Of Love & Running…

Looking for books to add to my never-ending, 50 million page long list of books I need/want to read, I found Born to Run:  A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  I like to read quotes from non-fiction books before I decide to read them, mostly because I want to share an opinion with the author.  This quote is one I found from the author, Christopher McDougall and it really struck me as true…

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“…there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love *running*. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got, being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…We wouldn’t be alive without love, we wouldn’t have survived without running, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.”

― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

I think the author is on to something.  In order to enjoy running you definitely have to be patient.  In order to increase your stamina, your distance, your pace, you have to be patient in achieving those goals.  They won’t be conquered overnight or over the weekend, it requires a gradual build.  It also requires forgiveness on bad days.  It’s okay to have an off day, don’t beat yourself up about it.  We all have them.

There’s a fine line between pushing yourself and demanding.  Running shouldn’t be something you loathe doing.  If it is, it’s time to take a break.  You also have to be okay with the abilities you have.  I would love to run a sub-7:30 pace, but right now it’s not all that fathomable, and I’m okay with that.  I am perfectly happy with my 10:30 – 9:30 min pace.  If I somehow find myself faster, then by all means, I’ll be faster.  Striving to be better is one thing, getting angry that I’m not there yet is another.

Running has also given me another “thing” to call my own.  It let’s me get away for an hour or two at a time.  It allows me to have my own life outside of my relationship with Trae, with my own friends, events, and experiences.  Trae’s “thing” is golf.  While I accompany him on special occasions, this is his time to be by himself.  We need these separate hobbies so that we appreciate being together more.  It gives us something to talk about, something to learn from each other and we can root each other on.  Running helps me appreciate everything I have and can do.  It helps me think, it challenges me, and I love it all the more for that.

What are your thoughts on the quote?  Is there another quote that hits closer to home for your relationship with running?

Do you think these qualities (patience, forgiveness, appreciation) are that of most runners?

What do you love about running?

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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, next book to read

 

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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami, 2009 (original copy pub. 2007)

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by:  Haruki Murakami (2007)

Best-selling Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is also a runner.  He has run both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon multiple times as well as a handful of triathlons.  He is an experienced runner to say the least.

I have to admit, this book was unknownst to me until just recently.  As both avid reader and runner, I am almost ashamed to willingly announce this.  Oh well.  Better late than never.  I work in a library so I am constantly surrounded by books.  I walk through the shelves and put books away multiple times during the work day.  Sometimes I take a few extra minutes to browse the aisles for anything that might jump out at me.  While shelving books in the 790s (sports, games, entertainment), I stumbled upon Murakami’s running memoir.  I stashed it on the cart to take home.

I haven’t had the chance to start reading it, but I did flip through and find some quotes that reiterated the fact that this was a book I needed to read.  The first quote stood out because it’s the mentality I have towards running and until reading it, I couldn’t find the right words to “explain” running to people who don’t get why I do it.  The part about goals is what really stuck with me.  I hold very high standards for myself, I don’t settle for less, and I’m determined to meet the goals I make, like running my first half (check) and running a marathon this fall (in progress).  Goals help me to keep pushing myself and never settle for mediocre.  Maybe this sounds extreme (I’m really not that serious).  What I’m trying to get at is I don’t settle and I don’t set limitations for what I can do.

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree.”  

I could really relate to the second quote because I share this type B personality… I completely understand what he’s talking about.  Solitude shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, there are those who enjoy it.

“I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful  to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. I’ve had this tendency ever since I was young, when, given a choice, I much preferred reading books on my own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. I could always think of things to do by myself.”  

I figured this would be a really good book, the author being both writer and runner, two things I obviously enjoy, and sharing personality characteristics as well as thoughts on running and why we do it.  I will definitely be writing a review on this book once I’ve finished it.  So keep an eye out.

Have you read this book?  Are there any other NEED TO READ books by runners, about runners, etc.?  Share your thoughts and comments below!!!

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