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, September 30, 2013

The Bypass Loop Explained

The eastern end of the Bypass.
First, it is important to inform everyone what the Bypass Loop was.  Although it probably was used for a decade or so, those coming before and after would have no idea what we are talking about.

A Made Up History of the 322 Bypass which is probably more correct than any other history you'll find.:
Someone decided to make a highway bypassing State College in the distant past.  Following much graft and corruption, the land was acquired and the road built sometime in the early 70's.  Due to more graft and corruption, the ends were never connected, and the 4-lane highway became almost the exclusive playground for PSU distance runners.  Then, sometime in the mid-80's, graft and corruption finally led to the ends being connected and the road was taken away from its rightful owners.  Cars now far outnumber runners. Graft and corruption continues, just not on 322.
When I arrived on the scene, the Bypass Loop was already an entrenched run in the Rolodex of the team. Most times it consisted of starting at Rec Hall, running to the bottom of four hills on Big Hollow Road and jumping a fence to gain access to the now east-bound lanes.  The run then proceeded west-bound on the east-bound lanes until the exit after Waddle Road.  Coach Groves was always a fixture on the overpass on Waddle Road (which led to Toftrees), watching the shenanigans going on below.  Following the exit of the bypass at Valley Vista Drive, the loop continued down  to Circleville Road to Atherton Street and back to Rec Hall. It was said to be 10 miles.  Who knows.  It was a horrible run, with traffic to dodge, fences to jump, and lonely desolate stretches which inspired no one.

The Bypass Loop was often used as the time-trial for the traveling XC team.  I was lucky my first year and somehow managed to worm my way into a place on The Van of Death.  I was never really that lucky again, although I one time "went for it" and led everyone to the looming figure of Coach Groves at Waddle Road, who later said he was pleased with my effort.  The effort failed anyway, as by then we were loaded with talent and the Number 3 or 4 team in the Nation.

Other memories of the Bypass Loop come to mind.  Thursdays and some Fridays were almost always days off or pre-meet days and sometimes we traveled in small packs to different runs.  Sometimes these runs found us exploring the tunnels underneath the road, which are quite extensive.  The main underground tunnel is maybe 1/2 mile long from near Toftrees and ending near the bottom of 4 Hills (which isn't really open anymore to the usual runner).  This tunnel is quite extensive and rather scary to try to run.  When it rains, I'm sure it's a Death Trap.  There are also other tunnels at either end, the one from Centre Hill GC to the base of Mt. Nittany at Lemont being another one I explored.  Still another made an excellent short-cut from the Stadium to Big Hollow Road extended leading to Houserville, using the Bypass to bypass the Deer-Pens!

Also, during one Bypass Loop that the 1/2 Milers somehow had to run like the rest of us, several hitched a ride back to Rec Hall when they gave up on Valley Vista Drive or Circleville Road.  Their only mistake was getting out of the car in sight of Coach Groves, wearing his usual stop watch around his neck.  Somehow all 3 of them made it back onto the team in the next 2 weeks and all was sorta, kinda forgiven.  As a coach, I would never make a 1/2 miler run that damn Bypass Loop.  But then I'm not a coach.

He'll catch you every time.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Authoriatative* PSU Mens Alumni Indoor Records

Also compiled by Matt Groves from original sources (mostly his dad) and put into an Excel spreadsheet, translated into a pdf, sent to me via email  and then made into another Excel Spreadsheet, poorly manipulated and then posted in the blog that "gets everything wrong".

*Authoritative is meant as a bit of a joke, as was Definitive in a previous post.  Everyone (most) know that I'm an authority on things other than PSU Track Records and Excel.  Unfortunately, those with more knowledge about these things are hard to find and motivate to participate. We get corrections and admonitions all the time about things we have gotten wrong.  We welcome them.**  That's kind of the whole point of trying to generate interest in joining our group to honor Coach Groves along with the past and future of PSU Track/XC. Remember the mirth, and you can skip the golf.

** Small, caffeinated and poo-flinging monkeys are currently hard at work correcting the PSU Mens Alumni Road Race Records.  Another set of horrible monkeys is being recruited right now to correct these Indoor marks and the upcoming Outdoor marks.***

***Scorn and admonitions can be directed at me for any errors in accuracy, formatting and just general disdain at the effort.  I'm getting used to it.
Distance   Mark Individual, Team Year
55 meters 6.1 Barney Ewell '42 1947
" 6.1 Mike Sands '75 1980
60 meters 6.77 Mike Shine '76 1978
200 meters 21.25 Ryan Olkowski '02 2003
300 meters 34.5 Mike Sands '75 1976
400 meters 47.5 Mike Sands '75 1976
500 meters 1:03.9 Mike Sands '75 1976
800 meters 1:51.0 Randy Moore ' 85 1986
1000 meters 2:22.66 Randy Moore ' 85 1986
1500 meters 3:42.3 Larry Managn '81 1982
One mile 4:03.7 Greg Fredericks '72 1975
3000 meters 8:08.7 Greg Fredericks '72 1979
Two mile 8:35.0           '77 1979
5000 meters 13:39.27 James Carney '01 2005
60 meter HH 7.70 Mike Shine '76 1978
DMR 9:48.59 Owen Dawson '12, Kevin Fuller ' 10, 2012

