What I Talk About When I Talk About Not Running

Many of you will recognize the title of this post as a play on the title of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I was delighted to find a copy of the book at the Fredericton Public Library on Friday and I’m looking forward to reading it. (In fact, I vaguely recall Murakami being featured in Runner World’s I’m a Runner back page, but when I searched my stacks I couldn’t find that particular issue.)

Even so, as I currently do everything but run, I’m conflicted about reading a book like that and fueling my passion to run – since I really shouldn’t. Right now it looks like I should take at least five days off. I returned to the massage table yesterday. It was easy going for the first 40 minutes, and then it was time to strip the muscle in my foot again. The pain was only slightly less than having someone beat on them with a baseball bat. But toward the end of the massage, I could feel the crap (I know, that’s a very technical term) in my foot breaking up. And where my foot had been worked on the previous week, it seemed much better.

Indulge me here as I channel Murakami and talk about what I talk about when I talk about not running – if you follow.  Well…I, uh, talk about running. And wanting to run. And missing running. It’s a miracle my partner doesn’t murder me in my sleep.

Actually, I feel like I’m on an extended taper with far too much time on my hands. Obviously, I’ve put time into this blog. I’ve started kicking around on Twitter, getting used to that. I’m reading more – and not always, exclusively about running. In fact, I’m following Toronto Star Wheels editor Mark Richardson as he takes his motorbike on the road and he himself follows legendary writer Robert Pirsig. Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of those compulsively readable travelogues I love so much – a quest worthy of Jonathan Raban or Paul Theroux.

There’s more, but I won’t bore you with the minutiae. In short, when I’m not running, the days stretch before me, waiting to be filled. Something else I’m not used to is sleeping in on the weekends. Normally, I’m up even earlier than I would be on my weekdays because I have to get to a run. Not this morning though. I lounged around in bed until 8 a.m. before the dogs talked me out of any further indolence on my part.

To me, that’s the danger of not running: it becomes all too easy to settle into a sedentary lifestyle again. Of course, running author Hal Higdon advises in his book Masters Running that one of the best ways to avoid injuries is “never get out of shape.” Oh.

At any rate, I guess for one day that’s enough talk about running in the guise of not talking about running.


About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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