, at minimum, except for the injured, infirm, or pregnant, N=3. But, Bwana said that people could do N=2 if they wanted. In days past, that would have been known to apply only to those in the aforementioned categories. Well, not no more, apparently. So, to his embarrassment, Bwana saw quite a few Trackers, even old-timers, packing it in after 2 sets. Well, just to let you all know, to your hoped-for embarrassment, one of those who did not pack it in and did N=3 at a torrid pace, was Torrie Raisch. (Hell, she ran a torrid, sub-6 pace on the way TO the track!) Why should you be embarrassed? Because Torrie, the only gal who showed up today, is 4 months pregnant with her 4th child. Torrie is hard-core. She’s one of the fastest gals in our crew, and also was one of only 3 who wore only (very short) shorts and a T-shirt in the 32 degree weather. But the T-shirt gave her away, riding up a little on her just slightly distended belly. Torrie joins a long list of female Crew members going back to the 90s who, while pregnant, can KICK YOUR ASS.

Well, Bwana’s sick and embarrassed of being thought of as a softie. No more Mr. Nice Guy! Next week, in honor of Torrie’s torridity, we’ll do our benchmark workout of NX3X300 with N=4!

Thursday Track Report: Indian Summer Christmas

December 10, 2015

Bwana defines “Indian Summer” as a period of warm weather after the first hard frost. This usually occurs in October around here. Bwana’s not sure when the first spell of Indian Summer happened this year. Maybe November. But one thing’s for sure. We haven’t had anything resembling Winter yet. No measurable snow. No sub-20 temperatures like we’d already had before Thanksgiving last year. But, sticking with this year, we had a cold, dense fog for the Nittany Valley Half-Marathon on Sunday. With temperatures in the high 20s, the fog left a beautiful hoarfrost that hung around until the afternoon. As the week has progressed, the morning fog has gotten even thicker, but the temperatures have gotten warmer. And on Thursday, it was shirtsleeve weather as Jim Myers, Bob Cornwall, Lance Bland, Judd and Davis Michael, Marty Klanchar, Ron Cunfer, Ken Davis, Randy Jepson, Meira Minard, Joel Niemann, Andy Maguire, Mike Renz, Rob Peterson, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, Dana Todd, Jim Laudermilch, Aaron Henrichson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. If not summertime temperatures, it sure felt like it, qualifying Thursday for an Indian Summer day in December.

Training is winding down for the year, but attendance at the track was surprisingly good. Bwana took the Indian Summer theme and had everyone run with it. The workout? 2 Mile Indians. Break up into pace groups, with each group forming a line, and run 8 laps (faster groups in outer lanes, so they get to run farther, too). The last person in line, in turn, runs hard to the front, then continues at the group pace. Each pace group should be doing their tempo training pace, or maybe a little slower, but the interspersed sprints make the workout pretty tough..

Next Thursday is our annual Jingle Bell Workout. Meet at Rec Hall for a jog to the track (you can meet us there), an easy, goofy “workout”, then a run through downtown. Pace will depend on who shows up, but tends to be accommodating. Wear Holiday attire, and if you’re really bold you can try to outdo Mike Renz, who really gets decked out.