Celebrity Encounters

The Affect of Celebrity Encounters on Heart Rate Whilst Running at an Easy Pace

After I got my new job working in NY, I started doing my running on the Hudson River Greenway and thus began my encounters with various celebrities and my relentless pursuit in understanding their affect on my HR. After recording data on the following six celebrities, I find the data to be inconclusive and as such this study has been postponed and will hopefully resume in the spring :)
(Note: I did not take any of these pictures and just lifted those that most closely resemble what I saw)

Victor Garber (8/18/11)
HR Bump: ~17 beats
I was doing my usual run up along the Hudson when I see this guy walking who I am 95% sure is Victor Garber (aka Jack Bristow from Alias or the Titanic's builder) I look at him as I run by and he looks back at me and I think he is giving me the "oh here's another guy who thinks he recognizes me but is not sure" look. So I keep on running and I am hoping as is often the case, I will see him again when I turn around and head back to work. Sure enough, as I get closer to my building, I see him again. This time, I am 100% certain it is him so I give him a nod, a smile and an "alright!". He gives me a head nod and a smile back and now I am running with this silly grin on my face because I just saw Victor Garber, who I happened to really like in Alias. The funniest part of all this, is that I'm wearing my heart monitor the whole time and running really slow to keep my heart rate below 141. Occasionally, it creeps up higher and then my watch beeps and I'll see it's at 143 and I'll slow down. Well, right after I pass him my watch starts beeping and I look down and my heart rate is 151! I guess I was that excited to see him again? This really cracked me up so then I was running once again with this stupid smile for the next couple minutes. 

This is my actual HR graph and that really is the HR bump from seeing him

Jeremy Piven (9/8/11)
HR Bump: ~18 beats
Once again, I was running along the Hudson and I see Jeremy Piven (aka Ari Gold from Entourage) running in the opposite direction. This time, I was sure who it was and I remembered his name. As I passed him, I gave him the two handed guns point and said "Jeremy Piven!" as if i was announcing his name before he came out on a talk show. He gave me a point back with a little smile. Once again my heart rate shot up like crazy and I was smiling for a while.
This is my actual HR graph and that really is the HR bump from seeing him

Ethan Hawke (10/3/11)
HR Bump: ~15 beats
This was earlier in the morning and there were very few people out.  When I ran by him he was with his dog and I was not completely sure it was him. I needed to confirm so just to be 110% sure, I searched for him running with his dog and it was definitely him. This time I didn't want to bother him so I just ran by and then said "Sweet, Ethan Hawke!" to myself :) There was a slight reduction in my HR bump as compared to the previous two celebrities and I wasn't sure if this was due to there being no interaction, not being 100% sure it was him, or simply variation.
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Jake Gyllenhaal (10/11/11)
HR Bump: Undetermined
I see this guy running with a fairly high turnover and very small steps, which is what I first noticed.  As I got closer I started to think this may be Jake Gyllenhaal, but I was only 85% sure.  I gave him a head nod and he gave me a head nod back. Because I wasn't 100% sure I didn't do much else. 
When I got back to my desk, I did an image search on "Jake Gyllenhaal Running" within the last week, and this image that came up is exactly what he looked like. I'm pretty sure he was wearing the same shirt and definitely the sun glasses and full beard. What was very interesting is that my HR did not spike.  I have a couple hypotheses as to why.
1. I was too uncertain that it was him.
2. I'm getting jaded from seeing too many celebrities.
3. I'm not that big a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal (That one I can rule out, because Jake Gyllenhaal was awesome in Donnie Darko.)

Bobby Flay (10/20/11)
HR Bump: Undetermined

He wasn't really stretching when I saw him, but it's taken
where I go running and I couldn't find a better picture.
Today I saw two celebrities in one run! First came chef, Bobby Flay. I was only about 90% sure it was him and simple made eye contact but no head nod or verbal interaction. I confirmed it was him through Google by verifying that he lives in NY and runs marathons. Once again there was no discernible HR bump.  I'm starting to think my days as a starry-eyed celebrity watcher getting super excited at any celebrity I see in NY may be over.  I'm hoping this is not true :(

Oliver Platt (10/2011)
HR Bump: Undetermined
This next one was kind of funny. I was only about 80% sure, because he was on a bike and looked a bit funny, with this pink helmet on. It looked just like Oliver Platt, but it happened so quickly I wasn't certain. Well once again, the internet has confirmed it. He looked exactly like in this photo. This is now the third time in a row I did not get a HR bump and I'm starting to be worried that I'm proving to be more and more unreliable as a test subject. This was my last celebrity sighting in the fall season, so I am hoping that with the coming of spring and the thawing of winter, so too my heart will thaw and once again it will be receptive of celebrity influence.

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