Dan - Reggae 10K - 2011

Reggae 10K - Dec 2011

Hang around a running blog long enough and somebody is going to challenge somebody to something! 


Chris Morales

Chris "That Runnin Guy" Morales

Well, a few days ago That Runnin’ Guy (Chris Morales) posted that he had just come back from an LSD training session in preparation for the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon on May 6.  On the very first bounce, Larry Savitch (LSFitness) came back with his reveal that he was running a half on the very same day in New Jersey, the Long Branch Half Marathon.  Not to be outdone, I was on there in a thrice to say I would be running my very own half marathon at the BMO Vancouver (Half) Marathon.  Nothing unusual about three runners doing a half marathon, but we will all be doing them on MAY 6, 2012.  The other interesting thing is that the three of us only know one another through the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K where Chris is the chief blogger and where Larry and I have both been contributors.  All three of us ran something at the last Reggae Marathon in December of 2011, and made personal contact with each other, me for the first time.  Chris introduced our “event” today on his blog: The Reggae Runners Half Marathon Challenge.

Larry and Karen in Negril

Well, wouldn’t you know it, before you could say “Runners to your marks”, somebody had thrown out a challenge.  I think it might have been me.  Umm.  It was me.  BUT, only if we used age-graded results ‘cause that Larry, well he’s 21 years younger than me.  Chris is kind of in the middle, but still closer to Larry than me.  Still, after a little research (which I really should have done BEFORE I threw out the challenge) it turns out that our times, upon age-grading, would make for a fair fight.

It turned out that while Larry and Chris were right on it, neither had really much heard of the magic of age-grading.  I provided a quick lesson and all agreed it would be a great and fun way for us boys to be boys. 

“I can run faster than you!” 

“No you can’t” 

Yes I can!!!!” 

WELL, I can run faster than BOTH of you!

See, I can pretty much tell you that Larry will have the fastest time, Chris will be next and I will be last. BUT……………………. once you apply the age-grading calculator things even out a bit.  It appears that doing something resembling our recent personal bests potentially makes us pretty close.  Each of us will have to train and race hard in order to be the winner.  Everything going well, it actually could be ME! (It WILL be me, but please don’t tell the other guys.  They think they’ve got me beat from the word ‘Go’.)

We have agreed that we will all blog about it individually and that we will take it over to the Reggae Marathon Blog from time to time, just for fun!  (And, because that is the thing that brings us together, other than running itself.)  We will also be found yapping and snapping about it on Facebook. 

The rules are pretty simple

We will all run a half marathon (21.1km for the purpose of the calculator).

Our input time will be our chip time.

Because the age-grading calculator works from an equation, we will each use our age to two decimal places, so we can properly recognize that Larry will be almost a year older than his day of race age in simple years.  (I don’t want any whining after the fact that he was almost a year older than his nominal age and therefore not treated fairly!)

When the smoke clears, the guy with the fastest age adjusted time is the winner.

As I already noted, it could actually be any one of us that hits the best age-graded time.  I have written about this subject before, this being a blog for “seasoned athletes”.  All three of us are old enough to qualify, too.  Larry is the youngest but he is currently the same age as the two youngest contributors to Running in the Zone, at time of writing.  I promised as my part of this challenge, to provide a quick overview of age-grading for any followers who want to better understand what we are going to do, and maybe explore how age-grading could fit into his/her own running.  So, here goes.

People run.

When people are young, they tend to run fast(er).

People age.

When people get older, they tend to run slower.

Some time ago this little truth was examined in detail and it was found that if you sampled enough runners and their performances at various distances, you could create a set of equations that reasonably related times done at one age with times at another.  There are a bunch of assumptions behind the math that none of us needs to really worry about.  I have used the system for years and am satisfied that it works pretty well.  So are a lot of sport bodies and races, because a good many events now have an age-graded result table.  The particular AGE GRADING system I like (and the one we will use) is the one found at the World Masters Association web site and developed by Howard Grubb.

You input the event (distance), your age (as noted, it can be decimalized) and your time.  You hit “Age Grade” and as if by magic, you will find a whole range of information, including an adjusted time and a percent performance value against the standard for your age.  You can actually use this particular calculator as a predictor for other distances, by simply changing ONLY the event distance and then hitting “Result”.  The assumption is that your % Performance will be constant, and out pops an adjusted (projected) time for the new event.  There is another rather important assumption, too – that you have actually trained for the projected event.  For example, you can enter a 5K result and then project to a marathon finish, but if you don’t train for a marathon, well I think most people will know what is going to happen!

The purists still aren’t 100% sure about this, but it works well enough to give recognition to the performances of outstanding older runners who just can’t record raw times like they might have when they were 32-35 years of age.   Curious age to pick, eh?  Well not really, because the age-grading sort of takes us all back to a mythical athlete of about that age.  You can put your info in at any age, but only after around 35 does the ‘needle’ start to move.  The older you get, the more it moves.

I have found that over a good many years, even though my raw times have slowly eroded, my adjusted times compare very well (when not injured, when properly trained and not in some weird situation involving extreme heat or mountains).  I seem to be holding my own.  This is where I like the % Performance value.  When running well, I tend always to be in the low to middle 60% range.  I was when I could run a 3:25 marathon and was in 2010 when I notched one just over an hour slower.  But, I was 43 the first time and 65 the second.  And right there friends, is why our little challenge should work so nicely.  Larry is 46 and I am 67, so we are just adding a couple of years to each end of my well-tested range.

Let the training (and blogging) BEGIN!



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