Bubble Running

When you have a lot of time on your hands like I do right now as I recover from my broken arm, you end up reading all sorts of crazy things on the Internet. Last Wednesday I found an article about a man, Reza Baluchi, who was trying to “run” from Florida to Bermuda inside a large plastic bubble – a journey of 1,033 miles. The pictures I saw of his bubble reminded me of one of those plastic balls you can put a hamster in so it can roll around a room.  Mr. Baluchi had apparently successfully used his bubble to go from Newport Beach to Catalina Island, about 32 miles in 2013.  This story caught my interest and I kept looking for updates on his progress.

Mr. Baluchi had protein bars, bottled water, a GPS, and a satellite phone with him but he did not have any support team in a boat following him.  When the US Coast Guard checked on him the first time on Wednesday, he was a bit disoriented but refused to stop his adventure.  He did ask for directions though.   The Coast Guard wisely monitored him and no one was probably surprised when he activated his Personal Locating Beacon on Saturday so they could rescue him.  He was extremely fatigued.  Apparently it also gets really hot in that bubble (120 degrees).  He had only made it 70 nautical miles off Florida.

I became very curious about Mr. Baluchi so I visited his website to learn more about him.  According to his website, he has completed several marathons and a few ultra marathons.  In 2007, Mr. Baluchi ran around the perimeter of the United States, a distance of over 11,700 miles in 202 consecutive days.  (I found this interesting because I once wanted to drive the perimeter of the United States in a red convertible.  I did a lot of research on the route but that was as far as I got with that idea.)

Mr. Baluchi also has “a dream to run through all 194 recognized countries in the world.”  His objective for this goal is to inspire people to unite.  I know that running races on each of the 7 continents or even in all of the 50 states is ambitious.  But all 194 countries?  That is a bit crazy.  Some of those countries might not let him in, especially since he left his passport in the bubble that is still floating around out in the ocean.

For some reason, Mr. Baluchi’s big adventure reminded me of one of my favorite documentaries “10 mph: Seattle to Boston”.  This film follows two friends that quit their jobs and cashed in their 401ks to pursue a dream of riding a Segway across the US.  When I watched this film, I thought about how much courage it must have taken to chuck everything and go ride a Segway for 100 days.  They asked Segway to help sponsor their trip but the company declined to provide any free or discounted equipment. (Segway did give them a little party and a couple Segways when they arrived at the Segway headquarters at the end of their journey.)   As one might expect, they met many interesting people and learned a lot of interesting life lessons as they rode across country.  It is a fun film.  You can see the entire film on YouTube.

I think the reason why they were able to make it across the US on the Segway was because they had a team of people committed to the success of the trip.  Mr. Baluchi might want to get a team behind him before he heads out again.

I am hoping that I get the green light from my doctor this week to start physical therapy.  That will put me a step closer to getting back into my Sauconys and heading out for a run.  In the mean time, I have started riding a recumbent exercise bike to try and get back into shape.  It feels good to work up a sweat again.