What I Talk about When I Talk about Running

What I Talk about When I Talk about Running

by Haruki Murakami

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307389831
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/11/2009
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 17,471
Product dimensions: 5.22(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.57(d)
Lexile: 990L (what's this?)

About the Author

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. The most recent of his many honors is the Franz Kafka Prize.

www.harukimurakami.com

Hometown:

Tokyo, Japan

Date of Birth:

January 12, 1949

Place of Birth:

Kyoto, Japan

Education:

Waseda University, 1973

Read an Excerpt

AUGUST 5, 2005 . KAUAI, HAWAII

Who's Going to Laugh at Mick Jagger?

I'm on Kauai, in Hawaii, today, Friday, August 5, 2005. It's unbelievably clear and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. As if the concept clouds doesn't even exist. I came here at the end of July and, as always, we rented a condo. During the mornings, when it's cool, I sit at my desk, writing all sorts of things. Like now: I'm writing this, a piece on running that I can pretty much compose as I wish. It's summer, so naturally it's hot. Hawaii's been called the island of eternal summer, but since it's in the Northern Hemisphere there are, arguably, four seasons of a sort. Summer is somewhat hotter than winter. I spend a lot of time in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and compared to Cambridge--so muggy and hot with all its bricks and concrete it's like a form of torture--summer in Hawaii is a veritable paradise. No need for an air conditioner here--just leave the window open, and a refreshing breeze blows in. People in Cambridge are always surprised when they hear I'm spending August in Hawaii. "Why would you want to spend summer in a hot place like that?" they invariably ask. But they don't know what it's like. How the constant trade winds from the northeast make summers cool. How happy life is here, where we can enjoy lounging around, reading a book in the shade of trees, or, if the notion strikes us, go down, just as we are, for a dip in the inlet.

Since I arrived in Hawaii I've run about an hour every day, six days a week. It's two and a half months now since I resumed my old lifestyle in which, unless it's totally unavoidable, I run every single day. Today I ran for an hour and ten minutes, listening on my Walkman to two albums by the Lovin' Spoonful--Daydream and Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful--which I'd recorded on an MD disc.

Right now I'm aiming at increasing the distance I run, so speed is less of an issue. As long as I can run a certain distance, that's all I care about. Sometimes I run fast when I feel like it, but if I increase the pace I shorten the amount of time I run, the point being to let the exhilaration I feel at the end of each run carry over to the next day. This is the same sort of tack I find necessary when writing a novel. I stop every day right at the point where I feel I can write more. Do that, and the next day's work goes surprisingly smoothly. I think Ernest Hemingway did something like that. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed--and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.

It rained for a short time while I was running, but it was a cooling rain that felt good. A thick cloud blew in from the ocean right over me, and a gentle rain fell for a while, but then, as if it had remembered, "Oh, I've got to do some errands!," it whisked itself away without so much as a glance back. And then the merciless sun was back, scorching the ground. It's a very easy-to-understand weather pattern. Nothing abstruse or ambivalent about it, not a speck of the metaphor or the symbolic. On the way I passed a few other joggers, about an equal number of men and women. The energetic ones were zipping down the road, slicing through the air like they had robbers at their heels. Others, overweight, huffed and puffed, their eyes half closed, their shoulders slumped like this was the last thing in the world they wanted to be doing. They looked like maybe a week ago their doctors had told them they have diabetes and warned them they had to start exercising. I'm somewhere in the middle.

I love listening to the Lovin' Spoonful. Their music is sort of laid-back and never pretentious. Listening to this soothing music brings back a lot of memories of the 1960s. Nothing really special, though. If they were to make a movie about my life (just the thought of which scares me), these would be the scenes they'd leave on the cutting-room floor. "We can leave this episode out," the editor would explain. "It's not bad, but it's sort of ordinary and doesn't amount to much." Those kinds of memories--unpretentious, commonplace. But for me, they're all meaningful and valuable. As each of these memories flits across my mind, I'm sure I unconsciously smile, or give a slight frown. Commonplace they might be, but the accumulation of these memories has led to one result: me. Me here and now, on the north shore of Kauai. Sometimes when I think of life, I feel like a piece of driftwood washed up on shore.

