International Best-Selling Fictionist Haruki Murakami’s Non-fiction work, WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING, is a treasure chest of insights for those who dare to write and run, and how these two disciplines connect. So far, it has been nothing short of a mother lode of golden truths to write and run by.
Here is one entry that might sound like a Murakami. If anything, this entry proves that there really is an inexhaustible gold mine of lessons to learn from running. Or, perhaps it would at least be some sort of homage to Haruki.
Running an actual race (whether you go 5, 10, 15, 21, or 42), forces you to compete with your best time. Because you have chosen time as your adversary, sometimes you find yourself either like Marty in Back to the Future or Captain Kirk (or even Shaider’s enemies – “Time Space Warp! Ngayon Din!”), wanting to try and cheat against the so-called space time continuum. This is most especially true when your legs and feet begin to rebel against your brain, then you look at your watch, do some mental math, and be horrified with the truth that you have been going way slower than your desired pace.
There never is enough time, especially for us amateur runners.
And if we were to be honest about it, there never seems to be enough time for anyone of us, for the things we really desire beyond desire itself.
We never have enough time with our friends, with our loved ones, with our families, or for our dream projects, for renovating our houses and turning them into one of those pretty abodes we see in magazines, or to finally get back to theater, or to finally learn to cook an honest-to-goodness four-course meal. Yet, perhaps, there lies the lesson.
In running, because there never seems to be enough time, I tend to focus on the essentials. I stop thinking about the requirements I have to submit at work next week. I have to stop thinking about where I’m going to eat after the race. I have to stop thinking even about how bad I’ll feel once I miss my mark again. Or even how good I might feel if I succeed. Or what my Facebook status will be once I finally complete the damn thing. No. I am forced to focus on the essentials: my lungs, my heart rate, to listen to my breathing, my legs, my thighs, my feet. These are the only things I am able to control, and within the limited time I have, these are the things I will focus on.
Life will never give us enough time, probably. Unfair? Maybe. But it will force us to make time for the things that will really matter to us. For that cup of coffee with a friend we never got to see since college, for that game of hoops with officemates, for doing something that benefits society truly and remarkably, for spending lazy Sunday afternoons with the family, or even for running.