Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to Look Thinner in Your Race Photos

Forget dieting, the glycemic index, and all the other painful stuff you do to try to look like Michael Lovato in your race photos.

On my way to a practice Treeathlon (Stanford's triathlon) yesterday, I picked up a fellow triathlete and aerospace engineer who let me in on a little secret:

The faster you run, the thinner you'll look in your race photos.

OK, so he didn't say it like that. But that's what I got out of our conversation about the principle of length contraction.

The faster an object goes, the shorter it will appear in the direction parallel to the direction it's traveling.

So say the race photographer is off to the side of the course. If you go really, really fast straight down the course, you'll look thinner to the photographer who's observing you from the side.

And by really, really fast, I mean close to the speed of light.

According to my genius triathlete passenger, if you ran at half the speed of light (150,000km/second), you would look 13.4% thinner from the side of the course.

So keep up those track workouts and don't worry about grabbing that extra doughnut in the break room. Because when you get even half-way close to running at the speed of light, you'll look fantastic in your photos!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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