Conditions: Not much wind, some sun, 26 F (-4 C). Brrr… I’d predict about a 2-3 percent slow down due to the cold as happened in the past.
I did this race last year when I was further along in training and it was 6 degrees F warmer. Like last year, I went with Tracy to the race.
Upshot: 25:50 for 5K; 15 out of 68 finishers (8:19), 4’th in the age group.
There weren’t many people here and Pat O’Bryan was a bit stiff in starting hence I went out ahead of her. I closed on some ladies and passed them on the way out; mostly I chased a younger, tall guy who was to finish 22 seconds ahead of me.
The lesson: though I was familiar with the course, I didn’t remember where the splits were. According to people with Garmins, the course was accurate enough, but the mileage markers were off (long) as explained by my splits: 8:30, 8:42 (17:12), 8:38 for 1.1.
When I saw the first mile (still chasing one of the two runners I would catch), I thought “I know it is cold and I am not used to it, but I thought that I was doing better than this!” So I attempted to put a bit more into it. I could see Terry and Jerry in the distance (they are very tall) and my distance to them didn’t seem unusual.
We circled and headed back; I was in the place I would finish in and could see the tall younger guy up ahead. Mile 2: 8:42????? That discouraged me; and I am not deep enough into the season to be confident as to what I can do. So I thought “ok, low 26 finish?) and started to let up. But I saw the tall guy and said to myself: “Race. Try to catch him; forget about your time.” So I tried and I did close the gap just a bit. But as we turned toward the start I could hear some quick footsteps; I could tell that was Pat breathing down my neck (not literally; I am about a foot taller than she is). I’ve raced her often enough to recognize her footsteps.
So I said: “pick it up; don’t let Pat catch you” and so I tried to push.
The end of the course is a “once around the parking lot loop (just over 400 meters)” and I saw Terry finishing in 23:28 and knew that I’d be done in about 2:30…time to pick it up as I had a shot of going under 26. So that, plus chasing the tall guy plus trying to stay ahead of Pat sped me up enough to get under 26 (25:50); Pat was 5 seconds behind me. Note: she beats me most of the time.
So, this was 41 seconds slower than last year but I was further along then and this was a tougher day to run.
Afterward, I went out to bring Tracy in and yelled for the other runners; Tracy (F 70-74) won her personal battle to break 40 (39:38) and to beat two women that she had been leap-frogging with.
After the food, conversation (hi JJW) and awards, I had a nice conversation with one of the directors of Building Steam. We talked about a few issues and now I am raring to go.
I like this race (well organized, decent course, decent food afterward) but am concerned with its future; it used to have 5 times the current participation. But the small crowd lead to a curious statistical result:
1. Joe Hanks 50-54 19:56
2. Daniel Ball 55-59 19:58
3. Leo Vanvervlugt 60-64 20:08
These are wonderful performances for this age group. But this was NOT the Senior Olympics. This reminds me of this “Slowest Generation” article. Though the competitive young people (e. g. team members) train very, very hard and really get after it, the non-team members…not so much. Then again, who has time to be concerned with times when one is texting and taking selfies while they are running? :-)
If you want some amusement, google “slowest generation” and read all of the butt-hurt.
Workout notes Swimming.
500 very slow; Mike and Jason beat me.
5 x 100 fist/free on 2:10. slow; first 2 were 2:00;then I migrated to 1:55 then to 1:50 for the last 2.
Then 3 x 100 drill (fins), 200 free:
3:31, 3:29, 3:27
150 side (stayed with a slow free style swimmer for 50
It was ok; started bad but got better when I focused more.
Human performance relative to age: who you are compared to makes a difference
The numbers: 1982, I weighed 190 and could bench press 260, which was 1.26 times my body weight; the minimum for a rating of “excellent” was 240 pounds.
This year (2015), I weigh 180 and can bench press 185 (I got 200 last year), which is a ratio of 1.03 which rates as “excellent”; the minimum rating of excellent for a male my age and body weight is 155 pounds. So, by this measure, I rate higher now than then, and that surprises me.
Now when it comes to, say, the 5K run, using this calculator, I am worse now than as a younger man. I ran about 19:00 as a young man and 19:53 as a 38 year old; last year’s best (at 54) was 24:42, which grades to 21:08 for 20-29, and 21:50 as a 38 year old. Note: my 54 year old time grades to 23:00 as a 45 year old (I ran 23:46) and 23:44 as a 49 year old (I failed to break 24 that year).
