What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I’ve just picked up my flatmate’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Japanese author and translator Haruki Murakami.

Whilst I have heard mention of his name, I have not yet read one of his books.  Up until now. Something which delights me no end as I’ve suddenly got a brand new author to get my teeth in to.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a departure from most of his bibliography apparently. It’s more of a memoir about Haruki and what running has meant to him as a person.

Seeing that Murakami took up running at the grand age of 33 (I’m 35) and has run more than 25 marathons, (I’m running my first on April 21st 2013), you can understand why I’m enjoying it as much as I am.

I have come across tons of sections that have inspired me and I’m only on Chapter 3. The most overriding factor, however, is that I need to blog more often to keep a handle of my progress. Time is whizzing by so fast and I need to be on top of it both physically and psychologically.

So here we are: Stage 3 out of 5 in my marathon training.

Having plucked my 10k cherry at the beginning of November, my sights now move to the 10 mile mark. And as Murakami’s words float around my head,  I know that it’s within my grasp.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”

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If you can suggest any other inspirational books you think I should be reading, please feel free to comment below or tweet me @runwithfrankie. Many thanks.

Running with the Running Community

At the beginning of November I ran my first ever 10K at the Mornington Chasers Regent’s Park 10K Winter Series.

Having (unfortunately but sensibly) forgone friends’ parties respectively celebrating 40th birthday and hen do the night before, I turned up at Regents Park at 8am in preparation for a 9am start. A valuable lesson I learnt from my first ever 5K.

The weather was heinous. Super cold with torrential rain.

Lovely.

But it didn’t matter really. It just added to the excitement of my task that lay ahead. Besides, I had psyched myself up sufficiently. Luckily Chris, my trainer, had bestowed a few words of wisdom the night before when the panic in me began to rise as a head cold suddenly developed.

Runners (of all ages) started piling in to register their number. The feeling that I had been internalising became a shared group experience as more than 250+ people gathered and excitedly talked to friends and strangers alike. The atmostphere was thrilling. There was a real buzz. Everyone was so friendly.

And that’s one of the things I love about this new hobby of mine. The running community.

I didn’t really know it existed. Or rather, I wasn’t fully aware of it’s magnitude or reach before I spontaneously decided to run the London Marathon.

But I love the running tips you receive from different people – either online or face to face – as they share their own experiences of the sport (a reason why I started this blog)

I’m indebted to:

  • the woman who registered my number and advised me to only wear a vest top and waterproof jacket (3 layers she said was overkill – and she was right);
  • the 45 year old man I met before the race began who broke down the race into laps (that got me through the difficult second ‘already halfway there’ lap and gave me an unbridled energy for the third ‘practically home’ lap);  as well as
  • the unflinching encouragement of the stewards who stood in the pouring rain and spurred me on when I felt like stopping.

Running is a strange beast. You get a sense being truly part of something and yet we all have to run our own race. Even amongst all those runners, the only person we are truly running against is ourselves.

When I crossed that line at 1: 09 the feeling of achievement pumped round my body with the same robustness as the blood in my arteries (and I sprinted the last 200m). Although I did stop three times to stretch my calves with each lap, there were even times where I entered into a meditative state. (albeit briefly)

The next one is on Sunday 2nd December. Will you be joining me?

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