Thursday Track Report: Topsy-Turvy

June 9, 2016

What a topsy-turvy Spring! Just before astronomical Summer is supposed to officially arrive, we got a taste of late-Summer misery and humidity for last weekend’s races. And now, April weather has returned with cool breezy days interspersed with rain. Still, it was nice and sunny (though mild and windy) as Lance Bland, Judd Michael, Marty Klanchar, Costas Maranas, Charlie Vassey, Jonathan Rice, Rich Harter, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

Bwana took advantage of the cool weather by calling for long reps. A downward ladder with some high yardage reps that we usually avoid during the Summer swelter: 1200-1000-800. Start the 1200 at 10K race pace moving to 5K race pace by the last lap. Take a 600 meter jogging rest, then do a 1K at 5K pace. Then, after a lap’s rest, do the 800 with your 5K to race kick pace, if you can manage it.
The same Rec Hallers, including Tom Cali, Mike Martin, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, CJ Wagner, Alex Wouden, and a few others, who last week claimed they don’t need speed work at certain times of the year, dropped by for an obligatory lap and perfunctory howdy. I don’t know how that regimen is working out for them. It looked like a few of them have forgotten which direction to run, not only on the track, but in terms of body orientation. CJ needs a lesson in tying his shoes, almost going ass-over-tea-kettle on a 50 yard run as Bob Shafer beat him running backwards. Maybe they’ll get it together by the time they show up at the track again, though I have my doubts…

I’ll let you know if/when we move to the high school track as things develop at the PSU track.


Thursday Track Report: Remedial Running

June 2, 2016

Today was the annual Special Olympics track workout. NVRC Special Agent Dave Eggler, who helps run the Track and Field part of the show, gives us the OK to do our workout as the athletes are arriving for opening ceremonies. It was drab, humid, and drizzly as Jim Myers, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Alex Wouden, Rob Shaver, Dana Todd, Jonathan Rice, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur showed up at the track. Tom Cali, John Domico, CJ Wagner, Mike Zimmerman, Mike Martin, Dean Capone, and Seth Senior were also there, but just to check the track box. “We’re not training for anything that needs speedwork right now!” was how the’ve put it the last couple of weeks, which has to be the lamest excuse in Bwana’s Giant Book of Excuses for Missing Track. So, why don’t you just take completely off of running those times of year when you have no race on the horizon? To ask that question is to answer it, and the same goes for speedwork. But who ever said runners were smart?

Bwana had similar problems with those who stayed for the track workout. It’s like the first day of school when you have to explain everything twice, including where homeroom is. The workout was not too hard to get your head around, but “remedial common sense” was the order of the day. The workout was 4X600 with an interesting way of doing them. Each 600 is broken up into 3 200s, straight with no breaks. The first 200 is done at a slow, 10K-1/2 Marathon race pace. It almost feels too slow. The second 200 pick it up 5K+ race pace (a good 4-5 seconds faster for the 200). The last 200 is kick pace with a hard finish. See if you can gain another 3-5 seconds. You’re really feeling it at the end, but the whole experience makes repeat 600s go a little faster because you’re not dreading the start of each rep. Take a slow 400 jog between reps.

When Special Olympics packs up, we may be without the use of the PSU outdoor track again. I’ll try to find out and let you know. We may move to the High School track.

Thursday Track Report: Can We Go Outside And Play Now?

May 19, 2016

It was pretty nice out, with sunny skies and warm temperatures (unusual so far this month!) and low and behold Jim Myers, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Judd Michael, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur found that the PSU outdoor track was open! A big change from the last few weeks. The spotty availability of the outdoor track has been killing Thursday Track the last couple of months. Everybody is grateful to have the MSF indoor track available to us when it’s cold and blowing out, but who wants to run indoors once April hits?

Costas was punishing himself with repeat 1/2-miles, so the rest of the group decided to join in. Bwana called out 4X-1/2 Mile. That’s where you run in the very outside lane, and use the funny secret Imperial Unit markings to gauge. A half-mile is just under 1-3/4 laps in that lane. Bwana prescribed a VERY short rest, back to the starting line (a little over 100 meters). So run your half-miles at a slow 5K pace and take your time on a really slow jog to the start of the next one.

