Thursday, October 30, 2014

Coach Groves Continues to Improve

Word has filtered out that Coach Groves made another step toward getting fully back on his feet today, as he now is out of the 24/7 control of attentive nurses. Now they are there only if he needs them. So everyone so inclined, say a prayer for him and his munificent overseers Greg and Gunny.  Here's hoping Coach will soon be able to kick all of our a$$es as necessary again.

And it's good to know that the Team and Program have his back too, as evidenced by this huge get well card.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Be Careful With Those Drones


"Operators who fly drones or model planes near or over large sports stadiums and auto racetracks are breaking the law and can be fined and imprisoned for up to a year, the Federal Aviation Administration warned in a notice posted on the agency's website.

The notice marks the first time the FAA has sought to criminalize the use of drones and model planes, attorneys representing drone users said............"

No word on whether those flying drones at cross country meets with be subject to harassment from authorities. I certainly hope not because you can't beat the view of the race they provide.

Bob Kennedy Is Back Baby!

Well, sorta kinda anyway.

Bob Kennedy, 5000 M Olympic Trial Champion 1996.

I can relate to his story.  I'll bet there are a lot of stories just like it.  Except he was at the top of the heap when he ran his final race. On pace for a 2:10 marathon at the halfway mark, and then  POOF, it was gone.  He didn't run again for 5 years.  And then it was just sporadically.  He was over 200 lbs at one point, big even for a rather big elite runner.  And now he's back,  entered in the NYC Marathon.  He thinks he'll run in the 3:20 to 3:30 range, which isn't bad for a 44 year old.  I had the same goal in my last race at age 37.  (I didn't make it.  I blame PEDs like echinacea and creatine and not general suckiness! hee hee hee)

Well, Bob, welcome to the fold.  Glad you could join us. Hobby jogging ain't half bad, no matter what the haters say.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Now Physicists Are Even Crowding Us Podiatrists

I never argue with patients.  Well, almost never.  In the thousands of times a patient has admonished me for "not cutting their nails straight across" I've held my tongue with the knowledge that the consumer is always right, even when they are spectacularly wrong.   I do the same when confronted by women with all sorts of overuse injuries at the end of every summer refusing to believe that their "good" flip-flops could possibly be the cause.  Or that the 6:1 ratio of bunionectomies in women:men isn't due to "good" women's shoes. (Not the cause of the bunion, just the cause of the need of a surgical fix, mind you.)

Well, now I have a formula to throw back at those with ingrown toenails, developed by physicists, to explain the cause of them.  Not that it matters in the slightest.  I still have to fix them.  And no patient ever believes what a doctor tells them anyway, be it a podiatrist or a Physicist!

Monday, October 27, 2014

World Speed Golf

The World SpeedGolf Chapionship concluded over the weekend. This year's event featured Olympian Nick Willis who placed 17th after leading on day 1. More info on the event here

I still say we should incorporate this into Alumni Weekend. It may be the only way I won't embarrass myself on the golf course.

In other news here's the deer that made its way into the Days Inn Penn State early Friday morning. Unfortunately they failed tranquilize the animal and had to "dispatch" it. Guess he doesn't know that all hotels in State College are booked months in advance for football weekends.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Alumni Singlet Spotted on the Left Coast!

Co-Blogger Nick Scarpello and Tyler McCandless.
Co-Blogger Nick Scarpello unveiled his fairly new Alumni singlet in his adopted land out west at the Surfing Madonna 5K Saturday in Encinitas, CA.  The previous victories at the Sea Isle City Beach Run prepared Tyler McCandless for his 3rd place finish.  (And note the PSU head-band on Tyler, since he can't wear his Alumni Singlet.)  Nick placed 8th in PSU splendor!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

There's Nothing Better Than Cross Country In State College!

Except maybe running through the lobby of the Days Inn downtown without any clothes on!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Penn State Javelin Thrower Carl Wolter Hit The Longest Ever Drive In Competition

And he's going for his THIRD World Championship.  But I still wouldn't bet against our 2-time Longest Driver Beth Shisler at next year's tourney.

Group Members Shine At PIAA District 3 Championships

Mark Haywood, now the Head Coach of the Camp Hill Cross Country teams led his team to the Boy's Team Title in the A Division.  Congrats to all!

Coach Haywood, top right.
Honorary member and William and Mary conduit Brian Mount had his Gettysburg team improve this year to 9th place, with his first boy taking second place overall.

