Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book exerpts: What I talk about when i talk about running

Pre-race neuroticisms send me on a quest for books about running to fill my time. This is one I picked up and enjoyed!

Exerpts from
What I talk about when i talk about running
by Haruki Murakami (Vintage Books, 2008)

"When I'm criticized unjustly (from my viewpoint, at least), or when someone I'm sure will understand me doesn't, I go running for a little longer than usual. By running longer it's like I can physically exhaust that portion of my discontent." (p. 20)

On running the original marathon course in Greece in very hot temps: "At around twenty-three miles I start to hate everything. Enough already! My energy has scraped bottom and I don't want to run anymore. I feel like I'm driving a car on empty. I need a drink, but if I stopped here to drink some water I don't think I could get running again. I'm dying of thirst but lack the strength to even drink water anymore. As these thoughts flit through my mind I gradually start to get angry. Angry at the sheep happily munching grass in an empty lot next to the road, angry at the photographer snapping photos from inside the van. The sound of the shutter grates on my nerves. Who needs this many sheep, anyway? But snapping the shutter is the photographer's job, just as chewing grass is the sheep's, so I don't have any right to complain. Still, the whole thing really bugs me to no end. My skin's starting to rise up in little white heat blisters. This is getting ridiculous. What's WITH this heat, anyway?" (p. 65)

"I've discovered that after twenty-some years, and as many marathons later, the feelings I have when I run twenty-six miles are the same as back then. Even now, whenever I run a marathon my mind goes through the same exact process. Up to nineteen miles I'm sure I can run a good time, but past twenty-two miles I run out of fuel and start to get upset at everything. And at the end I feel like a car that's run out of gas. But after I finish and some time has passed, I forget all the pain and misery and am already planning how I can run an even better time in the next race. The funny thing is, no matter how much experience I have under my belt, no matter how old I get, it's all just a repeat of what came before." (p. 67-8)

"If you carefully increase the load, step by step, they [muscles] learn to take it. As long as you explain your expectations to them by actually showing them examples of the amount of work they have to endure, your muscles will comply and gradually get stronger....As long as you take your time and do it in stages, they won't complain - aside from the occasional long face - and they'll very patiently and obediently grow stronger." (p. 71)

"No matter what, though, I keep up my running. Running every day is a kind of lifeline for me, so I'm not going to lay off or quit just because I'm busy. If I used being busy as an excuse not to run, I'd never run again. I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished." (p. 73)

This during a 62-mile race: "As I ran, different parts of my body, one after another, began to hurt. First my right thigh hurt like crazy, then that pain migrated over to my right knee, then to my left thigh, and on and on. All the parts of my body had their chance to take center stage and scream out their complaints. They screamed, complained, yelled in distress, and warned me that they weren't going to take it anymore. ..I tried to talk each body part into showing a little cooperation. Encouraged them, clung to them, flattered them, scolded them, tried to buck them up. It's just a little farther, guys, you can't give up on me now!" (p. 109)

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