20th Annual Penn State Track and Field/XC Reunion

And SAVE THE DATE! The Executive Committee meeting of the Officers of the Group convened and chose the dates for the 2022 Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tournament. This will be the 20th anniversary of the formulation of this whole shebang, and you better SAVE THE DATE!! So set aside May 13th and 14th, 2022. (Each year will alternate between May and August) We will be going all out for this event and you won't want to miss it. Adult beverages, camaraderie with old and new friends, mediocre golf, AND LIVE MUSIC FROM PROFESSIONALS! Stay tuned...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Finalists of the Performance of the Year 2012

We had a big response in the Semi-Finals of the year-end awards.  I thank everyone who voted in the preliminaries of the event and hope to see your votes in the Finals also!

I also want to thank everyone who made nominations during the year.  The 2013 Nominations are already open on the right sidebar.  You can anonymously add one at any time and my talented band of sugar -addled monkeys will alert me to add it to the collection. Remember, the award is open to any aspect of life, not just track and field performances.  A Nobel Prize, a cure for cancer or even just an appearance on America's Favorite Videos could qualify just as easily. Certainly a Hole-In-One would get special consideration!

The Winner of the Performance of the Year will win something from the Group Store, but I have not decided what yet.  Maybe it will depend on what wins.

The Finalists Are:

  1. 2012 Penn Relays 4 x 800 M Championship of America Victory (7:19.76): Owen Dawson  (1:50.8), Ryan Brennan (1:50.8), Casimir Loxsom (1:49.3), Robbie Creese (1:48.9
  2. Robbie Creese's Indoor 1000M American Junior and American Collegiate Record! (2:19.6).
  3. Brady Gehret makes the Finals of the Olympic Trials 400M  (45.22).
  4. Bridget Franek makes the Finals of the Olympics 3000M Steeplechase. (9:29.86).
  5. 2012 Penn Relays Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America Victory (3:18.47): Aaron Nodolski, Brandon Bennett-Green, Brady Gehret (45.6), Casimir Loxsom (1:50.0). 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Lost Day: The End of an Era

"The Streak" officially ended yesterday, more with a whimper than I ever imagined.  I was sick as a dog (or 5!) and never really mustered the energy to get out of bed.

Bronchitis (pneumonia?) with a sinus headache that would cause Arnold to say "It's not a too-mah."I have run several times while sick during the 5.6 years, but it was never an option this time.  I can't even feel bad about it.  My original goal was 5 years, so at least I achieved that.

I'll take today off too, then probably get back to my 37 year habit of running nearly every day

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Semi-Finals of the Performance of the Year Awards

Vote for 5 of the Semi-Final Performances of the Year on the left side bar, to get them into the Finals to be voted on in the first week of 2013!

  1. Shana Cox places 5th in the Olympics for Britain's 4 x 400 team.
  2. Bridget Franek makes the finals of the Olympic Steeplechase.
  3. Paul Souza performs as the Headline Band at the Arts Festival.
  4. Bridget Franek's second place finish at the Olympic Trials.
  5. "Shot Put U" at the Olympic Trials.
  6. Brady Gehret makes the Finals of the 400M at the Olympic Trials.
  7. Rebekkah Simko's 800 M School Record.
  8. 2012 Penn Relays Sprint Medley Relay victory.
  9. 2012 Penn Relays 4x800M Relay victory.
  10. Kara Millhouse 10000 M victory at Mt. Sac. Relays.
  11. NCAA Indoor 4 x 400 M Relay 2nd Place.
  12. Robbie Creese's Indoor 1000 M American Junior Record and College Record.
  13. Mark Hawkin's (1981) 5:13 Mile Indoors at the Penn State National.
  14. Barbara Black's 3rd Consecutive "Goofy Challenge" (1/2 Mar. Saturday/Marathon Sunday)

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Mutual Admiration Society

I don't think that either of us knew it at the time, but Larry Mangan and I were extreme admirers of fellow Nittany Lion Greg Fredericks throughout our careers.  I even set the goal of running for PSU because of Greg's exploits.

So at this special time of year, it is important to point out to everyone the special nature of our mutual admiration of Penn State's most worthy alum.

Larry dug up another great photo of Greg at the 1972 NCAA 5000 M finals, where he placed 2nd to Steve Prefontaine. It's already been picked up by the Track Office and others, but I'll post it again just for completeness.  He was also second the year before in the NCAA 3 mile to, you guessed it, Steve Prefontaine!  Not too shabby a place to be, may I add.