Gettysburg XC
And Daughter the Younger's York Suburban team placed first in the Boys and Girls AA team races.  The boys dominated with a total spread of just 41 seconds.  The girls did quite well considering they were without their top runner and had 3 Freshman, 1 Sophomore and a Junior scoring.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tim Johnson Helps Us Relive Those Great High School Championships

The PIAA District 3 Cross Country Championships are on Saturday  this afternoon in Hershey.  And Group Member (and real writer) Tim Johnson helps us relive those great times in another great article for Penn Live.

Tim Johnson, third from left.

I have a few things in common with Tim and a few things different, other than the writing abilities.

  • We both had a top finish of 7th at the PIAA District 3 XC Meet. (In my defense, I did get 5th at States the next week.)
  • We both aren't great golfers, although he is still way better than me.
  • We both cherish our time at PSU.
Not Similar:

  •  He ran at Districts all four years of HS.  I never made it until I was a Senior.  (correction: he only ran 3 years at Districts.  He played football as a Freshman.)
  • He loves being in the stadium for PSU football games.  I can't stand it. 
Anyway, here's his article from Penn Live:

"That’s the true beauty of this meet. In just 16 or 20 minutes’ time on Wednesday afternoon, stories will be written, champions will be crowned, and the great mystery of the 2014 season will, at long last, be put largely to rest. Months’ worth of blood, sweat, and tears have been collected — only to be left behind on the hills of Parkview on a singular October afternoon."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If This Guy Keeps Talking About Drones, I'm Going To Ask For A Refund On My Platinum Membership!

I will honor any of you who desire a refund on your group membership at any time!  But more about drones!

This is the upgrade version.

Bob Paddison has sent me the link for the raw footage he took of the 8th Annual Hood College Open I attended last week.  It was a fairly windy day, so it wasn't easy for him.  And once I bothered him during the race, I think the drone took off toward Washington DC to report me to the authorities. His upgraded drone had the ability to be summoned back "home" however.  But he recovered for a nice view of the finish of the men's race.  I even got to see Daughter the Elder's teammate Joe Fletcher finish without his shoe in 30th or so place (at 9:45 of the video), which he kicked off in front of me just before the finish.  This inevitably brought the wrath (not really!) of Coach Preston, who reminds them about double knots before every race!  Then he has a good view of the Women's start (starting at 11:37) where I could pick out Daughter the Elder, me, dad, Coach Preston and Daughter the Younger.

He has some advice on those looking to purchase a low-cost unit:

Regarding the $500 dollar version.  If you are asking, just a few thought to consider. 

1.      The Battery system in the original Phantom drone is awkward with a two cable charge/feed system. It is clunky to plug in and stuff the wires into the drone.   The Phantom 2 has an integrated battery connection.
2.      The Camera system if using a go pro camera has two considerations.  
a.      The gopro mount does not have a gimbal system.  It does have vibration dampening.  (and I like GoPro). 
b.      The gopro system (and I think even the Phantom 2) do not have FPV (first person view) video that comes back to the operator, so you are sort of operating in the blind (that’s the video you were looking at on my cell phone during the race, the actual video is recorded in full resolution on an internal memory card.)  It’s not that this capability cannot be added however it takes a little (read “a lot”)   hobby tinkering. To add that capability it looks odd with lots of extras hanging off the platform.   It all depends on your hobby skills.  Like anything,  if you build it yourself you can get additional features but the integrated system included with the “Phantom 2 Vision +”,  I think is still the best ‘out of the box’ experience.
3.      Make sure you have at least 1 or more additional batteries  The Phantom (std) has only about a 15 minute flying time versus the ‘Phantom 2vision +’  about 25 min.    Keep in mind you will be loitering for long periods of time to be in position prior to the starting gun.  As such you will need at least 2 batteries for each XC race (assuming ~27 to 30 min per race).
4.      The ‘Phantom 2 vision+” also includes self-locking propellers.  A very good safety feature(common in most systems now but not in earlier versions).
5.      I am not sure if the original version of the Phantom (the $500 version) supports “Ground Station”.  Ground station (GS) is a GPS system that allows you to pre-program GPS locations and vertical height for a programmed path and out view flying.    While I would like to use GS for XC races I find that because of the speed of the racers ‘free flying’ gives you more control (although you may not feel that I had much control when you see the Hood video).  It was very windy on Saturday, I normally don’t fly above 15 or so Knots.   The drone can fly in higher winds but I was not willing to fly that close to runners in case of stronger gusts.   I have flown in up to 25 mph winds but not near people. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Finally, A Marathon Plan For The Common Man

"I thought I hit the wall, but I just dug deep."

"I just never gave up hope..."  

"I feel like I'm born again."

-Bill Murray, training for the NYC Marathon.

He's mastered golf already, and he's a Heck of a good running coach.  So I believe!

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