2018 week ten

Book Read:
10. Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men — Daemon Fairless

Kilometres Ran:
week ten — 25.6

To date: 350 KM

And so concludes the accidental trilogy encompassing how we got here, long view (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry), why things are shite (because Sapiens), and who’s to blame (hint: it’s men). Accidental because I had no idea how well these three actually fit together, and I totally lucked out choosing the correct order to read them. And, not unlike Sapiens, Mad Blood Stirring starts out strong and then falters, devolving into an autobiography with heavy focus on the Fairless’s mother and their relationship. There are five chapters. The first three are very good. The fourth could have been good, but goes sideways. The fifth attempts to tie into the book’s intended theme, but it’s a stretch such that by the end I wasn’t quite sure what the theme is. The title is a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, spoken by Benvolio — the guy that tries to play the play’s peacemaker. Throughout the intro and chapter one Fairless has a bit of a Benvolio-complex (I just made that up), but that disappears by chapter five (along with the editor, apparently). The intro and first three chapters are really very good, worth reading, and could easily stand on their own serialized elsewhere. Fairless’s style is to present a main focus then intersperse asides throughout the chapter. Sometimes it works very well. Other times not so much. The fourth chapter is good in the parts that he focuses on the chapter’s main theme and “the killer”. In the fifth our narrator loses the plot. Or maybe I do. Regardless, my thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for the review copy.

I went to physiotherapy on Wednesday and it seems that I really am on the mend because she doesn’t want to see me for a few weeks as long as I behave and as long as there are no disasters during my attempts to behave. So I’ve been behaving, which is evident by the paltry 25 KM I ran this week. I’m currently 37 KM behind pace to reach 2,018 KM in 2018. I’m trying to behave, and by behave I mean to follow the advice of my physiotherapist to slowly add back distance and maintain rest time between runs. But I’m also trying to decide what I’m going to do with the BMO in May as I keep going back and forth between thinking I should just run the half or maybe just run the full without a full training session leading up to it and see what happens. I think regardless of what I run on May 6 I’m going to run the Victoria full in the fall. So while I’m mulling over what to do what I’m keeping forefront in mind is that I just want to stay healthy.

2018 week nine

Book Read:
9. Son of a Trickster — Eden Robinson

Kilometres Ran:
week nine — 30.2

To date: 302 KM

Another book that I picked up and read because all of social media yet no one in particular wouldn’t stop telling me to get a copy and read it. So I did. I did not read about it, except for the sticker on the dust jacket (I hate that they do that BTW, FFS) with the tulip! and Giller! I definitely did not read that this is the first book of a trilogy. Which would have helped because for the front two-thirds I was wondering where the tricker stuff was (it comes later, much later). Aside from all the waiting for the supernatural, I really liked the book. I found the characters compelling and the descriptions vivid, albeit rather raw. It does seem a bit long drawn out, which makes sense if the plan is for two more books. But it seems unnecessary. It seems the main plot point comes entirely too late in spite of it being the title of the book. Which makes sense from a Field’s Paradigm point of view as this is apparently meant to be read as Act One of Three. So I don’t know how I feel about the trilogy bit is I guess what I’m trying to say. But I liked this act enough to hang around for Act Two. Probably.

I’ve been behaving and by behaving I mean following my physiotherapist’s instructions and not running too much but riding my bike and things were feeling pretty good so when I went in on Wednesday for my electroshock treatment we chatted about the West Van 10K and she said that if I didn’t run the rest of the week (but I can bicycle at will) then I am allowed to run but not race the race. So I behaved and then this morning I ran and didn’t really race but maybe raced a little bit. I wanted to be better than my best Sun Run. That was my unadvertised goal going into this morning. Basically this goal entailed not getting passed by the 50 minute pacer. My plan was to try to hang around the 45 minute pacer and just see how everything feels and roll across the finish with him in sight. It was a decent plan, and it worked out pretty well. Two things: (1) I’ve never run this race or course before, and (2) the race had zero-nadda-zilch distance markers. I started a bit too quick and then backed off. The pacer passed me around 3 KM (I’m guessing based on my splits) and I settled into a just slightly barely uncomfortable pace. Not race pace, but not a Sunday jog either. I kept Mr. 45 in sight and then at what I thought was about 8 KM I picked it up a bit. But it was not 8 KM. Kilometres eight and nine were fine but when I was starting to pique expecting the finish the finish was still another kilometre away. I was pulling up on the pacer when I saw the finish line clock. He crossed at 44 minutes and I crossed six seconds behind. I have no idea what would have happened if I’d raced. I don’t know if my knee would have cooperated, and I don’t believe I currently have the gas to challenge my personal best. But I ended up 12/73 in my group and set a new personal second-best. And I can walk right now, unlike post First Half.

