by Eric Miller
three things Calus Foote liked to do: chew
tobacco, spit tobacco juice, and run barefoot.
Very few people called him by his given name, but
that didnt bother Calus. He would answer to
pretty much anything you called him, like Dip,
Chawsky, Snus, Grizzly, and Pinch.
epitomized the phrase to not judge a book by its
cover, it was Calus. Sure, its
understandable that someone might miss the fact
that he was an Ivy League graduate, a Rhodes
Scholar, and spoke fluent Greek. But that
didnt bother Calus either. What bothered
him was that he could never finish a marathon
road race. He would hit that proverbial wall
along the way, cramp up, and go down. So, Calus
went to a sports psychologist to see if he could
break through the shackles that bound him.
friend, his psychologist said,
imagery is the answer. Youve got to
imagine yourself as Phidippides, that Greek
runner who ran all over Greece looking for help
from the Spartans to do battle with the Persians
on the plains of Marathon. That should be a good
image for you to conjure up, inasmuch as your
friends call you Dip. The image of Phidippides
should enhance your visceral sensation of the dip
in your mouth and give you that extra boost for
which youre looking.
didnt that guy die after running 26 miles
yes, technically, but were talking imagery,
imagery can trump technically?
Calus, I like to believe that imagery can trump
technically, but yes, technically does have
strengths which cant be overlooked.
Doc, it sounds kind of loopy to me, but call me
On the day of
the race, Calus waited at the back of the pack,
25,000 strong, for the starting gun to fire.
Fifteen minutes passed before he had space to
take his first step. Thirty minutes clicked off
on his watch before he crossed the starting line.
A wall along the way, at about twenty miles, got
in his way. He didnt crash into it; he just
rolled gently to a stop, like a car running out
of gas. His mind said run; his legs didnt
listen. His voice screamed move, but his feet
sank deeper into the pavement. He lifted and
pushed each leg, one at a time. It took him as
long to go the last six miles as it did to go the
first twenty. The aged, the infirm, and the
physically challenged all passed Calus along the
way. Darkness fell as he fell across the finish
As he lay on
the ground with no one left at the race, he
decided to stop imagining that he was Phidippides.
He wanted to live to tell the world that he made
it. So he got himself up and staggered slowly to
the bar across the street where he imagined that
the bartender who would pour his first beer was
the most beautiful woman in the world.