Sunday, May 17, 2009

Books

Is it just me or are most distance runners also book geeks? It seems lately that whenever I get around a bunch of runners we end up talking about books we've read or would like to read. I don't have these same type of conversations with my non-running friends. We talk about many things but never books. Now I should caveat that and remind you that I'm a geeky engineer so I have to exclude science fiction books from the above statement. Bring up Star Trek or The Lord of the Rings where I work and you're in for a very long discussion that will probably lead to an argument much the way drunken football fans would be at a bar (except for the actual punch throwing, we geeks don't see the point in physical violence when you can do so much more damage to someone by crafting a well thought out retort to their insult of Star Trek the first movie).

But back to runners, I suppose most distance runners also enjoy reading because the mental aspect of reading and running long distances are so similar. One of my biggest enjoyments of running is when I can get lost in my thoughts for miles and miles. So much so that I barely notice them go by. If I can get my mind on something and let it run free for an hour or two I'm in heaven! A good book can give me the same feeling too. The only thing better than getting lost in a great story on a rainy day would be to get in 20 miles on a nice sunny day at the lake.

So does that mean that we runners chase the chance to escape reality? Are we just out there pounding the pavement in the hope of running away from the real world for awhile? And when we can't run, we run for a book to escape? The answer, I believe, it a resounding ABSOLUTELY! I wish I was strong enough to face all my problems head-on, get them resolved, and move on putting them in the past but I can't and I don't think many others can either. I need to get away every now and then and I can't afford to grab a flight to the Cancun every week. But if I can get off work early on a sunny Friday and run the lake trails for an hour or two I can dream of the white beaches and cold margaritas. Or if I can't run, I can grab a Jimmy Buffet book and get lost on a schooner heading for some lost island lighthouse in the Caribbean. Either way the effect is the same, I get happy for awhile and I'll take all the happiness I can get. Even if it only lasts until one of my offspring comes running into my story right when I'm about to see the sunset over the ocean as I'm sipping my drink on the warm sandy beach or my cell phone rings half way around the lake informing me that one of my offspring needs to go somewhere or needs money or needs medical attention or etc....

So we runners are readers. There are worse things we could go with our time. We could spend all our time surfing the Internet, or writing long, boring blogs about running.... Oh, wait....

Thanks for listening

5 comments:

Calyx Meredith said...

I think distance running and books are like yin and yang. While reading your body is still and relaxed while your mind is rocking along. When running, your body is busy and your mind can soar. I like that they feed into each other. I find it hard to sit peacefully unless my body's had a chance to move and I get sooo much out of running when my mind has some exciting things to daydream about. Feeding both passions leads to a happy Calyx. :D (Proving that I am more of a rationalizing creature than a rational one.)

GREAT POST! It's so cool that you have such a super running group around you. Have a great week.

Sarah said...

Great post, Willie, and I totally agree. Honestly I've never thought about running and reading being all that intertwined but I can see the similiaries. I like running and reading for a lot of the same reasons, like you- it lets me get away for a while. Time where I don't have to be me. I can be anyone, anywhere, and not dealing with any responsibilities. In books that are my favorites that I might be reading for the second, third, or one-hundredth time its like peeking in and vising old friends. Just like a good long run with your buddies. If I can't run on my lunch, give me my book for an hour because it lets my mind shut "off."

Great topic and great post. Enjoy your beach and frothy drink. Say hello to the Hobbits for me. :)

Southbay Girl said...

Hmmm I'm beginning to see a theme that is develping in your posts...this fascination and love of running in SUN!! Are you out of your mind?? You are NUTS!! 20 miles in sun? You must be smokin crack!

glenstanley said...

Nice analysis of running and reading. I think you are right on. Had never thought of things that way.

FYI...I'm a librarian and runner.

JenZen said...

I never thought about that, but you are SO right!

And I agree with Penny...there must be some crack smokin' goin' on for you to enjoy running in the sun...the SUN for God's sakes!