Ryan Foster ' 11, Brian Fuller ' 09
High Jump 7' 2 1/4" Dave Kriz '96 1999
Long Jump 25' 3 1/4" Rob Boulware '87 1988
Triple Jump 53' 2 3/4" (16.22m) Ricardo Hall 1995
Pole Vault 17' 2" Rick Kleban '85 1988
35 lb weight 65' 0" Alvin Jackson '77 1980
Shot Put 70' 4 1/4" (21.44m) C.J. Hunter '90 1999
Pentathlon 3909 pts. Jamie Cook ' 97 2002
Heptathlon 5827 pts. Ryan Olkowski '02 2005

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Somewhat Definitive Listing of New Jersey Hot Dogs

This is from the New York Times. I'm not going to question it, either.  My favorite dog is listed from Phillipsburg NJ.  Jimmy's dogs are great, even 6 at a time.  I like mine with just ketchup and a dill pickle spear.  When I was young, they wouldn't even put ketchup on them.  You had to do that yourself from the little squeeze thingies, not even a big bottle.

The Jimmy's Dog Stand in Phillipsburg NJ

A couple of dogs from Rutt's Hut is on my Bucket List.  (Which isn't 100% accurate either, as I keep changing the list without ever crossing anything off it.)

Has anyone ever had a "Ripper" from Rutt's?

A ripper and a ripper with the house mustard relish.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Definitive Listing Of PSU Mens Alumni Records!

I didn't do the work.  Turns out Matt Groves has essentially finished the work his dad started by compiling these lists all along.  Apparently Coach Groves kept voluminous notes over the years in his distinctive scrawl.  They were published in readable format in the Track and Field Guide annually until 2006.  The kids today wouldn't even be able to read these original documents from Coach.  Cursive doesn't even exist anymore.  Just ask the prosecutors in Florida!

Matt took the old lists and updated them in complete fashion and put them into Excel format, converted them to pdf's and sent them to me to be published in the "blog with it all".  I can't thank him enough.  Maybe we can now be the repository for the future.  The "go to" site for everything PSU Track Alumni.  We can dream....

First up, I give you the PSU Alumni Mens Road Racing Records:

James Carney '01
James Carney '01
10 miles
Greg Fredericks '72
Half Marathon
1982 (American Record)
John Zeigler '79
James Carney '01
20K Race Walk
Steve Hayden '66
30K Race Walk
Steve Hayden '66

Next up:  The PSU Alumni Mens Indoor Records

A Physics Lesson From the Master Himself: Gum Bands, Elastics or Rubber Bands

"The world is a dynamic, chaotic mess of jiggling things, if you look at it right."

In Boston, they call them elastics.  In Pittsburgh they call them gum bands.   But the rest of us call them rubber bands.  I'll bet you never considered them nearly as much as Richard Feynman did. He used some of this very knowledge to figure out why Christa McAuliffe died.  Yeah, he's that cool.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The By-Pass Loop or "The Road That Was Built Just For Us"

They ruined it when they actually let cars on it!
I'm putting together my recollections of the By-Pass Loop (the 322 By-Pass) and am looking for some perspectives from others.  Drop me a line with some anecdotes (or full stories!) in the comments or via that internettie thingie.

 Many a fine run, time-trial and all-out shenanigans happened there.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Remember When All These Runs Were Warm-Ups!

A 4-Miler I Swear we ran as a "3" many times.
Well, most of them anyway.  The usual warm-up for a Coach Groves team was "3 Up".  None of us will ever forget the scrawl on a piece of scrap paper on the door of the XC Locker Room at Rec Hall every Monday and Wednesday, almost without fail...

3 Up

(whatever workout was scheduled)

3 Down

Of course, if you mapped out the "3" that Bruce and John took us on, you found out it was really 4 even if it went by Coach Paterno's House for a little songfest.

Here's a few new-fangled runs in State College, same as the old ones...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mountain Runs on the Week Off

Colyer Lake, the start of many a Mountain Run.

The PSU XC teams had the weekend off and I think they headed for the Mountains.  These runs were really one of my favorite memories of the PSU experience.  I hope the current members like it as much as I did.  Here and Here.

So instead of a 6K/8K or 8K/10K weekend for PSU runners, 310 yards had to do on the football field, as the Nits pummeled another School for the Blind.  In defense of them, Ohio State played a team that was not only blind, but without legs, so we have that going for us.