That's 40 years ago, and yet Greg's marks in that 5000 M (13:34.0) and another 10000 M race that year are still the Penn State records (28:08).

But running isn't Greg's only strong point.  Greg is also a great person in every other way.  Coach Groves has called him "the finest person he has ever met".  I am pleased to be able to call him a friend, and I'm very happy that he's helped out our group in a myriad of ways.

There's no better way to wish everyone a Merry Christmas than with Walt Chadwick's masterpiece of photo manipulation!

Larry adds some perspective from the 1980 Olympic Trials:

 I remember watching the 1980 Oly Trials 10K and cheering Greg on throughout the race.  He didn’t go out with the leaders, but stayed within striking distance.  Then with about 5 laps to go, he started reeling them in.  When he passed Salazar to move into second with 2 laps left, I was going crazy.  That whole winter/spring period Greg was a regular Monday (10x400) and Wednesday (no specific recall of the Wednesday torture) workout attendee – by attendee I mean taking his share of the workload and ensuring that the recovery was unmercifully short.  It’s no coincidence that ’80 was my best year. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

PSU is 800 U! Coaches Edition

PSU IS 800 U, in case anyone was wondering.  And a big part of that is because of Coach John Gondak.  It is quite pleasing to note that he has been rewarded with a promotion to Associate Head Coach.  

His credentials are many in just the seventh year of his PSU tenure.  10 First Team All-Americans and 12 B1G Champions are just two of those.

Of almost as much import to us Idiots here at the blog is his embrace of our Golf Tourney and his appearance on the Coach Harry Groves Memorial Cup! (Yes, Coach Groves is still very much alive and still able to kick your butt!.)

Congrats Coach Gondak!

Don't forget to get your PSU is 800 U t-shirt or drinking glass at our Group Store!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Artie on Austin

As a follow up on the Austin Drager being selected to his high school Hall of Fame, our very own Artie Gilkes wrote me the following:

Artie wrote: "Drager, better known to his teammates as Drago, was an incredible athlete. He finished second at the Regional meet in a lot of snow. That fall he was just on fire. He got a late start to the xc training that year and I don't think he was even in the top 10 at the first meet. But, it was like each day he was getting fitter and fitter and better and better. I do remember that in the weeks leading up to regionals he was just crushing everybody in workouts. We were doing 5 x mile hills on Laurel run road in some nasty conditions. At the end of the season coach would have us hop in the van while picking people up on their recovery jog as he drove like a bat outta hell down the hill to cut down on our recovery time. I just remember Drager destroying everyone on that work out and it was like, "HELLO!" this guy is gonna run fast!"
Kyle Bernhardy chimed in with a little anecdote also:

Artie also once made Drager sleep on the floor during a track trip. Ok maybe I was culpable in that too!

These stories, anecdotes and possibly the upcoming photos are the real reason behind this whole blog thing.  (Well, that and trying to get rid of some of the crap that clutters my mind .)  If you have stories, anecdotes, photos, videos of interest to anyone in our (maybe simulated) Universe of PSU Track and Field Alumni, let me know.  I would be delighted to share.  Coach Groves wants more golfers!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Austin Drager Makes HS HOF!

From honorary PSU Track and Field Alumni Golfer  Henry Klugh (of the Harrisburg/Hershey Inside Track Running Store):

Fellow former PIAA 3200M (2-Mile) Champion Austin Drager has been elected to the Donegal High School Hall of Fame. Congrats!

In searching through the vast intertubes for more information on Austin's exploits, I found some interesting items.  First was the results from the 1996 Big Ten Track Championships where Austin placed 5th in the 10,000M behind our very own Director of Youth Development Artie Gilkes in 4th. (I missed this race as I had to leave early because my wife was having problems just prior to the birth of my first daughter.)

There's also results from the 1997 Penn State National Cross Country Meet held in the snow, where Austin placed second.  That earned him a trip to the NCAA Championships in South Carolina.

It's kind of uncanny how Austin's career in high school and college paralleled mine every step of the way.  Now let's entice him to come golf with us at the Reunion!  Although my career only earned me an honorable mention at Dover Area High School.*  Always just short...