So, why do I rate higher in lifting than in running? One reason might be that perhaps my build is better suited for upper body strength than running. It could be that I don’t run as much as I did when I was younger, but my lifting hasn’t changed that much.
But I think that something else is going on.
The running calculator is from a “sport” page; there you are graded against the best in your age group. That is, you are graded against the most extreme outliers.
Now as a young person, outliers were mostly determined by inherent athletic ability. Yes, I know that the athletes have to train like demons, but the training is so that they can beat other outstanding athletes and not to beat me; witness the world class marathoner who ran 2:14 on 35 miles a week of running.
Now when you talk about age, you have to factor in not only genetic ability for the sport, but also the aging process itself; we do NOT age at the same rate, have the same level of accumulated injuries, etc.
So when you are compared to the best in your age group, you are being compared to people who are “double outliers” (ability, aging..)
On the other hand, I think (not sure) that the bench press calculator compares you to the AVERAGE MALE of your age group. The outliers get averaged out, so to speak.
As one ages, that is a very different comparison; as one ages, one can maintain a reasonably good score, relative to the average, by merely staying active when so many others do not. That will not help you vs. the outliers.
I noticed that my age group place in the Steamboat 15K has gotten worse. One factor: there are now fewer people in my age group; there aren’t many 55 year olds who would just enter a 15K running race on a whim (“I wonder how I’d do”); the only ones there are the seasoned runners. That isn’t true for the younger age groups.
Evidence: This past year, there were 43 people in the male 50-54 age group. I placed 38’th (.88). There were 60 people in the male 35-39 age group. My time would have placed me 46’th (.76). That is, AT MY CURRENT AGE, I placed higher in the 35-39 than I did in 50-54!!!! The reason, I think, is the level of competitions; only seasoned “over 50 years old” runners even attempt it.
I ran my 6.4 mile course (hilly, just over 10K) from the house to the university gym. I had the pleasure of a woman on the XC team being in front of me from the entrance to the Park on Parkside and I beat her to the RCC easily! Ok, I did take my usual Columbia Terrace to Maplewood cut whereas she did the “to University to Main”; so I did about 1 mile in the time she did about 1.5.
My goodness…I am slow.
Then to the gym.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (yes! Back to that level) rotator cuff
bench: 10 x 135, 1 x 180 (not that easy), 2 x 170 (huh?) 6 x 160 (depressing) (rotator cuff)
seated, supported military: 2 sets of 12 x 50 dumbbells, standing 10 x 40 dumbbells
pull downs: 3 sets of (7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low)
I was weak but…well…never mind. I am tired of excuses.
I keep having this “well, that switch is going to flip and those 7:30 mpm training miles and 10 x 225 in the bench press is going to come back”, but that has not happened and, to be honest, hasn’t happened since the late 1990s.
But here is what is a bit bizarre: the last time I was about this weight (as a young man; about 190 lbs. vs. the 180 I am now), I could bench press 260. I got 310 as a 230 pound man.
I used this calculator.
So, 260 at 190 pounds in my 20’s grades as 1.37 (percentage of body weight) or 20 pounds above the minimum “excellent” range.
Now I get 185 at 180 pounds at 55; this grades at 1.03, which is 30 pounds above the minimum “excellent” rage (155 for someone my age).
So, when one takes age into account, I am actually…in age graded terms..stronger NOW than I was then. That is just bizarre because it sure doesn’t feel that way.
Well, with the exception of one year, I’ve worked “Building Steam” since 2004. What it is: it is a program to help new runners build to being able to finish a 4 mile race. When I first did it, it was run by the Illinois Valley Striders; it was an “experienced runners helping out newbies” sort of thing.
Well, over time….
They decided to include “access steam” with the main program, which means that we now have to take the physically disabled (wheelchairs) and the mentally disabled (with mentors). That is limiting just a bit; e. g. no trips over the bridge which serves as hillwork for the non-disabled runners. I had mixed feelings on that one but was willing to live with it.
But now: the Striders have decided to work together with Running Central on Building Steam and..you guessed it….corporatization.
