Saturday, October 5, 2013

Why running is like dreaming

But what do you think about?
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 4.25 miles

One of my favorite quotes from Haruki Murakami's book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is, "What exactly do I think about when I'm running? I don't have a clue.” I identify with that because so many things go through my head while I run, but I'm hard pressed to recall most of them. It's like waking from a vivid dream at midnight, thinking you'll remember every detail. By morning, it's all a blur.

I'm not saying running causes temporary amnesia. In fact, I've worked out many problems in my head during training runs. While I may not remember the process, I can always remember the resolution. Perhaps that's the way it should be, both with dreams and running.

What I do remember from this morning's run was how perfect Stillwell Woods can be on a day like today. The humidity was high and the skies looked like they could open up at any minute. I knew that the woods would shelter me from a light rain so I wasn't concerned. The weather stayed dry and, despite the humidity, I was comfortable. This was mostly due to the lack of sun and fairly cool temperatures.

I didn't try to be a hero and take on the bike trails that drop and rise like an organic roller coaster. I stayed on my usual loop and made two circuits before heading back. I kept an easily sustainable pace (still not at 100% since I got the flu shot) until I encountered another runner merging onto the trail that runs around the big field. I thought that runner might follow me on that narrow path as I went west, and I was determined not to let him overtake me. He never did, and I ran my last mile significantly faster than the prior three.

I probably need to return to Bethpage to do my usual long hill repeats that are part of my training for the Town of Oyster Bay 5K. That and some base mileage may be a good workout for tomorrow. At some point I need to return to the track to run intervals. A 5K may be an easy distance, but speed requires some special focus, especially since half this race is uphill and the other half is down.

2 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to get this book from the digital library. I've forgotten all about it. I'll have to add that to the list of all the other books I want to read!

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  2. I loved the book but I don't recommend it to Murakami fans who aren't runners. My favorite quote - which he attributes to another person is, "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." I think about that on my toughest runs!

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