Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Fitness Contests & Other Feats of Strength

We have had several fitness competitions at work, starting with P90X, then half-marathon training, and yesterday we finished another. This time we had to log 5 1-hour workouts per week for 16 weeks, during which we did a fitness competition against each other every 3 weeks. The winner was the person with the best completion record for workouts, and the loser had to buy lunch for everyone else (and could only eat salad and had to wear a muscle shirt). Since no one missed a single workout, the tie-breaker came down to your average performance in the six competitions:

Wall Sit

For the actual competition, everyone doubled any previous time they had recorded in training. I thought I had a good chance of winning because I could do 2 minutes at home without too much pain. I thought I could do 2:30 on game day. For the competition, we all lined up on either side of a hallway and started the clock. When 2 minutes came and went without anyone dropping out I got a bit concerned. Same with 2:30, and then 3 minutes. I started to think that I might lose. But finally somebody gave up and dropped, and then it went like dominoes. I ended up 2nd place, because I could hide how badly my legs wanted to shake and the 3rd place guy gave up.

Box Jumps

The challenge was to do 100 box jumps as fast as possible, on a box 24 inches high. Once again, when game day came around, everybody went twice as fast as they ever had in training. I went head-to-head with the other two guys who had been in the top three for the Wall Sit and couldn't keep up with their pace. I was a few reps behind them when I got to about 80 reps and my legs failed me completely. I went to jump up and hardly left the ground, smashing into the front of the plastic steps with my shins (pretty good scar from that one). The guy who won did something similar at about 90 reps, but he recovered faster than me and got done in about 1:45. It took me another 30 seconds longer than that and I came in 3rd place.

Crescent Heights Stairs

This is a popular training spot just north of downtown. The interwebs say that there are 11 flights of steps making 167 total, for an estimated elevation gain of 125 feet (38 meters). Some people do regular training sessions there where they run 10 laps up and down (2 steps at a time) in <25 minutes, and other people run it carrying 50-lb sandbags. Our challenge was to run to the top and back down, taking the steps one at a time.

The first person did it in 1:27, which was much faster than the 1:58 I had done in training. However, in training I had always done the stairs in the middle of a longer run and had never quite given 100%. I just about crashed on the final downward flight of steps, but I made it in 1:31, shaving 23% off my previous time. I held my position in 2nd until the final runner managed to beat me by 1 second. Back to 3rd place again.

100 Pushups

I can't do 100 consecutive pushups, so the fastest way for me to reach 100 was to do 40, wait 10 seconds, do 20, wait 10 seconds, do 15, wait 5 seconds, do 8, wait 5 seconds, do 4, wait 5 seconds, then do 2 at a time until I could only do 1 at a time. It was a very painful process, and I managed it in 5:24 to finish in 3rd. The winner did it in 3:36, so there was no chance I was going to beat that. I did my first 60 pushups in about a minute. It took me 4.5 minutes to do the remaining 40.

1000 Skips

All that skipping that we did in elementary school came in handy, as I was able to grind out 1000 skips in 6:12 and lock down 2nd place. The guy who won used to be into boxing and was a flawless skipper. I went as fast as he did, but I missed more often. Scott has his own skipping rope and he liked to practice with me in the basement. He finally got so he could string about 3 consecutive skips together.

1-Mile Race

Our big finale was a 1-mile footrace along the Bow River downtown. In addition to my longer runs for marathon training, I did some training runs for the mile:
- My first attempt at a mile was 6:10, but I knew I could do more.
- Then next one was 5:56 and I still thought I could squeeze it some more.
- The last training run was 5:51 and I felt like I was going to die.

All my training runs were with a small backpack (2-3 pounds), so on race day I figured I would be a few seconds better. There were 7 of us in the race and 2 of us followed closely behind the leader, who is a pretty legit runner. After 400m the other guy dropped back into 3rd and I stayed within arm's reach of the leader, but he started to pull away from my at about the half-way point. Since I had a comfortable grip on 2nd place I didn't push it to 100% for the homestretch, but I still came in at 5:25, which was a massive improvement from my training and only 7 seconds behind the winner.

The competition is now over until we start up again in the fall. I came in 2nd so I can consider ordering a main course.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Beyond impressive!! Nice work.