Tuesday, October 20, 2015

President's Physical Fitness Challenge: Part II

As was written about a few weeks back, our team recently completed our own version of the “President’s Physical Fitness Challenge.” This challenge consisted of two simple, yet pain-inducing events:

yeah, but what can you v-sit??'
1) mile run
2) 100 yard swim

More for the “fun of it” than anything else, I prepped for my mile by treating it like a normal race day. I ate my usual pre-race breakfast, stayed away from the burger joints that surround my office at lunch, and tried to harness the eye of the tiger.

Eventually I headed to the nearest high school track, that of the mighty Taylorsville Warriors. I started to warm up, doing my best to avoid some small puddles that had accumulated from an earlier storm. It did little good, as my socks became soaked through almost immediately. I did a little more warming up, getting several strides in, and then went back to the car to look for another pair of socks… there have to be some dirty socks in here somewhe – eureka! Sure enough my lack of grooming and cleanliness was paying off in the form of dry feet.

A maintenance guy riding around on a golf cart politely informed me they’d have to kick me off in 15 minutes due to preparations for a football game. No worries, I thought… Nick Hetro might need 15 min. for his mile, but not me!

I toed the line and tried to run smooth and relaxed, but was already ~4 seconds off my plan after the first lap. I tried to make up a little time on the 2nd lap, but lost an additional ~2 seconds. I clawed back a second or so or the 3rd lap, then sprinted it in the best I could. I wasn’t exactly Steady Eddie (or Jim Ryun, below), but with my finishing kick I was able to get back to my target time.

So enough of a lame race report for a 1-mile test run… the real reason for this post is a thought I had after several minutes of hyperventilation on the track. The thought was simply that it would be interesting to poll triathletes to see which is faster: their typical Ironman 70.3 time OR the mile time they’re capable of today, as in doing a time trial like our team did.

For example, to date, my fastest 70.3 time on a legit course is 5:25 (excluding a couple courses that were a little short... I don't need to claim a "huge PR!" when a course is not accurate). My recent mile was a handful of seconds ahead of that number. Obviously we’re talking hours & minutes for the 70.3 vs. minutes & seconds for the mile, but I’d argue that whichever is faster is a pretty solid indicator of whether your strength is in short-course or long-course racing. In my case, my strength is definitely short-course racing, as this unscientific test would have indicated.

On the other hand, I’m sure there are others with that same 5:25 70.3 time who would run slower than a 5:25 mile. Their strength is more in long course vs. short.

The faster someone’s time is for a 70.3, the more difficult it would be to match. A pro who goes 4:00 probably isn’t Roger Bannister on the track. However, for most mortals I’d say it’s a pretty decent test.

Let’s take everyone who goes 6:30 for an Ironman 70.3. My guess would be a good chunk of that crowd could run a 6:30 mile, but a perhaps equal or greater % could not.

Same with other times, for example 5:00 and 5:00, 7:00 and 7:00, etc.

So if you’ve done both (or have an idea of what kind of mile you can run), where do you stack up? Which is faster, your 70.3 time or mile time? If you haven’t run a mile in a while I challenge you to go test yourself. It’s a good kind of hurt and it’s over quickly… also, you might surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.

PS. in case you're curious, team honors for the mile went to Jeff Kirkland (Oregon) with a blazing 4:47. Stewart Nixon (Colorado) smoked us all in the pool with a 55 sec 100 yard swim.

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