Thursday, December 14, 2006

Training Day

No, not the film where Ethan Hawke spends his first day as a rookie cop under the misguided supervision of Denzel Washington. If you haven't seen this film, I highly recommend it.

I'm talking about a day back at the police academy with my squad learning new firearm techniques and trying to qualify for the department's new physical fitness level. The fitness test consists of 5 consecutive exercises and can earn an officer points towards a pay raise depending on how well one performs. Here are the tests and minimums needed to qualify for the higher level of fitness award:

300 Meter Sprint (55 seconds or less)
Sit-ups (39 in one minute)
Pushups (33 w/out stopping, no time limit)
Vertical Jump (18 inches)
Agility Course* (16.4 seconds)
1.5 Mile Run (13:46)

*the agility course is a short course where you start on your stomach on the ground, leap up and sprint about 15 yards forward and back, weave up and back through cones, and another sprint 15 yards back and forth.

While in the academy, meeting these minimums was simple. Almost a year later I had a bit of difficulty. My squad made a bad decision to consume a large lunch of Mexican food immediately before the fitness exam. The pushups, situps, vertical jump and sprint were fairly easy for me. I didn't make the cutoff on the agility course on my first try but was able to squeeze out a time of 16.35 seconds on my last attempt.

Last up was the 1.5 mile run. Normally this would be an easy event for me. I've completed two marathons and several half-marathons over the past few years and used to use 1.5 miles as a warm-up. Today was a different story. With 3 pounds of chips, beans, tostada, rice and tacos in my gut it took all I had not to vomit during the first lap. I was exhausted from the agility course and never fully recovered before the 1.5 miler. With leg muscles burning, lungs wheezing, and stomach contents moving in reverse, I managed to drag myself across the finish line with a time of 12:54, an 8:36/mile pace (my best time while in the academy was 9:45, a 6:30/mile pace).

Overall I qualified for the highest fitness level award but wasn't entirely thrilled about my performance. I think this was just the kind of wake up call I needed to get back into top shape.
I was overexherted but found some consolation in watching a class of police recruits go through the pepper-spray in the face day. Nothing I've ever done compares to the misery of that day.

By the way, one of my squadmates struggled mightely on the long run but was able to sprint to the finish just under the cutoff time. He celebrated by puking volumes of half-processed Mexican food in the grass next to the running track.


At December 14, 2006 9:38 PM, Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Yeah, eating mexican before doing anything strenous is never a good idea.

At December 14, 2006 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job, Bubba.

At December 15, 2006 7:05 AM, Blogger *Goddess* said...

Eating before exercise? Ugh. Your body was probably crying...

At December 15, 2006 9:54 AM, Blogger Jason said...

See, the physical part is relatively simple in the academy. However, you realize once you're on the street you're not going to be doing a lot of running (unless you work da hood) and the longer you've been on the streets and the older you get (like me) the physical tests become a little more difficult.


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