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25,000 miles of lessons from Peter Sagal, author of the incomplete book of Racing



Long-time NPR host Peter Sagal is in a serious affair with running, which he performs in a new book The Incomplete Book of Running . He has learned from all this distance.

To my astonishment, I am 53 years old. I was in high school but I was serious at 40. At the same time Wait Wait … Don & # 39; t Tell Me! [the show Sagal has hosted since 1998] on the way to becoming the most popular program in public radio. Running became a way to get out of my head and disconnect from everything for a moment. It's almost a reflex now, something I do, no matter what city I'm in, no matter what mood I'm in. I guess I ran 25,000 miles. All these places, these hours, have taught me a lot.

Be open to new challenges

I once drove a marathon a year. My PR is 03:09 and it is unlikely that I will ever see it again. My priorities have shifted from fast racing to other things, like driving blind runners and trying different distances. On the homeward flight from the Boston Marathon after a year, a guy sitting nearby was telling me to drive an ultra. When I'm done, it's an automatic PR. That's the deceitful trick. One thing I will not do is Strava. It is part of the snobbery that serious runners sometimes have so-called joggers. When you go out, you're a runner.

Take a self-guided tour

I travel a lot for work, and running is the best way to get to know a city – what it's like to live there, people, the stuff. I've traversed remarkable locations at moderate speed : boreal forests in Alaska, volcanic sand beaches in Hawaii and, due to the happy circumstances of my birth, many varied and charming places in New Jersey. I've also landed in ugly industrial strips, lost in endless suburban anonymous housing in the suburbs, and seen looking remnants of industrial history like the GE plant in Schenectady, New York, and felt a strange reverence when you visit a huge grave. For those who want to understand America, put on a pair of sneakers.

Consider the victim

I have three daughters. When they were little, I push them on my runs into strollers. Later, my oldest bike drove while I was running. It's one of my best memories, especially now that my daughters are older. In retrospect, I regret the time I have spent pursuing this intense hobby. There were many Saturday mornings when my kids had breakfast without me because I just spent a 20-miler time. There were Saturday evenings when I did not dine with my daughters because I raced the next morning and tried to get my first qualifying in Boston or in Philadelphia to prepare for a PR the next morning. Children grow up very fast, so enjoy what you have when you have it. I'm thinking about it.

If you go through hell, carry on

This is a quote that Winston Churchill is wrongly attributed to, but it's still good , Even if I agree on how much time I have spent walking, it would have been hard for me to master the separation of my family without the lessons I learned from running. For example, each run ends in one way or another. Even when things are going badly – the wheels come off, it's shit – with every mile you cover coming closer. As long as you continue, the end will come.

Unbound

Americans consume a tremendous amount of information. The news is relentless. Running is a time to get away from all input. Mostly, I prefer to run without headphones. It also encourages you to be aware of your body instead of being distracted by it. And when I'm on a trailor in a park, there's a strict music rule. Not to John Muir, but it's important to actually be in nature and listen to the damned birds.


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