Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reading on Running

After one more run, I'll be one month into a beginner's marathon training schedule. It's amazing to think that in just four weeks, a person can go from not running at all to continuously running five miles. My routes around the DC area are so visually stunning that I run without headphones just to absorb all of the structures and people who pass by. In three miles, I see not only the Washington Monument but also the White House. Last Friday when I went past, the U.S. flag was at half mast for Sen. Kennedy's funeral. My four mile route takes me from Dupont Circle through Georgetown and across the Key Bridge to Rosslyn and back, which is absolutely stunning as I get to see people sailing in their kayaks across the Potomac. Tomorrow, I am running five miles, which will take me past all of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall and the U.S. Capitol. Gorgeous.

I find training for a marathon requires a particular type of discipline. One has to be dedicated to a training plan because it's not a small thing at all. 26 miles can take up to six months to train for, and in my case, a little longer as I'm building in a cushion in case I experience hiccups along the way. Outside of work, I find I think about running often - so often that I'm even incorporating running-related books into my library. Most recently, I've identified two to buy:

I can't wait. The first book by Christopher McDougall is about a tribe in Mexico that lived isolated from "Western" influence. Due to their geographical location, members of this tribe are ultramarathoners, running barefoot through the canyons of Mexico. The second book reminds me of my own runs as it outlines Haruki Murakami's internal dialogue while he trained for a marathon. He identifies when he is inwardly dissociating, externally dissociating, and everything in between. Running provides an opportunity for a participant to only benchmark him or herself against the self, and Murakami very cogently explains how 'normal' long distance runners are of the mindset "it doesn't matter how long as long as I finish."

I haven't read Born To Run but I did watch an interview between Jon Stewart and McDougall. Like Murakami's book, I'm sure it will inspire me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

1 comment:

  1. Murakami! I've been wanting to read that book for a while. If you read it, let us know how it is =)

    He also wrote Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which was the inspiration for Haibane Renmei (an anime series which was actually good, unlike all other anime series). I haven't read it yet, but again, I want to.

    Good luck with the running!