I’m struggling to find running stories that counter the dominant narrative of the “My Running Story.” I’ve been talking about this “master narrative” for the past few posts.
Here’s a brief description of the “my running story” narrative:
It has a beginning (I was never a runner), middle (I found a love for running and got fast) and end (I struggled with injury or motivation but have triumphed).
It often includes a list of races/personal best times.
It is usually centered on signing up for and running/competing in races–often marathons.
It is frequently found on blogs with running/training tips + corporate sponsorships + product reviews.
In many ways, this narrative resonates for me. I think a lot about my times. I like running in races. I frequently understand my own story as about “someone who never thought that they could run” and then learned to love it. But, this narrative is not the only way that I experience/understand myself as a runner. I’m interested in reading other stories about running, stories that offer different perspectives on why and how we run.
I’m having some trouble finding these counter narratives. I’m sure that they exist, they just don’t come up as easily in my google searches. I’ll keep looking. For now, here are two counter stories:
Running with the Pack
by Mark Rowlands, a philosopher. I just recalled this from the library. In an interview with Runner’s World, Rowlands encourages us to think about the intrinsic (running for running’s sake) value of running instead of just the instrumental (running for achieving goals, races, losing weight) value.
What I Talk about When I Talk about Running
by Haruki Murakami, a fiction writer. Shortly after starting to run in 2011, I bought this audiobook. I frequently listened to it as I struggled to work up to a 5k distance. Now, after combining iTunes accounts with my husband, I can’t seem to find it. I’d like to listen to it again and see how my perspective has changed. I wonder, should I buy the book again?