Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Space Jump from a runners perspective

Yesterday (Sunday morning) my son and I stumbled online to the Space Jump.  For those (like us) who had not heard of it - a Skydiver, w/ 7 years of planning, sponsored by Red Bull and with an organizational effort that seemed NASA-like supporting him - floated in a capsule tethered below a helium filled ballon to the outer limits of the earths atmsospehere to an altitude of over 128,000'.   Why?  To jump.

We quickly found it on TV and watched it for the last hour of it.

Admittedly at times, as the Ascent was happening, it was as interesting as watching paint dry.  But as the guy (Felix Baumgartner - 43 years old from Austria) started the checklist to ready himself to jump - including undoing his seatbelt and then opening the door to see just how high he was - my son and I watched with increasing interest and wondered out loud what could happen - both good or bad. 

And then, when the jump happened we sat and watched cheering like we were at a sporting event, while being freaked out watching if the guy was about to jump to his death.

24 miles above the earth - almost a full marathon - took about 2 1/2 hours to get up there.  Then he jumped - free falling for over 4 minutes before his parachute opened up.  Exceeding 800 miles per hour during the descent.  Amazing camera views of him descending, tumbling, spinning, seemingly out of control, then slowing down and coming out of the spin as he got closer to Earth because the atmosphere became thicker.  Talking to the mission controllers as he was plummeting downward.  It was amazing as we both watched.

My son mentioned later that he covered about the distance of a marathon faster than than most can run a mile.

He landed as though he was steeping off a ladder.  Softly, easily as though it was routine.  But I guess it was - that was the easy part.  My son and I looked at each other.  He said with such amazement "That was awesome".  All I could say was "Wow.  Wow.  Wow". 

The training, the journey, the dedication that Feliz Baumgartner put into the project must have been huge.  From a guy who enjoys running, including running in races - my favorite being the Pikes Peak Marathon - it was hard to comprehend and understand.  I sometimes look at elite athletes and are jealous of not just how good and fast they are - but of the training they do. 

I think what if I could train like them, what if I can run like them - what heights can I reach?  Or, shall I be content with what I normally do?  I'm not about to take up skydiving and especially not about to float in a balloon 24 miles up - and jump.  But, after watching that yesterday - I was inspired to try to do better, train more and see what happens.  I'll never be even close to elite - but I want to be faster, maybe even reach new heights (for me).

I also said to my son "Don't ever do that, please.   But if you do, don't let your Mom know".

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