I’ve had my ankle wrapped up this past week due to an strained Achilles and have been going bonkers with the inability to do cardio. This morning I decided to wrap it up and go for a ride. I only had about an hour before I had to get back home and ready for a meeting.
As I usually do when I go for a bike ride I tried to maintain a reasonably brisk pace. Not an all out “go as fast as I can” but not a leisurely pace either. Two miles from my place into Greenpoint, Runkeeper gave me a regular five minute update — my pace was roughly 4.5 minutes per mile at the time.
My mind immediately wandered to Eliud Kipchoge and his pace in his most recent race. He ran a sub two hour marathon, a feat no one has achieved before. I started to run the numbers in my head and how my bike ride might compare in an hour.
You can see my numbers above. Now, I was riding relatively briskly but by no means was this an all out speed test. At times I did slow to a leisure pace and Brooklyn hipsters flew by me on their grandma bikes. But I would say that in the hour long bike ride, roughly 10 minutes of it was slowed by uphills, rest or very short seconds long stops at red lights. The balance of the time, I was riding with intention to get my heart rate up and make my legs and lungs hurt a little.
If I factor in and account for those 10 minutes of slightly slower riding, perhaps I may have added another mile to my total distance. Matching the pace that Eliud ran for just under two hours. Could I have managed this pace for another hour? Yes for sure, but I would have undoubtedly been wiped by the end of my ride. There were several uphills where I was completely gassed in my ride. And biking is nowhere close to being as difficult or taxing as running.
Eliud’s feat is truly mindbloggling. My fastest pace ever on a long run, when I was running obsessively perhaps 5 to 6 times per week, was 8.5 miles at a 7.19 pace (2014 run below). Now for skilled runners this is not terribly impressive but for me and I think most non-competitive runners, a ~3 hour marathon pace is quite good. I’m not even sure if Runkeeper was working correctly and if this was my actual pace — I certainly couldn’t replicate it today without months of training.
There are some bozos who have written articles on Eliud’s sub two hour marathon not being truly a record or a “fake record” because he had pace setters and favorable conditions. I’d welcome them to jump on a bike and try to match his pace for two hours with the help of as many pace setters as they’d like and see how far they’ve gotten and how they feel after two hours of this kind of exertion.
Eliud Kipchoge already holds the prior world record, just over two hours. He is an elite athlete in a class of his own and what he achieved is staggering, the rarest of physical feats. I’m completely in awe of this dude.