Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Wed. Apr 24 - Stanford FASTR session HS girls' runner health

The following was shared by Menlo Atherton coach Andy Pflaum. Please help pass the word.

Hi coaches, a reminder that tomorrow, Wed. Apr 24 at 6:30-7:30pm is the free session that Stanford's FASTR program for women athletes is hosting on high school girls' runner health, including nutrition, bone health, iron, and other key topics.

High school girl runners, their parents and coaches can attend in person at 453 Quarry Road, Stanford (the Stanford Center for Academic Medicine), or via Zoom.

More info on the session is below and registration is available here. We hope you'll join us in person or on line!

Monday, April 22, 2024

CCS Top 8 Meet Videos

Thanks to Milpitas parent Chris Althouse, you can check out videos from the CCS Meet 8 at the following link:

Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Marin Mile

Join us at the inaugural Marin Mile— a festival of miles I’m putting on at Archie Williams High School on June 1st, 2024.

Inclusive of all levels and all ages, the Marin Mile welcomes anyone who wants to run or race a mile with their peers. 

As this event is electronically timed and USATF sanctioned it serves as a great opportunity for high school distance runners to get a last chance race to share with college coaches or to better their personal bests one last time!

We wanted to make sure all Bay Area HS distance runners were aware of this race opportunity if they want to take one last shot at a PR or run a full mile on an outdoor track! 

Sign up TODAY at https://themarinmile.com

Brody Barkan
Sir Francis Drake 2015 grad

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Former Stanford University and pro runner Lauren Fleshman speaking on Thursday, May 2nd

Between now and April 20 (EXTENDED)
, if you use code +STUDENT, we will include a youth registration along with every adult registration purchased.  Also, the first 50 registrants receive a free paperback copy of Lauren’s book, and we have just a few more spots left on that promo.  

We will again have a sweet raffle onsite, including:

• NormatecGo travel compression sleeves
• Race Entries to sought-after races CIM and Napa Marathon / Half
• A chance to go for a run with Lauren the following day (Friday 5/3)
• Tracksmith prize pack
• 3 months of coaching from Dena (new clients only)
• Hettas shoes/sweatshirt 
• Bronze level blood test from Athlete Blood Test
• more to come —- ARM gift card???

Happy to answer any questions, and our link is pdcbyb3.Eventbrite.com.  The event is in Saratoga on Thursday, May 2. 

If you have any questions about the event, please email Dena Evans at peninsuladistanceclub@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

CCS Top 8 Meet this Saturday

The best section preview track and field meet in California is this Saturday at Los Gatos HS.

You can check out the performance lists at this link. Heats will be posted on Thursday.

Time Schedule:

What will be the most competitive events? Who are going to be the surprise winners? 

Friday, April 12, 2024

Catching up former Jesuit great, Pedro Reyes

Today we catch up with one of the all-time great distance runners in California, 1980 Jesuit HS graduate, Pedro Reyes. Jesuit has had a remarkable group of distance runners that included 8 boys who have run under 4:10 for the 1600 (They have also had 8 boys who have dipped under the 9 minute mark in the 3200 which is a national record). In the 1600, Reyes still stands as the 4th fastest runner in school history with his converted 4:04.58. He trails only Olympian Michael Stember (4:04.00) and the Mastalir twins (Mark-4:04.15 and Eric-4:04.23). As a senior, Reyes finished 2nd in the 1600 running 4:06.52 losing to only Castro Valley runner Larry Guinee (results linked below). Jesuit has been led for more than 50 years (to this day) by Coach Walt Lange and you can check out my interview with Coach Lange at this LINK

1) Before high school, what was your athletic experience?
Beginning around fifth grade I shadowed my brother, Jose, who is one class ahead of me. I followed Jose to football, basketball, and, later, track practice. Jose is a good sport and a great older brother.

Did you do any running?
I ran hurdles, long-jumped, and ran in both short and long relays. Jose won every race and anchored every relay.

How did you end up attending Jesuit HS?
During eighth-grade, quiet reading time, Mrs Higgins asked me, “Have you thought about what you want to do with your life?” I confessed that I hadn’t thought beyond basketball practice and homework due the next day. We chatted a bit and Mrs Higgins, to whom I owe an immense debt of gratitude, directed me to take the acceptance test for Jesuit that Saturday. I took the test, was later accepted, and was excited to start at Jesuit that next fall. At the time, I wanted nothing more than to wear one of those snappy red blazers with the school crest on the chest which the Varsity Basketball player wore to school on game days. Was a very Bobby Knight kind of culture/environment.