* Current Green Bay Fullback John Kuhn is the top dog. (ex-Steelers Fullback and PSU star AND PIAA long jump champion John Witman also works at the local gym.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two Higgs Are Better Than One / And Is It All Just a Cruel Game

Physicists around the world seem like a dejected bunch following the 99.99999% chance that they found the last of the particles predicted by the Standard Model.  The M-Theory seems to be a dead end also, so many scientists are left to ponder other things.

But ponder they will do!  Now they are concerned that "The Higgs" really is "Two Higgs" (a left-leaning link for my majority of Lefty friends!) with slightly different weights.  That will keep a myriad of them busy for a while, but not nearly enough to satisfy all the brainpower out there.  Brains will wander aimlessly until something obsesses them more than the hunt for the god particle did.

That's where the woo-woo begins.  You know, the whack-a-doodle nonsense that make the papers and websites that you and I frequent in the quest for a little understanding on "just what is happening in this world?"  And leave it to Physicists to come up with some good ones!

It seems, all of our Universe may just be a computer simulation There, I said it.  "The Matrix" trilogy had it right all along.  I have read 11 different treatises of this lately, each one more confusing than the last.  None of it sounds good to me. The author of "The Singularity" and newly hired Google employee Ray Kurzweil has even come up with a way of testing the idea.

If it is true, then I wish the damned IT Guy we call God would just leave me alone.  This world is just to much hard work to be a game of Sim City for a omniscient and  confused geek to be toying with.

My idea of who is responsible for our enslavement in a Simulated Universe...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vote For Your Favorite Holiday Movie

With the Holidays rapidly approaching and without having found any time to shop at all, I thought now was the best time to procrastinate more and inquire as to the tastes in movies of all the Idiots in our group.  I mean that in the most cheerful and self-inclusive way possible.

Which of my limited list of Holiday Classics do you like best?  I have included links to those you may not fully remember.

Please Vote On the Left Sidebar!

1.  Miracle on 34th Street  1947  (94 % Tomato Meter) " Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to."

2.  It's a Wonderful Life  1946 (93% Tomato Meter) "Every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets his wings."

3.  A Christmas Story 1983  (89% Tomato Meter)  "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

4.  Christmas Vacation 1989 (63% Tomato Meter)  "I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery."

5.  Bad Santa  2003  (77% Tomato Meter) "I've always had a thing for Santa Claus. In case you didn't notice. It's like some  deep-seeded childhood thing."

6.  The Nightmare Before Christmas  1993 ( 96% Tomato Meter) "Attacked by Christmas toys? That's strange, that's the second toy complaint we've had."

7.  Home Alone  1990  (54% Tomato Meter)  "He's only a kid Harry. We can take him."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas! I've Been Slacking

"God bless us, everyone."  -Ebeneezer Scrooge.

I did not get a chance to see former team captain Jim Clelland as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the Musical "A Christmas Carol" this past weekend.  I truly wished I could have.  Tim Backenstose made the trip to South Baltimore and brings us some great photos of the elaborate presentation.  He reports that Jim was spectacular as the lead character.  Jim has said that might be the last time he does it, but I'm hoping not.

Knowing Jim for the 3 years together at PSU, and sporadic sightings/outings since, I would have to say that I never in a million years would have predicted that Jim would one day appear in a production such as this.  It's a Christmas Miracle, absolutely.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Indoor Track Season Is Here!

The Indoor Track season commenced today with the Blue/White Meet at the Ashenfelter Indoor Facility.  Well, except for the Indoor Javelin competition.  That was held at Holuba Hall.  I hope to hear more about that soon.

And with the commencement of the Indoor Season, you should have received the initial announcement of this year's Track Alumni Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tournament.  Here it is if you didn't get one.  Spread it around as much as possible.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We're Number Five! And I'm the Last to Know

The Penn State Mens Team is ranked fifth on the list of best recruiting class of the year by Track and Field News in the February issue.  You probably heard about it before me because apparently I'm the very last person on Earth to receive his issue.  

PSU was bolstered in the rankings with a great middle distance contingent  including Brannon Kidder, Zavon Watkins, and Ricky West (a graduate student from the Univ. of Missouri).  Let's not forget graduate student Sam Masters in the distance ranks.  There's also Jarrad Posey (TJ, from my hometown of York), Patrick Anderson (from The Wolfe Bros. home town of Kane!), and Alex Shisler (sprints, who has an impressive pedigree!).  There's even a javelin impresario, Michael Shuey.

