Tag Archives: sports

Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin; 100m and 200m

In the previous two posts I compared Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis as 100m and 200m sprinters. For that comparison I used as a source a website with all time best performances in track and field (maintained by Peter Larsson). I will use the same source to make a more relevant comparison nowadays: Usain Bolt and Justlin Gatlin, both in 100m and 200m.

Best ever ~800 100m times, focus on Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.

Best ever ~800 100m times, focus on Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.

Best ever ~950 200m times, focus on Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.

Best ever ~950 200m times, focus on Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.

You can see in both graphics why there was so much attention in the races of this summer Beijing World Championship and expectation with the possibility of Bolt being defeated by Gatlin. 2014 wasn’t a good year for Bolt due to injuries. Gatlin ran more often and faster that year. The year of 2015 had started in the same way, with Gatlin running more often and faster, to the point of beating his personal bests in both 100m and 200m (twice).

  • The best 5 times in 100m of the year belong to Gatlin, yet the 6th best time made Bolt the World Champion.
  • Of the best 4 times in 200m of the year, 3 belong to Gatlin, yet the Bolt managed the best time (better than Gatlin’s personal best) on the final and that made Bolt the World Champion.

Note: the times included here exclude wind-aided races and times excluded due to doping.

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Athletic World Records vs. my times (speed vs. distance in log plot)

Two weeks ago I published a post where I showed a graphic of the different world records in athletics with the speeds and paces.

I received a comment from Uwe, a reader of the blog, suggesting to plot it using a logarithmic scale. At first, I wanted to show how the long distance runners could almost keep a speed (between 20.5 and 23.8 km/h) for distances from 5 kilometres to 42, a marathon. However, Uwe convinced me to make the plot and here it is:

Athletics World Records vs. my times (speed) - logarithmic scale for the distances

Athletics World Records vs. my times (speed) – logarithmic scale for the distances.

In this view, what it is interesting is to appreciate the different slops of the lines connecting the different records. There you can see how:

  • 100m and 200m races are fully anaerobic where Usain Bolt is capable of maintaining an average speed of above 37.5 km/h. You can see in the explanation in the Wikipedia how these two races (both lasting below ~30 seconds) use as energy source high energy phosphates.
  • races from 400m to 1 km are still a high intensity activity, with some anaerobic component, though another energy source enters into play: anaerobic glycolisis. And as we have heard often in descriptions about 400m races, the consequence of rapid glucose breakdown is the formation of lactic acid.
  • from then (1.5 or 2km) on (up to 42km) professional runners are able to keep a high speed out of aerobic metabolism (using adenosine triphosphate, ATP). Of course, speed decreases with distance, but from the 26.2 km/h of a 1,500m to the 20.5 km/h of a marathon the speed decrease is of -22% for a race 28 times longer!
  • for ultramarathons (over 42k) speed starts decreasing at a higher pace, though Wikipedia only offered the 100k time. Probably more data can be found in the web to try to find with more accuracy up to which distance the long distance stable pace could be maintained.

Uwe, you were certainly right. This view offers another very interesting perspective to the game :-).

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Athletic World Records vs. my times (pace & speed)

I have many times commented with friends and acquaintances how impressive professional athletes are, what does it mean running a marathon in barely over 2 hours…

Many amateurs (not to mention sedentary people) would not keep up pace much longer than 100 metres. Each time I have made this comment to someone I had to verbally make some numbers for my interlocutor. I am sure these verbal calculations were not always well understood and digested. Following the adage “an image is worth more than a thousand words”:

Athletics World Records vs. my times

Athletics World Records vs. my times

Red lines show speed (in km/h; decreasing as race distances get longer). Blue lines show pace (in mm:ss / km; increasing as race distances get longer). I have included a table so you can compare the numbers.

I took athletics world records from the Wikipedia. You can find my times in the page “Races” of this blog. I only added a tag to the records that most of you will recognise, as they were achieved by well-known super stars.

There are many catches in the graphic. Two impress me the most:

  • I could have kept up the pace of Patrick Makau in his marathon world-record-beating performance for 100 metres… but not for 400m! (see black dotted lines).
  • How once we enter into aerobic exercise, we’re able to almost keep up speed despite distance increases. The difference in speeds between Bekele’s 5k (23.77 km/h) and Makau’s marathon (20.48 km/h) is only 3.25 km/h!

***

NOTE: I am not a particularly fast runner, thus don’t take the times and paces and interpret them as if no amateur runner could keep up pace for more than 100m… some will keep it up somewhat longer. I just wanted to share the idea.

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Summary of (my) 2011

Let me share with you a brief recap of my 2011 (as I already did last year).

If I then characterized 2010 as a learning year, I would say 2011 was a year on the run.

At the beginning of the year I set out my objectives for 2011, of which I have achieved 71.4% (just above my 70% target!). One of them was only to “become again a frequent runner”, for which I set up some modest steps, e.g., buy new running shoes, run 3 days before mid-January, run a 10k popular race before November, lose some 10kg by June… If there was a yearly objective which I widely met, it was this one:

Último kilómetro de los 100km de Millau 2011.

Last kilometre at the ultramarathon "100km de Millau".

