Friday, December 5, 2014

ASICS Electro Jacket For Today's Space Age

I completed the #Orion 4:24 Flight Test Challenge in 17 miles, and in case you missed this original blog post you can see all the whys and whats below. I followed NASA's Orion mission in a few ways. One, there was a splashdown: It rained the entire 4 hours and 24 minutes, and alas I finally started landing in splash puddles around the NYC Financial District's uneven pavement at the 1:30 mark. Two, I did a first transit of Central Park after parking at 105th and Central Park West Drive, and then proceeded across 42nd Street to the West Side and then completed a large elliptical orbit of the Manhattan island. But most of all, I wore the latest in today's Space Age Gear.

Thanks to Boris and my friends at the ASICS Meatpacking District Store for selling me an ASICS Electro Jacket, waterproof and featuring a hood that allowed me to pull it over the bill of my cap and thus have a virtual umbrella for insulation the entire long run. It was solid rain the whole day and I had started out with my base-layer ASICS Fleece Half-Zip, but the old circa-2006 Mizuno rainjacket I brought was too warm and lacked a hood. I had an urgent need here, so after an hour of running I zoomed into that store and dropped $100 for the quick swap then returned to my run. As you can see from the photo here, I was able to pull the hood over my ASICS cap and that gave me that umbrella effect for my run. Actually, I was able to pull it over the entire bill and tuck it under for a snug fit. I felt some sympathy for other runners who sloshed past me on the path around Manhattan, most of them inappropriately attired. It was a challenge, having to dress warm enough, stay dry, and have moisture management for what eventual was a 17-mile long run. That's one of the hardest gear calls you can make.

The Electro Jacket also has a really cool internal red LED spiral light that goes into flash or solid mode, good for a dark and stormy day in the city. The hood tucks into a rollaway pocket with velcro when not needed.

The metallic heathered fabric with Teflon durable water repellent finish causes light moisture to bead up and roll away. Indeed, it kept me perfectly dry for this long haul around NYC.

Seriously, if I was on Mars with this sometime in the 2030s, when the #JourneyToMars is realized thanks to Friday's original #Orion Flight Test, anyone looking at me would think I am pretty solid NASA with the Electro jacket. I am going to suggest this one to my friend Nicole Cloutier, of public affairs at NASA, who unfortunately is sidelined by a broken ankle, so I wish her all the best in returning to running soon and hope she takes my ASICS tip!

Original Post: The #Orion 4:24 Flight Test Challenge

Here was my original post, for anyone still interested in running this on any day...

I invite you to join me anywhere on Earth to run for four hours and 24 minutes on Saturday -- or any day that works better for you. Let's call it the #Orion 4:24 Flight Test Challenge.

I happen to love space and rocketry. When I was a boy, I eagerly bought rocket kits at our hobby store in Evansville, Indiana, and took them home and spray-painted the long tubes and hung them on my mom's laundry clothesline in the basement to dry. Then I assembled them and took them to a clearing field with a large battery, hooked them up and watched them fly.

This morning, I got up early and sat transfixed in my living room watching the live UStream broadcast by NASA of its historic #Orion Test Flight to face trial by fire and start our long journey to Mars. It is an exciting time. Today's flight featured two orbits of the Earth, including a long second elliptical orbit in which two burns of the upper stage rocket booster took Orion 3,300 miles above our planet to apogee. It was great to see the dramatic views again, and my favorite point on the entire PERFECT operation was the rocket camera showing Florida's coast getting smaller and smaller at launch. I also really enjoyed the livestream itself, getting to "know" host Brandi Dean, seeing the mission control personnel, relating to the intricacies because of sensational work by NASA's multimedia team. I was, indeed, "on board."

As I sat there in fascination from start to finish next to my English Bulldog King Bingley (who snoozed), marking the time and comparing the speeds (somehow) to running, I felt determined and destined to do something on my own as a celebration of what the incredible team at NASA and its partners have done to return our excitement. Since Orion was able to do all that in just 4:24, I've decided to run for 4:24 and see how far I go. It will be cold and rainy at Central Park the whole way, but whatever. Orion just made it through the Van Allen Belts and then its plasma heat shield made it through re-entry. Besides, I am running the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 11, my training has been subpar lately, so this will be an important long run for me. Just like a flight test. (Or is it test flight?)

On June 8, 2007, I did a training run on Cocoa Beach while I was in Florida to work the MLB Draft. I stood in the water barefoot watching a sweet sight: the Space Shuttle lifting off beside me. I am glad I was there, because the previous Space Shuttle flight I observed up close was in 1986, when I stood on top of our Miami Herald building in West Palm Beach, trying to make sense of the Challenger explosion. Here was me geeking over the 2007 liftoff.

So feel free to run with me, wherever you are -- for four hours and 24 minutes. While you are running, occupy your thoughts with how far the rocket just went, how easily the capsule landed, how efficiently everything went and how great our future is for humankind. One day we will know from investigating Mars how to better handle our own planet, and we will have other places to dwell in the stars.

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