Brain Bombardment: A Runner's Diary by Patrick Whalen, paperback, 208 pages, Llumina Press (2002), ISBN: 193204731X
You have heard about the benefits of running for physical and mental well-being. You have read about chess and mathematics as training for the mind. You have heard advice about supplements, proper nutrition, and abstinence from alcohol. But have you ever wondered what might happen inside your mind if you borught all of these things into play at once? "Brain Bombardment" takes the form of a runner's diary. It describes the pursuit of supreme mental conditioning, as well as the obstacles that get in the way. The book opens with flashbacks to the 1980s and a personal record in a five mile race becomes for the author the goal to beat. In the first chapter he returns to the present and begins the diary. The author is more methodical and regular in his training; he is also much older. Supplements that were unavailable in the 1980's become part of the training plan. Meanwhile, the hours away from the track are spent learning mathematics and programming. Before moving on, the author explains why he grouped mathematics and running into the same book: "I want to show how running can lead to advancement in areas of rigorous mental activity". The following chapters offer the definition of brain bombardment itself, describe unexpected difficulties, physical adjustment, the inner life of a runner. Strength training is explored as an alternative for the winter as well as the "Soviet methods of instruction in chess and computer science". The author is a lifelong resident of Dover Plains (USA/New York). He is a tournament chess player and, at age 50, also a runner. This is his first book.