The extra mile (or chapter) | Darcy Brixey


I’ll admit it: I’m a lazy runner. To overcome my hatred of running, I often seek out ways to stay motivated. Sometimes I pretend I'm in a race or that I’m running from zombies. Other times I write haiku in my head. Music helps, but I’ve gotten tired of the songs on my iPod. I can only listen to Gangnum Style so many times before I feel like I'm running away from (not with) the music.

When I whined about this at work, Beth, a library colleague and runner told me she runs to books. This was a revelation. I listen to books during my commute, but I had never considered it an option for running. The King County Library System has a great collection of fiction and nonfiction on a device called a Playaway. Playaways are mp3 players loaded with an audio book. Each kit comes with batteries and ear phones, but any earphones with a universal jack will work. The device is small enough to fit into a pocket or armband and weighs next to nothing.

I wanted to try Beth’s idea so I perused the shelves for an appealing title. I selected Where The Red Fern Grows. I learned, though, that next time I will pick a happier book. While Where The Red Fern Grows is a classic of children's literature, it's a story with a dog, and we all know what happens in stories with a dog.

I had visions of breaking down in tears on the path at Green Lake when I got to that part. You know…the sad part. Luckily I reached that chapter by the time I got home and could lock myself away to finish the remaining pages.

The experiment worked. I found that I logged more miles because I had something to concentrate on, rather than listen to the awful plodding sound of my feet on the pavement at 6 a.m. I’m looking for more ways to incorporate audio books into my daily life. Maybe I’ll get around to weeding out that flower garden or go for another run. I may be gone a while. I just started War and Peace.


Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.

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