Friday, January 18, 2008

Cinder Track Days

[ Rescued from one of my old myspace blogs. ]

I was reading a bit of trivia about infield tarps in baseball today, which mentioned that some tarps are rolled out by a ground crew while others extend over the infield mechanically. I imagine that the robot tarps must be offensive to poetic souls like W. P. Kinsella, who has written fiction about summoning ghosts of baseball past by constructing a baseball field on an Iowa farm (Shoeless Joe) and about a conspiracy of baseball fans to replace a major league stadium's carpeted outfield with natural turf ("The Thrill of the Grass").

You won't see a ground crew covering a track & field facility with a tarp nowadays, if indeed you ever would have. Today's synthetic tracks need very little day-to-day maintenance. In the bad old days it wasn't always so. As recently as my childhood (say pre-1970), Florida State University had a dirt track. Before competitions the surface needed to be raked and lined. Lining must have been particularly labor intensive. Not only did lane lines need to be chalked, but also marks for staggered starts, relay exchanges, starting lines, and so one. The FSU track had brass plates tacked onto the curb indicating where each of these marks had to be chalked. There were a lot of plates. Of course, every time it rained, all the lane lines and other marks were washed away. There was no hurry to re-draw them, though, because the track would be too muddy to use for quite a while after a rainstorm.

On synthetic tracks the markings are much more durable. I walked by FSU's Mike Long Track earlier this week and noticed that markings were fresh and bright; they had just been repainted. This gets done about once a year, which is probably more often than it actually has to be done, but is still a lot less frequently than the old dirt surface needed to be chalked. If there was any special equipment used to chalk the track, I imagine that it was scrapped long ago. I hope that the workers responsible for getting the track in shape suffered a less cruel fate.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2008 Gulf Winds Track Club 30K

[ Rescued from one of my old Myspace blogs. ]

Vince Molosky ran 2:00:29 to win the Gulf Winds Track Club 30K yesterday, finishing nearly a mile ahead of his closest challenger, master's champion Mike Martinez who clocked 2:06:28. The top woman was Sheryl Rosen at 2:17:24; the next woman in was top master Jane Johnson with a 2:19:16. In the associated 15K event, top honors went to Leon High School student Matt Mizereck who ran 54:23. The top woman in the 15K was Lisa Johnson at 63:13. As for the masters, the first man across the finish line was Mike Sims at 64:21, while the first woman was Connie Mayo at 77:45. Conditions were cool and cloudy, and the previous night's rain only improved the red clay road surface, as long as you were canny enough to avoid the obvious patches of mud.

Taking my first race pictures of 2008, I ended up shooting over 300 photos. When I got home, it turned out that about 200 of them were absolutely useless. I've posted the balance here:
I wasn't the only one with a lens out there; you can also check out the work of Fred Deckert:
Mr. Deckert's photographs were mostly taken in the area around the starting / finishing line. I did most of my work at a spot on the course that I shared with the blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers.

Complete results of the race are posted at
Smooth trails!