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...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Great Day Of Filming For My New Reality Show: More Filming Today

The Mens Distance Medley Relay at the Penn State National Indoor Meet turned out to be everything it was advertised to be.  Georgetown nipped PSU at the wire with the #1 and #2 times in the NCAA this year.  They also were the #5 and #6 times all-time in the NCAA.

Notable were the leadoff 2:51 1200M from Brannon Kidder and the challenge from behind by Robby Creese in the 1600M with a 3:57 or so.

Georgetown's Amos Bartlesmeyer nips PSU's Robby Creese.

I'm hopping on the treadmill for a "spirited" 3-miler and then driving up to State College for the afternoon Invitational races.  Hope to see a few of you there.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Penn State Indoor National Has Arrived!

The second episode of my new (and so-far only dreamed!) Reality Show 800 U: Winner Take All will be filmed and streamed live by Flo Track this weekend at PSU. I'm linking them at their paid site, so I think it's OK to use their previews!  It's good to see so many teams vying for the title.
Men’s DMR, Friday 7:10pm
This one should be a dandy as Penn State, Villanova, and Georgetown all have a legitimate shot at the NCAA and world record. That 9:25.97 record has been held by Texas since 2008, but it will come under fire by these three schools who all ran top ten NCAA all-time marks in 2014.  The Nittany Lions ran 9:26.59 at this meet a year ago, #2 all time, and return three of their four pieces from last season. Brannon Kidder and Robby Creese will lead PSU against a Georgetown squad that has been impressive early in 2015, with four men already under 1:50 in the 800m. All four runners from their 2014 DMR return this season, while Villanova brings back three of their four from a team that ran 9:28.06, #4 in NCAA history. Aussie Jordan Williamsz has 3:56 mile speed and should anchor for the Wildcats

Men's 800m, Saturday 3:10pm
D2 stud Drew Windle of Ashland has the fastest PB in this field with his impressive 1:46.52, but he won’t have it easy against his D1 counterparts. Brannon Kidder is entered in three events this weekend, and like the other two, he will be right up front in the 800m. He has a 1:47.23 PB to go along with his 3:38 1500m strength, and has the best shot to beat Windle on Saturday. Don’t count out the rest of 800 U. though, as the Nittany Lions will roll out three other challengers with sub-1:50 PBs. The other names to watch are Chris FitzSimons of Villanova (1:48.91) and Ryan Manahan of Georgetown (1:48.95) and keep an eye out for top D3 runner Andrew Carey (1:49.67) of Johns Hopkins.
Men’s Mile, Saturday 4:10pm
Five men in this field have run 4:00.04 or faster, and this loaded group could take down the 3:56.51 meet record if everything goes right. All-Americans Robby Creese and Brannon Kidder will come back from the DMR on Friday night, and will have the home crowd’s support as they look to fend off the ‘Nova duo of Jordan Williamsz (3:56.84) and Rob Denault (3:59.39). Other names to watch are Ahmed Bile of Georgetown and cross country All-American Martin Hehir of Syracuse.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PSU Is Hollywood East

Don't forget to wish Mike Pfaff Happy Birthday today.  And check out his latest appearance on the small screen....

And Ryan McGarry's brainchild may also soon be appearing on your TV screen, as Code Black has been green-lighted for a CBS Pilot.  The Medical Comedy/Drama is set in LA's most busy ER, where sometimes there is too much going on to save everybody.  The incredible staff fights stiff odds against a medical system broken beyond repair. It's as if Ryan spent time in my Podiatry Practice or something!

And did both of them ever run an 800 M for PSU?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Physics of Footballs

If there's one thing I hear a lot as Head Idiot here at the blog with it all, it's "there's not enough Physics!"
So as we await the Penn State National Meet this weekend let's get into a little topical Physics Knowledge.

As a noted (and increasing) Curmudgeon, I care less and less about the Super Bowl each year.  I spent this whole year alternating rooting for and against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team I've rooted for since 1964. That was when games weren't even on television for those youngsters reading this. And guys routinely played "on both sides of the ball". Nowadays, there are actually 2nd down pass rushing specialists! Notice, I didn't say 3rd down pass rushing specialists.  That's a whole different group!

The Inflategate Fiasco has me totally perplexed.  As much as I would love to see some people punished severely, I am pretty certain the same thing has occurred thousands of times before. Thousands. Of. Times.

But just to be complete, Physicists have weighed in to solidify the knowledge on the subject. And their conclusions should be quite damning to Mr. Knit-Cap-Know-Nothing and his Coach, Mr. Videotape Everything.

