Sunday, February 14, 2016

It Was A Hot Time In LA Yesterday

A warm weather marathon can be miserable.  And a first marathon is almost always a miserable experience. My very first came the day after the State HS XC meet and I was totally untrained and tired.  My great 20 mile run in 2:25 pace was spoiled by my 2:56 finish! 

Four Nittany Lions and a Group Friend ran the Olympic Trials Marathon  (and Women HERE) yesterday through the streets of Los Angeles. Four loops with sharp turns and a substantial number of first-timers in the race made this a unique race.

Both Tyler McCandless and Nick Hilton failed to finish in the heat and both were near the front more than half-way through.  Tyler went for broke and led for 6 or 7 miles and reported being chilled despite no longer sweating after 20 miles. At least 61 men dropped out!

Matt Fischer, in what I think was his first marathon, finished first for the Lion contingent in 2:25:34 in 43rd place.

Kyle Dawson, also in his first foray into the event, finished in 2:37:36 in 89th place.

The top Lion was Elizabeth Herndon who finished in 2:45:32 and in 40th place. She has earned another post-race beer!

The television coverage of the event was poor, the streaming options abysmal and the difficulty of getting full results from the USATF nearly impossible.  Still, any 4 from our group with a keg of beer could run things better and with more fairness. And with the continued antagonism (whether warranted or not) by 4th place finisher Kara Goucher to Nike Inc., maybe we haven't heard the last of this race.

"Breakthroughs don't happen without taking a risk. Today I took a risk but a breakthrough didn't happen. I dropped out at mile 20 when I felt I had chills but wasn't sweating anymore. The marathon is humbling, but the incredible support from friends and family is more humbling. Thank you all and I'll be back and striding towards new goals again soon."  -Tyler McCandless.

Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials

Three Four former Nittany Lions will be lacing em up tomorrow at the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials

Name              Affiliation     Status     Decalation
Kyle Dawson                      qualified   declared
Matt FischerBoston Athletic Associationqualifieddeclared
Tyler McCandless Boulder Harriers qualified declared
Complete entry list .

The men's and woman's races will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. If you are like me and want to watch multiple sports at once you can stream the event online via NBC Sports Live Extra (the Live Extra app required to watch on a mobile device).

Another great way to follow the entire Trials experience is to check in on the Tyler McCandless social media empire. Which should be in full force over the weekend.

Edit: Elizabeth Herndon is a declared entrant in the women's race. Competing for Cleveland Elite Development.

So Does This Mean Time Travel Is Possible?

This news is deemed more important than even the "discovery" of the Higgs Boson by many Physicists.  And the news is that Albert Einstein is even smarter than he thought!

With the discovery of the first ever evidence of gravitational waves recently, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was further confirmed.  Even Albert himself was hesitant to support the existence of them even though his own Theory predicted them.  Double-crossed by himself!

The evidence and the extreme engineering, computations and effort to find them is truly a remarkable tale. It is summed up well in this Salon article, especially for us Physics-challenged peons.

I hope to hear from our Group's Physics advisers about what this means for the Quantum Theory, String Theory and Dr. Brown's DeLorean.

Update:  I asked Ron Moore how this affects quantum physics, if at all? (General Relativity and Quantum Physics cannot be merged.  The Universal Theory still eludes us. And String Theory laughs at all of us!)

Ron Moore
If you mean "Do we now have a complete quantum field theory of everything?", the answer is no. It's another beautiful confirmation of general relativity - extremely strong gravity, but not on tiny (Planck-length) distance scales where quantum gravity effects become important. Nevertheless, making the first *direct* observation of gravitational waves is Nobel-worthy. One can make a limit on the graviton mass (the quantum particle of gravity, akin to the photon for electromagnetism), and they do it in the paper, but it doesn't improve on limits from other indirect means.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What Do You Call Someone From Maine?

A Maine-iac, a Maine-ian, A Maine-an...    (I looked it up after I thought about it a bit AND I was right!)

According to our research engine:
People from Maine may be properly called the following term(s):
Down Easter or Downeaster
Pine Tree

But the real answer is, of course, FAST.

Brannon Kidder and Isaiah Harris.

Penn State Freshman Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) joined Brannon Kidder in the top 5 in the NCAA this year in the 800M this past week on the Ashenfelter oval.  Middle distance running in America is doing fine.

And my quest to collate and analyze 800M training through the decades continues.  The newest class of interns hasn't arrived and they already have a Spring Break looming, so it will take time.  But I think I have the 60's, 70's and 80's covered.  I would love to hear from some 800M guys from the 90's and 00's! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A College Team With 4 Runners Under 3:59 For The Mile!

With 4 runners from Georgetown under 3:59 in the mile last week, that makes a team with 4 runners under the "magic mark" in the same race.  A rather incredible feat.  And I really hope they continue to perform all the way through the indoor and outdoor season.  Will we see an attempt at the Collegiate 4 x Mile at Penn (which race is being run this year?) or maybe even an attempt at the WR??? (Cumulative 15:52.4)

Ahmed Bile leads.

