Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012: The Year of the Cheater (and my PRs discussed)

From marathon cheater Kip Litton (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_singer) to American distance runner, now exposed doper, Christian Hetsch http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/sports/runner-christian-hesch-describes-doping-with-epo.html?pagewanted=all to Lance Armstrong (no link needed) and VP candidate Paul Ryan's outlandish marathon claims http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/ryan-admits-misstating-marathon-time/ we've had a lot of high profile outings lately.

This brings me to my own PRs. As stated in my profile here, most of my best years of running (age 24 to 30) were while living at altitude. So yes, for several events I list an altitude converted time. Some might frown on this, and that is fine, but I'm open about it. And I've had others--online usually--outright scoff at any attempt at altitude conversion. Well, physiologist Jack Daniels and others have conducted research over the past 50 or so years, and even the NCAA allows for altitude conversions for championship qualifying. Based on the scientific evidence and collegiate rules, I generally feel justified in using altitude conversions for PRs.

(Here are a couple links showing conversions for different locations, https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/bpence2/www/Bekele/Races/Altitude.html

Anyway, here's my list and conversion factor:

1500 m, 4:11.4 in Boulder, CO, July 1986 at 5400 ft. With 2.5% conversion that's a 4:05.1 (sea level best 4:11.7, 1989)

1 mile, 4:34.2 in Boulder, CO June 1986 at 5400 ft.  With 2.5% conversion that's 4:27.3 (sea level best 4:31, Ithaca NY 1990)

5K, 15:39 in Greely , CO, June 1985 at 5000 ft. With 2.5% conversion that's 15:15

10K, 32:48 in Craig CO, October 1983 at 6000 ft. With 3.0% conversion that's 31:54 (sea level best 32:11, Albany, NY 1991)

Half Marathon, 1:13:05 in Fort Collnis, CO, 1982 at 5000 ft. With 2.5% conversion that's 1:11:15. I only ran a few half marathons as an open aged runner. Best comparison was a 1:13:18 in Las Vegas when I was about 30, but running a lot less mileage than I did in 1982. I did run a 1:22 uphill half marathon at 8500 to 10000 feet, one year but there is no reliable converson for that.

Marathon, 2:34:24 in Fort Collins, CO 1982 at 5000 ft. 2.5% conversion, that's 2:29:48

PRs for other distances were at sea level, and if you look at performance charts/calculators they are actually not far off of the converted levels from the altitude races. These include:

3000 meters 8:54.4, Syracuse, NY, 1989
4 miles, 20:11, Buffalo, NY, 1989
5 miles, 25:43, Ithaca, NY 1990
15K, 49:41, Ithaca, NY 1991
10 miles, 53:39, Ithaca, NY 1989


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