Monday, January 26, 2015

What Does 34 Years Of Only Slogging* Get Me?

My "career" ended really in 1981.  I ran a few races here and there until 1997.  The only time I really trained following college was for the Disney World Marathon in 1997.  I wanted a 3:30 Marathon and was well on my way until cramps hit my legs at the 17 mile mark.  This never happened before in my entire life, and never since.  It was due to someone convincing me to use Creatine, my only ever PED.  Fat load of good it did me when I finished in 4:01, which was really a 3:53 or so counting the time I spent in the Ambulance Tent waiting for a meat wagon to take me to the finish. When they finally told me it would be along in 4 hours, I got up and finished the race without much problem.  A fitting end to my illustrious career.

Well, 34 or so years of non-training has led to somewhat of a loss in fitness, to say the least.  But as it turns out, only a week of non-training has devastating effects on fitness.  Like 50% in just one week!  I'm skeptical of this, although less skeptical than I am of Catastrophic Global Warming.

*Slogging being defined as the slow jogging I do now on a treadmill mostly. Sigh.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

BOOM: 800 U: The Reality Series First Episode: A 600 Is A Like A Really Fast 800!

Wow:  When I envisioned a new reality TV show to replace the lost diamond of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, I came up with 800 U: Winner Take All.  Now I can really imagine the series come to life on ESPN 8: The Ocho. The first episode aired in my mind last night. Imagine a really slick opening sequence like this one from Dodgeball: A True American Underdog Story.

DODGEBALL-"ESPN 8-THE OCHO" SEQUENCES from Rick Austin on Vimeo.
A heck of a marker was laid down in Episode One: A 600 Is Like A Really Fast 800!

Penn State's multiple Record Holder Casimir Loxsom added another American Record to his quiver, taking away Eric Sowinski's Indoor mark in the 600 M with a stellar opening 1:15.58. This was done at altitude in Albuquerque.*

*And don't any of you idiots tell me how altitude actually helps you in a 600M race.  I know a little physics and a little physiology.  And go ahead and make the argument of "a soft record".  Cas actually acknowledged that in his interview.  His interview after AN AMERICAN RECORD!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Still More Greetings From Paradise

I really must have picked the wrong profession.  The closest I've come to "Paradise" would be Key West.  It's a place I really like a lot.  The water is green, so I guess it counts.  But all the other Idiot Officers in our group keep sending me photos and stories from places that have even greener water.

Our Chief Laundry and Morale Officer sent us these great pics from somewhere in Paradise.  He is apparently living aboard the US Reluctant awaiting his first shore leave at the upcoming Coaches Reception in State College.  Thses pics feature the newest version of the Alumni Tee-Shirt and the old wrist band (should I bring back a new version for this year's Reunion?).

My dad saw the 1948 play on Broadway with Jack Lemmon in the lead role.  In the movie he took the role of Larry's favorite character, Ensign Pulver.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

PSU Is 800 U: The Reality Series

Winner take all...

One of our most loyal readers recently posited that with the results of the recent meet at PSU, Georgetown is actually 800 UFlotrack wonders too!

So I figure we should just replace the "Reality Show" Here Comes Honey Boo Boo with "800 U: The Reality Series. Winner Take All".

The problem is we need judges that aren't biased for (or against) any of the competitors.  Which leaves both me and him out.  Any volunteers out there?

2014 Performance Of The Year: Brannon Kidder

Congratulations to Brannon Kidder and his School Record in the 1500M  (3:38.8) for winning the Performance of the Year for 2014!  He'll receive his Prize Package only after graduating so as to not interfere with the odious rules of the NCAA.

He beat out stiff competition like the National Champion in the Shot Put, the second fastest ever NCAA Distance Medley Relay and the second place runner in the National Championships 800M. (Not to mention the World Record Holder in the Women's Beer Mile!)

Keep the nominations coming for this year's award on the right side bar.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

PSU Is 880 U: Bob Hillman At The Top Of The Game

I was very pleased to see that someone among our ranks took the time to nominate Bob Hillman for next year's performance of the year.  (Don't forget to vote in this year's finals on the left sidebar.  There's less than 2 days left!)

Our Golden Putter Attendant Greg Fredericks brings us the news of Bob Hillman's great honor yesterday.  He was recognized with PSU's greatest honor at the same Board of Trustees meeting that gave back to our University 110 previously vacated football victories.

Eight to receive distinguished alumni awards in 2015 and one is our very own Bob Hillman.  Bob was a team member from 1970 to 1974 running track and field and cross country.  And yes, among other events, he did run the 800 (880 back in the day).  Just another reason to be proud to be a Penn State track and field student-athlete and an alum!

