Sunday, April 21, 2013

This Book Will Change Will Change Your Life - Overthinking the Marathon by Ray Charbonneau.

One thought we had while thinking about this post was how to not overthink Overthinking the Marathon by Ray Charbonneau, which may or may not be a marathon training guide, though it is, sort of, but is definitely an exploration of the compulsive behavior that both drives runners like Ray Charbonneau, and allows them to be the kind of runners they want to be. Charbonneau needs to run, often, and far, but to accomplish this he needs to understand how that will work, when to run, how far, where, which shoes are best, whether cross-training on a bike supports or inhibits his ability to stay healthy and run fast, or at least fast for a guy his age and weight and skill. Because that is part of the compulsion as well, worrying about everything under the sun that may or may not affect the run. Now whether fun is actually being had is another subtext to this book. Isn't it supposed to be fun? It is. But can you have fun when you're worrying about things like weight and shaving off callouses, asking yourself why you feel slow or your neck hurts, and wondering if acupuncture is real? There are also our compulsions of course, the need to run, and write, a lot, but to read as well, and read about runners. And then there is, was, the compulsion to finish this book, this week. A book that we had otherwise been taking our time with, and allowing the compulsion to wash over us in waves, but now feeling compelled to finish in the wake of the past week's bombings at the Boston Marathon. As if doing so, would somehow allow us to commune with the grandest of all races. A race which just so happens to happen in a place where we just ran last month with the Charbonneau himself, as we recorded an episode of This Podcast Will Change Your Life, while on the run, discussing compulsion, running, and having fun. Because training and worrying may not be fun, but the act of running, talking it, making connections, and experiencing the new, is a wonderful thing, even in the face of bombers who want to instill fear and isolation at all and any costs. Something we very much did not want to overthink as we wrote this. Running is not magic, and it is not an antidote to any of that. But as Charbonneau so ably shows, the act of wanting something, anything, so greatly, can still change your life in ways both healthy and awesome, and these are good things to remember during an otherwise horrific week where Charbonneau and many others finished the Boston Marathon and were allowed to get on with their lives, even as so many others were not.    

1 comment:

Pete said...

What a lovely coincidence to read this post just a day after my first run in 14 or 15 years. This first time out didn't bring the mind-clearing I've often heard you describe, since it was hard to think of anything other than the fear that my heart was about to explode through my ribcage. Still, I had to start somewhere, and I'm pleasantly surprised that my thighs and shins aren't screaming at me this morning.