Exercise and Metaphor

From Haruki Murakami:

“For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.”

I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle a few years ago and have been interested in Murakami's work ever since. His stories are strange but wonderful, and always surprising. I was pleased to find out that he is a runner as well as a writer, and has written a book on the subject. I ordered What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and plan on reading it today before my first half marathon tomorrow.