I took the title for this blog from Murakami’s  incomparable What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I am a 32 year old high school English teacher and live in Brooklyn with my partner of 13 years, our newborn daughter, and 2 year-old son (as well as a growing collection of muppets).  Besides spending time with my family and students, these days the activity that brings balance and meaning to my life is running.  While I’ve been running for a little over four years, recently it has taken a progressively more central role in my thoughts and existence, and I wanted a place to record some of my musings, especially since my goal for 2011 is to compete in my first ultramarthon.  I’m really writing for myself at this point, but if you are reading this, I hope you enjoy it as well.

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5 Responses to About

  1. Mr. V.D., You are exactly as Melissa describes you, a combination of thoughtful and fantastic. Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it- and you.

  2. Very inspirational, thanks for sharing. I’ve been reading a bunch of entries on your blog, and really enjoying them. I share a similar story with you – 30 year old PhD student in Toronto who was never big on sports (although I enjoyed badminton and bicycling), and especially not running (when I was young, I was on the soccer team, and played defense, so I didn’t have to run so much). Got started running about a year ago, and slowly worked up to my first 8KM race this spring – even did a 18KM run one day without planning for it, just kept going. This summer, I’ve been with my wife in China and kind of “fell out of it”, partly was sick, partly lack of opportunity, and partly just laziness. Looking forward to hitting the trails in Toronto when I get back, and building up to my first half in October (was supposed to be a whole, but that turned out unrealistic given the summer – no rush though, it will come!).

    Fascinating to see the before and after pictures. I wonder if your diet changed a lot as well – I know a lot of runners start eating more healthily “automatically” – but I guess others pour down the pasta and pizza to keep the carbs coming 🙂

    Also very neat that you are thinking of doing a running commute. I bike 8.5KM each way to my university, and I’ve actually seen a few people who seem to be “running commuters”. My biggest problem would be my laptop – I don’t have two computers, and I need it both at the office and at home. Don’t want it bouncing around. But I might try it sometime. Anyway Toronto is blessed with an amazing network of ravines and parks that makes you feel like you are in the wilderness while close to home – both for biking and running. Let me know if you ever come by and want to go for a run.

    • Chris Van Dyke says:

      I always love hearing from another late-starter — one of the reason I’m drawn to ultra’s is that long distance running might be the only sport where most of the hero’s are my ge or older. In Basketball, 32 is a few years into retirement; in ultra-running, its prime racing time. (Of course, most of my ultra-heros did start much younger, and I have no illusions about becoming famous, but its nice know there’s years and years to get better at this).

      As for food, its not something I’ve really written about on my blog, but its actually been key to my personal change as well. I am one of those people who “automatically” started eating better when I started running. I find it to be a co-dependent cycle: the better I eat, the more energy I have to stay in shape; the more in shape I am, the more I’m drawn to healthy eating choices. I didn’t “diet” per se, so there was no radically re-hauling of my diet. Primarily it was portion control, cutting back a bit on beer and ice-cream, and eliminating soda altogether. I’m also (primarily) a vegetarian, and before I started running I was a lazy vegetarian: lots of pizza, pasta, and heavy, carb-rich meals. I also read “The Omnivores Dilemma” right around when I started running, and it reinforced a lot of things I already believed about eating but had been a bit to lazy to actually live. I’ve been a member of a CSA for about five years now, and try to eat a lot more whole foods and a variety of veggies, rather than just lots of pizza, chinese take-out, and veggie burgers.

      The laptop is the question mark in the running commute. Last year my school provided me with a netbook for work, and after I synced my work folders, I could pretty much leave my personal computer at home and work computer at work. I’m switching schools this September, and if I can get the same set up I’m good. My plan for the fall is to bike all the stuff I need for the week in on Monday, run Tuesday through Thursday, then bike home any stuff I need for the weekend Friday. I do have a nice running back-pack (Columbia Mobex) and I’ve done up to 11 miles with my MacBook in it. My back was sore as hell the next day and I don’t recommend it, but 3.9 miles should be doable. I’m not sure what that much daily jostling would do the hard-drive, however, so we’ll see 🙂

      Anyway, thanks for reading, thanks for the comment and support, and thanks for the invite run if I’m in Toronto. I’ll extend the same offer — if you’re ever in Brooklyn, drop me a line before you come and I’ll show you the town!

  3. PS: I enjoy listening to inspirational audiobooks about running while slogging it out on the trails, and Haruki Murakami’s book was the first one. Then “Once a runner”.

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