2014 Book #5: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Shelf it.
“Pain is inevitable (in running). Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running.”
Murakami goes on to write…
“It’s precisely because of the pain, precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get that feeling, through this process, of really being alive.”
From these opening salvo in Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, I am immediately hooked. It is only recently that I learned that my (most recent) favourite author is in fact a running nut! This novel was written in 2005. And up to that point in time, Murakami has been running for 23 years, finished 23 marathons at one per year, and when bored with running, he picked up triathlons! Did I say he was a fitness freak?
Running is a lonely sport. That much I now know. And it is a mental sport. The longer the run, the harder in the head. It is very boring indeed, to the non-runner at heart that is. A real runner is a loner. Running is an art form, I’ve read. I need to look into that deeper. I think there is a book about that. In the meantime,
I am learning more every day, as I enter headlong into this whole new world…
“Running day after day, bit by bit, I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. I am an ordinary runner, but that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday...In long-distance running, the only opponent you have to bet is yourself, the way you used to be.”