My Half-Marathon Training Log
(For The New Yorker Daily Shouts)
Though I’ve only drawn a few comics about it, but I’ve been a runner all my life. Track and field was part of my identity in high school. Jogging was a way to de-stress in college and professional school. Now I’m well into my thirties, and running has become an obsession.
In 2015 I entered a local Oktoberfest 5K race. I competed against a friend, got a rush of endorphins afterwards, and had a complimentary beer and brat to celebrate. After 3.2 miles of painful exertion, I had caught the running bug. I kept entering 5K races, averaging a few each year. I ran my first half-marathon in 2021 and my second in 2023. I hope to run many more.
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The most challenging part of the process is not the race itself, but the physical and mental training leading up to the race. Carving out hours for long runs on weekends. Waking up early in the morning to run before the heat and busyness of the day. Squeezing in short, quick runs over lunch breaks. Braving the unforgiving Kansas weather. Spending hours alone with my thoughts as my feet pound the pavement.
As Haruki Murakami has written in his books WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING and NOVELIST AS VOCATION, running has many parallels with pursuing a creative discipline. There are long, solitary hours of work. There are brief moments of joy amid the grind of routine. Occasionally, there’s a rewarding celebration as part of a community—reaching the finish line at the end of a race, for me, feels a lot like launching a new book at a local bookstore among fans, friends, and family.
Both running and creativity are habits that seem crazy from a distance. But both practices are hugely rewarding. When you run or create, you compete against yourself. How hard can you push yourself to improve? What new milestones can you achieve? Are you putting in the effort to get better? Let’s keep chasing our ideal selves, on the track and on the page.
Thanks to editors Emma Allen and Colin Stokes for publishing this comic online at The New Yorker Daily Shouts.
I'm not a runner, but "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" changed how I write. I'm so grateful for it.
Love this piece. Thank you.