A slow week in book reading but a great week at my mailbox. The latest issue of Poetry is Dead is guest edited by Carleigh Baker and David James Brock, the latter of whom I was unfamiliar and now I’m interested. Baker has a piece in the new Vancouver Noir collection that also launched this week and I missed out on for fear of spreading the plague. But I really want to pick up a copy. PoD Metal explores the unusual intersection of metal and poetry. There’s some great stuff inside. It’s hard to argue with Luke Meat’s “Five Times Metal Jumped the Three-headed Hydra.” My favourite piece is Chris Koenig-Woodyard’s “Satan, in Pandemonium,” a work whose lines are anagrams of pandemonium, which sounds gimmicky but is not. I don’t think so at least. The issue is delightfully evil, and right up my alley.
On Wednesday just before the Metal PoD came through my mail slot I went out for a run that would be my 666th activity on Strava, so I decided to run 6.66KM because I couldn’t resist. It went pretty well with minimal knee pain. At physio on Friday I had my knee taped for the first time, which was a different experience and I’m still not sure about it. The run with a taped knee wasn’t great, but I’m not sure that it had anything to do with the taping; I think that between the running and bicycling and strength training exercises that maybe my leg was tired. So I might give taping another try. I’ve started on a study somehow affiliated with the University of BC and at the moment of typing this I cannot seem to recall the confidentiality clause, so I’ll talk about it a little bit. Basically I’m to use and then evaluate a website focused on knee pain, specifically pain in the knee cap. I’ve learned a few things that I’m going to try to incorporate into my routines and see how it goes. I’ll probably write more about the study and the website when it wraps up, sometime before Christmas. My total milage is below what I wanted for this week but it’s a long weekend, which always messes with routine (if you’re paying attention you’ll notice this is Monday and not Sunday…). My current plan is to start slowly loading by adding 5KM per week as long as my knees respond positively. If not then it’s back into the pool, though I want to be in the pool at least once per week too. Two weeks until first test: Moustache Miler 5K on November 24.
I received an advance copy of this new David Means book of short stories. I was previously unaware of him or his work and I am not sure that I’ll bother to pursue any more after trudging my way through this collection. I see that he branched out briefly from short stories to write a novel that was nominated for the Man Booker. Perhaps that one is worth a look. Means has quite the résumé and I feel like I should have liked this a lot more than I did. The title story was dark and funny and okay, and I also liked “The Terminal Artist” about a serial-killer nurse. But I spent so much time going through this collection like running in the pool. So much work for so little satisfaction and often seeming to get nowhere. Then one day I was clicking through the Guardian online and came across this Tom Gauld comic and thought yep. But what do I know. Anyway, thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the review copy.
I bicycled a lot less and ran a bit more this week. The bicycling less due to the torrential albeit prototypical rains that have arrived in Vancouver, well, let’s be honest, about a month later than usual. So October was spectacular and I ran a grand total of 72 KM so I feel rather ripped off. But things are starting to feel a bit better so on Hallowe’en I took a Mobi bike from the station around the corner from my place and rode down to Sunset Beach and (since I missed the actual one this year) I ran the Ghost Race segment from Burrard Bridge out to Third Beach and back and it didn’t suck. I was slow and exhausted but the pain was manageable and knees and stuff worked the way they’re supposed to work.
Now I just need to not rush stuff. And with that in mind I did not run the Fall Classic this year but instead after wasting my extra hour of sleep from daylight savings time change overnight I got up at the crack of dawn to watch the NY Marathon on television and then bicycled up to UBC (PS Arbutus to UBC up 16th sucks BTW) to catch the half marathon and 10K finishers and then bicycled back home plus a loop around Stanley Park Drive and then had a snack and a short nap and then went a ran a 10K loop around the Park and wondered why I was so exhausted that I barely ran it sub-50. I’m taking tomorrow off.
A short book for a short post after what felt like a long week. I moved in the summer and when I unpacked my books I put them on my shelves with neither rhyme nor reason and so since I have so much time on my hands not being able to do much of any running I decided to do some arranging and in the process I realized that I hadn’t yet read this Robertson collection yet so I read it and it was, no surprise, very good in spite of maybe of the concepts and allusions going way over my head.
I squeezed in a few commutes and a longer ride on my bike this week, including a highly not recommended stretch along the Upper Levels Highway between Horseshoe Bay and West Van. No thank you. And then today I ran or the first time since the Victoria Marathon and it wasn’t great. I rode a Mobi bike down to the Seawall and started out at Sunset Beach towards Stanley Park. It hurt immediately and I could feel how my fitness has slipped already. I felt very stiff in my quads and hips. I walked a couple times along the way out to Third Beach and then back to the Mobi bike station at the Second Beach pool for a five-and-a-bit jaunt in just under half an hour, then took a bike most of the way back home. By the end of the run I’d loosened up a bit but it was still rather painful and I was feeling very slow, and yet not out of breath. Since the run I’ve noticed that my knee feels fine (except for climbing stairs) and I find that encouraging in spite of the ample discouragement I felt through the first three kilometres of the run. At physio on Friday I was feeling very frustrated and said that maybe I am just going to have to live with the fact that as much as I love running it is going to hurt me now. My physiotherapist disagreed. I want to believe her while all signs point to otherwise. Next weekend is the Fall Classic and I will not be running at all. But I get those nice new RunVan socks so there’s that….
Tanya Tagaq is probably better known as the Inuk throat singer who won the 2014 Polaris Prize for her album Animism. This is her first book and don’t be surprised if it takes home a few awards too. (Long-listed for the 2018 Giller Prize it did not make the short list unfortunately.) Like her music, Tagaq smashes together multiple genres, telling the story of a young girl growing up in Nunavut in the 1970s. I like this book a lot. I like how she weaves memoir and mythology with bit of poetry to tell the her story. I look forward to more lit from her.
Another week without any running as this nagging injury continues to nag. Worst of all, the weather this October has been nothing short of spectacular. In fact I think that the only day of rain the entire month so far was the day of the Victoria Marathon. With weather like this I’ve done all I can to take advantage and with this knee pain that does not seem to want to go away that means riding my bicycle as much as possible. So I commuted to and from the office every workday this week, plus rides around UBC and Stanley Park. I figure I’ve only got another couple rides before the weather turns. Daylight savings is right around the corner too which isn’t going to help on the long ride home in the evenings. While it’s been fun pedalling around, setting new segment PBs on Strava, and trying to maintain my fitness, I really long for a good run. I missed the Ghost Race this year (which ended today) and I had a couple fun races for fall that I was eying up. Fortunately, it seems, I didn’t pay the entry. But I did pay for the Fall Classic, and it looks like I’m going to be two-for-two tapping out of the half marathon. It’s coming up in just two weeks and I just don’t see it happening again this year. I’m sure I could finish but I’m not interested in prolonging another injury through the winter. That could change but I’m resigned to the notion that my next race is going to be the Icebreaker 8K in January, followed by the First Half when I’ll have another shot at a sub 90 half marathon. Any I’m okay with that. Mostly okay.