Mission accomplished, and a long-term self-study and self-experiment is successful. I had a bit of rude awakening a couple years ago. My weight had gone up because of worsening hyplogycemia and lots of travel. A picture, worth a thousand swear words, rudely showed the change. I decided I had to change some things, namely travel a bit less, exercise a bit more, and eat a bit healthier. Yeah, the typical "New Year" vows. To help, I set a goal. I decided I was going to do the Grouse Grind in under my age. At the time, I was 36 years old. The fastest I had ever done the grind was 42 minutes, and that was 8 years before when I had just retired from rugby. This was obviously going to be quite a stretch.
This week, I finally made my target. At 37 years and 9 months old, I did a grind time of 37 minutes and 30 seconds. I am now fully enjoying Canadian thanksgiving (check out google.ca's cool thanksgiving logo). I had seconds of pumpkin desert last night, woo hoo!
I got to my goal right on schedule. There's little chance of gaining in fitness the rest of this year as I spend 7 of the next 9 weeks on the road - W3C C&C workshop, internal team meeting, WS-Addressing, WSDL, XML 2004, W3C AC, WS-Addressing meetings. The summer time was just too hot to do lots of grind training, so I had to peak for early October.
Tracking Time and Weight
Last year, I started tracking weight versus time, based on a theory that hiking up a mountain was mostly about raising one's potential energy. And so the best way to go faster was to, well, lose weight. Which begs the question, how much time is a pound of weight worth? I continued tracking through this year, and it's predictive capabilities were amazing. Based on last years data (with a lowest weight of 198 lbs) I would do 39.1 minutes at 191 lbs, and 37.6 minutes at 188 lbs. And it was right on the numbers.
I offer up the combined 2003/2004 graph. There are 2 sets of data points and 4 trendlines. The black diamonds are raw time/weight points. I then did some factoring for the time of day (as I'm not a morning person) and temperature (when it's hot, I'm slower). The factors are roughly: add a minute to time if I start before noon, and add 30 seconds for each degree over 17 degrees (celcius). This yields the TimeTempAdjust times.
The most basic trendline is Alex's fit, which is just a linear fit between the 2003 data points. I tweaked the linear fit a bit to flatten it a bit (so it crosses the y axis higher up). I added 2 exponential fits based upon the raw data and the adjusted data. The linear fit says that each pound is roughly half a minute of time. Lose 10 pounds, go 5 minutes faster.
If you are interested in statistics and self-experimentation, it's been a pretty interesting experiment and validation of a theory. And very useful in achieving the goals I set out almost 2 years ago.
There was the official Grouse Grind mountain run last week with 2004 results. It's about a minute longer than the trail we do (as they have a finish area just to the side of the lodge). An estimated time of 38 1/2 minutes puts me at 47th out of 358 runners, and 17th out of 79 in the 30-39 age group. And my friend Alex/Sandy, who's done 37:20, would do 7th in his (gasp) 40-49 age group with a 38:20 time. The winning time in 40-49 was 35:59.. If he could only lose 6 pounds, he'd be there...
I'm pretty sure the self-experiment is over. I just can't realistically see myself losing much more weight, because I don't want to make the necessary choices. I had tried to get down to 180 lbs, for a 34-36 minute time, but it just didn't happen over the last 2 months. Too many good barbeques, fun times with friends, and great dinners. And I've gotten a little sick and tired of doing the grind. It's, well, a grind. Maybe I'll get re-energized in the spring...
I have to say that the Grouse Grind is one of the best form of fitness training I can imagine. It's easy on the knees (no running on pavement and you take the tram down), it's outside in the fresh air and trees, and it's a good length of exercise time. It is darned hard and intimidating, but IMO way more enjoyable than running on some stupid treadmill or stairmaster. Plus there's a pub with nachos and the best view in the city waiting for you.