Saturday, December 11, 2010
I Wanna Be a Tough Guy Like Emil Zatopek
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
I ran cross country in high school, and there was a lyrical freedom to the sport--running distance races over hill and dale in the brisk fall air. But inevitably, every distance race has a painful moment of truth. Running fast over distance starts to hurt, a lot.
What to do? Stop running? Slow down? No, the runner searches for a rhythm and focus that allows them to continue to the finish.
So I gotta admit that right now, my Kickstarter fundraiser has hit the painful part of the race. Off to a fast start, adrenaline carried me halfway without consequence. Now in the middle stretch, I'm searching for the rhythm to carry me successfully to the end. The mind plays tricks on you, it doesn't seem possible. But, I know from experience that it is, so I collect my focus, impose a rhythm on my effort, and continue.
My favorite distance runner ever, Emil Zatopek, won the 5000, 10000 and marathon in the 1952 Olympics, the only runner ever to achieve this feat. He managed his pain in competition with an array of horrible grimaces that diverted attention from his perfect stride. The effect, comic, inspiring, riveting.
I note that the title above is a link to my Kickstarter fundraiser, and that you can order my new graphic novel El Vocho there. Also available are acrylic paintings and original comic art by me.