Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why I Run


Years ago I read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. At the time I wasn’t a runner, but Murakami is undoubtedly one of my favorite authors, and so there was no question about whether I would read his running memoir. From what I can remember it was pretty good, but it didn’t have much of an impact on me otherwise.

I was a smoker. Super, duper overweight. Terrified of all things exercise.

Now, I get to call myself a runner. I’m in training for my first half-marathon and it seems like it’s a good time to pull Murakami’s running memoir back out and give it a second go.

But this also got me thinking about my own reasons for running. Health and weight-related issues are the reasons I started, but now they’re only part of why I keep going. Unlike other forms of exercise, like strength training or swimming laps or even yoga (the latter two of which I actually really enjoy), there’s a definitive freedom to running.

There are headphones in my ears. An audio book or maybe a podcast going. Myself. And sometimes this crazy kid:



For me, this is pure, beautiful freedom. Especially coming from my *ahem* very non-athletic background in which running was absolutely never an option. Sometimes I forego the headphones when I really feel as if I need to clear my head or I’m trying to work out a story idea, but for the most part, those earbuds are plunked firmly in there.

My love of running parallels my love of writing. At its most basic there is freedom. All this talk of freedom makes it sound like I’m trying to run away from something, but it’s more than that. Different. It’s freedom to expand my world and push up against its edges, to swallow up everything I see and reincorporate it back into something real and tangible.


Even if sometimes naps sound more fun.

18 comments:

  1. Good for you, Caitlin. You make it sound like fun.
    I can walk forever but I don't run, wish I did.

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    1. Thanks! And part of what I've learned with running is finding the joy in what you *can* do, which isn't always easy. Walking is still great, I make it a point to just walk at least once a week!

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  2. I wish I could run, but I always end up giving up sooner rather than later. Not to mention there aren't a lot of sidewalks in my town; I wish there were, so that I could at least go for walks outside more often.

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    1. A lack of sidewalks is a tricky issue, especially if you're not in a pedestrian-friendly area. Plus gym memberships are expensive!

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  3. I always come up with some great solutions to writing problems when I'm lifting weights. I tried running once, but it's not for me. It's so great you started, coming from your 'non athletic' background, and you've seen such positive benefits :-)

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    1. That's how my friend is, she's all about the weights! We help motivate each other with the cross-training aspect of things. I find weights boring and tedious, but she makes it fun, so I get it done!

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  4. Way to go, you! You know, I have the perfect build for distance running...all except for my exercise induced asthma. There are alternatives--like biking--but I really would love to be able to run without extreme repercussions.

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    1. Oh asthma sucks :( I luckily grew out of it as a child. Biking can still be a lot of fun, though, and walking is a wonderful alternative to running.

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  5. I go to the gym and walk on the track every day. People don't understand why I can't just hop on a treadmill, but it's all about the road in front of you. It really boosts the creative process.

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    1. Oh man, I hear you. I'm a clock-watcher on the treadmill. When I have no other choice it's there, but it's tedious. The open road (or track) is much easier to handle.

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  6. A good run or a good writing session can indeed offer a good escape.

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    1. Best yet, they're both escapes you can create for yourself.

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  7. I've always liked the idea of running. The execution...not so much. I'm a big fan of long walks though.

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    1. Walks are still pretty great! I still take a walk at least once a week, plus I think calorie-wise both activities burn *roughly* the same amount. Don't quote me on that, I'm being too lazy to Google.

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  8. Replies
    1. I'm having a wonderful day, thank you Sandra! Hope you're enjoying your day, too.

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  9. I'm way behind in what I need to get done for the holidays......
    Hope you're ahead of me:)

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  10. What an inspirational piece of writing dear !!!
    You have already won the race by defeating your own harmful habits and one who can rule over himself can achieve anything in life ,anything my dear!
    I share your love for running but I am not lucky enough to get chance and environment to do so .if i would have found it do in my life I believe that i would be living more beautiful life as I find running very fascinating and spiritual experience though while running I would choose to be with nature only.
    Your beautiful way of expression reveals your love for writing as well friend.
    Stay free and happy always.

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