Well, I was thinking this morning while running about how much my life has changed recently. Yet how much it has remained the same. Fall Semester classes begin today at Kent State. This is the first time in nine years that I won’t be in the classroom — or working with senior-level public relations students at Flash Communications, Kent’s student-run public relations agency. I’m going to miss that association with students, in the classroom and on the job.
I still consider myself a teacher — although I’m retired from that now and back writing and doing PR work with Corporate Voices for Working Families. And I’m still running.
In fact yesterday I passed the 1,000 mile mark. And in the 26 or more years I have been running, I have only been under 1,000 miles for the year once — a few years ago because of a tennis injury. No more tennis.
Running 1,000 miles a year isn’t a great accomplishment. But doing it consistently for 25 years or more must say something. And I wish now I would have tried to have said it in a book. Just like the one I finished reading yesterday by Haruki Murakami, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.”
Murakami is a well-known author with an international reputation and following. He also is a runner — completing some 25 marathons and a handful of triathlons. I’ll admit I haven’t read any of his novels. Maybe I will now. But what attracted me to the book were the similarities between the two of us when it comes to running — and what it has meant to our lives.
Here’s a few.
Murakami is 59; I’m 60. He began running in 1982; I started in 1981. While he doesn’t say this in the book, he has to be running around or more than 1,000 miles a year. When preparing for a marathon or doing what he calls other serious running, he pounds the pavement for about 150 miles or so a month. And he is still running marathons. Something that is out of the question for me at this point. But like me, running changed his life — for the better. And, yeah, he goes to bed by 10 p.m. and describes himself as a “morning person.”
He writes: “It’s a lifestyle, though, that doesn’t allow for much nightlife, and sometimes your relationships with other people become problematic.”
And one more passage from his book:
“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.”
I agree. And even though I’m not at Kent State in the classroom or with students today, I’m still running. And still writing.
So it goes.