  • I ran over 170 days along the year, covering over 1,800 kilometres.
  • I took part in 11 popular races, including 6 of 10km, 2 half marathons, 1 marathon (42km) and 1 ultramarathon (100km). More races and more kilometres than ever before.
  • I found myself running in Granada, Villa del Río, Madrid, Torrelodones, Luarca, Rijswijk, Wijchen, Toulouse, Luz Saint Sauveur, Chicago, Washington DC, Des Moines, Montreal…

Learning. After taking some classes in Madrid, I continued studying French and now I feel more confident when facing shop attendants :-). I had to learn and continue to learn lots of new things every day at the new job where I landed about a year ago.

I still enjoy as learning moments the print weekly issues of The Economist or the monthly issues of Scientific American. I delivered the necessary speeches to become ACB within Toastmasters (though lately I’ve missed more meetings than I should). Finally, I read a dozen books along the year (a bit less than in previous years, though some in the new eReader!), being the ones I liked the most the following: first, second and third.

Investing & helping others. I set myself a high objective of saving and investing: I overachieved it by around 50%. I once mentioned it in Twitter: the best thing behind investing is the discipline of saving that is behind it. I not only dedicated a percentage of personal income to savings but as I announced in a post at the beginning of 2010, I directed a percentage to different charities. I initially set it out to be 0.7% of my income, but after raising some funds and contributing others to charities related to the races in which I am taking part, in the end this percentage has been well over 1% in 2011.

Travelling. We together visited Montreal, Ottawa, DC, Chicago, Omaha, and several places in the south of France and throughout Spain. The moment that I liked the most was attending the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, no doubt.

Javi 2.0. I continued to often write in this blog with some remarkable posts. I admit that my twitter account is one of my biggest sources of information / distraction.

Sports. Apart from the running, I recently re-started playing paddle with colleagues, became a kind of fan of the rugby local team, Stade Toulousain, had to subscribe to Canal + not to miss any of Real Madrid matches while living abroad.

Other reasons for joy have been:

  • our friends Teresa & Alberto, María & Óscar, Isa & Pedro got married,
  • we welcomed the newborns Mar, Hugo, Luis and Eneko, while another of our friends is pregnant today (that we know),
  • my sister Beatriz started working as an intern; my brother Jaime continued to enjoy his job in Airbus and moved to a new apartment; my mother Fidela continued to take several courses (and to give wonderful massages) and my father Juan Bautista finally and happily retired (after working for 43 years!).
  • Luca completed all the requirements to become a full-fledged lawyer, winning some court cases in the process.

To close the year, I started taking flight lessons, pursuing another childhood dream. This will allow me to continue learning and experiencing new things!

Now it’s time to update the objectives setting for 2012. This year the exercise will be easier as I already have the methodology and the habit. If the objectives are well chosen and challenging enough, next year’s account will be even shinier.

I wish you the same: a shinier 2012, enjoy it!

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Summary of 2010

Let me share with you a brief recap of my 2010.

This was a heavy learning year, to name a few learning experiences:

  • I continued to study French,
  • Toastmasters: I delivered some speeches at Toastmasters, received the CL and ALB awards, and attended 2 District 59 conferences and 1 Division H conference.
  • I went to several EOI conferences and others, including one with the economist Robert E. Lucas who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995 and the TEDx Madrid event.
  • I read over a dozen books, many of which I commented here (being the 3 ones I liked the most these ones: first, second and third). At the end of the year I was given an eBook so I expect this trend to continue.
  • I continued to enjoy the subscription to The Economist (frankly, one of the best decisions I’ve taken in recent years) and subscribed to Scientific American for a dime.

I also had lots of fun reading and learning things related to aerospace & defence, to investments, and enjoyed supporting some charities and especially seeing some friends starting to support them as well.

Travelling. Either we together or I visited for the first time Porto, Morocco, Tunisia, Poland and Egypt. We also spent some time in Luxembourg, Brazil, Netherlands, Sevilla and France. Travelling well over 65,000 km last year (equivalent to 1.6 rounds to the Earth). Of all the places we visited, the view that I liked the most was the falls of Iguaçu, no doubt.

Javi 2.0 Encouraged by Luca and some friends I started this blog in February 2010 and a twitter account shortly afterwards. I reckon that my twitter account has become one of my biggest hobbies and sources of information apart from a communication channel with friends. I even saw some friends (here and here) and my sister starting their own blogs!

In the sports side… even though this has been a great year for Spanish sportsmen, it hasn’t been so for Real Madrid: not for the football or basketball section (being the last year I attended with the season ticket). On the personal side I competed in two championships of Minifutbol but won neither one, the same applies to paddle tournaments… the best sports moment was completing once again the San Silvestre race.

Other reasons for joy have been:

  • our friends Amalia & Paco, María & Alberto, Janine & Rients, Leyre & German got married,
  • we saw the newborns Paula and Javier, while two of our friends are pregnant today (that we know),
  • my sister finished her bachelor and continued studying a master; my brother finished his MBA and joined my company; my mother continued to take several courses.

To close the year, I got a new position within the same company in another country, where I moved a month ago. This will allow me to continue learning and experiencing new things!

I use to tell my friends and family that since long ago I feel that I enjoy more and more each coming year and am happier with time; this year, with a few bad moments included (including some sad losses), has been no exception to the trend. Thanks to all of you who contributed to it. As I say, if it continues like this, I may explode one of these years :-).

Now it’s time to make some few resolutions for 2011 as well… I have thought of 5, that if I manage to fulfill, next year’s account will be even shinier. I wish you the same: keep learning and enjoying your time.

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