George Sheehan Is My Homeboy

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I’ve been holding out on you. I read a book. Several weeks ago. About running. And I loved it. And I didn’t tell you about it.

Until now.

It’s called Running And Being: The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan, who is, unfortunately, dead. But if he were alive I would be hanging on his every word. As it is, I’m still hanging on his every word. Or I would be, if I hadn’t had to return the book to the library. Rest assured, it will soon have a permanent place on my shelf, along with his other writings.

I think I got maybe a page into it when I looked at Micah and said, “I want to be George Sheehan when I grow up.”

And it’s because of thoughts like this: “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”

And this: “There are those of us who are always about to live. We are waiting until things change, until there is more time, until we are less tired, until we get a promotion, until we settle down / until, until, until. It always seems as if there is some major event that must occur in our lives before we begin living.”

And this: “The distance runner is mysteriously reconciling the separations of body and mind, of pain and pleasure, of the conscious and the unconscious. He is repairing the rent, and healing the wound in his divided self. He has found a way to make the ordinary extraordinary; the commonplace unique; the everyday eternal.”

Yes, this is the kind of writing I aspire to. And the kind of running, too. Check him out. See what you think. I hope you are as inspired as I was.


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