Robert E. Hillman of Weston, Massachusetts, is the research director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital, an associate professor of surgery and health sciences and technology at Harvard-MIT, and a professor of communication sciences and disorders and associate provost for research at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. He earned his bachelor's and master’s degrees in speech pathology and audiology in 1974 and 1975, respectively, from the College of Education.
Here is the link to all 8 names.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by Penn State upon an outstanding alumna or alumnus. The award salutes the achievements of outstanding alumni whose "personal lives, professional achievements, and community service exemplify the objectives of their alma mater." The award is an engraved bronze medallion, matching pendant, and framed inscribed certificate.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Time Is Running Out To Join Over 60 Of Your Friends Both Old And New

The Coach's Reception for Coach Teri Jordan and Coach Harry Groves will occur following the Sykes-Sabock Challenge on Saturday February 7th at 6:30PM to 8:30PM at Rotelli's State College, located at Calder Square.  This will be an Italian buffet with an open bar.  It's almost like the 19th hole at the Coach Groves Golf Tournament!

Please RSVP by emailing Will Rottler back at wdr13@psu.edu with the number that will be attending. Already, 60 people are confirmed! You must get your RSVP in by the end of January!

There are many members of our group confirmed for the event.  But there are also numerous people who have not been back to Happy Valley in quite a while.  And we hope to recruit more members to our efforts to become the largest and most active Track Alumni Group in the world. Help us out by spreading the word.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Well Earned Recognition

We previously told you about the wonderful coaching exploits of my teammate Tom Rapp.  I'm honest when I say, I can't imagine someone more qualified to be coaching the youth of America than Tom. I hope to see him again at the Coaches Reception at the upcoming Sykes-Sabock Meet in early February.  That's because Tom is always coaching during our Alumni Reunions and Golf Tournaments.  (Except the one that got his name on the Coach Groves Memorial Cup!)

Well, others have noticed as well.  Our William and Mary adjunct Alumni Golfer Brian Mount forwarded me this article detailing Tom's Coach of the Year honors for the State of Ohio.

And don't forget to vote on the left sidebar for the performance of the year 2014! Only a few days left.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The 2014 Performance Of The Year Finals (Vote For Your Top 2)

The Semi-Finals are done and 7 entries have been sent on to the final round.  You can vote for your top 2 performances on the left sidebar poll on the main web site.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

America Is The Land Of Opportunity To Be Dopey

And the home of the brave!

We are guarded by some of the best men and women on the planet.  America's Armed Forces are an all volunteer force, and are routinely criticized by those who don't bother to look into the matter much.

I just spent the weekend with a veteran of the Afghanistan War, who may be one of the bravest I have encountered.  Not only did he pal around with my decidedly boring and pedestrian family, but he roomed with Gary Black for the week.

On Thursday, he ran his first ever 5K.  On Friday, he ran his first ever 10K.  On Saturday, he ran his first ever Half Marathon.  And today, he ran his first ever Marathon!  That's all on his total of 2 weeks of "Training".*

Eric White is therefore named an honorary golfer in our group. 

Dopey runners Gary Black, Eric White and Barb Black in Epcot.

The 3 Dopeys and Daughters Elder and Younger.
*Other than that bit of training called Service in the US Military.  Wear all 6 medals with pride and have a beer on me.  Both Gary and Barb finished with improved times from last year.  Gary ended up running under 9 minutes/mile just as I predicted!  And whatever times Eric ran, he has my eternal respect.

Big Press For 800 U!

For the record, I did not come up with the moniker "PSU is 800 U".  Someone else did, and I would love to know who???  But I did capture it and put it into common usage via "the blog with it all".  Remember, the use of the term is not a brag.  It is a motivation to PSU athletes and the athletes of other Universities to up their game. It is meant to be a fun challenge for everyone out there.  And it's working!

Thanks to the attentive eyes of both Joe Clinton and Coach Bill Preston, I am now aware that even Flo Track is using the motto to promote the upcoming track season.

Flo Track was at yesterday's Penn State Relays for the PSU 4 X 800M Relay opening salvo of 2015 with a fine 7:22 effort.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Trapped Like A Rat Ten: The RunDisney Expo

Just a little lull in blogging due to the constraints of a vacation and the time limitations which come with it.  Daughter the Younger helped me out by trying to capture the feelings of the Run Disney Expo at the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with her brand new Canon Eos Rebel.  It's the biggest running expo I have been to, and worth coming to even if you don't run any of the races.

