runner and writer,
i just got your Bible from my husband. It was in disguise, looked like a skinny paperback that, with your name on it as a reassurance, was promising no more than a few hours of -excellent- entertainment.
As solitary an activity as running might be, the sense of companionship your book offered me is inspiration and support at its best. I never thought anyone felt about running the way i do - but then i read What i talk about when i talk about running and it felt like You took my very thoughts and feelings on running, filtered out the crap, backed them up with 20 plus years experience, put a literary cap on it and they now lay before me on the table, clear as i never saw them. But then You say yourself (tho it makes one wonder how much of it is just modest courtesy) that writing helps you think clearer and understand things.
Thank You so much for coming out bravely with something so few people will understand - thank You for not being afraid of being labeled boring, obsessed even, which is what would no doubt happen to people with lesser literary power and most of all, thanks for making it so enjoyable and encouraging. My inspiration warehouse, lately rather ghostly, is bulking once again.
Though an enthusiastic reader of yours for years now, I had no idea You were running. In fact, this is quite funny, cause I remember wondering how the character Toru Okada wasn't getting terribly fat what with his lifestyle, that much cooking and eating late dinners and beers and doing absolutely nothing, save for a few occasions on which he went to swim... i remember thinking, as i was reading The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Murakami must have a typical guy's idea about metabolisms, as in, eat all you want and never bother about exercise. Now all is explained, his diet would have been completely reasonable if you add 36 miles of running a week... :))
I guess I am what You would call a runner suited for shorter distances - the whole heel-hitting ponytail swinging thing, but i feel that i am still in transition, that my running is just in its early bloom and i hope to see it thru to my own ultramarathon and ironman experiences. Who knows? I did my first half marathon (<5min/km) this year and it was difficult, but runnig has been rapidly getting easier and more natural for me as the months go. I will attempt my first marathon this november and if at 22 miles i feel i cant go on, i know i will think of your ultra - try to switch in machine mode and defy suffering in spite of the pain.
So a big thank You is the order of the day - please keep running so you can keep on writing so we can all enjoy your sparkling mind for a long time to come!
With lots of respect and friendly runners regards