Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I mentioned a week or two ago that I’m reading Dr. George Sheehan’s Running & Being as well as his son Andrew’s Chasing the Hawk. Andrew talks about how popular his dad’s book was when it was first published, despite a scathing review in Sunday Book Review. Andrew writes;

The reviewer quoted copiously from the book in the interest of ridiculing it: “‘When I run the roads I am a saint. I am Assisi wearing the least and meanest of clothes.’ Or, ‘ I am a descendant of…People of the mind. Men like Kierkegaard and Emerson and Bertrand Russell.’ Or, ‘But I am who I am and can be nothing but that.’ (I could go on). It must be all those long runs – they’ve scrambled the man’s mind.”

The reviewer did go on: “In case we question his relationship with Kierkegaard and Emerson and Bertrand Russell, he gathers together a large number of quotes from Great Minds such as Kant, Nietzsche, Plato, Socrates…(he’s nothing if not eclectic). Their works are ruthlessly excavated for material to buttress his thesis, to wit; or rather, witless: that Running is Being, that Running is the Total Experience; that Body Maketh Man and the Boston Celtics are saints.” The exasperated reviewer concluded: “If this is what running does to you, we’d better go back to crawling on all fours.”

Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated was another cynic, writing;

“I am sick of joggers, and I am sick of runners. I don’t care if all the people in the U.S. are running or planning to run or wishing they could run. All I ask is, don’t write articles about running and don’t ask me to read them.

I don’t ever want to read about the joy of running, the beauty, the ecstasy, the pain, the anguish, the agony, the rapture, the enchantment, the thrill, the majesty, the love, the coming-togetherness, the where-it’s-atness. I don’t want to hear running compared to religion, sex, or ultimate truth.”

However, these reviews didn’t stop some people from thinking Running & Being was “some kind of sacred text.” Runners carried it around, dog-eared pages, underlined passages, etc.

Maybe no one cares, but I thought it was kind of neat to read a review of a book I’m reading, in another book I’m reading.

As for my training, Monday consisted of two easy runs; 5 miles in the morning and 7 miles in the afternoon. I’m off of work this whole week, so I can do fun stuff like that. And stuff like meeting my friends Eric and Jim for an 11 mile run on Tuesday.

After the run I stopped by a local running store where this stud happened to be working. I’m happy to report that I was actually able to talk to him – unlike when I see Katie McGregor. I even congratulated him on his debut at NYC and talked a little about my race at Chicago. But I was still too chicken-shit to ask if he’d want to be interviewed for my other blog. I’m never sure where to stick that into a conversation, so it usually gets left off.

Quote of the day;

“The trouble with this country is that you can live your entire life and not know whether or not you are a coward.” – John Berryman, poet


Mike said...

For someone who seemed to hate running so much it's surprising to see that same Frank DeFord's name as author of the screenplay for the "Four Minutes" movie. Better late than never I guess.

Thomas said...

Next time you see Katie McGregor, tell her you named your daughter after her. That should break the ice.

Triteacher said...

Have to laugh over the book review; yeah, maybe my mind is scrambled, but I'm so damn happy...

Also though, I have to appreciate the writing - the "crawling on all fours" is a good gag. What else ya reading?

Chad said...

Mike, I didn't realize that. When I see "Frank DeFord" I think "Frank Gifford" for some reason.

Thomas, would that be to flatter her or to alert her that I'm married and I'm not trying to hit on her?

Triteacher, I like the "crawling on all fours" line too. I just finished Chasing the Hawk, so I'll have to find something else to read too, as I can only handle so much of Running & Being at a time. Not sure what it'll be yet.