Monday, April 27, 2009

The Loneliness Of

I started using my insulin pump a week and a half ago. My nurse (a precocious woman who loves lipstick and looks like a deflated Fran Drescher) clicked the device into place, and that was that. Well, not exactly: I was given strict orders to follow for the next few weeks, in order to get my blood sugars down and insulin rates stabilized. Most of the rules are tough (3 meals a day, no snacks in between [where is that DQ Blizzard I was promised?], tight carbohydrate budget). Some of them truly suck (no alcohol or sleeping in!) But one of them has proved nearly unbearable: no exercise. Until my body works out the kinks with this pump, I am indefinitely barred from putting on my New Balances. No matter how sunny and beautiful the weather is (today), no matter how much my leg muscles twitch from lack of activity (happened today), no matter how much I ache to get out there and start up my half-marathon training again (oh god, today). These running-free days are killing me.

I just finished reading Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I've never really loved his writing style (something lost in the translation, perhaps) and this book is no exception, but it drew enough parallels with my own life to draw me in. I read it while sitting on the train to London. As we sped past creeks and forest floors and backyards, I thought about running. I thought about writing. I thought about running and writing, at once: two things I love, used to love, still care for, need to do, need motivation to start, can't give up. I want to run as fast as a VIA train and write as well as Murakami. That's what I want.

"Most of what I know about writing I've learned through running every day. These are practical, physical lessons. How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate--and how much is too much? ... How much should I be aware of the world outside, and how much should I focus on my inner world? To what extent should I be confident in my abilities, and when should I start doubting myself? ...
In any event, I'm happy I haven't stopped running all these years. The reason is, I like the novels I've written. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of novel I'll produce next. Since I'm a writer with limits--an imperfect person living an imperfect, limited life--the fact that I can still feel this way is a real accomplishment. Calling it a miracle might be an exaggeration, but I really do feel this way. And if running every day helps me accomplish this, then I'm very grateful to running. ...
Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life--and for me, for writing as well. I believe many runners would agree."
- Murakami, What I Talk About...

1 comment:

Adeel said...

That book looked like something I'd really like, but it was filled with over-important ruminations on running. You wouldn't see anyone write like that about, say, tennis. I really enjoy running, but it's not a profound psycho-spiritual experience, at least it shouldn't be.

You should run like a Shinkansen train (Japanese bullet train), not a VIA train.