This was my first West Van Run and I would definitely do it again. The course is flat and fast (except for a kinda cruel hill between 3 and 4 KM). I thought it was well organized and good value — nice tee and medal. I won a box of TeffX Energy Bars on a social media giveaway that I’m looking forward to giving a try, so shout out to Teff, too. I’ll be back next year.

2018 week eight

Books Read:
8. Freshwater — Akwaeke Emezi

Kilometres Ran:
week eight — 22.5

To date: 272 KM

A pretty great debut work of experimental fiction that strikes rather of creative nonfiction. I found it difficult to get lost in the book because I found the writing style a lot of work, especially in the first third of the book. I can’t say if I got used to the style, or if there is a shift; Ada’s teen years forward until the story’s conclusion I found easier to read, harder to put down, and, for its content, difficult to enjoy. But I found the story compelling and the writing ambitious and exceptional. This novel found its way onto many “most anticipated” lists and for that it doesn’t disappoint. I expect it will end up on a few 2018 best ofs and award nominations, too. Thanks to Grove Press for the review copy.

Strides over Burrard in the snowshine.

Easing back into it after the knee twist, I ran three times this week, with subtle increases each session and surprisingly pleasant results. Speed is way down, but I hardly care about that right now. Knee has been cooperative, and optimistically, it has felt better-than-okay the evening and day after. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high. On Wednesday I will discuss with my physiotherapist and determine what I’m going to do about the West Van 10K next weekend. I feel pretty good about running it, but I don’t want to push anything too early and have another set back. Today I was looking back at my 2017 training log; I ran the first LSD of my BMO Full plan 50 weeks ago, which makes me think that I still have a bit of time to decide what I’m going to do with race day May 6. But for now I just need to focus on getting healthy first, and working on getting some speed back.

2018 week seven

Books Read:
7. American War — Omar El Akkad

Kilometres Ran:
week seven — 0

To date: 249 KM

Kilometres bicycled week seven: 103.4

When number forty-five was elected president I believed (hoped, maybe?) that the west coast states would secede. Or at least break out into civil war. It still could happen. I’m not so sure about British Columbia joining Cascadia but whatever. But now with this ridiculous trade war over wine and oil that B.C. is caught up in with the petulant, spoilt child that is Alberta, who knows. American War imagines America has finally caught up with reality and sees no future in fossil fuels but the South loses its mind being told it has to drive solar cars and so there’s a civil war. Sounds familiar, except wine. Or maybe sounds ominous. The book follows the life of Sarat Chestnut, not a northerner and not quite a southerner either. I really liked this book — a post-apocalyptic hellscape sans the nuclear winter. The scenario actually seems more plausible than the impending radioactive mass extinction that we’re currently potentially facing. For better or for worse (as far as reading is concerned, for worse) American War drew me back into playing Fallout 4. As if I needed another excuse. I thought this book was great, especially for being El Akkad’s first novel. His depiction of the war-torn South is vivid and the characters are very well developed. Plus a strong female protagonist that I cared about in spite of disagreeing with her. This is a good read.

Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment

I took the week off running after the knee twist and shout at the First Half last week. A trip to physio and for some ultrasound and electroshock therapy helped a bit. Dr. Physio and I had an honest and frank discussion. I have three races on the horizon: West Van 10K is one I’m not happy to but willing to burn. My eye is still on the BMO in May, but I’m starting to think half instead of full, and then a full in Kelowna or Victoria in the fall. Then Helsinki is towards the end of May and I really, really don’t want to be traipsing around Skandinavia on a reruined knee.

Good news is that Dr. Physio ruled out ACL or any tearing, but clearly my meniscus is not so happy. She said I can swim, but I hate swimming, and she said I can ride my bicycle. I don’t mind riding my bicycle so I did a fair amount of that. But I also went for a tour of the YWCA Health + Fitness Centre down on Hornby — the one I walk past going to and from physio. It seems nice, and SC has been going steady there longer than with me. She seems to like it, and it’s nearly half the cost of the Robert Lee YM on Burrard. So I’m considering forcing myself to go swim once or twice a week, hate it or not, and it will be nice to have access to bikes for those rainy days, even if those bikes go nowhere.