33. Blown — Mark Haskell Smith
week twenty six — 56.2
To date: 1,288 KM
I picked up Blown because, well, I received a review copy from Grove Press, which happens a lot and I don’t mind at all. I liked this book a lot. It’s a fun, easy read, with a, captivating, entertaining story and likeable, interesting characters, most of whom I’m rooting for, in spite of knowing that it’s not going to end well for everyone, or potentially anyone. There’s decent suspense, and I’m not going to give anything away. The book opens and we meet Neil and Chlöe on a boat, and a lot of money, which Chlöe is very interested in knowing how Neil came about the cash. So begins Neil’s story. Is Smith a Conrad fan? Who knows? It doesn’t matter. The story of embezzlement and sex and high seas highjinx was, for me, a fine long weekend read. Experimental lit this is not. Trashy? Maybe. But good characters, great story, really well written kind of trash. Enough that it’s made me curious to check out more Haskell Smith work. Thanks to Grove Press for the copy.
It was a busy week that included my first Grouse Grind, which I’ll probably revisit soon, when I revisit it soon. Initially I figured it would be a one-and-done, but I want to do it again so I’ll write about it then. I spent the long weekend in Victoria, lounging in Oak Bay, watching world cup, drinking spicy ginger beer, and doing reconnaissance missions on the Victoria Marathon route. Saturday the weather was rainy, so I stayed close to home and ran the middle bits through Oak Bay. Happily, there were no surprises or concerns. Heading north on Hampshire the route turns left onto Granite at about the course 14 KM mark a short but not so subtle hill that will get noticed on race day. I was a bit more worried about the hill heading north along Beach just past the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, but then realized I’d gone a quarter kilometre too far; the route turns back south at Loon Bay Park.
Sunday, Canada Day, I took course’s last 10 KM along Crescent Drive, then Dallas Road and around the Inner Harbour to the “finish line” on Menzies Street next to the Provincial Legislature buildings. There’s a bit of a hill coming up Dallas (fittingly) near the Ross Bay Cemetery to Clover Point, but then it’s pretty much downhill for the last 4.5 KM to the finish. After finishing, I traced the first 14 KM or so from “start line” at the Legislature, up Government Street onto Wharf, right onto Johnson until Cook, then down into Beacon Hill Park and a loop around Circle Drive (clever name…). I finished the scouting mission back on Dallas, onto Crescent, and back into Oak Bay. I think I ran about 95 per cent of the course, and I feel really good about it. It’s not going to be easy, and I have a lot of training to do between now and Thanksgiving. But I definitely have the mental angle nailed down. Confident but not overly, with fourteen weeks until race day.