Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Running is a Form of Play

I have read too many philosophy books on running that I now look at running as a purely philosophical thing. It is the body's way of challenging the mind to think beyond the mundane stuff. Or perhaps the reason why my mind is not yet occupied with the mundane stuff is because I have not yet gone beyond 12km in my runs. They say that when you go beyond the 21km or 42km, then you will cross the border. Whatever that border is, still remains a mystery to me which I hope to solve in the not-so-distant future.

I like Dr. George Sheehan's way of writing. I am reading his book "Running and Being" in a leisurely fashion. Meaning, I have no intention of finishing it soon. I find it more palatable to pick it up on occasions, leaf through just one or two pages and put it down again. I am also reading Dr. Tim Noakes 3rd edition of "The Lore of Running". Note the emphasis on the edition because he updates his work and even challenges previous concepts of running. But unfortunately, the 3rd edition is not the latest edition. This was written in 1991. I have just found out that there is already a 2002 edition. Most likely, he has discovered newer stuff about running.

I have a particular bias for doctor-authors. Perhaps because it is also a wish of mine to become a known doctor-author someday. I wrote my first book when I was 16 years old. It was a love story written on a folded bond paper, typewritten and stapled at the middle. I did the illlustration for the cover as well. My high school classmates were very fond of exchanging pocketbooks like Sweet Dreams, Mills&Boon, Harlequin Romance and Barbara Cartland. I was even the president of the Booklovers' Club and I set up a project of a cabinet which only contained love story pocketbooks. These were not available in our school library so my little "library" became famous. The members handed over their pocketbooks to be borrowed, but I swear I think I owned 90% of the books inside that cabinet. Anyway, amidst all these pocketbook exchanges, my own "pocketbook" also became a material which circulated in our classroom. It really got into the circulation that I soon lost track of who borrowed the book last. It got lost. I just have no idea whether the reader kept it because she really liked it or she threw it away to keep other people from wasting their time reading my book. My second attempt did not meet its happy ending. I simply lost interest in my characters and abandoned the book after finishing the first three chapters. Now, that love for writing was rekindled when I ventured into running.

I have finished a book on running and wealth. And that same sense of fulfilment is back. It does not matter if this book ever meets a publisher or not. I have it neatly printed again on half-sized bond papers and once more did the illustration myself. Now, I got to appreciate what Dr. George Sheehan meant when he said that running as a form of play brings out the child in you. Yes. It did bring back the child in me, the child who loved to write... the child who loved to draw... the child who forgot to play because she got so immersed in the world where a small mistake can mean the death of a patient. The child is back and running brought back this child. This child will always seek again to play. When the adult imposes her busy schedule, her unending family responsibilities, her stressful medical life, the child will run out to play. And the child, being a child may throw an occasional tantrum when not allowed to play. And the child, being a child will enjoy life simply because she was allowed to play. Running and playing... these are synonymous in the mind of the child.

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