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Something for the reader

December 17, 2009

Rock & Ice Ultra in Yellowknife is freezing cold and very long. Strong motivation is one of many key factors for succeeding. Runner: Adam Chase. Photo: Fredrik Ölmqvist

With 7 degrees below zero in Göteborg today’s run is optional. But I still remember yesterday’s white trails in the forest where I made the first tracks. The silent darkness and suspicious sounds. Running without music certainly works your imagination. I stopped many times, lacking of energy or motivation, but pushed forward knowing that thoughts or feelings like that come and go in my mind and I can mirror them and let them pass without any reaction, just like the lake’s surface mirror passing clouds. I can chose which voice to listen to.

So when the voice that normally guides me to new and different trail running adventures was quiet, I ended up running on forest roads. Boring. Only “running”, nothing more… Instantly it’s very evident that I’m responsable for my own happiness. Just going with the flow won’t lead me where I want to go.

In his book “What I talk about when I talk about running” Haruki Murakami writes about “runner’s blues”: “… I found I didn’t enjoy running as much as I used to. A steady fatigue opened up between me and the very notion of running. A sense of disappointment set in that all my hard work wasn’t paying off, that there was something obstructing me, like a door that was usually open suddenly slammed in my face.” (In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit.)

Endurance, practical knowledge about winter racing and survival skills also comes handy in The Rock & Ice Ultra. Photo: Fredrik Ö.

During the years I have realized that trail running is the authentic form of running for me. The concept of living an authentic life, or being authentic comes from german philosopher Heidegger, who picked up the thread from Nietzsche and Kirkegaard. In the book “Running & Philosophy, A Marathon for the Mind” Michael W. Austin have collected 19 essays written of philosophers for runners. One of the essays defend the slow running philosophy in being “a jogger” vs “a runner”. Considering my own non-competitive but rather lustful attitude towards running I might actually be “a jogger”.

If you’re looking for books on running you might also want to check out “Strides: Running Through History With an Unlikely Athlete” by Benjamin Cheever.

Or why not: “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, who explains why we humans are evolved to run.

If you are into reading about the most extreme trail races in the world you’d probably like “Extreme Running” by Kym McConnell and Dave Horsley.

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