What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

“The thoughts that occur to me while I’m running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky.”

Haruki Murakami’s book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, was a delightful surprise. I downloaded the audiobook this week expecting to enjoy hearing about his running experiences, but I didn’t expect to love this book. But I did love it and gave it 5 stars on my Goodreads review!

In this little book, he talks about how he became a runner, about the technical details of preparing for and running races, of the mental and emotional struggles of long-distance running. But it is also a fascinating memoir of the growth and changes he experienced as he became both a runner and a writer — two “obsessions,” really “passions,” that define who he is as a person.

“Being active every day makes it easier to hear that inner voice. “

Murakami spoke to my heart with this book. I’m a walker with the heart of a runner. I wish I had discovered at a younger age this love of moving fast, participating in races, and learning all about myself from the daily experience of getting outside and losing myself in motion. But I didn’t start my “running” journey until age 65, and my knees will not let me run, so I am content with the walking experience. However, I identified with his love for running and writing, was touched by his descriptions of aging (he and I are the same age, born 2-1/2 weeks apart), am inspired by his passion for life, and I totally agree with his longing:

“I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together.”

4 thoughts on “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

  1. Kay

    What a lovely review! I, too, have discovered walking – not running – but, I am amazed at where my mind goes. And I’m so very glad that I’ve taken up the practice. I did decide that there was no need for me to run. Brisk walking is fine. However, like you, I’ve wished I had made this decision earlier. Ah well. It’s great now.

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      1. Les in OR

        Yes!! I’m looking forward to it!

        I was tempted to get this on audio, but I have a feeling there will be so many passages I want to mark, I better get it in print. I sounds like my kind of book! I started running when I was 11 years old, but quit about a decade ago. Now I love to walk and hike! It’s a great way to clear one’s head and solve all sorts of problems, as well as get healthier.

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