As I run, the trade winds blowing in from the direction of the lighthouse rustle the leaves of the eucalyptus over my head.

I began living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the end of May of this year, and running has once again been the mainstay of my daily routine ever since. I'm seriously running now. By seriously I mean thirty-six miles a week. In other words, six miles a day, six days a week. It would be better if I ran seven days, but I have to factor in rainy days, and days when work keeps me too busy. There are some days, too, when frankly I just feel too tired to run. Taking all this into account, I leave one day a week as a day off. So, at thirty-six miles per week, I cover 156 miles every month, which for me is my standard for serious running.

In June I followed this plan exactly, running 156 miles on the nose. In July I increased the distance and covered 186 miles. I averaged six miles every day, without taking a single day off. I don't mean I covered precisely six miles every day. If I ran nine miles one day, the next day I'd do only three. (At a jogging pace I generally can cover six miles in an hour.) For me this is most definitely running at a serious level. And since I came to Hawaii I've kept up this pace. It had been far too long since I'd been able to run these distances and keep up this kind of fixed schedule.

There are several reasons why, at a certain point in my life, I stopped running seriously. First of all, my life has been getting busier, and free time is increasingly at a premium. When I was younger it wasn't as if I had as much free time as I wanted, but at least I didn't have as many miscellaneous chores as I do now. I don't know why, but the older you get, the busier you become. Another reason is that I've gotten more interested in triathlons, rather than marathons. Triathlons, of course, involve swimming and cycling in addition to running. The running part isn't a problem for me, but in order to master the other two legs of the event I had to devote a great deal of time to training in swimming and biking. I had to start over from scratch with swimming, relearning the correct form, learning the right biking techniques, and training the necessary muscles. All of this took time and effort, and as a result I had less time to devote to running.

Probably the main reason, though, was that at a certain point I'd simply grown tired of it. I started running in the fall of 1982 and have been running since then for nearly twenty-three years. Over this period I've jogged almost every day, run in at least one marathon every year--twenty-three up till now--and participated in more long-distance races all around the world than I care to count. Long-distance running suits my personality, though, and of all the habits I've acquired over my lifetime I'd have to say this one has been the most helpful, the most meaningful. Running without a break for more than two decades has also made me stronger, both physically and emotionally.

The thing is, I'm not much for team sports. That's just the way I am. Whenever I play soccer or baseball--actually, since becoming an adult this is almost never--I never feel comfortable. Maybe it's because I don't have any brothers, but I could never get into the kind of games you play with others. I'm also not very good at-one-on-one sports like tennis. I enjoy squash, but generally when it comes to a game against someone, the competitive aspect makes me uncomfortable. And when it comes to martial arts, too, you can count me out.

Don't misunderstand me--I'm not totally uncompetitive. It's just that for some reason I never cared all that much whether I beat others or lost to them. This sentiment remained pretty much unchanged after I grew up. It doesn't matter what field you're talking about--beating somebody else just doesn't do it for me. I'm much more interested in whether I reach the goals that I set for myself, so in this sense long-distance running is the perfect fit for a mindset like mine.

Marathon runners will understand what I mean. We don't really care whether we beat any other particular runner. World-class runners, of course, want to outdo their closest rivals, but for your average, everyday runner, individual rivalry isn't a major issue. I'm sure there are garden-variety runners whose desire to beat a particular rival spurs them on to train harder. But what happens if their rival, for whatever reason, drops out of the competition? Their motivation for running would disappear or at least diminish, and it'd be hard for them to remain runners for long.

Most ordinary runners are motivated by an individual goal, more than anything: namely, a time they want to beat. As long as he can beat that time, a runner will feel he's accomplished what he set out to do, and if he can't, then he'll feel he hasn't. Even if he doesn't break the time he'd hoped for, as long as he has the sense of satisfaction at having done his very best--and, possibly, having made some significant discovery about himself in the process--then that in itself is an accomplishment, a positive feeling he can carry over to the next race.

The same can be said about my profession. In the novelist's profession, as far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as winning or losing. Maybe numbers of copies sold, awards won, and critics' praise serve as outward standards for accomplishment in literature, but none of them really matter. What's crucial is whether your writing attains the standards you've set for yourself. Failure to reach that bar is not something you can easily explain away. When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can't fool yourself. In this sense, writing novels and running full marathons are very much alike. Basically a writer has a quiet, inner motivation, and doesn't seek validation in the outwardly visible.

