Bright Stove

Reflecting information risk journey

Read and run

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I was browsing thru’ Amazon Kindle’s catalogue of e-books about 3 or 4 weeks ago and stumbled upon "What I talk about when I talk about running" by Haruki Murakami, a Japanese novelist whose novels all seems interesting but I just couldn’t prioritize them into my reading list somehow. The title and abstract on this book about running somehow aroused my interest and led me to click the buy button. Within a couple of days (between busy times, on the plane, in the Cab, in the Thinking Room, and so on) I managed to read it. I must said that it is an inspiring book in a number of ways. Besides providing the motivation for me to strive for longer distances than the usual 4 km that I do in the gym, it shares many ideas about what Murakami thinks about during long runs and training for the marathons, and also how such activities relate to novel writing. Another interesting thing is how he decided to change his career from a pub owner to a novelist, how he changed his lifestyle from those of the night owls to a day-time person. I have no intention to write a review of the book here. If you are interested to find out more without reading the book, I would suggest the reviews available at the Amazon site where the book can be found. One reason I write this blog entry is to provide a link and a short brief of what I think about the book, as whenever I talk about my running, people ask me why I run, and when I talk about the book, they want to find out more about the book. I do share a number of thoughts and experiences about running that Murakami wrote.
In fact, I don’t run just because of reading Murakami’s running logs and reflections. Reading them give the extra boost, but fundamentally, I like to run and have been running all these years. The difference is that I go for quick runs, in a gym, with a simple idea just to keep fit, and get some extra benefits in the outcomes. After reading about Murakami’s quests involved in running, I think there are more to discover and experience thru’ running than just keeping fit.  
My place in Beijing is overlooking the Chaoyang Park, a theme park that I learned from a colleague that it was modeled after the New York Central Park, and has a circumference of about 8.5 km (or slightly more or less). Over the past 18 months here, I had only ran towards the park once, but turned back after about 1.5 km as it was just too cold during the winter then. Despite that, I have been thinking very much about taking a shot at it, to go round the park in its entirety one day. I know that I can do it, since I had in a few ocassions ran beyond my usual 4 km outside of the gym back in Singapore. With Murakami’s motivation, I finally took the plunge on Sunday, Aug 16, 2008, and successfully completed the circuit. Since then, I have completed another run on Monday, and Wednesday, all around the Chaoyang Park circumferencing roads, and when I was in Singapore afterwhich, I did a run around the Botani Garden area as well (about 6 km according to my Nike+ sensor.) When I returned to Beijing, I did another round at Chaoyang Park on Sunday, and again yesterday. So Chaoyang Park is now done 🙂 The challenge now is to maintain the frequency of runs, and accumulate the distances.
Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I bought a Nike+ sensor to plug into my iPod Nano to track my runs. The device didn’t work as smoothly as I had anticipated earlier even though it did what it was supposed to do during the run–tracking the distance and timing. The not-so-ideal thing was the upload of the workout data to Nike+ web site, which did not have all my workout data collected at the web site except for the run on Aug 25, even though iTune reported that it has successfully uploaded all the data. So I have only one of the many results to show off here 🙂 But I’m now discovering new things (and challenges) at the Nike+ site that are designed to motivate runners further (of course to also for them to sell more Nike products). The chart below is a feature supported by Nike+ site indeed. There are always new things to learn when you explore technology. With combination of lifestyle needs, it is getting more interesting everytime as well–provided it works reliably, and of course, securely.

All in all, I think the book (perhaps the author) is such a powerful influence!


Written by mengchow

August 26, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Posted in Running

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