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What I talk about when I talk about running


The blog "This Condensed Life" has just published a post that resonates strongly with me -- not only I alway find their blog intellectually inspiring, but also the very subject of running x physics.

I have read this Haruki Murakami's memoir couple of times, coinciding with my running days. I still vividly remember running in the Central Park, looping the 6 mile course during the middle of the night with no runner, but just lamp posts in sight, listening to his experience of his first 100-km race. That seems like a magical time: I was enjoying the best part of the graduate school, not to worry of anything such as job or career. There are only two things in my life: running and experiments - sleeping is merely a necessity.

Now I reflect this book at a different time, I start to see things that I missed before: Murakami (at least according to himself) is not considered a talented novelist: he didn't start his career as a writer until his 30s. Before that he was a bar owner trying to make ends meet, and can only find time to write after the day is finished (usually ~ 3am), till dawn. It was during a baseball game that the idea of being a writer struck him, and we knew the rest.

I guess it is safe to label Murakami as a late bloomer, especially in a field that raw talent is crucial. What I feel most inspired by his success is his constant struggle, either through the protagonists, or in his own language. The uncertainties and the pain, and yet you need to keep on running. I guess it boiled down to: pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.


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