For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that's why I've put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I'm no great runner, by any means. I'm at an ordinary--or perhaps more like mediocre--level. But that's not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.

Since my forties, though, this system of self-assessment has gradually changed. Simply put, I am no longer able to improve my time. I guess it's inevitable, considering my age. At a certain age everybody reaches their physical peak. There are individual differences, but for the most part swimmers hit that watershed in their early twenties, boxers in their late twenties, and baseball players in their mid-thirties. It's something everyone has to go through. Once I asked an ophthalmologist if anyone's ever avoided getting farsighted when they got older. He laughed and said, "I've never met one yet." It's the same thing. (Fortunately, the peak for artists varies considerably. Dostoyevsky, for instance, wrote two of his most profound novels, The Possessed and The Brothers Karamazov, in the last few years of his life before his death at age sixty. Domenico Scarlatti wrote 555 piano sonatas during his lifetime, most of them when he was between the ages of fifty-seven and sixty-two.)

My peak as a runner came in my late forties. Before then I'd aimed at running a full marathon in three and a half hours, a pace of exactly one kilometer in five minutes, or one mile in eight. Sometimes I broke three and a half hours, sometimes not (more often not). Either way, I was able to steadily run a marathon in more or less that amount of time. Even when I thought I'd totally blown it, I'd still be in under three hours and forty minutes. Even if I hadn't trained so much or wasn't in the best of shape, exceeding four hours was inconceivable. Things continued at that stable plateau for a while, but before long they started to change. I'd train as much as before but found it increasingly hard to break three hours and forty minutes. It was taking me five and a half minutes to run one kilometer, and I was inching closer to the four-hour mark to finish a marathon. Frankly, this was a bit of a shock. What was going on here? I didn't think it was because I was aging. In everyday life I never felt like I was getting physically weaker. But no matter how much I might deny it or try to ignore it, the numbers were retreating, step by step.

Besides, as I said earlier, I'd become more interested in other sports such as triathlons and squash. Just running all the time couldn't be good for me, I'd figured, deciding it would be better to add variety to my routine and develop a more all-around physical regimen. I hired a private swimming coach who started me off with the basics, and I learned how to swim faster and more smoothly than before. My muscles reacted to the new environment, and my physique began noticeably changing. Meanwhile, like the tide going out, my marathon times slowly but surely continued to slow. And I found I didn't enjoy running as much as I used to. A steady fatigue opened up between me and the very notion of running.


From the Hardcover edition.

