Friday, March 8, 2013

Arnold Pump & Run Recap

Photos by OHventures

Of all the years I have been attending the Arnold Classic Sports Festival, this year was the first time I have participated in the famed "Pump & Run" event!

The Pump & Run combines brute strength with aerobic ability into one unique fitness event. One must bench press his or her own body weight as many times as possible (pump) and then hit the streets for a 5K race (run). Thirty seconds is taken off of their finishing time for every full rep they were able to bench press earlier that morning. Pretty intense, no?

I had always been intrigued by this hybrid fitness feat, and was always interested in competing myself. However, the slots were always filled up by the time I wanted to register myself. This year, the same held true. In fact, all 850 slots for the Pump & Run were sold out in the very first hours of the first day that registration opened to the public! This speaks to just how popular this meathead mainstay is! 

As fate would have it, one of my good friends Keith had signed up on that first day of registration, but later learned he was unable to compete. This was unfortunate for him, but very fortunate for me, as he permitted me to take his spot! The Arnold Classic also has its very own 5K (sans weight lifting) and I had already signed up for that event (since it has many more slots and was not yet sold out). Thus, I passed along my 5K registration to my friend Matt and Keith passed along his Pump & Run registration to me!

While I was beyond excited to partake in this crazy strongman competition (of sorts), I was also pretty nervous. Even though I considered myself in pretty good shape and had successfully completed P90X, I virtually never bench pressed before (believe it or not, benching is not part of the P90X routine). So I had no idea how much weight I would be able to put up, nor did I know how much I weighed. Thankfully my brother Curt was able to make me more aware of my abilities. He had me over to weigh in (I am 155 pounds, but only because I am really short) and then lift that amount at his home gym. I was able to make 7 reps easily, and this was when I was tired and wearing jeans and a sweater from church that morning. I impressed and surprised myself, and also calmed my nerves knowing I could do it!

On the morning of March 3, 2013 I arrived at The Greater Columbus Expo Center at 8:00 AM to meet up with my fraternity brothers Richard, Jim, and Drew who were also taking a stab at the P&R! Richard and Drew had done the event a few years back so they knew what to expect. We weighed in (I was steady at 155) and then stood in the long line to bench press! There were at least a dozen benches lined up in a row with officials standing at each one to count and spot each athlete. When it was my time, I took a deep breath and went for it! I thought I bench pressed my body weight 11 times, but apparently I did not go all the way down on one of the reps, so they tagged me at 10 reps! That meant I would get 5 minutes off of my running time!

The strange thing is, since benching is such a foreign concept to me, I injured myself by straining my hamstring, of all things! It just goes to show that you do indeed use your whole body to bench! I was afraid that the strain would affect my race, but we thankfully had about an hour and a half before the start so I could work it out.

I was content with my results in the benching portion of the event. I knew some people who had 0 reps, and others (like Richard) who had the max of 30 reps (which is frickin 15 minutes off of your race time)!! We all then prepared for the next portion of the day: the run!

Despite it being March, it also happened to be extremely cold outside when it came time for the race, at about 20-25 degrees! That is colder than it was for the Jingle Bell Run I did in December! This was yet another factor that worried me prior to the race.

The coolest thing ever happened while we were waiting in the frigid snowy air for the race to being: Arnold Schwarzenegger himself appeared at the front of the crowd to thank everyone who was running and to do the official countdown to start the race! I couldn't believe that the Terminator himself was kicking off my race! As cool as that was, I couldn't relish in the moment, as I had to run down High Street, turning right on Nationwide, and looping to Front Street in the cold. The specifics of the route are truly uninteresting and frankly I don't like to remember it, as it was so cold, I just wanted it to be over! This of course gave me motivation to run faster, but that can be difficult in the cold and on hills!

When all was said and done, I crossed the finish line with an approximate time of 25 minutes, which would make my adjusted time 20 minutes. I was proud of my time, but it paled in comparison to people like Richard who ended up with an adjusted time of about 7 minutes! I placed in the middle of the pack, at about 400/850. I was just happy for the race to be over and to be inside at the Expo collecting goodies while donning my medal!

Some people are really good at running but not good at lifting, and some people are really good at lifting but not good at running. The Arnold Pump & Run rewards those who are skilled in both lifting and running. The winners are no doubt folks who ran at a good pace AND were able to bench press their own weight a significant number of times. It was really a fun, different, and challenging race to be a part of!

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