Cross Country should soon be heating up and I'm looking forward to seeing some PSU Track Alumni Golfers at the Carlisle High School Invitational this weekend.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

58,000 Miles Ending at the Vietnam Memorial: With Some Coach Groves Photos as a Bonus

Coach Groves and his watch at the Spiked Shoe XC Meet.
Michael Bowen served during the Vietnam War and was fortunate enough to spend his tenure in the relatively safe environs of West Germany.  But one of his buddies wasn't so lucky and became one of the more than 58,000 fallen troops in Southeast Asia.  He became inspired to run one mile for each of those killed during the conflict.  He just finished the job after 31 years of running at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington several days ago.  He now relates that he is beginning the 1,500 additional miles for those still MIA and 3,000 for those killed on 9/11.  Hats off to him.

And Coach Groves must have posed for several hundred photos at the recent Spiked Shoe XC Meet named in his honor.  Here are a few of my favorites from Charles Fuerte.

Nick K. with Coach.

Artie Gilkes makes Coach chuckle.

Director of Operations Ryan Foster, Coach Groves and Kara Foster.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The "Cat-Herder" Signal is Lit for Vintage Photos: Please Help

First off, my budget is measly (nothing) so I couldn't get my own signal made.  I'm stealing the Caped Crusader's signal.  I don't think he would mind.  And as a reclusive multimillionaire, I'm pretty sure he'd help us out if we knocked on his door.  Unlike Montgomery Burns who would release the hounds if we showed up.

Ryan Foster has asked for some help compiling some photos of PSU Track/XC facilities and equipment over the years.  Any of you that have anything documenting facilities and equipment can really help us out.  Failing that, stories and anecdotes would probably be of assistance also.  I'm thinking Rec Hall, blues and grays, Ice Palace, Beaver Stadium, weight room etc.  etc. etc....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Have You Ever Run More Than Rocky?

A very long time ago I had several conversations with fellow runners about how crazy the training scenes in Rocky and Rocky II and Rocky III were.  They were obviously spliced together just to have images to go with the music.  Philadelphians knew none of it made any sense.

As the Rocky movies became increasingly worse (Rocky XII: Cold-Blooded will star descendants of Rocky's original turtles, Cuff and Link in a slo-mo crawl across their cage to the music of Abba), we all calmed down and forgot all about the brouhaha over the editing.

Until someone more obsessive/compulsive than me decided to document the run to find out how far it had to be to actually follow the editing.  Turns out that was a 30.6 mile long run.

So my question is, "How many of you ever took a run longer than Rocky's "training run" in Rocky II"?

I actually did it only once on a run from the Nation's First Capital to the High Water Mark of the Confederacy in 1977.*  That was a 35 mile training run including a marathon in just a tad over 3:00.  Yeah, times have changed...

*100% true, documented fact.  References available upon request.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Alumni Singlet Makes Appearance at "Reach the Beach"

The team of mostly PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) that came in second at the New Hampshire Reach the Beach 200 Mile Relay were really a remarkable group.  The only team ahead of them were many years their junior. 

Soon-to-be Official Group Physicist Ron Moore graciously sent us some pics but was nursing a hamstring injury and acted as a driver of one of the two vans needed for the expedition.  Reading up on this event, I'm stunned at the logistics and attention to detail that's required.  It's a testament to the education provided by PSU that all of this was handled with such professionalism..The rest of the rabble of our group tip our hats to each and every one of you involved in this event.

Here's Mark Wimmer finishing his final leg with the Alumni Singlet leading the way.
Captain Wimmer with his Alumni Singlet!

Mark Wimmer, Jake Bartholomy, Matt Hutzelman, Harry Stants, Ken Cooper, and Ron Moore.

The start in the mountains of New Hampshire.

The celebration on the beach.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It Finally Came True

Richard Feynman, left, 1963.
I've owned The Feynman Lectures on Physics and Six Easy Pieces in various formats for quite a while now.  They fuel the fascination I have for the Man and the Science and provide a quick fix to help understand the world around us.

Now you can peruse this wonderful source of knowledge just like the Introductory Physics class of CalTech in 1961 to 1963 for free!  There's also an edition of Six Easy Pieces for the iPad.

Each and every one of you should try this out and get hooked on Nerdiness before too many of your brain cells die.

I also learned what would happen if you toss a 60 pound ball of silly putty from an 8 story building from this site.  Will it  a) splat  b) bounce  c) explode  d) implode  or  e) just sorta land?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Storming the Beach... and Broad Street

The Mine Falls Milers.
A team of mostly PSU Track Alumni Masters (Super Masters they are called because all of them are over 40!) runners stormed the Beach in New Hampshire yesterday, coming in 2nd out of 468 teams and dominating their Division by 6 hours!  (Only the much younger Alumni crew from St. Francis XC were able to top them.)

      SFCMXC             1  2-Men Open   20:14:06
      Mine Falls Milers  2  4-Men Super  20:38:00

Among them are Ron Moore, (future Group Official Physicist), Jake Bartholomy, Mark Wimmer and Ken Cooper.

And today was the Philadelphia Half Marathon with at least one speedy member of our Group ready for the perfect weather.

Matt Groves finished in 1:16:25Not bad for a 800 M man!

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