2) Tell us a little about your freshman experience on the cross country and track and field teams.
My freshman year I played football, competing for time at quarterback. After basketball season ended, I joined the track team late, in the week of the first dual meet. I was assigned the ugly grey sweats which we were required to wear at meets, though I really wanted the cool red sweats. “Who gets the cool red sweats? What do I need to do?” Get on the All-Time Top 10 board. After that first dual meet, I asked, “Red sweats, please. Thank you”

What did you learn?
As a freshman, I learned that I sucked at the hurdles.

For two years I ran in the group called “Riff Raff” because I/they didn’t fit into the sprinters, distance, or field groups. So I ran 440s and 880s and long relays.

I really enjoyed every practice, two-mile warmup, where we left campus and ran a bit through the American River bike trail, then back through the gate and looped around the large field, then around the inside of the track on the grass. I felt liberated running around the grass field and enjoyed the freedom to navigate however around the major monuments and skip around on the infield.

After two years with the Riff Raff, Coach Lehman passed me to the Guru, Coach Walt Lange, who coached and still coaches the distance hooligans.

Who were the mentors on your team?
Before my first cross country season, Coach Lange assigned Peter McCarry to train me over the summer. Peter was everything that I was not, at the time: disciplined, patient, and he had a car. We ran together nearly every day that summer and went to a bunch of road races and fun runs. Peter was a great example for me. During the year, I met nearly every day with John Lindeman and Jon Hilligiest and we ran together and laughed a whole lot of that time.

3) Where do you feel like you made the biggest jump in high school and what do you think contributed to that jump?
I ran track with Walt Lange for only two years, both Junior and Senior years.

As a Junior, after a couple of dual meet miles, I anchored a DM, grabbing the baton in a far back second place, opened in 2:06, and kept turning left to run about 4:18 in about my third mile race, albeit a relay leg. Coach told the gaggle of teammates chattering about 2:06 that, “At State Meet, they open in 2:06 and then they pick it up.” That sowed a seed that blossomed in Ceres a few weeks later where I followed NorCal heroes Tom Downs and Steve Strangio (Matthew’s father) and kicked in with my eyes closed to run 4:11.8 on dirt for a full mile. Coach Lange sat us down in a buffet before the long ride home and said, “Things are going to be different from now on.”

What contributed to that jump was the uninterrupted training from the prior June. That was the first summer and winter focused on distance running training and not on basketball.

4) What do you remember about your high school training?
The training with Walt Lange was very structured and totally transparent. Very early, Coach Lange shared a couple of resources with all of the runners: Running the Lydiard Way, by Arthur Lydiard, and Running Trax, Jerry Purdy’s approach to training and accompanying computer-generated pacing tables for workouts and races. Coach Lange challenged every runner, regardless of class or experience to run every day and to log 1000 miles over the summer in advance of cross country season.

Like every other runner on the Jesuit team, I enjoyed the off-site workouts in the Folsom hills, the Tarshes Drive runs in Ancil Hoffman Park, and the long efforts across the bridge over the Sacramento River and up Pennsylvania Avenue. The effort necessary to traverse Pennsylvania was very similar to that at the end of a competitive 800, mile, or two mile. And it was very, very fun.

What would a typical week look like for you?
Coach Lange challenged everyone to build toward a Sunday run of between 8 and 18 miles. Off-season was limited to steady runs of about 10 miles with fun runs or low-key races every now and then. Early track season was focused on repetitions of 400s, 800s, or 1320s. Everybody did the same workouts but each person had a personalized target for the number of efforts and times.

The workouts for the last month of my senior were exactly the same:
Monday: long Pennsylvania runs (3) then 6-8 times one minute with one jog recovery
Tuesday: 6-8 miles or so (was a long time ago) and 4-8 x 100m strides in spikes
Wednesday: 6-8 x 300 in about 41 with 2-3 minutes jog recovery; 4 x 165 (fast, float, fast) with 55 jog
Thursday: same as Tuesday
Friday: Competition
Saturday: Competition
Sunday: 8-18 miles

Any morning runs?
I usually ran around 25-30 minutes most mornings, or MWF if I recall correctly.

Length of longest runs?
Up to 18 miles on Sunday.

Any strength work?
I didn’t do any work with weights. I just ran every day.

5) Walt Lange has been at Jesuit HS for over fifty years with a lot of success. What made Coach Lange such a great coach for you, the rest of your teammates, and the runners he coaches today?
Coach Walt Lange is an incredible person. When I was beginning to run, Walt ran with the team. In the off-season, the lads convened with Walt and a slew of young professionals, both men and women, who enjoyed the camaraderie and process of training for a specific goal. During the “running boom,” lots of people ended their hot summer day by kicking up some dust at Harry Renfree Field or Ancil Hoffman Park or at the Guy West Bridge next to Sac State. It was a glorious time and I respected and admired so many adults who helped me to find my way through young adulthood.