My favorite place has always been the Polar Electro Inc  Booth, where I have bought a new watch every year for the past 6 years.  Even though I only sometimes run outside, my gadget fetish and obsessive/compulsive personality means I must keep up with the latest in technology. Each year, Barb inherits last year's model for use during her Dopey Challenge.  So far, this has worked quite well.  My hats off to Paul Hinson, Senior Territory Sales Representative for North Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. He works with Florida State among other Universities.  He has helped me out so many times in setting things up, and has the patience of Job. I'll be bugging him by email to get my bluetooth foot pod up and running once the firmware is updated. I am very brand loyal when it comes to Polar watches and heart rate monitors.  They are the only brand which are certified by medical authorities.  I recommend them highly. Thanks,Paul.

Paul Hinson. He's like family.
The Expo is quite remarkable for its size, but also for the fact that it goes all day for 4 straight days. The people manning the booths are some of the greatest endurance athletes you will encounter, even though you are hanging out with 45,000 runners during the entire event.  Here's some of my Daughter the Younger's handiwork with her camera.

They don't call it Or-Line-do for nothing.

Mobbing the computers to sign waivers.

The Expo Floor (now one of two!) just after opening. Soon to be mobbed.

The black and white retro Run Disney 2015 New Balance shoe.

This year's Run Disney models. Tens of thousands will sell.

We're here to see Barb continue to be "perfectly Dopey".

Starting to get crowded.

The parking lot was nearly full 1 hour before opening.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Trapped Like A Rat:And A Real Run

The girls are gone to see Harry Potter or some such nonsense.  I bought them all the damn books, so I'm OK sitting this one out, right? I'm stuck without the Magic Hybrid with nothing but Disney all around me.

But at least I could take a jog with the other crazies here on the newly named New Balance TrailYes Ron, I really did run without a treadmill! Tomorrow I'll bring you the craziness of the Disney Running Expo complete with the professional photography services of Daughter the Younger and her new Canon EOS Rebel.

Monday, January 5, 2015

It's Not Just Me

Anyone paying attention to the blog at all knows my admiration of Tyler McCandless and all that he is accomplishing in just half the time I have been on this Earth.  I really have only met him twice, and talked to him briefly just once.  I wonder if he even remembers?  My admiration is not unique, however.  Others have noticed the same thing, more than once.

The Collegiate Running Association has honored Tyler in the latest volley of recognition for him and Penn State University Track and Field.  Way to go Tyler!  And I swear I'm going to get around to that podcast soon...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Trapped Like A Rat 10: Notes From The Road (At least I think it's 10?)

  1. This year's flu shot did not prevent the flu very well.  But it did lesson the severity and duration of the illness.  Trust me, I'm almost a doctor.
  2. Saw a fairly large boat that fell off a trailer onto 3 of the 4 lanes of I-95 near the Georgia/Florida border.  A boat is usually a big hole in the water that you throw lots of money into.  That one didn't make it into the water.  I think the fine for that maneuver should be in the $Thousands, at least.
  3. I have missed more days running in the past month than I did in the preceding 14 years. Back on the treadmill today.
  4. Stopped at The Murray Brother's Caddyshack off I-95 for lunch today.  A lifelong quest. Well, several years anyway.  The food was good and I picked up a few knick-knacks for the next Coach Groves Golf Tournament.  Did you know there are 6 Murray Brothers?  Or is it 7?

  5. Took 3 days to get here to Orlando and am currently ensconced next to the big Ferris Wheel under construction near Universal. Tomorrow is actually officially "trapped like a rat day 1".
  6. Both Gary Black ('82, '84 '86) and Barb Black ('80) are running The Dopey again this year.  That's the 10K, 5K, Half Marathon and Marathon on successive days.  Even Daughter the Elder may "bandit" the Half Marathon with my co-worker's number before she the rest of the family abandons Barb before Marathon day, as we must return to work and school earlier than she does.
  7. I spent 1/3 of what I did last year on gasoline for the trip from Blog Central to Orlando.  Gas is 2/3 of the price from last year, and I'm getting more than double the gas mileage with my new Hybrid even though I added a roof-top cargo carrier to it!  Go ahead, check my math. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Prophetic Dream of the Penn State National

The only thing more boring than hearing someone tell you about their dream is hearing someone tell you about a dream that you weren't in.  That's why this post is mostly for Aaron Nadolsky, Connor Manley, Wade Endress, and Coach Sullivan.  On the off chance you are still interested in reading, well then, enjoy...

January 30, 2015.  The Penn State National.
Glen Mills High School Indoor Track Facility. Glen Mills, PA.

