Guest blog by RYAN
We live in a small place. I prefer it that way, for now at least. However, it does pose some problems since I hate accumulating things and it’s easy to pack a small apartment. Half the shit I accumulate I don’t need but seems too valuable to throw out. On a recent weeknight I tossed a lot of stuff like DVDs (all of them!), a pair of jeans that had so many holes in them my ass was hanging out, old crappy drawings, lots of paperwork that I’m happy to never see again, old magazines etc etc. But then hesitated when I came across a pair of track spikes. I don’t even run track anymore and the last track race I did, well…it’s been a few years. These spikes the only remaining pair I own. Hell’s going to freeze over before you see me seriously competing on the track ever again – although I’ll never rule it out – but I couldn’t bring myself to tossing them. I’ve got this sentimental attachment to them that is preventing me from tossing them and desipite my best intentions to live minimally they hang out in the apartment still, until next time I come to this decision point again.
I drew this quick illustration for Level Renner and it was meant to be a lead in to track season. A sort of dusting off the ol’ spikes type of illustration. One with a similar feel to the old cover on Once A Runner. Remember that one? Not the one that’s in bookstores now, but the classic one (see just below). It’s a bit melancholy, the cover illustration. I have no idea who did the illustration for the book but the image is burned in my brain. I imagine myself in that scene and I’m really drawn in. Powerful. So the spikes have this powerful connection with me as they are a symbol of lots of focus, singular drive, some highs, plenty of lows, and all the milestones in life that have happened in the 14 years I competed on the track. I look forward to boring my kids with stories from races, training runs (plenty of stories here), and showing them pictures. Perhaps they’ll understand why I’m freaking nuts but became who I am doing something that seems quite trivial to most. That’s what these spikes still mean to me.
So that’s that one. Heading out for a run now.
“The thing is, everybody wants to be a winner. And when you’re psyched up, you’re willing to make any sacrifice. After a great workout, you’ll happily go hit the weight room, or add extra miles, or eat spinach and broccoli. But what will you do when you’re feeling like crap, or all your friends are going out, or it’s pouring rain, or you’re running poorly? To keep striving over the course of years, you need to smooth out the natural highs and lows of your desire, so that you have a constant and unrelenting force that drives you off the sofa and out to run. Every day. Twice.”
— Once A Runner
[Editor's Note:] Like RYAN said, the illustration at the top of the post was included in the latest issue of the mag so get your free copy today and check it out. Also be on the lookout for RYAN’s sweet Boston 2013 t-shirts (all proceeds to charity).