Margins: Marukami on running (chapter one)

Today I begin the toughest part of my training for the Paris Marathon: a three month (14 week to be exact) period of drinking not a drop of alcohol and steadily taking my long weekend runs ever further beyond the ten mile mark. For advance inspiration I have been reading Haruki Marukami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and was struck by how closely Marukami’s description of his running mind matches accounts of the mind during mindfulness meditation:

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 as always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky. The sky both exists and doesn’t exist. It has substance and at the same time doesn’t. And we merely accept that vast expanse and drink it in.

Marukami ends the chapter with:

As I run I tell myself to think of a river. And clouds. But essentially I’m not thinking of a thing. All I do is keep on running in my own cozy, homemade void, my own nostalgic silence. And this is a pretty wonderful thing. No matter what anybody else says.

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