Marty Klanchar has been trying to get more information about future availability of the outdoor track. We know there’ll be construction of a new track soon, but we’re hoping to be able to use it on a more predictable schedule until that happens (and after!). Stay tuned.

Thursday Track Report: Total Consciousness

May 26, 2016

It was the first “hot” day of the year, appropriately occurring just before the Memorial Day weekend ushers in the start of Summer. Jim Myers, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Mike Casper, Alex Wouden, Mike Martin, Callie Burke, Joel Niemann, Rich Harter, David Lloyd, newcomer Jonathan Rice, and Marty Mazur headed to the track under hazy skies. Costas Maranas got his workout in early and was finishing just as Bwana pulled up. Some time Tracker Richard Weyer was doing his own workout in the outside lane, and Mike Zimmerman, Dean Capone, Meira Minard, and Bob Shafer made a perfunctory pass by the track, but could not be convinced that it was an ideal day for a workout, probably because it was an ideal day for Zimmerman’s birthday and that group was just trying to find a dunk tank for him. Bwana suggested the feed troughs at the pig farm across the street, but that just never washes out. Never.

Jonathan is a student from South Carolina who is taking summer classes at Penn State. He’s more than used to the heat, and the workout pace, since he’s on the track team at Wofford College. Bwana gave a pretty tough, but compact workout to start the season’s heat acclimation: the Mini-Frontloader - 2 X (800-200-200-200). Run the 800 at 5K race pace, then after just 100 m jogging rest hit 3X200 at 5K kick pace (if you can) with just 100 m rest between. It’s basically a couple of 1400 m runs with short rests breaking them up. You should be still recovering from the 800 as you work your way through the 200s. Not a bad way to start the Summer!

Who’s doing the Memorial Day Weekend Double? That is, running the Black Mo 10K (or 5K) on Saturday, then the Boalsburg 3.8 Miler on Monday? If you do, then "Gunga Lagunga": Bwana hereby grants you Total Conscious on your deathbed. So you’ll have that going for you. If not, run at least one of the races. And enjoy your burgers and beer. Stay safe in your travels. And we’ll get back to training for Arts Fest Weather when we resume.

By the way, we’ll definitely be on the outdoor track next week because we’ll be warming up the track for Special Olympics participants. After that, who knows? There may be bulldozers ripping up the old track right away to get ready for a new track. If so, we may move to the high school track, because by then the kids will be done.

Thursday Track Report: Inside Looking Out

May 12, 2016

It was sunny and warm today, quite a break from the last few weeks. Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Marty Klanchar, Mike Casper, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Callie Burke, Joel Niemann, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. It’s starting to look like we’re being relegated to the indoor track. The outdoor track has been shackled shut for a few weeks. On a nice day like today, a good portion of the Rec Hall crew took a look at the options and went on running in the sun. Bwana took the remainder indoors for a bit more structured workout.

Today’s track adventure came from California, Berkeley to be precise, via FloTrack’s Wednesday Workout feature. Tony Sandoval coaches Cal’s women’s middle distance runners and had them on a “Date Pace” workout. It’s a workout for the meet portion of the training season, where the ladies are put through a race pace workout of 3X300 followed by 400-800-300 at race pace, and then a hard 200 at “kick pace”. The gals run their workouts a good deal faster than us. Their 1500 meter race pace is, after all, close to 4 minutes. Bwana’s take was 3X300, followed (after a short rest) by 4 laps in lane 5 (~900m), 2 laps (~450m), 1 lap (~225m) all at mile race pace with short rests between. This workout has options for higher volume: Do the whole thing twice, or repeat either the 3X300 or the descending ladder.

After the workout, Bwana ran into Sam Thompson, who promises to join our indoor crew as his schedule frees up, and Jo Ohm, who’s always been “outdoorsy”. It’s going to be a long summer indoors. We’ll try to do some workouts at the SCASD High School track after their school year is over. Keep an eye on the track emails.