Yes, I borrowed the title from Haruki Murakami’s book. But I thought about it a lot when I went for a run yesterday.
I’ve mentioned something about my connection between doing sports and writing in a blog post last year: Persistence, Writing, and Sports. I’ve been running on and off since then, even managed to do it in winter as well (as long as it’s not icy and I’m not sick).
The reason I’m writing this is because I really felt the importance of trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Working on my own at home, with no colleagues to maintain your sanity and people who kept asking me, “Where is your published book? Haven’t you been working on it a LONG time already?”. Oh believe me I have my doubts too, you don’t have to put salt to the wound, okay?
Oops, enough rants, back to topic! I sometimes took being healthy for granted, I mean I AM thankful for it, but it’s not until I have some problems that I started to realize how important it was and how lucky I am to be blessed with a good health. And I’m not even talking about major problem, sometimes it’s just muscle ache from sitting down too long or some neck problem from having stiff shoulders (typing much?).
I had my doubts with running. I’m not really into running to start with. The only reason I was doing it, is because it’s easy and cheap. When you’re starting to be a writer there’s no way you could afford some fancy exercise like golf or even a daily trip to a swimming pool. I didn’t fancy going to the gym either. I spent my whole day inside, I wanted to do something where I get to be outside!
We were also quite lucky to live near a very nice park that’s just perfect for running. It wasn’t too crowded and it wasn’t too quiet (it creeps me out when there’s nobody around). There was a nice track going around the park and the dogs behaved nicely there (no random doggy poo on the track). Just perfect.
One thing that wasn’t so perfect is I didn’t think I was really built for running. During school, I’m already thankful when I’m not the last person on track. Being number three from the bottom is already an achievement for me. This haunted me so much when I wanted to start running… Who am I kidding here? I’ll be the most ridiculously slow person in the park!
Then again, it’s a park, not a running track. Which means (as I repeatedly said to myself) nobody knows how long have you been running, which track you took, and if someone overlapped me twice, it could be they took a different track. This last part might not been true, but it made me feel better ;). I learned not to care about what other people might think of me when I run. Or at least, I made up a good excuse not to care, because it could be frustrating when people older and heavier than you, are actually a lot faster (maybe they are regular runner!).
My point was, sometimes it actually doesn’t matter whether you’re good at it or not. What matters is you love to do it and be persistent. Last year, I couldn’t run for more than 1k, now I could run a 5k (albeit slowly). If you’re not comfortable in showing it off to people (a.k.a going for a competition) then don’t. Just do it for yourself, for your own health, it’s the most rewarding thing already.
As for me, I see running as a reflection of my writing. I started running around the same time I started to pursue writing seriously. I have a feeling, the day my novel hit the best seller list would also be the day I could run for a marathon.