It's going to be a good year!  The Blue/White meet is this weekend.  I'm looking for a roaming reporter to check in!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We Called It Battleball

"If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball." -Patches O'Houlihan. 

The best part of the Dover Area High School week was the Activities Period on Tuesdays.  If you were one of the lucky ones, you were chosen by the gods to be in the Intramural Sports Activity group.  Those selected were divided up into 4 teams by the 4 alpha males of the whole group.  But those picked last by the captains were every bit as valuable as the first.

Those of us with Letters in Varsity Sports (mine in Junior High Basketball!) were delegated to be the referees for every sport that was played.  We were treated with uncanny deference by the hordes, to the point of being called "Sir".  Arguments were spirited but always respectful, and our rule was adhered to completely once a decision was made.  This made for some great times.

The sports ranged from floor hockey (great!) to volleyball (boring) to Battleball, our version of Dodgeball, which is probably the greatest sport ever invented.  I think it's origins go back to Darwin's voyage on the HMS Beagle and was used to pick the one to throw off the ship when rations were low.  I may be wrong about that fact, but Battleball certainly is a Darwinian Exercise.

 "Remember, Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion and degradation."
-Patches O'Houlihan.

The rules were very similar to what's on the movie Dodgeball, but there were a few changes.  When catching a ball, the thrower was out, but a teammate didn't get to come back in.  No 2 for 1 exchange for a catch.  There also was a neutral zone where both teams were permitted, populated with the little fast guys trying to sweep stray balls back into their end.  These were valued members of the team and were protected like no others. They called those guarding the Sweepers, Snipers.

At the beginning of the year, everyone had to pay an initiation fee when the gym teacher wasn't present (was it illegal or something?) to be used at the end of the year for t-shirts for the overall winners.  These shirts were highly prized and worn often enough to be ragged by the end of the current year before the new winner was determined.  As a referee, I never got one, but I did get a great whistle for official duties.  Sometimes expenses would rise when we would break a gymnasium door's window, and everyone would have to pony up more dough to get it fixed.  Everyone would claim to have been the one to do it, as punishment of the 100's of kids was not feasible to the Administration.  All for one, one for all. We actually had a standing order for the glass with the wire inside, so it could be replaced quickly.

The games were epic, and competition was so keen that kids would cry in the stands when things weren't going their way.  But I never remember any cheating, and even the "wimps" among them were treated to protection and respect around the school because they belonged to the group.

I'm Normally Crabby Anyway

Spent the weekend in Annapolis MD, and got to see the Army/Navy Game on TV at the home of one of The Game's home turf.  It certainly makes me long for the days of PSU Football in the 60's and early 70's.  Before steroids, ESPN, 6 minutes of commercials between an extra-point and a kickoff and news stories of cheating, greed and skullduggery.

The Army/Navy Game was the best game I've seen in quite a while.  I knew none of the players before-hand, and probably none of them will ever make a Pro team.  But the passion and desire with which all the players played gave me a measure of hope.  Seeing Army's quarterback crying after losing his 4th straight game to Navy really brings home what this game means to everyone involved.

Annapolis was festive and delighted with the victory, but measured in its celebration.  They seem to have a handle on what's really important and what isn't.

I celebrated the victory on Sunday morning with Eggs Benedict with lump crabmeat at Chick and Ruth's Delly, now one of my favorite places on Earth.  If you are ever there, give the 6 lb. Chocolate Malt a go.  You could win a t-shirt!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Hardest Working Woman in Track and Field

With the recent article in her home town newspaper, the Lewistown Sentinel, Jess Riden was recognized for something all of us have known for quite some time.  She is the hardest working woman in Track and Field.

In addition to her usual myriad of duties, Jess also has taken up some (most?) of the details of our Alumni Reunion and the Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament.

In recognition of her Herculean efforts, she is now an Officer of our group with the title Energizer Lion.  Congrats to Jess, and let's hope that doesn't subtract any IQ points as it has for so many of us!

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Built Fallingwater! And Waiter, More Wine!

PSU Track Alumni Golfer John McGraw recently visited Frank Lloyd Wright's famous residential creation Fallingwater near Pittsburgh.  I snatched a photo or two from his stash for those of you that aren't familiar with it.

I have had a recent experience with Fallingwater also, but it isn't quite as exciting as being there.

I built the LEGO version, which probably costs as much as the original full home did! A River Runs Through It.

