This is my 2nd favorite book of 2008. I'm so glad L. & J. gave this to me for my birthday. I agree with Murakami's observations about running and his feeling about how running shapes his life. I've run 7 marathons and a number of half marathons. I have "No Fun Friday" most Summers which means I have to say no to going out for beers with friends. Getting up early on Saturday and getting my long run done is part of my rhythm and success when I'm training for a Fall marathon. It's what I have to do to stay healthy and fit and have energy to lead the life I want to live.
I'm not a fast runner. I'm similar to Murakami (who is much faster than I am) because I can do the training. I'm a steady runner. I can stick to a plan and know that the plan will help me enjoy the race. When the training schedule says run 3 miles, I run 3 miles. When it says run 18 miles, I run 18 miles. I'm also getting a little faster because I'm pushing myself harder than I have in the past. A great mantra in the book is "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional". I'll be using that one next year when I train for my 6th Chicago marathon.
If I could invite some famous people over for dinner I would invite Haruki Murakami. I have not read any of his novels (I've had "The Wind Up Bird Chronicles" on the shelf for a few years) but I think we might get along, or at least have a few stories to share. Even though I really liked this book it's not for everyone. I think you do have to be a long distance runner to have the memoir resonate. Those who do enjoy long runs and training for long races would enjoy the book because they have had similar experiences.