World Record:
4 x Mile+ 15:49.08 Ireland Dublin, Ireland 8/17/85
(Eamonn Coghlan 4:00.2, Marcus O’Sullivan 3:55.3,
Frank O’Mara 3:56.6, Ray Flynn 3:56.98)

Collegiate Record:  

 [America CR 16:15.14  Oregon  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  4/24/10
(Mac Fleet 4:03.3, Michael Maag 4:04.1,
A.J. Acosta 4:02.5, Matthew Centrowitz 4:05.2)]

4 x Mile+ 16:03.24 Oregon Eugene, Oregon 5/09/09
(Matthew Centrowitz 3:59.53, Andrew Wheating 3:59.60,
Shadrack Biwott' 4:05.20, Galen Rupp 3:58.91)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The King, The Prince And The Jester

Coach Groves (King)  and Greg Fredericks (Prince) at the PSU National. Photo by Jim McClelland.

I missed the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup and the Coaches Reception yesterday because I volunteered for a lobotomy-like Podiatry Conference to obtain 30 hours of continuing medical education credits. I still am in a haze and may not even watch the game today.

It seems that everyone else was there for the festivities and had a wonderful time.  Le faucon d'orange Mark Hawkins even jumped into the open 3000M on Friday.  The good news is we are finally having another Alumni Singlet Sale (2 weeks only!!!) Click on the link and fill out the form NOW.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Groves Watch List Has Always Meant More To Me

Brannon Kidder has become the first Penn State athlete to be named to the Bowerman Watch List.  That's the track and field equivalent of the Heisman.  (But without the television show and millions of dollars!)

But when I saw Brannon's 800M victory at the Penn State National,  Coach Groves indicated that Brannon Kidder was at the top of his Watch List. And to paraphrase Coach and his view of Mike Sands vs. a potential American Relay Record,  "I'd rather be at the top of Coach Groves' list than any Bowerman List!"

Congrats to Brannon for making BOTH lists.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Association of Amalgamated Curmudgeons Meeting Has Me Trapped Like A Rat

Actually I am attending an All-encompassing CME Podiatry Conference at the Philadelphia Airport for the next 4 days.  I will try to post when I can and we may even get some updates from those attending the Sykes and Sabock Meet and the Coaches Reception.

Here's my dog Spott already missing me and a surreptitious view of some other Curmudgeons.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Can I Piece Together 800M Training Through The Decades?

I at least have a start.  With Phil Passen's impetus, we have learned a little about Yevgeni Arzhanov's training for the 800M back in the early 70's.  I spoke with Steve Shisler at the Penn State National who will be able to give us an inkling of his training in the early to mid 80's and his coaching of his current high school athletes.  George Brose has a treasure trove of records from the 4 x 880Y record holders from Oklahoma State in the 60's.  And I can contact several recent PSU grads to ascertain more recent training methods. Anyone with any records or remembrances can contact me for additional input.

I figure this will be a long term product project much like the Greatest PSU Women Cross Country Runners of All-Time late last year!  But I plodded on until it was complete.  With my new set of Interns, we should be able to complete this new task easily.

At my first glance, the training throughout the years is really consistent.  Much more so than distance running as a whole.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I Never Bother To Try To Take PSU XC/Track Photos Anymore

When I attend XC of Track events at PSU, I hardly ever take any pictures of the action anymore.  There are so many people much better at it than I am.

One of those is Jim McClelland, father of Mike McClelland.  I briefly saw both of them at the Penn State National.  Mike is getting ready for his last outdoor season.  Remember he will be returning the Golden Putter at this year's Reunion in May!

Here's a sample of Jim's work.  PSU had 4 Women pole vaulters over 13' 1" at the meet this past weekend! This is Kasey Kemp's PR!

Think On Photography: Penn State Nationals 2016 &emdash; Kasey Kemp PR 1

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Very Good Day At The Penn State National

I had the pleasure to spend a long amount of time with some of my favorite people yesterday at the Penn State National Indoor Meet.  Having to be dropped off nearly an hour early for the meet so the girls could attend the PSU Student Housing  Expo at the HUB, I was pleased to see that Greg Fredericks brought Coach Groves early too!

I had the pleasure to speak with Coach and Greg for an extended time.  It is wonderful to see that Coach is happy in his new residence, relates the food as "good" and only occasionally gets into trouble.  About exactly as any of us would figure.

Greg also delivered the raw materials that will become the ultimate PSU Track Alum Annual Award at our Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney weekend.  Coach Bill Whittaker is commended for donating the item for our cause.  You all will enjoy the item's unveiling at the next Awards Dinner.

I also got to talk to Steve Shisler. whose son Alex Shisler finished 3rd in the 400M Invitational!  Beth Shisler could not be there, as she had traveled "for work".  That same excuse becomes mine next week when I miss the Sykes and Sabock Challenge and Coaches Reception.  I will be at the meeting of the Association of Miserable Curmudgeons while the rest of you enjoy yourselves.

Tim Backenstose made a surprise appearance and got to see a very fine 800M with Brannon Kidder and 3 other top NCAA finalists duke it out on the Ashenfelter Oval.  Brannon topped them all with a 1:47.01 time, near the top of this year's qualifying marks.  We both also witnessed a school record 1-Mile by Tori Gerlach with a 4:37.83, eclipsing Bridget Franek's previous record.

But my favorite part of the day was convincing the energetic dynamo Billy Francis Cvecko to become a contributor to the blog!  With his criss-crossing of the Continent and his millions of friends, he can't help but be a boon to our efforts. He isn't our Undersecretary of Fun for nothing!

I always thought there was a chance that Billy WAS the Lion until I finally saw them both in the same room.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Coach Groves Is Early For The Penn State National

Coach Groves and I showed up early for today's big indoor festivities.  He was thrilled with yesterday's PSU victory in the Mens DMR. It was the 4th fastest in NCAA history.

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