“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
MILE 8, PART 2_90 minutes
He didn't just run past me, mind you. He was pulling away. Not in blazing speeds. That's not how this works. No, he pulled away little by little. At every quarter mile he was just slightly more ahead of me. And for every hill we climbed I fell back just a little bit more.
But I wasn't going to quit now. There's no way I was going to let this 42 beat me to my objective - an old metal works bridge about five miles away. "Pace him. Give him no more than a quarter mile lead," I told myself. Then at the most opportune time (probably at the 4 mile marker), pour it on big.
Daft Punk's "Around the World/ Harder, Better, Faster Stronger" was in my ear now. Then there's a point in this live track where the electronica goes bananas and I think to myself, "Okay, now."
I was about a quarter mile early of my planned Mile4 marker when I started running. I mean, *really* running. Fast twitch muscles were in over drive and I was gaining. The problem was, we were fast approaching the bridge that I spoke of - the marker for Mile5. The halfway point. I'm old enough now, knowing my own personal limits, that regardless of how hard I run to try and catch this man, I wasn't going to catch him before we got to that bridge. And I have to consider keeping something in reserve to make it back home. So that made my decision making easier; I shut it down, slowed my pace considerably, and made it to that bridge. I started to turn around for home just as I saw 42 in the distance running away from me. It's tough to say, but I'd hazard to guess he was a good three quarter miles ahead and he was still pulling away. I swear the bastard sped up as he probably felt me closing in on him. At least that's what I tell my bruised ego.
That Sunday, he was better. "He was more fit, better trained, and had the longevity to go farther and faster than anything I was capable of," I thought. And that was fine. Well, not really. My competitive nature ate away at me for a bit, but there was a more pending task at hand - the last 5 miles.
The sun has come out of its cloud cover now. The temperature is up at least 5 degrees and when you're running it feels more like 20. It isn't scalding hot, but I'm no gazelle. It is to say I don't run at blinding speeds and my steps aren't Hussein Bolt-like in any way, which means I start feeling it. The heat, the dirt, the smell of horse poop from the horse stables near the riverbed - all of that attack me somehow. For me at this point, to stop and take off so much from my pace that I'm no longer running (and I'm more like shuffling my feet really fast) is an "F" in effort. It means I'm taking the day off. It means I'm out here wasting my time and why do I even bother? In reality, I know better of course, but at this point in time, I am frustrated that I let some 42 take me out of my own pace, that I let myself lose focus, and that I'm not as good as I should be. But even more than the frustration, something insidious made its way into my thoughts: I might not have enough to make it home.
My legs hurt. My back aches. My right hip feels like it's going to pop out of the socket. And I had about 3 miles left. "How easy would it be to stop right now," I asked myself. "Seriously. Just stop. Walk home and call it a day. Actually *walk* home." I can feel myself slow down. The distance between each stride is shorter and more choppy. My breathing sucks now - in through the mouth, out through the mouth. That's a bad sign. Fiona Apple's "Criminal" isn't going to help. I'm gonna walk the rest of the way home.
Then out of no where... 42 runs past me. Again. I'm at Mile7.
**More later. I'm in the middle of doing actual pages - you know, "work" work. Thanks for reading along. And for your kind audience, here's Robocop.
at 12:36 PM