19 November 2008

On the treadmill

picture by dead_squid
I used to absolutely hate running. Always.

But then suddenly, in one of those inexplicable, but seemingly permanent, changes that one goes through at around the age of forty, I started to to enjoy it, and now I run as often as I can in the Bushy Park  5km1 each Saturday morning.

My PB is a shade over 22 mins, and I am exceeding proud of it, being of a certain age and not, to be honest, entirely of a runner's build2 and if I work hard, and run as often as I can, I have calculated I'll reach my 100th race, and receive the coveted T-shirt, and a round-of-applause-in-front-of-the-impatient-crowd before I am fifty. Just :-(

On the other hand, before I get too big-headed, 22 mins works out to be an average speed of 13.6 km/h, while the world record for the marathon was set last month in Berlin at an average speed of 20.4 km/h.  That's fast.  Running at that speed Haile Gebrselassie would win the Bushy Park 5km every single week. Often by more than a minute.

How far, I wondered, could I run at 20.4 km/h?

Well, another splendid thing about working for an Investment Bank is that we have a gym in the basement (and even more splendid - there are fewer people in it every month) so yesterday I put on my fastest trainers, set the treadmill to 20.4, pressed the big green button and sped off.

Afterwards in changing rooms, making idle small talk3 with strangers, I was sure I could have run  further, yes much further. What stopped me, you see, thundering along on the treadmill, heart pounding, arms flailing, feet stomping on the belt, sweat dripping from my temples, headphones dangling from one waxy ear, wasn't exhaustion or lactic acid build-up in the calves. Neither was it the increasing realisation that just one tiny misstep or stumble and I was likely to lose my balance and be ejected smartly from the back of the roaring machine on my stomach.

No - what stopped me was the consternation and - if I am honest - look of absolute fear on my neighbours faces on the treadmills either side, and so that's how it was, that after just 250m I was forced to press the big red emergency stop button and call it a day.

1 for all my American readers (cough):  5 kilometres = 3.11 miles
2 the race is dominated by skinny, unhealthy-looking 20 somethings with 30" waists and long legs. Meh.
3 will our top management be sacrificing their bonuses; if they did would it be a trick; and - most importantly - would it mean a smaller or larger bonus pool for the rest of us?


Anonymous said...

So what, precisely, is 20.4km/h?

I need to know in good ole pounds and inches, cubits per nautical mile squared or even quarterpounders cubed per happy meal per egg mcmuffin.... but please, please spare me your impenetrable European units.

OMG anyone would think the UK was IN Europe, instead of just off the East coast.

Botogol said...

Hi Sarah, welcome to GI, pls remember me when you are President.

20.4km/h = 12.7mph, which is a mile every 4'43".

To put that in context: a respectable running pace for a Governor abou your age would be around 8 minutes / mile.

Or put another way: 12.7 mph is about the speed you would run if you were being pursued by a polar bear, and your gun had jammed.

Anonymous said...

so then what is 250m in feet and yards?

Anonymous said...

Very funny. Totally picture you on the treadmill, flailing away...

outside-jane said...

Lol! Good blog! And 250m isn't bad... for a man of a certain age!

Anonymous said...

if you convert the world record for 100m it comes close to 40 km/h pace...so that is only half of that and my treadmill only goes to 16kn/hr max!...enough for a sprint at the end of a 10k though!
Have you worked out as a % how close you can get to each distance world record...then you will know if you really are a sprinter, mid or a long distance runner.

Also how do you compare on other indoor machines?
I find %wise rowing is the one i score highest on against world records. I am not sure if that means i am good or if the sport is easier e.g a 5k row world record is 5:36. I bet you could get under 7mins, so proportionally you can probably get closer.

Anonymous said...

I meant 2k for rowing - not 5k

Botogol said...

@Anonymous 00:31 Welcome to GI.

Are you familiar with the 'Age Graded Score' which normalises your time, according to age?

What is does is compare your run time with an 'ideal' time for someone of your age (determined by using a model to extrapolating 1000s of real observations - ie world records and similar - into a surface for every combination of age, distance and gender - a process very familiar to Investment Bankers)
more here

the age graded score for my PB at different distances is:
1km - 68.25%
5km - 64.02%
10km - 61.48&

So I am a sprinter not a runner :-)

Rowing Machine: I actually rowed last week for the first time in over a year and managed 7:30 for 2km. Perhaps 7:00 is achievable... I wonder if there are age-graded scores calcualted for rowing.

Anonymous said...

There are - but done by age and weight - http://www.concept2.co.uk/racing/correction.php. Not sure the model is that accurate here though.

There must be an opportunity for a decent web based SP in this area collect raw data, develop better models, run competitions, provide rankings, make money etc).

It's quite flattering to know that you are the fastest in the UK 90-95 age group at various sports and distances.

Botogol said...

actually, at Bushy park, there's one 93 yr old who beats me each week :-(