I finished Once a Runner: A Novel by John L. Parker, Jr.
I haven't written about it here, but I am a runner. It is a part of my life that is mine. The only person who really cares about my running is me ... and that is the way I like it. So much in my life is a group effort. I raise the boys with my husband, I run the Cub Scout Pack with many dedicated volunteers, and I help out at the school with some brilliant teachers.
I run by myself and for myself. I don't run with anyone. It is a solitary activity. Yet, though solitary, it is never lonely. I listen to music, I pray, and I think. It is the time during my day that I can be whatever I want to be. It is time to dream. It is where I can be in the world but not of the world. It is where I know myself best.
He sought to conquer the physical limitation placed upon him by a three-dimensional world (and if Time is the fourth dimension, that too was his province). If he could conquer the weakness, the cowardice in himself, he would not worry about the rest: it would come. Training was a rite of purification; from it came speed, strength. Racing was a rite of death; from it came knowledge.
I don't pretend to be a competitive runner. I am not that fast. I do understand this book, however.
He ran because it grounded him in basics. There was both life and death in it; it was unadulterated by media, hype, trivial cares, political meddling. He suspected it kept him from that most real variety of schizophrenia ...
Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.
I guess that is why I will always be a runner. Running makes me free.
Should you read this book?
Are you a runner? Then "yes," unequivocally "yes."
You aren't a runner, you say. You might not understand.