It is interesting and peculiar that running is not that well recognized in the U.S., although it is perhaps the most effective form of exercise. It is perceived as difficult and even potentially damaging, so most people choose to stick to safer forms of cardio “entertainment”, and hit the stair-masters, treadmills and bikes of all sorts…. or simply stay at home and watch cardio events on TV while conveniently seated on a couch with a plate of popcorn.
While marathon racing remains obscure in the U.S. and most Western countries, with elite champions and premier marathoners virtually unknown outside of a small circle of die-hard fans, Japan, for instance, loves its marathon heroes! In Japan, marathon stars are national celebrities. Even though most of us don’t know this name (and most likely cannot even pronounce it properly), Japanese runner Mizuki Noguchi is nothing short of a superstar in her home country, receiving unreal receptions and parades in Tokyo. A couple of years ago, a parade in her honor drew an incredible 60,000 fans to the streets of her home town. In the U.S. even the Dallas Mavericks were not that well received during their home-town parade, despite the fact that Mark Cuban allegedly paid people a reported $10 a person just to show up on the street and scream as loud as possible….
Listen to this: to further honor Noguchi, Japan has renamed streets, dedicated monuments, and set her footprint in the concrete, similar to that of our Hollywood stars. It’s difficult for us to comprehend such recognition, but I guess the Japanese have their reasons. I am certainly one of those few people who can truly appreciate the level ofdedication and never-ending self-motivation that an athlete such as Noguchi must always exhibit. Most of our sports-stars hardly ever show such a level of commitment… except perhaps Tiger Woods, and I am not talking about his golf game…
In any event, the Japanese are actually well-known for their level of concentration and dedication, particularly the Japanese women, as is the case with Noguchi. I can actually admire their efforts even more, since I personally have virtually no concentration, and even less dedication to running, and simply must punish and whip myself into shape each time out there. And while on this topic, I actually discovered (accidentally as always) an innovative way to keep yourself focused on and dedicated to the process of running. It is called – paying it no mind!
Yesterday morning, as I was preparing to step outside and torture myself before the break of dawn, I quickly glanced at my emails on my phone. One email – that contained some unbelievably good news – particularly caught my attention, and after I read it, I was naturally too excited to do anything else! I felt like calling a few people to discuss the news, but then remembered that most probably everyone sane is still asleep at this hour….
After I re-read the email a few more times, I discovered that my feet had already begun running, and so I switched my phone off and got with the program. But of course, I couldn’t tell my mind to do the same, and so it kept on going over and over the email again, and again, and again. Then my mind proceeded to picture all the benefits and the advantages the news would have for me, taking me into the imaginary world of ascendancy, eminence and success!
I will tell you the truth – I had no idea what happened, but the next thing I knew – I was walking back into my house, apparently having completed the run, and other than a crazy amount of sweat, I had absolutely no proof that I even ran at all… Who knows what really transpired, but perhaps that’s the way to go, to compete with those highly focused and dedicated Japanese runners – by being completely unfocused on the process, so you don’t even get a chance to be afraid of the task in front of you… Or perhaps we have just discovered the secret to their success, and this is exactly what they are doing – simply tuning out?
I guess we will never know.
Keep it running!