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What I Talk about When I Talk about Running 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off, I am a big Murakami fan so this is already a little biased. Second, I am a avid marathoner and ultra-marathoner, so I'm even more bias. With that said, I of course really enjoyed this book. As other reviews have stated this is not a book for guidance on writing or running, it is simply a persons memoirs about running who also happens to be a writer. I found myself right there with him because I have had similar experiences and can easily relate to his tribulations. The background information about his life and beginnings as a writer were also very interesting. I found myself able to capture a clear picture of his persona and it gave all the books that I have read from him a great grounding. The one thing that I really took away from this book was a better understanding of balance in life. Murakami's idea of using running to balance out the adverse affects of his profession really resinated with my personal feelings about balance in my own life. Running is the focus of this book, so if you are a runner you will most likely enjoy the read, if not it, results may vary.
mircealungu on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Received as a gift, this is the first book that I read by Murakami: it is a nice read and not much longer than the title :) Intertwined with stories about the personal life and the running experience of the writer, the book explores the many ways in which running is similar to writing. Discipline and perseverance are fundamental. This reminded me also of "On Writing" by Stephen King where King discusses how he writes a fixed number of hours every day, even when the 'fire of the muses' does not inspire him. The book got me thinking that I should still run a triathlon one day¿ and made me understand that I still have time. Murakami started running only when he was 33. By the time he wrote the book he run more than twenty marathons, one ultra-marathon, and several triathlons. In more general terms, the book shows that it is (almost) never too late to enter a completely new field as long as you are willing to persevere at it. With enough time, you might even get to world-class level.I found it very interesting, how for Murakami his racing times are a mirror of his aging. Throughout the book he seems to come to terms with the irreversibility of aging.
quzy on LibraryThing 3 months ago
What an amazing memoir, but not quite a memoir! What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is the memoir of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. But even Murakami admits that it's not a "traditional" memoir, and in fact his original concept was to publish it as a book of essays. The story has its roots in Murakami's training for the New York City Marathon, but what makes this story so interesting is his veering off the track to share thoughts about his life, career, his childhood, music, and love. He reflects on living in Boston and Hawaii. He shares his views of the world around him, and in doing he innocently gives the reader food for fodder for our own lives. And all cleverly linked together by his training."Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed - and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can imagine."What's particularly interesting to me is the insights he gives on writing and the origins of his writing. Not knowing much about Murakami except for his being a brilliantly popular writer, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running really let me get to know the man behind the writing. The bar owner turned writer, who loves to run even though his aging body is slowing down. And even a book "about running" in the hands of Haruki Murakami is beautifully written. It's inspiring, it's humbling."Sometimes when I think of life, I feel like a piece of driftwood washed up on shore."I listened to the audiobook of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running as part of the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge, which includes listening to audiobooks. But I enjoyed the story so much I intend to buy a copy of the book! The audiobook itself is a little over 4 hours, and is narrated by Shakespearean actor Ray Porter, who has an extensive audiobook background. Although the voice of the narrator is pleasing, at first I was a little taken aback, because I really expected a different type of voice to represent Murakami, but I slowly got use to Mr. Porter, who did a great job with all the subtleties of sharing the story with us.I would definitely recommend What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami to any runner or athlete, because it's a wonderful love story to the hard work of training for any event, but it's also a love story of living. There are so many other reasons to praise this book- it's inspiring, it's beautifully written, it's a great way to get to know the man behind the wildly popular books you can find in any bookstore. I loved it for all those reasons. And, if I could I would put on a pair of running shoes right now and go out running!
leahdawn on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A must read for any fan of Haruki Murakami.
GrimCat on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I loved this book, and while I understand if you aren't a runner, you might not get much out of it, to me it was an interesting look into this authors life, and why he lives the way he does. As someone who runs a little, I related to many of his thoughts about the pain and suffering it can entail, too bad for me it starts to feel that way after 3 miles! I admire his conviction in trying new things and doing what he feels is right for himself, no matter what others say. In that way this book was an inspiration to me. His descriptions of running are very well done, whether of an event, or just a morning jog on the Charles River in Boston. Thumbs up also, for his love of Sam Adams beer, my favorite.
eglinton on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Genial and modest insights into the experience of running (more mental than it seems), as of writing (more physical than it seems). A light account, but evidently a candid one, of the author's lifestyle and mindset, through the reflective pursuit of running. An easy, unpretentious read.
mk885 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Running and philosophical journey of a writer's life
cameling on LibraryThing 3 months ago
