A few days ago I finished reading “The Book Thief” and have been trying to decide what book to read next.
My Short list (in order of preference):
- El Obsceno Pájaro de la Noche/The Obscene Bird of Night (been thinking of giving it another try)
- Catcher in the Rye (nope, never read it)
- Nickle and Dimed (how I’ve been feeling during this tax season)
- Random Family
- Son of a Witch
But then I remembered that Daniel had read a few months ago a book about running. Back when he bought it, I thought “yuck, how boring!” Even now, I have to admit, I have my doubts as to the entertaining value of a book whose title is “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” I mean, come on. What’s up with that title, anyway? But Daniel swears by Murakami so I decided to give it a go.
I’ve only read the introduction, so don’t expect a review of the book here. No, I want to talk about a specific quote from the book. It’s a type of mantra one marathon runner says he uses during his runs:
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
Now, I’m sure you and I can find a thousand ways in which these two simple sentences can be applied to everyday life. But I like to keep things simple, so I decided to put the mantra to the test in what else, but running. Well, to be exact, I thought, what if the simple act of reciting this mantra as I’m running up the Hill of Death (a.k.a Fort Tryon hill parallel to Dyckman St) can propel me to reach the top w/out resorting to that other dreadful way of getting from here to there known as walking?
Short Answer: Not really.
Long Answer: Watch the video below (WARNING: possible side effects include dizziness, shortness of breath and nausea)
I have to say that Murakami (quoting the runner) has a point. Suffering, in many cases, IS optional. And so, I choose not to suffer. At least not that much.
Yes, I would have felt incredibly proud had I kept running up that god forsaken hill. But since I don’t carry a defibrillator with me on my runs I’d rather be safe than dead.
The good news for today is that we finished the whole loop around the park. We usually stop at Sir William’s dog run for Zeus to get some play time, but because it was a bit wet today we just kept going home.
All in all, a good run.
PS. In honor of Murakami I decided to change the name of the blog to “Running is Optional” from “nyMESH.” What was up with that title, anyway?