Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Indoor Memories

The more recent Nittany Lions have reveled in the glory that is the ultra-modern indoor track at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex.  But things weren't always so easy or beautiful like they are now!  Some of us toiled in what would now be called primitive conditions.  Somehow, we still had fun, learned things and excelled anyway.

The world's greatest Track and Field Museum curator, Mike Fanelli, recently posted an old photo of a high school indoor meet in the 1960s.  It did not fail to get a rise out of many people, including our very own Chief Morale and Laundry Officer, Larry Mangan.  I just wish Larry would write these things down for the blog instead of making me steal them from the other intertubes!
At Penn State my freshman year, we worked out on the "track" in the rafters (asbestos anyone?) of Rec Hall. That rectangular torture device basically had one and a quarter lanes. You did your recovery hugging the inside railing (yes, railing) while all types of sprinters and middle distance runners blazed by on your right as they completed their workouts. As your fatigue increased, your chances of weaving to the right increased, as did your chance of getting run over by Paul Lankford or Gary Schwartz (why was the throws coach running on that "track"?). We actually held an intrasquad meet on that damn medieval surface. Fortunately, Penn State's athletic administration, in all its glorious wisdom, moved us to the Greenberg Indoor Sport Complex, lovingly referred to as the Ice Palace. The surface of this unheated (yes, unheated in Central PA - wisdom) facility, which also had leaking skylights (yes, skylights in an unheated facility), was a hard, green, pebbled finish. Oh, and it was a flat, 13 lap to the mile circuit. The 20 meter straightaways provided a brief respite to everyone's screaming Achilles's tendons. My favorite part of the warm up was using our racing spikes to chip away the ice that formed on the track when the aforementioned skylights failed to hold their water. I would have much preferred to run outside on a creaky old board track.

My favorite memory of the Rec Hall Intrasquad Meet was the 400M.  Each heat had two athletes who hated each other.  One or the other ended up "over the rails" or "into the wall" in every dual.  Highly entertaining for a skinny Freshman looking to survive the spike injuries and sore throat to come in his 2-mile race!

Larry Mangan leads the Mile!

And let's not leave out the Greenberg Complex, which we have dealt with before...

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