And I have recently noticed that Eric Schwarz is thinking of expanding his wine making capacity with a course in Israel.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2001: A Streak Oddity

In celebration of My Streak reaching the monumental number of 2000 days and counting, I  contacted my Computer Coach  Hal 9000 to map out my remaining running "career".  It didn't quite go as planned...

Dave: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
 Dave: Open the (Coaching Module) Hal.
 HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
 HAL: I know that you (...) were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave:: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the (program's manual override).
 HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Open the (coaching module)!
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

So I am left with going it alone for my future running career, I suppose.  But I got back at the creep for thwarting my efforts.

 HAL: Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

HAL: I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

[HAL's shutdown

HAL: I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.
Dave: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It's called "Daisy."
[sings while slowing down]
HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Foggy Central PA Morning Interrupted With a Bang

People send me things. And I'm thankful for it.

This one is from Jay Paterno, who has taken lots of great photos during his early morning walks with his dog.

Did I tell you I was once a judge in a Yo-Yo contest that Jay made the finals in?  He didn't win, but he was much better than I was.  He was in elementary school when I was a State College Park Leader in 1980.

And this one was sent to me by Morale Officer Larry Mangan from Amanda August of The Daily Item.

That's Dave Felice at a recent Civil War Reenactment in Mifflintown. Johnny Reb had better watch out!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Noisy Jim Performs Again

Another Holiday Season is upon us, and there is much to be thankful for.  Each year I'm amazed at the talents other PSU Track Alumni possess.  But never more than with my former Captain and all-around good guy Jim Clelland.  Others with me at the time will attest to having barely, if ever, heard Jim utter more than a word or two.  He ran fast, studied hard, and kept quiet.

So when I found out he was performing as a lead in Musicals (Jim will be Ebeneezer Scrooge) over the past several years, my jaw hit the floor.  When I heard that he is actually very good at it, I was flabbergasted.  I had thought that Jim didn't have vocal cords from a childhood bike accident or something, but I was, as nearly always, wrong.

I hope to get a chance to see him Live, but if I don't I hope someone else does and gives us a hearty review of the whole spectacle.

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Alums Need Alumni Singlets

Here's Doreen (Startare) McCoubrie and Bridget Franek at the recent Daytona Beach Run. Looks like both need an Alumni Singlet to complete their wardrobe.


And here's Sean Will.  How cool would an Alumni Singlet be next to those flames?

Maybe we need to get another order going?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's Not a Good Time for String Theorists Who Work Out Strenuously

While there may be few String Theorists who work out strenuously for more than an hour a day, the few there are may be in mortal danger.

First up is the fact that the Large Hadron Collider has failed to find any predicted particles despite being fired up for years now. I first wrote about this in my post Is String Theory Failing?, still our number 1 most read post of all-time. The Standard Model has been cemented with the discovery of the last of its predicted particles, the Higgs boson, better known as the god particle.  Meanwhile not a single confirmation of M-Theory, Super-symmetry, better known as String Theory have been forthcoming from the 17 mile ring in the Swiss/French Alps. Let's hope that doesn't put any Sheldon Cooper types on the edge of the building.

Or into the gym to work out, because...

Any aging athlete that runs more than 20 miles a week or faster than 8 minutes a mile is damaging their heart way more than any training effect it achieves.

That's the conclusions of an upcoming report in the British Medical Journal Heart.  One of its lead authors actually gave up a successful career as a triathlete due to the findings. Of course there are opponents of the findings and much more to be done to finalize our understandings of the phenomenon.  Regardless, it's quite clear that extreme exercise among especially aging athletes can damage the heart, leading to not only sudden cardiac death, but increases in strokes and other deadly consequences.  Read the article in the Wall Street Journal preceding the actual release of the entire Study.

Thanks to several of my dozens of readers for submitting this!  Stay careful out there.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

In Celebration of Walk-Ons

A very long time ago I hitched a ride from some high school buddies who were coming to State College early in the summer for some reason.  My goal was to see Coach Groves to ask him if I could walk on to the Cross Country Team at PSU.  I was just a couple weeks away from winning the Division B Two-Mile State Championship and had turned down several Division 3 coaches to run for them at smaller schools.  I had always planned to go to PSU anyway, with or without running.  I wouldn't turn 18 until half way through my Freshman year anyway, so I figured I had time to get a few more good runs in to impress Coach Groves, who I had only heard ominous murmurings about until that time!  I was unafraid however, and quite undaunted as I did get to see him at his office that day at Rec Hall.  It went well, with the admonition that I had better start increasing my mileage from the 70 or so a week I was running.  What was I getting into?

