Attemptations: Short, long and longer stories

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The Tesla also shot out a green laser onto the ground, which would help the pacemakers know exactly how fast they needed to run to maintain the two-hour pace. The sight of the lead athletes warming up in their vividly colored uniforms among the black-clad pacers, and the green laser beams spilling across the tarmac, was strange and eerie—like a silent, illicit rave on a deserted freeway.

As the seconds counted down to the start of the race, Tadese bounced on his toes like a boxer and Desisa worried at his arm sleeves. Kipchoge, at 5'6" and pounds, was strikingly composed. His eyes looked straight ahead. With 15 seconds to go, he dipped his torso and braced his body to run. The whole purpose of this space, with its clandestine projects and NDA requirements, is to create interesting new things through repeated and creative failure.

Early in the summer of , a handful of NSRL employees escaped from Beaverton to a resort in the town of Sisters to drum up new ideas. To inspire them, he played one of his favorite YouTube videos—a monologue by former Black Eyed Pea will. Throughout the previous year, shoe designers within the NSRL had been working on a project intended to help distance runners of all abilities improve their performance by up to 3 percent. To Nurse, this felt worthy but safe; he wanted his designers to devote themselves to something at which they could either succeed or fail definitively.

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Something like a sub-two-hour marathon. An American physician named Michael Joyner argued that the perfect time for the perfect athlete in perfect conditions was It was a science fiction idea, long dismissed by aficionados of the sport as a waste of time and energy. In , in the first Olympic marathon race, only one man broke three hours—the winner, Spiridon Louis, of Greece—and that race was less than 25 miles long, rather than the In , when the world best for the marathon was , an American physician named Michael Joyner wrote a now famous paper , published in the Journal of Applied Physiology , estimating the best possible time for a marathon runner.

In other words, the sub-two was possible, but only just, and only in theory. In the past 20 years, as the world record continued to inch downward, the debate over whether a sub-two might actually happen became more and more contentious. A parlor game arose among physiologists and statisticians, arguing when we might see the first sub-two: in 10 years, 25 years, 70 years, never. The game found its way to the retreat in Sisters, where Nurse tasked the NSRL team to imagine how they could make a two-hour marathon a reality. It was time to stop talking and actually do it. Sandy Bodecker, a Nike employee for nearly four decades and the vice president of special projects, heard the call.

He lobbied executives for funding and started a secret two-hour-marathon task force that was dubbed Project Able after one of the first monkeys to survive being sent into space. In this context—a group of mostly white men aiming to propel an East African to a sub-two-hour marathon—that image has an unintentional but appalling resonance. The name was changed to Breaking2 shortly before the project went public last December. Bodecker and others on the senior innovation staff were adamant that the company not only design new shoes and performance clothing but a whole new kind of race, from the choice of venue to the selection of athletes to the training programs.

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Bodecker signaled his personal commitment to Breaking2 by having tattooed across his wrist. Adidas brought out an Adizero Sub2 shoe this spring but has not announced when or if it will make an actual attempt. Nurse, however, admitted to feeling some time pressure early in the project. To do that, Nike had to build its own perfect marathon from the ground up—starting, of course, with a shoe. Though nobody at the company will admit it outright, it seems naive to think that selling sneakers was not a significant driver behind Breaking2. Geng Luo, a biomechanist and a lifelong sneakerhead from the outskirts of Beijing, was among the core group in the NSRL charged with designing a shoe specifically for Breaking2.

Weight costs runners. With this in mind, Luo and his team created a number of prototypes of stiff, light flats, shorn of any extraneous materials, based on a strong carbon-fiber plate. In one prototype, they even chopped the heel off the shoe, because many elite runners land on their midfoot or forefoot. The ride was much too unforgiving.

They began using a huge stack of what they called ZoomX, a superlight but responsive foam of the type used in aircraft insulation, underneath the foot. They then embedded a spoon-shaped carbon-fiber plate within the foam, which stiffened the shoe and rocked runners forward, as if they were running downhill. An athlete wearing Nike's new footwear should, in theory, be able to run a marathon 4 percent faster. The test runners embraced the new prototype, and the laboratory results were spectacular.

