Thursday Track Report: Abandoned!

April 12, 2018

It was an actual nice, mild, Spring day with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s (climbing eventually to the 70s later in the day). A great day for the first official outdoor track workout of the season. So where was everybody? Last week, we had 15 people show up for an indoor workout. This week, only Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur showed up at the IM Fields. Did Bwana not give a clear enough message last week about the change of venue? He hopes no one went to the MSF Indoor Track instead. Were people tapering for a coming Marathon? Only a few of the Crew are heading for Boston this weekend. Where’d everybody else go?

The IM Fields are in pretty good shape. The turf is firming up. No winter mud. The groundskeepers are aerating the soil in some spots, but that did not present a problem. They’re still in the process of repainting the lines for the coming year, but the faint remains of last year’s lines were enough of a guide. Bwana gave the NXU workout. The “U” is three sides of the rectangle that makes up the border of the IM Fields. (Two long sides and one short.) That distance is about 700 meters. Run each repetition at close to mile race pace. For a rest, do a loop of the perimeter of a smaller rectangle on the fields (plus an edge to get you back to the start), about a quarter mile. Do that N times. Today the Crew (or Trio) did N=4.

Good luck to all who are going to run the Boston Marathon on Monday. Hopefully, they’ll have some great stories to tell next Thursday…at the IM Fields!

Thursday Track Report: January 95th

January 95th, 2018

Winter’s still hanging on. Between 4 inches of wet thunder snow on Monday and high winds and squalls on Wednesday, and an overall not-improving forecast, today felt kind of like January 95th. No IM Fields yet. John Domico, Tom Cali, Cheryl Capone, Meira Minard, Bob Shafer, Joel Niemann, Andy Maguire, Jaimie Wright, Mike Martin, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the MSF Indoor Track under blustery, mid-30s conditions.

The FYGGs were going to do a challenging 3 miles of speedwork today: 4X(800-400) at Pushin’ It Pace. The SPOVAs weren’t taking it easy either: 6X400 at mile race pace. Half the volume of the FYGGS, but twice the quality, so we’re even. Welcome back Cheryl Capone! Over the last few years, Cheryl has battled injuries, healed, gotten stronger, and is now ready for the challenges of speedwork. Today she ran the “slow guys” workout, but a lot faster than slow. Nice comeback!

Next week we’ll be seeing the Boston Marathoners off. As this run is done on the third Monday of April, we’re hoping that it actually feels that way by next Thursday. Can we get some temperatures in the 50s? Keep an eye on the Calendar and the listserve. Hopefully, by next Tuesday, we can confirm that next week’s workout will finally be…OUTDOORS!

Thursday Track Report: Veni, Vidi, Vici

March 15, 2018

The Ides of March. The time to settle debts. And Winter still thinks it owes us, so it was cold and windy as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Michael Goldfine, Joel Niemann, Jim Laudermilch, Andy Maguire, Bob Shafer, Dan Coughlin, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, Logan Madill, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

Seeing Bwana wearing green, the Trackers looked forward to a St. Patrick’s Day themed workout. Bwana may have been wearing green, but he was seeing red. So the theme revolved around a guy who was stabbed to death by some of his closest “friends” back about 2061 years ago. Bwana gave three choices, the same number as the number of parts Gaul was divided into, according to Caesar in his military travelog. You could run 3 by 1500 to mark the Ides of March, 3/15 (though in Roman times, March was the first month of the year); you could run 4X1100=4400 meters to commemorate the year of Caesar’s death (44 BC); or you could go easy on yourself and run 8X200 (Et Tu, Brute?). Of course, the fast crowd did none of the above, but a pyramid of about 3600 meters, though Bob Shafer added a bonus 800 to top it off at 4400. However you went, it was a painful workout, though probably not as painful as dying of 23 stab wounds.

Next week, we’ll have to move our workout to the IM Fields due to the NCAA fencing championships being held at the MSF. Hopefully, Spring will have arrived in name and truth by then. The following week, we'll be back at the MSF for the Marathoners For Medicine photo shoot. After that, if the weather holds up, we’ll be outdoors again until next winter!

Thursday Track Report: Yasso-ree

March 29, 2018

It was a drab, drizzly, but mild morning as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Tara Murray, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Ken Knappenberger, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the MSF indoor track. A good day to be indoors. It was a drab, drizzly, but mild morning as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Tara Murray, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Ken Knappenberger, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the MSF indoor track. A good day to be indoors. 

The Marathoners for Medicine team, which included some of the aforementioned Track Crew members and others, was there for their annual media day. M4M organizer Jaimie Wright had gathered together most of this year’s Honorary Coaches: former Penn State running star and 1980 Olympian Greg Fredericks, Fumi Franklin, and Jen Rahne were all on hand (Sue Paterno could not make it today). Also present were photographers and members of the local media, and most of this year’s M4Mers. After interviewing some of the runners and herding the runners together for the group photo shoot, it was time for the cameras to gather some “action footage”, which meant covering some of this week's workout. We’ll see how much of it ends up on the evening news…

The Fast Young Guys and Gals did a set of Yasso 800s: 800 meter runs at marathon pace (so, fairly slow), but with very low recovery (about a minute). Keep it consistent so you can get through the volume (nominally 10, but nobody had time for that after the media extravaganza). Bwana led a few of the other runners on our old default first workout of spring. In the days before we had an indoor track and so took most of the time between October and late March off from speed work, we would return to the track and do 400-800-800-400 at a good clip, and with more rest that the Yasso regimen, just to see where we were. Usually disappointing back then, but now, since we work out all winter, not so bad.

Next week, if all goes well, we’ll be outdoors at the IM Fields. We’ll be there until State High is out for the summer.

Thursday Track Report: No Substitute

March 8, 2018

The Thursday of Spring Break has become “iffy” for track workouts in recent years. The MSF has been the venue for an archery competition the last few years during the break. There’s nothing that will put a damper on a good workout like an errant arrow in our left butt cheek. The reserved indoor track, coupled with our loss of the use of the PSU outdoor track, the lock-down of Rec Hall but for paying customers, and the still-wintry weather, made us wish we could sprout wings and head for Florida. Tom Cali, John Domico, Bob Cornwall, Mike Weyandt, Meira Minard, Andy Maguire, Dean Capone, Mike Martin, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for our new outdoor venue, the IM Fields under clear skies, though with a cold wind coming from the north, thinking we might make an early try of it there.

That cold wind made us all decide pretty quickly to just take a break from speed work this week. So we headed past the services buildings and down Big Hollow Road to Four Hills. Should we do another “Hill Repeat” day? Nah, lets just go for a jog. Bwana hasn’t been up or down Four Hills in several years and so was surprised to see all the new service buildings that have gone up recently. Bwana and Dave fell behind the main group, which ran up Rocky Top Lane probably to take the long way back to campus by way of Overlook Heights and the bike path back to Sunset Park. Bwana and Dave took the Toftrees Trail to the little dirt road that heads back to near the top of Four Hills and back to the IM Fields, a shorter run.

We’ll be back at the MSF next week unless there’s a big movement in the weather toward real Spring by next week.