Walt challenged every young person to establish goals and to work towards achieving those goals. He sought/seeks to develop young persons into self-directed adults who can manage their own training, without needing a coach. He respects each competitor regardless of the colors they wear.

6) What are the races do you remember the most when you reflect on your high school running experience?
It occurred to me that one didn’t need to run particularly fast to run fast times, you just couldn’t run any slow laps. For example, 61.5 isn’t particularly fast for a single 440, that’s no big deal. But if you could run four of ‘em, weeeeell that’d be pretty special. When Golden West was an annual destination for High School Track & Field, I watched John Gregorek do exactly that and Vince Draddy do exactly the same the next year on their way to the fastest miles of those years. Alan Sharsu and Jim Hill did the same in the two-mile. They didn’t run any one lap particularly fast, but they also didn’t run any slow laps.

Shawn O'Neal sent this to me a few years ago: Mike Parkinson, Steve Fairman, Mike Serna, Rob Leetch, Shawn O'Neal, Pedro Reyes, and Larry Guinee.

Who were the competitors that stood out to you?
When I was learning to run, Tom Downs and Steve Strangio stood head and shoulders above everyone in every race I was in or meet in which I attended. When I finally followed them closely enough, I found that they both ran with a relaxed gait and a steady tempo which I could mimic and found comfortable. That was a huge lesson for me.

Larry Guinee won the California State Meet 1600m by making the race his own. He and I followed way in the back while the front went out at some inhuman pace until about 500 to go when Larry exploded and demoralized everyone in that race with an incredible burst. He floored it for 200 or so then survived to win by a very small margin. But he won the race and Larry is in the books: California State Meet Champion. Years later, another Jesuit Marauder, Michael Stember used the same tactic, although in a much slower paced race, to begin his legendary run in the California State Meet

Proudest accomplishments?
I was happy to improve from about 4:10 to about 4:06 (for 1600) at State Meet. But not satisfied. At the time, high schoolers had relatively few competitive opportunities. One of them was the Golden West Invitational, in my hometown (que coincidencia!). The morning after the California State Meet, I got the nice invitation to run, thank you very much. And we did another week of the same workouts. But I was really tired from the multiple competitive simulations for the State Meet: race on Friday, then also race on Saturday. Friday in the foothills, Saturday in San Jose; Friday in San Jose, Saturday in Arcadia; Friday 2 mile at Bella Vista, would you like to race in Ceres with Gary Gonzales? No, thank you.

But I willed myself through an extra long warmup, did probably 16 strides to get my body moving forward, and was rewarded with … an early modest paced race. John Zishka had clobbered the, then, High School record over 5k and he started out running completely by himself, opening in about 60 or so. The rest of the field, including 10 different State Meet Champions ran 31, 62, 1:33. Cool. I did my best to stay in lane one and leapfrogged one or two here, then one or two there, and found myself putting the pedal to the metal and in front with 350 to go. We skipped along the back straight then Zishka popped up beside me and we traded strides, for about three strides and he trotted away to break Jim Ryan’s meet record. I had run my fastest race ever on a day on which I would have rather been watching from the stands, I would’ve enjoyed watching, and would’ve been yelling for them all.

The next week I ran a lousy 4:11 mile in Chicago and then that was it. The taper had expired and it was time to begin again, to start all over, running steady runs.

It was a fabulous experience.

Results from the 1980 California State Meet: 
wow.  they've misspelled my name!

7) Where did you go to college?
I followed a teammate to UC Irvine, where I met Mrs Reyes. Engineering and I were not particularly good to each other and I came home to continue at Sacramento State, in my hometown.

What was your running experience in college?
I came to Irvine with mononucleosis and soon learned I was a bit maladapted for running, and nursed one significant malady after another. Ran about as well as a freshman as a high school senior, but didn’t really adapt to the different competitive calendars. I met some wonderful people and cheered for some great competitors.

8) Bellarmine coach and former Jesuit runner Patrick McCrystle mentions that you were influential in his transition to distance running which changed his career path. What made you think he would be a good distance runner?
I count myself fortunate to know Patrick McCrystle. Patrick was a wee lad (hard to imagine, I know) when Walt brought a Distance Medley to Arcadia in 1980. On Friday night, I followed Larry Guinee until the last 200 in San Jose to win the Bruce Jenner Invitational. Was two hours plus back to Sacramento and the next morning Walt and our DM, including Patrick, flew to Arcadia. Patrick was an excitable bundle of energy. Patrick was a real treat and he reminded me and the others of the joy of new experiences and the special opportunity which we were given then. We didn’t win, but we sure enjoyed ourselves and the experience.

