Friday, 8 February 2008

Nuff respect

At risk of this becoming a rowing blog...

I did a 2km test erg on Tuesday - my first one of the year, pulling a reasonable 7min52s. This is some way off my best (set as a student with all the luxury of being able to train twice a day, have the college kitchen cook my food for me and deal with things like washing up, and feed me subsidised steak, leaving me plenty time to get extra bonus sleep and recover properly between sessions). I got a text message from our captain the next day. It read: Thanks for doing your 2k. Saw your time in the book. Good work! So far so good, but I'm not content with the score and am unshakeably confident that I can knock twenty to thirty seconds off that over the next twelve months with a bit more training, a few fewer post-work-stress beers, and a bit more adrenalin. (This does pre-suppose that I do not find myself commuting to the other side of the country on a daily basis.)

In a fit of benchmarking and seeking a second opinion, I checked out world records by age group for men and women, both heavyweights (open to all weights) and lightweights (that's 75kg (11st 11lb) or less for men, and 61.5kg (9st 9lb) or less for women). I've plotted the records as near as I have the data. My recent erg time is around the red line...



Thus, I would currently lose an indoor race to a couple of twelve year olds, a 60 year old lightweight woman and a 75 year old man, and only narrowly beat a 65 year old woman, and an 80 year old lightweight man. Whilst I have absolutely huge, massive, uber-amounts of respect for any pensioners who erg, and can barely fathom just how rock hard these world-beating erging pensioners are, I'd still like to be able to beat comfortably every octagenarian I might ever encounter, and (ideally) every twelve year old kid. Is that too much to ask of myself?

If that doesn't spur me into shifting those extra thirty seconds, what will?

15 comments:

Casdok said...

With your positive attitude im sure you can do it!
Go girl!!!

trousers said...

Ah yes, I would echo casdok's words. Especially following on from your invocation of the killer instinct in your previous rowing post.

Meanwhile, I find myself rolling the phrase "pensioners who erg" around with no small amount of delight.

DJ Kirkby said...

I'm with Casdok and Trousers! 'Pensioners who erg'... brilliant!

But Why? said...

Casdok,
Too right. Those spare seconds are coming off, at least to a point where I would comfortably win a race against the fastest octogenarian on the planet, and get close to (and preferably beat) any septuagenarians who fancied their chances.... Much though it pains me to say this, I don't think I stand a change of getting close to the twelve year olds...

Trousers,
These are no ordinary pensioners. These are people who don one-piece lycra before 8am in the morning to conquer ergometers with their ageing bodies. They eat raw eggs for breakfast, spend their free time pumping iron in the gym, and erg along with the best twelve year olds on the planet. So it's just as well you're hiding behind that nom de plume of yours - I wouldn't like to meet one of those pensioners in a dark alley late at night...!

DJ,
I think I have a new ambition in life: to become an erging pensioner.

Yes, I think that would indeed be a very fine thing to become.

trousers said...

I've seen the like, but why? - perhaps not pensioners who erg, but pensioners who are in a similar mould (and clothing): high up on a mountainside, fell-running, climbing, scrambling and so on. Haven't seen any sexagenarian snowboarders mind you.

It arouses mixed feelings in me. I've long gotten over the initial disbelief that someone of that age is doing that, which says as much of course about my own assumptions. Now I think I have a sense of envy - hope I'm in as good a condition when I get to that age which tends to get quickly replaced with something else entirely. Do I really think I want to be doing that when I'm older? Am I quite sure?

Or would I rather just be able to sit at home, wherever that may be, enjoying a cup of tea with a generous helping of whisky in it? Not to mention on my occasional forays into the outside world, I would wear a hoodie and stagger along with my arms aloft, zombie-like, emitting the occasional low moan. Just for the sheer fun of it.

Kahless said...

With your killer instinct I am sure you will do it too.

Love the graph btw, very nerd god-like. I'll have to sneak one into my blog at some point.

But Why? said...

