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Once a Runner Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.
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Once a Runner Quotes Showing 1-28 of 28
“In mind's special processes, a ten-mile run takes far longer than the 60 minutes reported by a grandfather clock. Such time, in fact, hardly exists at all in the real world; it is all out on the trail somewhere, and you only go back to it when you are out there.”
John L. Parker, Once a Runner
“You don't become a runner by winning a morning workout. The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many day, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“...Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God's own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race dark Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway....They'll speak our names in hushed tones, 'those guys are animals' they'll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“You can remember it, he told himself, but you cannot experience it again like this. You have to be satisfied with the shadows.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“A runner is a miser, spending the pennies of his energy with great stinginess, constantly wanting to know how much he has spent and how much longer he will be expected to pay. He wants to be broke at precisely the moment he no longer needs his coin.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“No one promised you there would be universal justice.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“It's a simple choice! We can all be good boys and wear our letter sweaters around and get our little degrees and find some nice girl to settle, you know, down with... Take up what a friend of ours calls the hearty challenges of lawn care... Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the hearts of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God's own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race satan himslef till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straight away... They'll speak our names in hushed tones, 'those guys are animals' they'll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a guy, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by god, let out demons loose and just wail on!”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“Training was a rite of purification; from it came speed, strength. Racing was a rite of death; from it came knowledge. Such rites demand, if they are to be meaningful at all, a certain amount of time spent precisely on the Red Line, where you can lean over the manicured putting green at the edge of the precipice and see exactly nothing.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“Cassidy's heart tried to leap out through his taught skin and hop into his wet hands. But outwardly it was all very calm, very serene, just as always, and it seemed to last a tiny forever, just like that, a snapshot of them all on the curved parabola of a starting line, eight giant hearts attached to eight pairs of bellows-like lungs mounted on eight pairs of supercharged stilts. They were poised on the edge of some howling vortex they had run 10,000 miles to get to. Now they had to run one more”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“People conceptualize conditioning in different ways," he said. "Some think it's a ladder straight up. Others see plateaus, blockages, ceilings. I see it as a geometric spiraling upward, with each spin of the circle taking you a different distance upward. Some spins may even take you downward, just gathering momentum for the next upswing. Sometimes you will work your fanny off and see very little gain; other times you will amaze yourself and not really know why.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“When the guy kissed her, Cassidy felt a stab of pain that was close to physical, and therefore within the penumbra of hurts he told himself he could bear.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“A runner is a miser, spending the pennies of his energy with great stinginess, constantly wanting to know how much he has spent and how much longer he will be expected to pay. He wants to be broke at precisely the moment he no longer needs his coin.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“All the books helped him in some way or another. Quenton Cassidy was not enthusiastically going about the heady business of breaking world records or capturing some coveted prize; such ideas would have been laughable to him in the bland grind of his daily lifestyle. He was merely trying to slip into a lifestyle that he could live with, strenuous but not unendurable by any means, out of which if the corpuscles and the capillaries and the electrolytes were properly aligned in their own mysterious configurations, he might do even better what he had already done quite well. He was trying to switch gears; at least that is how he thought of it. And though it was a somewhat frightful thing to contemplate for very long, he was really pulling out all the stops. After this he would have no excuses, ever again.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“If his heart raced with excitement of the challenge he would have to make it slow again, like he always did, calming himself, making himself into a rock and then slipping, slowly at first, then more rapidly as he went along, down into the darkening green, down to the cold depths where all the mysteries were.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“The distance runners were serene messengers. Gliding along wooded trails and mountain paths, their spiritual ancestors kept their own solitary counsel for long hours while carrying some message the import of which was only one corner of their considerable speculation. They lived within themselves; long ago they did so, and they do today. There”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“The relatively thin distance runners ate more than you would expect (Cassidy loaded his tray with three scrambled eggs, two pancakes, sausage, nearly a quart of milk, and two doughnuts for later). A colossus like Mobley, however, simply ate with a vengeance. With unswerving deliberation and concentration, he sat and consumed.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“His circuitry is all different,” she told her twin sister. His ambition differed in essence as well as degree. Whereas with others she could tell the point at which she might assert certain proprietary rights (the very first hints of nesting behavior), with this runner there was never any question about her rearranging his priorities. This rankled her from the start. She might have the ability to make him miserable, perhaps, but she swayed him not an inch from his path. He told her as much, and she found out quickly he meant it. There was something in the ferocity of his dedication that challenged the formula of her femininity. She responded to the challenge without even realizing she was doing so.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God’s own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race dark Satan till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway!”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run— Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! —Rudyard Kipling, 1892”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“The back of her neck smelled like a parakeet’s tummy, sweet hay and fluff.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“might put it off and run when they got there, but contrary to popular opinion, beach running is only jolly fun for the first five miles or so. After that, the cute little waves become redundant, the sand reflects the sun up into the eyes blindingly, grains of sand slip annoyingly into the heel of the shoe or flip up on the back of the leg. Fifteen hot miles on a long, flat beach sounds like good sport only to those who haven’t actually done it. Also, the ocean is too infinite; the run seems as if it will never end.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“If his were a certain kind of personality, he would accept this responsibility with love and great modesty.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“Cassidy very early on understood that a true runner ran even when he didn't feel like it, and raced when he was supposed to, without excuses and with nothing held back.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“But in his own mind Time reposed in peculiar receptacles; to him the passing of one minute took on all manner of rare meaning. A minute was one fourth of a four-minute mile, a coffee spoon of his days and ways.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
“[...] whose round face was a sad pink and white topographical map of adolescence.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
tags: humor
“These fundamental imbalances led them into concentric circles of ever decreasing size: a nautilus shell of their discontent.”
John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner