“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
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
MILE 8, PART 3_90 minutes
He's in full stride. I can see his cheeks puff in and out, so that means, like me, he's winded too. But he's still running. I can gauge his speed as he (once again) pulls away from me. Somewhere in the high 9:30/m range. His stride wasn't much better than mine. He was taller so, naturally, the space between each step was longer. It was beautiful.
I don't remember much of Mile8 except for the fact that the iPod/NIKE+ announcer said I was passing it. I think she briefly drowned out "Promontory" from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack, but outside of that it was a blur. I had to shut out a lot of what was going on; the shortness of breath, the pain in my legs and the stitch in my side. I had to shut out the pounding in my head from a heart that wanted to burst out my chest and the little asshole voice in my head telling me this isn't going to work. I even had to shut out the ten speeds and their fluorescent riders zipping by me at break-neck speeds.
I just wanted to catch 42.
Or if I couldn't do that, I just wanted to be within spitting distance of him. He was about a quarter mile ahead. Again. But this time, I didn't worry about what I had left in the tank for the run home. First of all, I had nothing left in my tank. I should have been done. My thighs were burning and my calves felt like they were going to cramp in the very next step I took. My arms felt like sand bags and locking my hand together in front of me (that's a little trick I learned - it compresses my movement and helps conserve the energy it would take to swing them around) didn't help. Secondly, this *was* the run home. This is why I tapered it off towards the first leg of this little morning jaunt. I didn't have any more excuses. I was just going to run. But this time, I wasn't going to run because I wanted to beat him. I wanted to run because after all of that - after thinking that I could just walk home, after feeling like I was going to collapse in fatigue, after not having anything left - I was still here. I was still running.
In the end, I wish it turned out like that scene from "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade". You know - the scene where the grave robber takes his hat and says, "You lost today kid... but it doesn't mean you have to like it." Then he takes his fedora, puts it on River Phoenix's face and it cuts to Harrison Ford as the older Indiana Jones. Something cool like that. Like the guy slows down and says, "Stay to my left, young buck. I'll help you get home." No, it wasn't anything like that. I got to the gate that marked the exit to riverbed so I can get onto the main street down the road from my house, and I started for home. I kept it close, but I never caught up to ol' 42.
I start cooling down. The run turns into a slow jog for about 2 minutes. Then that turns into a fast walk. My breathing returns to me and it was all I could do not to throw up. I close my eyes temporarily and tilt my head up to the sky. The sun hits my face. A breeze picks up and it's almost as good as a cup of cold water and I make a promise to myself that I am going to have the biggest stack of pumpkin pancakes I can get my hands on. I walk up my driveway and I hit the little button on the iPod and that was that. I hear my time. I hear my pace. Then I think, "Wait... did I hear that right? Nah. That's just dehydration getting the best of me because if that time was right then that..." Before I could finish that thought Lance Armstorng's pre-recorded voice chimes in and says, "Congratulations! That is your personal best for the mile."
So, two things: 1) I wish 42 would've tripped and fallen on his face. Damn show-off. And 2) I hope I see 42 next Sunday so I can do better next week. At first we become great because something else compels us to. But in the end, we are greater because we compel ourselves. I think I read that someplace. In running and especially in art (I use that term loosely, mind you - my work ain't 'art'), I can't think of a more appropriate and applicable concept. I mean, c'mon. I'm drawing Wolverine here. I dunno... it's not like I'm designing the Disney Concert Hall or nothin'. Hehe. Thank you for reading and thank you, 42 wherever you are.
I hope you trip on a rock. Bastard.
at 11:47 PM