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Old 2009-04-29, 03:13   #1
MooooMoo
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Default Average Joe vs. Olympic Pros

A few of my friends and I were watching Pros vs. Joes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pros_vs_Joes,
and they dared me to race against Olympic-caliber athletes on the second weekend of May. I can pick either the 800 or the 1500 meter run, and the deadline for choosing an event is May 5th. Should I do this? On the plus side, they'll pay me for all expenses (entry fees, cost of gas, running spikes, etc) as long as I finish the race, and I'll get the unique experience of competing against the fastest people in the world. The downside, obviously, is the embarrassment of finishing far behind the leaders.

Basically, I'm a guy with average talent and training. Back in gym class, I was always near the back of the pack during fun runs. Thanks to early puberty, I was one of the faster guys at age 11-13, but this advantage disappeared by high school.

As far as training goes, my workouts are nothing special - just half an hour of running each day, four days a week. Yesterday's workout included two laps on the track (400 meters each) at 80% effort. I ran both in 1:03 without breathing too hard, but I doubt I can maintain that pace for another two or three laps.

Anyway, here are last year's times for those who're interested:

800/1500
Top 2 finishers: 1:47.38, 1:47.40 / 3:40.71, 3:43.73
Slowest finisher: 2:01.70/4:04.35

For some perspective, here are some reference points (800/1500):
2008 Olympic Gold medalist: 1:44.7 / 3:32.9
Slowest semifinal time that would qualify you to the Olympic finals: 1:46.4 / 3:37.8
U.S. Olympic trials "B" standard: 1:48.5 / 3:43.0

If I do decide to run this, are there any last-minute ways to boost performance besides using drugs? There are about 2 weeks until the event, and I don't want to be sore on race day.

Note: Yes, I do realize that posting this on a forum read mostly by math geeks isn't a great idea, but I'm too lazy right now to create a new account on a running or sports forum. Who knows, there might be a few interested and/or knowledgeable people out here.
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Old 2009-04-29, 05:29   #2
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Go for it! Sounds like a neat thing to do.

I'm not sure which I'd pick. For a pro, the 800 meters is a sprint -- if you can only run at that distance, you'll fall pretty far behind. On the other hand, I doubt I could even keep up a run over 1500 meters. (When I ran more often I could do the 1600 meter, but that was years past.) How's your performance on the two?
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Old 2009-04-29, 07:30   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
For a pro, the 800 meters is a sprint -- if you can only run at that distance, you'll fall pretty far behind...How's your performance on the two?
I think I can run about 2:10 for the 800 and 4:30 for the 1500.

The 800 looks like a better choice because the time difference between me and the leaders is smaller, but the 1500 would give me the chance of following the second-slowest guy and trying to hang on as long as possible. There's no way I can sprint the 800, though - I always run out of gas between the 500 and 600 meter mark whenever I'm putting an effort that's close to a full sprint.

The race results and maybe a video or two will be put online, so I'll post a link to them if I decide to run. Should be fun to watch
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Old 2009-04-29, 09:15   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooooMoo View Post
I think I can run about 2:10 for the 800 and 4:30 for the 1500.

The 800 looks like a better choice because the time difference between me and the leaders is smaller, but the 1500 would give me the chance of following the second-slowest guy and trying to hang on as long as possible. There's no way I can sprint the 800, though - I always run out of gas between the 500 and 600 meter mark whenever I'm putting an effort that's close to a full sprint.

The race results and maybe a video or two will be put online, so I'll post a link to them if I decide to run. Should be fun to watch
From these timings, you should be completing the first turn of the second lap when the winner ends his run for the 800 meters.

Luigi
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Old 2009-04-29, 16:04   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET_ View Post
From these timings, you should be completing the first turn of the second lap when the winner ends his run for the 800 meters.

Luigi
I think you're calculating it wrong; I'd be about two-thirds done with the last turn on the last lap at that time.

2:10 for the 800 meters is 800/130 = 6.154 meters per second

The winner takes 1:47.38, or 107.38 seconds to finish.

107.38 * 6.154 = 660.8 meters.

So, I'll have run about 661 meters when the winner finishes.
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Old 2009-04-29, 16:12   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooooMoo View Post
I think I can run about 2:10 for the 800 and 4:30 for the 1500.

The 800 looks like a better choice because the time difference between me and the leaders is smaller
Only because it's a shorter race! The percentages are similar, too close to tell which is better without more precise numbers on your side.

Frankly I'm impressed with your 800 meter time. I think of it as being one of the hardest races; I also can't sprint for the full period. (I can sprint *maybe* 500 meters.)

I wish I had advice for you on last-minute training, but I haven't really been in that position before.
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Old 2009-04-29, 16:17   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooooMoo View Post
I think you're calculating it wrong; I'd be about two-thirds done with the last turn on the last lap at that time.

2:10 for the 800 meters is 800/130 = 6.154 meters per second

The winner takes 1:47.38, or 107.38 seconds to finish.

107.38 * 6.154 = 660.8 meters.

So, I'll have run about 661 meters when the winner finishes.
Yep, I was off by 160 meters...

Good luck!

Luigi
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Old 2009-04-29, 16:52   #8
ewmayer
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I suggest the 800m distance, since that gives you a good shot to avoid the acute embarrassment of being lapped by the Pros.
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Old 2009-04-29, 16:59   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooooMoo View Post
are there any last-minute ways to boost performance besides using drugs?
Get someone to scare the out of you just before you start and the adrenaline rush will dramatically boost your performance. This happened to me as a teen. Friends and I were biking to my farm when I took a nasty tumble and got all scraped up. Then we started a game of football, not soccer (farm kids would not be caught dead passing on a football game because of a few scrapes). It was touch football but there are varying degrees of "touch" especially as a teen. At one point I caught the ball and was running for the end-zone with Allen on my heels
Quote:
<pause for some back ground: I was always the guy who got a third place ribbon in a race IFF there were three people entered. My friend Allen regularly got the first place ribbons ... back to the game>
The LAST THING I wanted to happen was to get "touched" a little aggressively and take another tumble. With this thought in mind I ran H-A-R-D and Allen could NOT catch me. He was shocked; I was relieved.

Maybe through hypnosis train yourself to be deathly afraid of the sound of a starter pistol.
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Old 2009-04-29, 21:21   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooooMoo View Post
I think I can run about 2:10 for the 800 and 4:30 for the 1500.
Two good reasons for you to participate:

1. Set a new "slowest" record. Some sports show will use a shot of you just as ABC's Wide World of Sports (RIP) used that shot of the ski jumper going off the side of the ramp. Everlasting fame!

(Or maybe they'd occasionally trot it out like they occasionally trot out their Eddie the Eagle shot. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/winte...e-edwards.html Don't scoff: Eddie "parlayed his 15 minutes of fame into a $65,000 deal to tell his life story to a tabloid and—no joke—a number-two song ('Mun Niemi En Eetu' or 'My Name is Eddie') in Finland in 1991."

2. Set a new record for the purple-dinosaur division -- but only if you run it wearing a Barney suit.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-04-29 at 21:33
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Old 2009-04-29, 21:35   #11
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Seriously:

Do it. It'll be a great memory for the rest of your life.
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