Tonight's DMR team is in the midst of an attempt at a national-leading mark. Connor Manley has just finished the 800 meter leg and hands off the baton to 400m leg Aaron Nadolsky in 1:51 (in this particular race someone arbitrarily decides to run the 800 before the 400.  Just go with it.)

Penn State holds a commanding lead.  Nadolsky now carries the baton, pumps his arms relentlessly, and cycles his legs through strong and steady like pistons, but he's not going anywhere.  Instead he runs in place on the start line for 47 seconds. Having covered no ground whatsoever but clearly giving it all he's got judging by the look of Greg Jennings-esque determination on his face, his leg is now apparently over as he lunges forward to hand me the baton.

At this point I'm confused.  It's not unusual at all to me that Aaron just ran in place for 47 seconds, but I do find it strange that he did it facing in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, now the baton is in my grasp and I hesitantly start jogging clockwise headed toward the turn on the backstretch.  Not really sure about what I'm doing or if I am running in the right direction, I stop dead in my tracks and look to the sideline, and calmly ask Penn State senior Wade Endress.

"Which way?"

Wade is biting his lip, with a big grin trying not to laugh, he shakes his head, and points me in the other direction.  I laugh at myself too.

No big deal. I retrace my lost 50 meters and head off for the first of (apparently) four laps.  Four minutes and four seconds later I cross the finish line feeling no fatigue, no strain. I ran most of the race in lane six, as my tremendous speed and momentum forced me to the outside lanes.

I've only run four, 200-meter laps but Coach Sullivan says I'm done. I try in vain to convince her that I am pretty sure I still have another four laps to go, but everyone on the team seems to disagree with me.  I shrug my shoulders, smile, and look up at the scoreboard to see our official, winning time:  9:33.12 - it's an NCAA leader!  The Glen Mills crowd roars its approval! Coach Sullivan informs me I closed the last 400 meters of the race in a blistering 89 seconds to secure the victory.  Everyone is impressed.  I am confused by the math, but happy nonetheless.

It was the strangest, most glorious race of our lives.  And I now issue a challenge to Penn State's season opening DMR to top Connor Manley's, Aaron Nadolsky's, and my NCAA-leading performance.  Should we expect it on January 30?  Should Glen Mills host in 2016?  Does the team need me to fly back to State College and count laps?

If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

End Of Year Rankings Include Many Nittany Lions

Our Data Procurement Specialist has again done yeoman's work and scoured the latest Track and Field News Rankings to highlight the Nittany Lion Men (Women will be coming next!) shining in the latest year.  He asked me to double-check his work (He must have been giggling when he wrote that. I'm pretty sure he knows me well enough by now to realize that ain't happening.!)  Needless to say, I trust his work.  And if he's missed a few, I know there are other Nittany Lions out there to amend the list.   It was really a very good year. Besides, he always gets his T&F News way before I do!

800 M
Loxom #5 US rank; #5 US time 1:45.80
Kidder #29 US time 1:47.45i
Cas Loxsom was ranked #4 in the 800 on LetsRun.com's middle/long distance end of year rankings also.
4. Cas Loxsom • Brooks Beasts • 23 years old • 1:45.80 sb (#6 in US) • 2nd at USA Outdoors
Championship results: 2nd USA outdoors, 3rd USA indoors semis
After running 1:45.28 and finishing sixth at USAs at age 20 in 2011, Loxsom seemed poised for greatness. But he stagnated over the next two years, failing to make a U.S. final or improve on his pb. He didn’t set a pb in 2014 either, but he won some races and didn’t just make a U.S. final — he placed second (though we won’t know how high he would have been without the fall). To be a factor at USAs next year, Loxsom will have to build on his success in 2014. With a new training partner in Seattle in Symmonds, that seems possible.

1000 M
Loxom #3 US time 2:19.16
Creese #8 US time 2:20.65i
1500 M
Kidder #22 US time 3:38.82 (PSU record)
Kidder #34 US time 3:58.49i
Robinson =#31 US time 50.75
Marathon/Half Marathon
McCandless  #18 US time 2:15.26/McCandless #18 US time 63.25
Hendershot #41 US height 7-2.5i
SP (PSU is SP U???)
Kovacs #3 World, #2 US Rank; #2 World/#2 US distance – 72-3.5
Whiting #4 World, #3 US Rank; #1 World/#1 US distance – 72-11.25i
Hill #36 World, #11 US distance – 67-6
Shuey #10 US distance 249-5 (PSU record)
4x800 #11 US 7:18.99
SMR  #5 US 3:18.39
DMR #1 US 9:26.59i (PSU record)

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