21 September 2007

Run, don't walk

The other day my workplace had its 24th Annual Institute Relay. This year there were 91 teams of five runners, each team needing at least two women and two men. Each person runs a half mile loop around a couple buildings on campus. Due to the number of runners the relay is divided into two heats. There are no prizes and/or awards besides bragging rights and bottled water.

This year, due to personnel changes, health, and absenteeism we were one runner short but luckily someone from a lab down the hall accepted our invitation to join the team. Our lab participated just to have fun and didn’t have any drastic expectations or hopes, but others were pretty serious. Surprisingly, there were only two teams from our institute.

Our team placed somewhere in the middle finishing in 43rd place with a total time of 17:39. There were six teams within five seconds of us, so I think we faired fairly well, and much the same as last year (last year I was on the cheer squad). The best time was 13:54 and the slowest was 25:17.

Anywhoo, what did I learn from the relay? Two things: first I learned that the concept of “rate-limiting reaction” does not apply to running, at least not in my case. The first half of the loop was uphill (the slowest or rate-limiting section), so I hypothesized that if I pushed myself for the first part my overall time would improve since I could “coast” down the last part and at least maintain my pace.


By the time I finished the uphill portion my legs were already feeling dead and I had a sneaking suspicion that in the last portion I could have walked faster than I was running but… you know, actually walking it would have been mortifying.

Oh yeah, the second thing? Applied chemistry is not one of my better subjects.

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