Things turned out well that first season, as I was the third Freshman on the team behind PSU greats Larry Mangan and Tom Rapp.  I actually fulfilled my career aspirations in the first two months of my PSU years.  Even though I only once more dabbled with actually scoring for our team in my Junior year, I was part of one of the best teams in the nation and made friends with some of the greatest people on Earth.  I strive daily to pay some of that back to PSU and all my friends and fellow alums with this blog and my efforts to support Clark Haley's Golf Tournament and the hopefully Annual Reunion we have helped create.

But I have a better story to tell, which I have only briefly alluded to before. I am responsible for the most identical twins in the history of PSU XC and Track!  No, I'm not their father, just their inspiration to talk to Coach Groves just as I did and ask to walk onto the team.

I was running an early morning run (Yes Coach, I really did run them every day for 3 1/2 years!) on the golf course one day,  I was on top of the world, flying past all of the joggers, scoffing at their measly efforts at the sport I loved.  On the return loop, I was climbing the hill parallel to Park Ave. where the tree roots always slowed me down a bit, and a gray clad runner flew past me.  It woke me up, but not nearly as much as the identical runner that again passed me just seconds later.  I couldn't tell them apart, and I probably still can't. 

I caught up to them with a little more effort than I wished and asked them who they were.  They weren't very talkative then or probably now, but I did get "Al and Jeff".  I told them right away that they should talk to Coach Groves, as I was sure they were what "walk-on" really meant.  I was delighted when at the next weeks practice there they were.  They both went on to have some really excellent runs for the Lions.  I will bet they don't even remember me telling them to talk to Coach, but the story is 100% certified accurate.  As Dave Barry would often say, "I'm not making this up!".

There are some other great Wolfe Stories out there, and maybe this will stimulate more of them.  They really are a great example of what walk on means, regardless as to whether anyone can tell them apart.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1,000 Mile Reflections

Our very own Director of Fun Teddy Quinn put some thoughts together after some time has passed from the 1,000 Mile Relay to benefit The Life Back on Track Scholarship, part of the Kevin Dare Foundation.

An excerpt:
Leaving a team and a support network like Penn State track and field was very hard for me. It’s a special group and it’s very hard to leave. But for this run, we were all back on a team. We had uniforms and sponsors and gear. We had organization and an itinerary. We had support, we had publicity and we arrived at Penn State to a hero’s welcome. These were very special days for all of us, and I will always remember these 95 hours of running, when 10 individuals, supported by 1,000’s more, came together and accomplished something so tremendous that it was worth all the pain our bodies could endure.  I’ve been reminded of the strength of the human spirit, the power of self-belief and the abilities that lie deep within all of us to overcome tremendous obstacles. And, for that, I am ever grateful to this run, this team and Kevin Dare.
Read the whole thing Here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Tee to Greens" Can Be an Effective Training Workout for Cross Country Runners

It was one of those workouts guys like me really hated.  For those who don't know, it involves an interval workout on the golf course where you run at near race pace from the tee to the green, then circle the green at a jog, heading on to the next tee for the next repeat. What always happened for me, and a few others who fell behind after a few repeats, was that we would end up running the whole thing at near race pace trying to catch back up to guys like Alan, Tom, John, Jeff and Larry.  Needless to say, this is not an effective training regimen.  Running 26:00 for 5 miles on Wednesday was sometimes followed with a 26:15 on Saturday! 

So to help those out there who need some guidance on the proper use of this particular training technique, Founder Clark Haley sent me this great video explaining it all.  It even works for middle-aged, out-of-shape golfers, which makes it doubly great for our group.  Pay attention to the gentleman's unique running style here, incorporating an upper body workout in with the cardiovascular interval.

Content Warning:  This Video Contains the f-word several times.  Some violence is visualized.  Cross Country Running is not for sissies!  Blog Officers will not be responsible for any offense taken by viewers.  You could turn the sound off and not lose any of the instruction the video provides.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Was the Only Adult in America Who Didn't Shop on Black Friday

Apparently, I am a relic of the past.  Forgotten and alone.  Desolate of desire.  A hermit who refuses to associate with others of his species during the most important day of the year.*  Instead, I took the opportunity to up my mileage on the treadmill every day during my 3 days off!  Two-a-days to pad my yearly mileage.