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami is a delightful memoir of the running novelist. I had no idea he was such a rabid runner. When he had finished writing this book, he had already run over 25 marathons, 1 ultra marathon (why anyone would want to run 62 miles is beyond my comprehension) and a number of triathlons and half marathons.His focus and dedication to what he does, both work and running, is very clear in this book and perhaps without meaning to, he does provide some great running tips and manages to impart the escape and centering to his self that he experiences through his runs.I liked it.
Jenners26 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE AUDIOBOOK VERSIONBOOK DESCRIPTIONWritten over the course of several months in 2005 as Murakami prepared for the New York City Marathon, this memoir is about more than just running¿though it is most certainly about the mindset of a long-distance runner and the type of commitment and life a dedicated runner leads. The book is just as much about aging, being a novelist and Murakami himself. Providing an insight into the kind of person Murakami is while also sharing his particular worldview, this memoir is a must-read for his fans and runners alike.MY THOUGHTSAfter being unjustly accused of stealing this book from my brother, I downloaded the audio version from Audible, and I¿m actually glad I did. I listened to it while walking my dog, and it was a perfect fit. The memoir unfolds in a meandering, stream of consciousness way that was fulfilling and gave me much food for thought as I walked. Listening to it while outside and active seemed like the ideal way to fully appreciate the book¿giving me a view into the experience of running as I simulated it on a much slower and less punishing level.I liked that the book wasn¿t just focused on running. Many times, Murakami asserts that running and being a novelist are two similar activities. In fact, he began long-distance running when he decided to become a novelist, and the two have gone hand-in-hand ever since. As Murakami says, you have to be a certain type of person to be a novelist and a long-distance runner¿one who has the stamina and endurance to go the distance, whether in a marathon or in a long-form novel. The process for both is often punishing and requires significant training and preparation. Both require a significant amount of pain.In addition, since Murakami wrote the book later in life, it often muses on the process of aging¿when you realize that no matter what you do, your body is just not going to respond as well as it once did. Coming to terms with this is one of the main themes of the book, and I think Murakami¿s attitude of acceptance but unwillingness to stop pushing himself is one that we should all consider.For people searching for a narrative about running, the memoir also provides detailed information about Murakami¿s extensive running experiences¿from his participation in an ultramarathon (which ended up becoming an almost out-of-body experience) to his recent decision to do triathalons. He also discusses the rhythms, pleasures, pain, and solitary nature of long-distance running.About the Narration: Ray Porter was an excellent narrator. He read with a commitment that made it seem as if he had written these words himself. In fact, it felt like someone talking to you rather than someone reading another person¿s book. The translation from Japanese must have been top-notch too as I found the language to be wonderfully lucid and flowing. After hearing so much about the strangeness and weirdness of Murakami¿s fiction, I feel relieved that he was so accessible in this book. Hopefully this is the start of a beautiful relationship between the two of us.Recommended for: Murakami fans, runners and those who appreciate well-written memoirs.
sarah-e on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I liked this book. I do not usually like memoirs ¿ they seem self-serving. This book is an introspective collection of linked essays that move forward through the author¿s training for marathon and triathlon. It is plainly written and elegantly composed. Murakami lays his insecurities and defeats out alongside his triumphs. He presents an honest view of himself as a runner/writer/human.The book was engaging and any runner would enjoy reading it.
tapefreak on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Likely a poor choice for my first Murakami read. I picked it up on a whim while myself training for a marathon, based on the title and a quick flip-through. I blew through it over the course of a couple of evenings, and now, a few weeks after running my own marathon, can't seem to remember a single thing that he was writing about.
sworldbridger on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A worthwhile read and meditation.
ursula on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Reading this book felt a lot like sitting down and having a conversation with someone. A conversation that is ostensibly about running and races, but is really about life and approaches to it. Maybe one of the things that makes it interesting is that when Murakami started writing this, he was already at an age where he's just not going to get any faster at running. How to accept gracefully that your best days are behind you? That's a struggle everyone faces.It's a slim volume and I read it in a few short sessions, but some of it will stick with me for a long time, I'm sure."Whenever I see students in gym class all made to run a long distance, I feel sorry for them. Forcing people who have no desire to run, or who aren't physically fit enough, is a kind of pointless torture. I always want to advise teachers not to force all junior and senior high school students to run the same course, but I doubt anybody's going to listen to me. That's what schools are like. The most important thing we ever learn at school is the fact that the most important things can't be learned at school."
delta351 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Murakami has some excellent insight into the art of running. I was surprised to find that he has run two dozen marathons, including at least 8 Boston's. He has put a lot of thought into the subject, and he compares it to writing novels in a couple of the chapters. If you are a runner, this book is a must read.
JMC400m on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Enjoyed reading this memoir which is really not about running but the challenges of growing old and challenging oneself. It is an interesting insight into the personality of Murukami.