Trousers,
Good point - perhaps relaxing with a pot of tea, a chocolate Hob Nob and a crossword would be a preferable manner in which to see out my old age. I suspect I shall turn into one of those frail-looking pensioners you see transporting home their weekly shopping at Tesco or Sainsbury on a thirty year old bike, cycling at five miles an hour, with twenty bags hanging off the handlebars, being rude and aggressive to any other people who wish to use the road, whilst wearing lycra shorts and a fluorescent yellow waterproof jacket. I think I have the beginnings of that look now...

Kahless,
Thanks - I shall be thinking of those damned nippy twelve year olds the next time I'm on the erg. I will imagine their heads on my footplates, and I will smile through the pain as with every thigh-burning stroke I crush their smug heads under my feet...

...sorry, I got a bit carried away there. I do of course think it's absolutely marvellous that twelve year olds and eighty year olds erg so damned quickly. If turning them into objects of hatred is the only way I can motivate myself to do the same, well, that's what's I'll be doing. It's imitation. It's a form of flattery...

Rob Clack said...

Since the erg is a unit of measurement of work, and I'm currently at work, I'm going to pretend I'm erging as we speak! Good luck trimming the times.

Reading the Signs said...

I feel a bit like Miss Jean Brodie here: "For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like." But she was being insulting (about the Brownies, I think) whereas I am rather admiring - even if not quite comprehending. But I was always a sports wimp in every possible way. Even competitive crochet beyond me.

Here's to the extra 30 seconds!

But Why? said...

Rob C,
Thanks for the good luck. I'm not convinced that my evening's activity of eating chocolate and pasta is going to help hugely, but having raced again yesterday, I have to recover somehow(!)

Signs,
Why, thankyou (I think). It's funny you should mention crochet, I did a piece back in September about that particular handicraft. It's remarkable what you can make with a bit of acrylic fibre...

I was also propping up the bar at the boathouse on Sunday after racing, trying to establish from the rest of the crew just exactly WHY they all row. I think it's safe to say that most of us can't really provide a rational answer, but point to being able to eat as much as you like without any adverse health effects, the rather pleasant rowing (and particularly sculling) motion, and being part of a dedicated crew. I suspect there's also a large attraction for most of us which is that it neatly solves the question of what to do for a social life, as participation ranges from the heavy (four times a week), to the constant (ten training sessions a week, anyone??). We also tend to be simple and self-deprecating souls, enjoying a sport derived from a type of work which was seen as being fit only for slaves and criminals. Fortunately for us, the whip has been replaced by the exhortations of a short, shouty person emanating from a speaker between our feet. We love it, really...

Pixie said...

It was the two women in lycra, headbands and walking poles that did it for me, especially as they were walking through the middle of Harborne at the time (posh bit of Birmingham!!!!)
pxx

Wayfarer Scientista said...

is your erg time always so consistent the way it is on the graph??

But Why? said...

Pixie,
Hello! Must have been a sight - as I remember it, Harborne's not usually over-run with lycra-clad power walkers, being more usually littered with students marginally the worse for wear after finishing the Harborne run.

Wayfarer,
Not really - it is of course there to aid my self-humiliation in illustrating that the only age groups I could safely challenge and be reasonably confident of winning against are those who should be putting their feet up and taking it easy. Woe is me. Note to self: Must try harder.

You are of course right in your implied suggestion - I'll never get published in Nature with sloppy graphs like that - misleading, non-linear axes, origin not shown, poor labelling, laughable conclusions, and being beaten by twelve year olds, to boot...

Reading the Signs said...

You talked me into it, But Why, sign me up; especially for the eating as much as you like without adverse health effects bit of it. Next incarnation though, I think. I'll begin training in this one by walking briskly to the end of my road and back and try and find someone short and stout to shout at me through a megaphone.

But Why? said...

Signs,
Ah, yes, it's truly lovely to be able to replace all those calories lost in training with chocolate. Yum yum.

If you need some support with the extra-curricular hard work, give me a call - I've suffered enough at the hands of short, loud, shouty people to be able to do a reasonable act of imitation. Og course, you would have to don sunglasses and one-piece lycra, other I would feel very silly shouting at you through the megaphone - it would be all so very out of context without the lycra...