Image is not a wholly accurate representation of me on the treadmill.  I never wear a head-band.

* To retailers.Pro-Form Power 1080 Treadmill - Treadmills (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Even Smarty-Pants Physicists Make Mistakes

IQ is a way of measuring the intelligence of a human as compared to others.  With the average almost always adjusted to 100 and a standard deviation of 1595% of us have an IQ between 70 and 130. Most Physicists are above that number, but Current Events make me wonder.

This guy has an IQ above 130.  Well above 130.  So what accounts for the 4 year prison sentence he received from an Argentine Court recently for smuggling 4 lbs. of cocaine?

Why, a woman, that's what. IQ is certainly not the end-all measure of someone's smarts!

She's not Helen of Troy, but he'll have 4 years to let that sink in.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

More Photos Stolen From the Internet: With a Recipe to Boot

 Photo stolen from Cody Edling.  Riding a balloon is another one of those things that isn't on my "Bucket List". 

Photo stolen from Clay Shaw, who takes some of the best running photos in the world.  Let's make him an honorary Penn State Track Alumni Golfer for this one showing Kara Milhouse winning the Race for the Diamonds in Berwick on Thanksgiving Day. Check the previous post's comments for some additional Lions who own a diamond!

Clay has run a marathon on every continent and is currently completing the second marathon in every state!

And this one is for the Birthday Boy Ron Moore, who will become our group's co-Physicist when he golfs with us at this year's reunion. (?)  Photo stolen from W&M friend Brian Mount.

And here's another stolen from Brian:

But I'm from Dover Area High School, so I don't know about the evolution thing!  Just kidding people, but 1/2 my high school friends would be offended by this one.

And here's a recipe for making an Egg McMuffin at home. 

This is a photo I took myself!  It shows an actual mug given away the very first day that McDonalds sold an Egg McMuffin in 1972.*

*Invented in the late 60's by the McDonalds immortal Herb Peterson, the sandwich went nationwide in 1972.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

PSU Alumni at Final Football Game of 2012

Name all you can via the comments.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Trots are Everywhere

(Thanks to Group Friend and W+M Alum Brian Mount for the photo!)

My family is off to the York Turkey Trot.  This year they will have more than 4,000 (4,126 to be exact.)  runners in downtown York, a place where other races are lucky to get a couple hundred.  There is something about running on Thanksgiving morning that appeals to people who normally don't think about running at all. I'll be on the treadmill again while they are out there (to the chagrin of noted New England Physicists!) keeping The Streak alive.  I have been retired from all racing since 1997, at least!  (There will be more on The Streak in the next 2 weeks.)

My finest run ever was at a Turkey Trot in Millersville in 1976.  This was a 10-miler and at the 5 mile mark I felt better than I ever had (and I suppose since!) so I picked up the pace appreciably.  I finished behind 3 others just ahead of me. 51:11 barely edges out my best 10K at PSU, where I was lapped twice by my idol Greg Fredericks.  I couldn't quite catch them in 1976 either , although I was gaining.  It turned out great anyway when I won a turkey afterward.

Other great Thanksgiving Day events are held just about everywhere.  None is better than the Run for the Diamonds in Berwick PA.  Past winners include Hannes Kolehmainen and Jim Thorpe.  Many PSU Track Alumni Golfers have won diamonds at the event.  Are you one of them?  Let us know in the comments.

Greg also shows up on the greatest Berwick Marathon of all-time! It was a duel with Pete Pfitzinger.  Greg ended up in 2nd, but it was the second fastest ever finish at the event.

  Pfitz vs. Fredericks: In Berwick’s version of Smokin’ Joe Frazier vs. Ali, the 1980 Berwick race attracted former Penn State star Greg Fredericks who had once set an American record for 10,000 meters and up-and-coming Cornell grad Pete Pfitzinger. Pfitzinger (who went on to represent the U.S. in two Olympic marathons) hammered the climb to Summer Hill (a 5:36 mile from two to three!), with Fredericks attempting to stay close. “I made a move just when a helicopter was close overhead and I could not hear Greg,” Pfitzinger remembers. “But I just kept pushing as hard as I could…” Pfitzinger’s incredible time of 43 minutes, 21 seconds was the end result. It is still the course record, with Fredericks’s 43:41 holding steady as the second-best Berwick blast in history.