One of the program representatives (head of the local group for recreation for “special needs” people) said something to the effect “we don’t need you to be trashing our sponsors on the social media”….uh, I am not going to even be censored by my employer, much less by some group that I volunteered to help. :-)
The store owner did say that shoe companies are reluctant to sponsor races as they see little to no tangible increase in sales because of that. So they have a one year contract with a particular company and..well…he all but asked us to encourage our trainees to consider that company’s shoes. Was he just “telling it to us straight up” or…..hmmm.
Nope: I don’t do sales for a living, and I won’t do them on a volunteer basis.
And so I have the “Team Steam” shirt; by Friday I’ll decide if I give it back or not. I am leaning toward leaving this program, as it really doesn’t resemble what I originally signed up for.
I’ll let paid employees do the advertising and selling of merchandise, thank you very much.
In a recent post I had talked about starting a hill run alongside a group of men’s track team runners. I had said that they pulled away from me so quickly it appeared as if I were standing still. I told my department chair this (he is a runner) and he reminded me of why it appeared this way:
they ran that hill interval (approximately 400 meters) about twice as fast as I did. So they are about twice as fast as I am; that is, the rate at which they pulled away from me is approximately the rate at which I would have pulled away from someone standing still.
To wit: their speed for this interval: about 4 minutes per mile, or . My speed: about 8 minutes per mile (5K pace) or . So the relative speed between us is .
That. Is. Humbling.
Today: I walked; I figured that I need to walk more. I did the hilly Cornstalk 5.1 course in 1:11:54 (14:05 mpm pace); it was overcast, dark and a bit slippery.
Climate change Last night I went to hear Harold Brooks speak: he is a NOAA scientist. He spoke about thunderstorms and climate change.
1. When it comes to rain, the total volume hasn’t changed much. BUT the way we get it has; we get a higher percentage of it from strong storms.
2. When it comes to thunderstorms, wind shear and available energy are the two big factors. Climate change has reduced the former and increase the latter; these are competing effects.
3. The models are pretty much in agreement as to what will happen (over time) during the winter, spring and fall. What is open is what will happen during the summer: more storms? Fewer? Wet? Drought? No one knows and the models can’t reach even a tentative conclusion.
Yes, there is a huge difference between the great powers and those lower seeds in the NCAA tournament. Attendance at the games isn’t so great either, but part of the reason might be the unusual start times.
Workout notes: a bit different than what I’ve done recently.
First: short weight session.
Pull ups: 4 sets of 10, 7 and 3 with short rest. Rotator cuff
incline bench: 2 sets of 10 x 135, 4 x 145 (rotator cuff)
military presses: 2 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbells standing,
barbell: 6 x 85, 6 x 75 (almost no rest between)
then to the pool for 1800 yards (1 mile, or 1.6 km)
5 x 25 back, 25 free
5 x 25 fly, 25 free
2 x 200 on the 4 (3:45, 3:42)
200 in 3:43
My right shoulder got slightly achy, hence the off strokes.
Weight: 181.5; felt somewhat bloated…(TMI: I was correct..found that out later)
So, it was a decent workout.
Weakness Every since Junior High, I’ve always taken a bit of pride in my strength. No, I was never “D-1 football player strong”…not even close..not even “D-3 football player strong”. But from my Sophomore year onward: at 190 pounds I could bench press 260 and at 230 I could do 310 (lifetime PR). I could do 11-12 reps with 225 (PR is 11 with 230 as a graduate student in 1986.)
So I wasn’t anywhere near a power lifter. But I WAS stronger than average.
That isn’t even remotely the case now. Example: I was playing a game of H-O-R-S-E with my wife’s grandson. He is a college student; big guy (6′ 4″, burly). He tried one shot while sitting down well beyond the 3-point line and at least hit the rim.
I couldn’t do that; I lacked the strength to reach the rim. That was humbling. I used to take pride in being stronger than most.
That isn’t true anymore. That is tough for me to accept, but I have no choice.
I can’t say that I am discouraged as I keep going to the gym, swimming, running, walking, and I have no plans to stop as long as my body allows it.
But it does bother me, as does my finishing around the median (just a few places faster) at a campus 5K run, which featured mostly student runners (39/83). Yes, I was just getting over a virus, but had I run like I did this past weekend, I would have only been 35’th. Yes, I am 35 years older than most of them…but still that had me doing a slow burn.
(BTW, I won the game of H-O-R-S-E; I took a lot of medium “old man” shots and made a high percentage of those)
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