tyroeternal on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I was a bit worried after the first or second chapter that my attention would stray. Murakami's writing is very disjointed and repetitive, but on the whole I quite enjoyed this read. I have not read any of his other works, but I enjoy running so many of his thoughts struck a familiar chord.
thelittlereader on LibraryThing 3 months ago
i listened to the audio version of this book during my training sessions leading up to my first marathon. it was so great that i listened to the whole book during the marathon itself.the tales of running that murakami recounted touched me very personally and, as a novice runner who has been overwhelmed with the personal triumph of becoming a runner, i appreciated the humor and depth of emotion that both running and writing evoked in him.i would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is thinking about running, or has ever run. and this will definitely make a perfect gift for one friend of mine in particular who is both a runner and a writer.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Just finished listening to What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. What an interesting book! Its non-fiction, basically his musings on long distance running, writing, his career, and life in general. Its short (4 discs). If you are a long distance runner (I am) this is a must read. He puts into words many feelings I have about running that I have never been able to articulate. If you like Murakami's work (Kafka On the Shore is my favorite) then it's also a must read. He's a very different person then I would have expected based on his novels! I really enjoyed the story of how he became a professional writer. This one was a good one to listen to, the flow just seemed right for audio.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. In addition to his talking about his running in marathons and triathlons he muses about writing novels and other interest of his. Along the way the reader discerns "life lessons" and a feeling of becoming a bit more acquainted with Murakami.Murakami is Asian, from Japan, and I have learned here in Reedley with my Japanese friends, they are reticent about revealing personal information. This memoir gives us virtually no information about his personal life. We do not see him ¿at home.¿ In fact he is usually outdoors and occasionally at work. Briefly near the beginning he mentions getting married. Near the end his wife is mentioned a couple of time as making a remark to him at the end of a race. What we do get is a friendly ¿discussion¿ (he discusses and we listen) about his passions of running and writing. He is a good story teller and this carries over in telling his stories about races he has run and places he has visited. Along the way we get to understand a little about his philosophy of life and how he feels about getting older. This could be a very fast read, but I enjoyed it a chapter at a time over the course of about a week and found it soothing, relaxing and never boring.
labontea on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Typical meandering essay by Murakami. Interesting to hear how and why he started running, and developed into a marathoner, and also to hear the intersection between his running and writing. His style is sort of like David Sedaris, goes one way, then another, then another, before finally getting to a point. But unlike Sedaris, not side-splittingly funny.
KevinJoseph on LibraryThing 3 months ago
As someone who relies on running a means of revitalization and stress relief to counterbalance my demanding legal profession, and as an amateur novelist myself, I found much to relate to in this novelist's honest memoir of his running/writing life. I've always enjoyed memoirs like Stephen King's "On Writing" that offer a glimpse into the forces that enable writers to succeed. But what makes this one unique is that the focus is more on the author's running life than his writing life.Murakami makes a compelling case that daily training in preparation for competition has a purifying and empowering value in its own right, regardless of whether you finish in the front, middle or back of the pack. The reward is in the sacrifice itself and in the satisfaction that you're extracting the best possible performance from yourself. His observations on the impact of aging on performance, as well as the exhilarating and agonizing sensations experienced during marathons, triathlons, and ultras, while somewhat disjointed, are always touching and inspirational. After getting to know Mr. Murakami as a runner and enjoying his clear humble voice, I'm now eager to explore some of the novels he's written.
BillPilgrim on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I enjoyed this book, but that may have been mostly because i am a regular runner. I have never done a marathon, only half-marathons as my maximum. I would expect this book to appeal mainly to runners. Novelists may be interested also though, since the author also writes novels.
realbigcat on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I never read anything by Murakami before so I really didn't know what to expect. However, being a runner, marathon runner and triathlete myself I found the title interesting. I can very much relate to Murakami reflections on training and racing. I was hoping to get a little more insight into what is behind the novelist aspect of Murakami's life. Granted it's tough to write about running and make it interesting to a wide audience. Murakami shows how the writers life fits perfectly with the novelist life. I found the book at times a little repetative and slow, jumping around quite a bit. However, I have heard a lot of praise for his novels and I expect I will try one of those sometime soon
lwobbe on LibraryThing 3 months ago
How running becomes a part of you through effort, persistence, suffering, exhilaration, depression, and breakthroughs. Beautiful, spare, addictive writing. A man who smoked his way through life during his jazz-club-owning era becomes a running zealot and successful fiction author. Seemingly, one day he wakes up and decides, enough of this life, I'm going to start another. Phooey with the notion that you can't teach an old dog new tricks! You want it, then do it!
dazzyj on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A strange memoir describing the part that running has played in Murakami's life. Strange because it is a curiously simple, almost naively written account, with the prose coming across as rather flat. Still, if you are interested in running (like I am) you will find it to be a moderately engaging way to spend a few hours.