Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympics, real-time

Something fascinating comes from watching Olympic events while at the gym: you're moving, they're moving, and a you get a new perspective on just how much faster they are.

For example, Wednesday night I was about to head home when I saw that the men's 5000m qualifying relay for speed skating was about to come on. I hopped on an open treadmill, plugged in my headphones, and started walking at a pleasant, normal pace. I started maybe 45 seconds before they did and stopped maybe 20 seconds after. In the time that the three-man relay skated 5000m--more than 3 miles--guess how far I went?

One-third of a mile.

True, I wasn't racing. True, they are Olympians. True, they were on a nearly frictionless surface. Apples and oranges, I know. But suddenly I understood physically rather than just mentally what the athletics neatly framed on the gym TV meant in real life.

I am in awe.

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