13 October 2009

Getting Oriented & Getting Fit

First day in a new place. Where do I go? Where should I not go? Where is the bathroom? All important pieces of knowledge. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I'll be using an office on the first floor, the Nutrition duty section is downstairs in the basement where the dining room is located (breakfast & lunch only for staff) and food production. You might recall reading about the CASF at Balad, packaging up wounded warriors for flights to Germany. ASF represents the next leg of the trip, from Germany to the states. Aeromedical Staging Facility has three flights a week and when they arrive there is a wonderful & fancy hot meal waiting for them in a special dining room. I'll try to get some pictures soon. It's great to see the continuation of something I saw in Iraq.

I think I managed to get my 10,000 steps in today with all the walking around the hospital, across the street to the training building, and then we had Squadron PT (Physical Training) this afternoon. This is mandatory once time a week with the group, the rest of the workout schedule is up to the individual. Today's workout featured interval running, pushups & situps - getting us ready for the practice Fit Test next month that will help us compare our current fitness level to the new standards that go into effect Jan 2010.

I'm going to get a little off track (pun intended) from talking about my first day at work (since I didn't do so much work as just inprocessing) to talk about the new fitness standards as they will relate to me (afterall, this is *my* blog).

When I moved into the 45-49 year age group, the standards were a little easier than the previous 5 years. I went from an 85.29 score to 91 (improving from "Good" to "Excellent") with a combination of better fitness and slightly easier scoring in some areas. For 2009 my goal was to earn maximum points in all areas (1.5 mile run, pushups, situps and waist circumfrence). This would require me to run faster than 12:30, do a minimum 18 pushups & 30 situps (under 1 min each) and have a waist 29" or smaller. I was pretty darn proud of myself when I did 12:08, 25 (could have done more) pushups and 40 situps with a 28.5" waist. Woot! 100 points, the best you I can be for my age group.

However, next year the standards across the USAF have changed, I'm grouped into the 40-49 year old women, and I have to be a much faster runner. Active Duty members must test twice a year (which I think is a good thing) while Reservists still only have to do it once a year.

Let's see how I would compare my numbers this year to next year's standards:
12:08 run = 59.8 out of 60 points (I'd have to speed up to <11:22 to get 60/60) - by the way, this represents a 1:29 improvement from last year!
25 pushups = 8.6/10 (my all time personal record is 40, I'll have to do 38+ to get 10/10)
38 situps = 9.5/10 (I'll need 41+ to get 10/10)
28.5" waist = 20/20 (the standard got a little easier here, <31.5" = max points)
My 100 is now 97.9. Still "Excellent" category, but no longer that perfect 100; it looks like I've gotten worse instead of improving my personal fitness.

I don't know if I'll ever run that pace (that's 7:57/mile) but at least the deductions are very minor the first 2 minutes off that speed. I will probably be able to get to that full pushup level (if I keep up with my CrossFit training and my elbow tendonitis gets better). But I foresee a lot of women not doing so well in the pushups (good thing the minimum standard for passing is only 11). I can't imagine not being able to make the minimum 18:14 for the 1.5 mile run, 11 for the pushups, 24 situps and have a waist <36 (although I saw some waists in Iraq that would not meet this criteria). From now on airmen must meet minimums in all four criteria, they cannot make up the point difference other areas.

This week in the AirForce Times is an article with the headline "New PT Test: 4 in 10 FAIL". I'll link to it when it's available online.

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