Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Keeping Things Simple

I had originally planned to do a complicated new workout tomorrow. Race specific intervals, based on differing 300 m splits for your goal mile race pace. When I started working on it, it became incredibly complicated, not just to write out, but to actually think out. That's when I decided to just stick with a simple stand-by, Kenyan runs, which you all know and love.

Interesting enough, in my online iPad2 hunting/procrastinating, I discovered this little vignette ,which I had never heard before, but is very appropriate to my thinking today.

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface, and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 degrees Celsius.

The Russians used a pencil.

Sometimes you can make things too complicated. Just get out there, run hard, mimic a race as much as you can, and do it over and over. That's our plan for tomorrow.

From: www.therussiansusedapencil.com



Ryan B said...

That is actually a myth. The "space pen" was developed independently of NASA, and later sold to both NASA and the Soviets. Flammable graphite and wood in traditional pencils are very bad in high-oxygen environments, and broken pencil lead can be a safety hazard in zero-gravity.


Still, your point about making things too complicated is still valid.

Brian Seppala said...

It's ironic that when we are talking about pencils, I was wondering if you couldn't see the forest for the trees.

"Still, your point about making things too complicated is still valid."

However, your last sentence redeems my faith.

Keeping things simple, (Russian pencil, Occam's Razor, etc) usually seems to be the best way to do lots of things. When you don't have to worry about the process, and just worry about the result, great things can be created/accomplished/achieved!


Ryan B said...

Sorry, it's just a pet peeve of mine that this myth continues to persist. The message behind it is good, but somewhere there has to be a factual story that makes the same point.

I've seen some of the results for Ft. Collins, congrats everyone!