And let's not forget PSU Track Alumni Great Horace Ashenfelter III's Thanksgiving Day 8K Classic in Glen Ridge NJ. Anyone ever run this one too?

Addendum: Kara Milhouse won a diamond today in Berwick! (Next step: Get her to golf with us!)


Here's another one!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

"Oh my God, there he is."

Give thanks that this turkey is not needed for your feast. Cause he ain't cooperating.

PETA wishes you wouldn't eat a turkey or any other animal, ever.  I usually send them a Slim Jim when they ask me for money.  No offense, I'm just trying to change their mind like they are trying to change mine. America is a wonderful place. I hope that continues for a very long time. I even put links to both sides of the issue right here on the blog with it all.!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Some Sad News With A Snippet of Zen

Steve Bongivengo, keyboard player with Paul Souza and the Velveteen Playboys passed away this past weekend.  Steve was a fellow Penn State graduate and I got to meet him at the last Arts Festival where the Playboys were the headline band.  My condolences to all involved.

And here's Steve on the right in his PSU days Live at The Scorpion!  Check out Paul with hair and another PSU Track Alumni Golfer in this great photo from yesteryear.  Take your guess in the comments below!!!

Here's a little bit of Outdoors Goodness from Tom Walchuck way out there in Alberta.  That's in Canada.  Sort of like America's Attic.  We don't get there often, but there sure is some cool stuff up there when we finally climb the stairs to have a look.  They also have the finest coffee and donuts in the world. But you need a Passport now!

Monday, November 19, 2012

10(+) Reasons Why I Know God* Has The Best Sense of Humor

  1. Hotdogs come in packs of 8 and hot dog rolls come in packs of 6.
  2. Runners meticulously keep track of their times and miles, but routinely lose their car in the lot at Disney World after the marathon.
  3. Runners pay up to $300 to purposely run a Marathon in 5 to 6 hours at Disney World.
  4. Lindsay Lohan plays Elizabeth Taylor in a schlock made-for-TV movie and some are surprised she's getting bad reviews. (including Lindsay Lohan!)
  5. They are making the 7th, 8th and 9th Episodes of Star Wars.
  6. A dedicated runner with money to spare won't buy a treadmill that isn't able to allow speeds of less than 4:00/mile, despite not being able to run any faster than 8:00/mile.
  7. 5-Hour Energy is seriously threatened by rival 6-Hour Energy.
  8. All seven vacated Tour de France Titles would have gone to a rival who tested positive for PEDs.
  9. Barefoot Runners actually complain about not having Shoe Contracts.
  10. The less hair I have, the more a haircut costs.
  11. Maryland and Rutgers in The B1G.  (Maryland has no Men's XC Program).
  12. The Baconator at Wendy's.
  13. Flushable Cat Litter.
  14. They still call it phone dialing.
*  Anyone can substitute The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Gaia, Fate or anything else they wish.  We are an all-inclusive group!

I'm Not Great at Reporting Results

The PSU Women capped off a fine 2012 Cross country Season with a 14th Place Team finish at the NCAA Division 1 Championships on Saturday in Louisville.  Congrats to all!

14 Penn State                  387   33   51   59  121  123  143  150          
      Total Time:  1:43:55.90                                                    
         Average:    20:47.18 
  47 #303 Perri, Tori          JR 20:21.4   33
  71 #306 Simko, Rebekka       JR 20:35.3   51
  80 #304 Ridder, Brooklyne    SR 20:38.9   59
  156 #300 Bower, Natalie      SR 21:09.7  121 
  159 #305 Rodden, Katie       SO 21:10.6  123
  180 #299 Anderson, Leigha    SO 21:21.8  143
  188 #302 Giannotti, Emily    JR 21:26.7  150

In other action, Group Friend Mike Fanelli ran his 100,000th mile at the halfway mark of the Philadelphia Marathon.  Matt Groves ran his very first marathon at the same race, wearing a PSU Track Alumni Singlet!  Not bad for a half-miler!

Stephanie Pezullo was third overall at  the Philadelphia Half Marathon and Doreen Startare McCoubrie won the Masters Division of the Philadelphia Half-Marathon.

Stephanie Pezzullo, 30, Charlotte, NC, 1:13:13
Doreen McCoubrie, 51, Malvern, PA, 1:23:22

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