That means an athlete wearing the new footwear should, in theory, be able to run a marathon 4 percent faster or, for an elite athlete with less room for improvement, 3.

Attemptations: Short, Long and Longer Stories

The real-world results were promising, if slightly less astounding. Nike finally unveiled the shoes, dubbed Vaporfly, in both elite and consumer versions in March of this year.

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The announcement caused controversy. Ross Tucker, an influential sports scientist and blogger in South Africa, called for the shoe to be prohibited, saying it gave runners who wore it an unfair advantage. A ban was unlikely, though, because none of the basic components in the Vaporfly are new—all modern shoes use foam, and racing flats have incorporated plates in the past. Haile Gebrselassie wore an Adidas Pro Plate when he broke the world record in Not that Nike executives would have minded a little controversy over a new product.

As the Tesla entered the bend at the top of the track at Monza for the first time, Kipchoge, Desisa, and Tadese were already settled into a steady, rapid rhythm, each of them about 12 meters behind the car and right behind the pacers. The course at Monza also allowed the team to try a radical new approach to pacing. Most world records are set when runners spread their energy over the course of a whole marathon and move at an even, steady pace.

Thirty minutes into the race, Desisa, wearing a white singlet, began to look profoundly uncomfortable. This, however, is where science and the rules collide. In traditional marathons, the IAAF states that all pacers must start the race. Moreover, pacers typically drop out long before the race is completed, leaving the remaining competitors without any wind protection for the final 6 to 8 miles.

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The Nike team began experimenting with having teams of pacers running in perfect formation, swapping in and out of the course, for the entire race. In the middle of the Flow Physics lab, with twin horsepower fans, Wilkins and Kirby placed an athlete on a treadmill and hooked him up to instruments measuring VO 2 max and heart rate.

They then placed other runners in front of him in a simple wall formation, and measured the benefits.

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With that data, they then used computational flow dynamics software to test as many other formations as they could think of: two stacked walls of three pacers, three rows of two pacers, and many others 1. Of all the potential formations, they found that a tight six-man arrowhead shape offered the most benefits. The savings the runners could make by hunkering behind the six-man arrowhead would be akin, Kirby said, to running the whole marathon downhill on a gradient of 2.

As for the impact of the Tesla pace car and the large clock atop it, Nike ran tests both with CFD software and with test runners and determined that the car had no effect on air pressure 12 meters back, where the elite runners would be. In the end, a squad of 30 pacemakers was divided into six teams of three, with reserves ready in case of injury.

On every circuit, the front three pacers would peel off and the rear three would take their place, while a new team of three pacers would fill in at the back row of the triangle. Many of the pacers were world-class athletes in their own right, mostly at shorter distances. Speed, rather than endurance, was the most important prerequisite to pace Breaking2.

Near him, Tadese looked tough and busy—he is the Joe Frazier of running. In "Split Ends" a woman finds a book that contains her own memories, but it is written by a stranger with the same name; in "No U's," a woman slips away through the mail slot to escape her stagnant life.

Ranging from micro-fiction to near maxi-fiction, the stories in "Attemptations" are peopled by women, often physically challenged women--darkly humorous, feisty, sexy, manic, persevering, observant, contemplative women. These characters will snag you and hold you there 'til they're good and done. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Show More Show Less.

New New. No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. Her by Pierre Jeanty , Paperback 7. You may also like. Short Stories J. When filing a claim manually, rights holders will always retain the ability to elect to make money off of an infringing video. YouTubers themselves will have no say in the process, though. He adds that the team also monitors social media to catch issues they missed. Last month, YouTube updated the tools available to creators to let them better respond to these manual claims and potentially avoid video takedowns.

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At the end of the 16th century, some of the most popular short stories in Europe were the darkly tragic " novella " of Matteo Bandello especially in their French translation. You guys motivate the HELL out of me! Second, organizations compromise value when they invest at rates below the cost of capital overinvestment or forgo investment in value-creating opportunities underinvestment in an attempt to boost short-term earnings. Marines were eventually called out to assist, and on May 4, the escape attempt ended with the discovery of the bodies of Coy, Cretzer, and Hubbard. Be the first to write a review.