Since then, Patrick has been an incredible influence on the young men at Bellarmine Prep. It is a joy to see young men support each other while they strive to combine athletics and academics. Patrick shared with me, recently at the Dublin Distance Fiesta, how he reminds his charges that they remember that time when they achieved that goal which they had not believed achievable and that they take that experience with them and apply that experience in their lives when they meet the inevitable adversities which we all come up against.

Patrick developed into a great runner while I was away at Irvine. Jose periodically reported on Patrick’s fine running. Jose was number one in the Patrick McCrystle Fan Club. After classes concluded at Irvine, I raced back to Sacramento to watch Patrick’s turn to compete at the Golden West Invitational. Patrick ran really well that day in a pair of my track shoes which Jose and given to Patrick.

9) From high school:
Favorite cross country course? Crystle Springs.
Favorite cross country invitational? Del Oro Invitational, where we beat Mira Loma.
Favorite cross country workout? 3X one mile at Ancil Hoffman Park on the grass.
Favorite track event? 1500/mile
Favorite track invitational? Golden West Invitational Favorite track workout? 3 x 880
Favorite long run? American River Bike Trail about 18 miles round trip
Favorite free time activity? Watching Olympics or World Championships with John, Jon, Dave, and Chris.

10) What are the biggest differences that you see from the time you competed in cross country and track and field to what you see now?
To me it seems that the current athletes are so much better prepared to compete, both early and late. At one point, I was concerned that athletes had so few opportunities to compete, both at the highest levels and at the less to high levels. But both the distance fiestas/festivals and high-level competitions have flourished recently and I have so many more opportunities to watch student athletes test themselves.

 Improved communication (internet) has inspired nearly limitless ambitions and aspirations.

What do you feel are advantages and what do you feel was better in your day?
Long ago, Walt Lange told me/re-minded me of a story which he would tell at coaching clinics. Coach Lange arrived at my house before driving to Berkeley for the California State Meet. My dad was in the garage, working on his truck. He was probably rebuilding the engine because the block had cracked when Jose and I drove the truck to a track meet without any oil in the thing.

My dad waved and said hello and “Have a good run,” and we drove off to the California State Meet.

Years ago, parents allowed their children to own their experiences and skills development. My parents did not project their ambitions on me and they did not tell me what to do or how to do it.

Parents today, even a couple decades ago, are now so much more involved and invested in their child’s experiences and development. Good on them, I’ve met some wonderful parents and some great kids. The world is their oyster. I used to think high school was the best time of my life. I know now that today’s kids will have many more challenges and will, likely, transcend each of those challenges. Because they have set near and far goals and they have all the tools necessary to reach them.

What would you have done differently knowing what you know now?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I was incredibly blessed to have fallen into a supportive environment, with so many wonderful people who helped me along the path from pup to young adult.

11) What would be your advice for a young and upcoming talented runner today?
Have patience. You have the tools. Run every day.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
I owe much to the many adults who guided me early and kept me from getting into too much trouble. At St Philomene’s School, we were blessed to have coaches who loved athletics and shared that love in a way that emphasized developing skills. Winning was not the focus, but we invariably won many more games than not.

When Dean Higgs mentioned Connie Hawkins “Foul!” I read that book. When Jon Kaempfer mentioned “I Am Third,” I read that book.

That environment was rich for the development of young athletes. In my class alone, one classmate was a champion, all-natural bodybuilder (Skip LaCour). Another classmate broke the state record for bases stolen (Tony Padilla). Another classmate passed a love of baseball to two major league baseball playing sons. I’m probably forgetting others.

My classmates at Jesuit were precocious athletes. My freshman classmates included three or four age group All American swimmers. Another classmate was a champion golfer.

A few classes ahead of me, three cross country runners were accepted and, ultimately graduated from Stanford. Three scrawny kids on the same cross country team, in the same class! Two broke 30 minutes for 10k on the track in the very same race in 1977.

Fast 800s at league meet

Shared by Jim Crowhurst

We had an amazing dual meet 800.
Freshman wins in 1:56.49
Second place at 1:57.32 was the first time the boy ran the race and 1:58.64 took third.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Monday, April 01, 2024

Stanford Invitational Photos

Thanks to Malcolm Slaney, you should be able to find a photo of yourself from the just completed Stanford Invitational. You can find them here.

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