I read this book quite a while ago and I had a problem with it and I wanted to ask Taylor about it but then I didn’t and then I forgot about it and then I realized that I’d forgotten about it so I hadn’t added it here so now here I am adding it here, but without getting around to asking the author about it. Anyway, I really liked Taylor’s earlier book Stanley Park and apparently Taylor did too because Rule of Stephens feels very Stanley Park. The formula at least: struggling and flawed but likeable protagonist who is exceptional at this one very niche thing who ends up courting a wealthy investor only to find that they’ve made a deal with the devil. Within the first few pages I’ve grown an affinity for the protagonist Catherine Bach and I have this growing feeling of dread waiting to read what Taylor is going to do to them. It’s a good book and of course its fans will say that there’s so much more to it than the cursory glossing over (wait is that redundant? Hmmm…) that I’ve given here and that’s maybe true. But still.
The office hosted a conference at the Sheraton on 104th in Surrey which meant that I was the lucky duck that got to spend a couple nights at the Sheraton on 104th in Surrey. So I took a look at Strava Global Heatmaps for something fun to do Saturday evening. Downhill heading east on 104th approx. 5 KM from the hotel is a little ferry that carries two or three cars at a time over the Fraser River to Barnston Island, which happens to have a perfect 10 KM perimeter road. So that’s fun. The island is farmland complete with medium and large dogs behind fences that want to eat me, and medium and large dogs not behind fences that just lazily lay on the road as I run by. Free-range chicken farm. Herb farm. Cattle and sheep and donkeys. Abandoned and derelict houses. With my overactive imagination I spent the last couple kilometres expecting to run into (and then away from) the Sawyer family at any moment. A ferry ride back across Parson’s Channel to the mainland and then the long slow slog back up the 104th Avenue hill to Guildford. A nice change of scenery to usher in the beginning of my taper. Two weeks until Victoria Marathon.
For some reason I decided to read this book because trainwreck / caraccident / apartmentfire and for some reason I thought that it being written by Bob Woodward would somehow make it different that the one I read earlier this year by that “hack” Michael Wolff but I think that if Sam Smith owes Tom Petty money then Wolff has a case against Woodward but of course it doesn’t work that way so I read about how Trump if utterly incompetent and insecure and corrupt and blah blah blah and that was a waste of my time. And nothing against Woodward. But I spent entirely too long reading this book while consciously, actively pondering my real time confirmation bias. So, moving on.
At the beginning of the week I faced the dilemma of whether or not to taper for a 10K race what with four weeks to go until the big race — the Victoria Marathon. So I solicited advice and received some really great perspectives and then was out for a 16 KM run on Wednesday and my left knee said just fucking nope around 13 and I hobbled home into a forced taper for a 10K. My goal for the Eastside 10K was to run my first sub-40 minute 10K. On Wednesday I postponed that goal, which means probably postponed until 2019. I’m okay with that. So I took Thursday and Friday off and then got up early Saturday and jogged the two and a half kilometres to the start line at SFU Woodwards. The weather was typical Eastside 10K wet. (Apparently last year it was a beauty day, but I wouldn’t know because I was in Denmark running the Copenhagen Half Marathon, which got all of the Eastside 10K’s share of rainstorm times ten, and I spent much of this week waxing nostalgic about it online and IRL.) After a ten minute delay, the race started. I got a good start and ran 3:57 / 4:04 / 3:54 over the first three kilometres. This was my first run on the new ES10K course, which traded a start/finish on the Dunsmuir Viaduct for a nightmare of a hill at 5KM up Templeton and around Pandora Park. I’d been warned that this was a tough course, so when I hit 5 KM in a new personal best time I didn’t expect much after that. The hill was hell but I survived without giving up too much pace and I still had a bit of kick left for the finish. I crossed in 41:23, which is not only a 1:02 improvement on my personal best, but my watch said 41:25 so my button pressing was on point too.
Stephanie met me at the finish with a change of shirt and shoes so I could take the long way home with a long slow jog around Stanley Park. I stayed up late to watch the Berlin Marathon and made it all the way until Eliud Kipchoge got to 30KM then fell asleep. So I missed him run a new World Record in under 2:02 and I also missed the Canadian women kick serious ass in Berlin with Rachel Cliff running 2:28:53 in her marathon debut, just 53 seconds off Lanni Marchant’s current Canadian marathon record. Lyndsay Tessier ran 2:30.47 for a new W40 marathon record, and Catherine Watkins ran 2:40:11 setting a new W45 record. After catching up on what I’d slept through I went out for an 18 KM loop around Crab Park and Stanley Park taking me past my 2018 goal of running 2,018 KM three and a half months early. Maybe I should go for 2,018 miles after all…. But for now, all focus on getting healthy. Three weeks until Victoria Marathon.
Oh hey look another book about a self-destructive struggling author. I’ve never read any James Frey before. I had a copy of Million Little Pieces on my book shelf for many years, though I think it was because someone left it at my house or I picked it up from a free pile somewhere because I saw the Oprah’s Book Club sticker on the cover, obviously. Katerina is that sort of banal, masculine romance novel where the romance is mostly narcissistic. But I was entertained, so there’s that. The most interesting part for me was noticing that past me would not have been able to read this without drinking along with Jay, whereas if present me woke up with a headache it was from all the eye-rolling the night before. This book felt out of time. It felt like what Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh were writing twenty years ago. Maybe my age is showing. I felt a bit guilty liking this book. Perhaps it was the nostalgia for a more self-destructive time. Regardless, I appreciate the advanced, review copy from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books.
I broke 80 KM in a week for the first time since April without doing an especially long run this week. My knees have been less than happy with the effort of late, which is a huge concern with just a month to go before the Victoria Marathon. So I’m trying to balance workout and rest, and trying and doing a not very good job of self care before and after running. So I bought a TENS/EMS unit to shock my knees and thighs. I don’t know if it’s helping but I like it. I do really need to stretch and use the roller more often. And now this has taken a banal turn towards confessional. Next week I run the Eastside 10K and I was hoping to sub-40 minutes and I am not terribly confident since my focus has been so dialled on 42.2. Right now I’ll be surprised to run a new personal best, but I’ve said that a couple times already this year and ended up surprising myself. So we’ll see which me shows up at the start/finish line on Saturday.
I don’t know why speculative fiction seems to never get its due respect amongst literary genres. Unless it’s Atwood or Stephen King, though I think even King is relegated to the not-so-serious pile more often than he should be. Which is ever by the way in case you were wondering. What I find the most impressive about speculative fiction is, done well, the seamless creation of fantastic realities that make sense. The book doesn’t even necessarily have to be all that great for the affect to be achieved. And, well, Autonomous is one. The book is okay. The story follows Jack, a pharmaceutical pirate, who is being hunted by Elias and his military robot Paladin. Newitz creates a world that is vivid and interesting, and explores AI morality, gender, sexuality, pharmaceutical and patent ethics but when it’s all smashed together it’s just okay. Okay is better than most, but it’s still okay.
On Wednesday I decided that on Friday I would ease into the Labour Day long weekend by running home from the office. I’ve wanted to do this run for some time but never got around to it last marathon training cycle for the stupid reason that my marathon training schedule called for my long run on Sunday and definitely not on Friday. Friday was to be rest day. And while that was my first marathon and was probably not the time to be fiddling around with training schedule on the freshman attempt, I ignored one of the most important rules of just about any sort of plan, which is to write your plan with a pencil. So I ran home on Friday, and it sucked. About 15 KM into what turned out to be a 35.5 KM run my body said okay that’s enough let’s just read a book for a bit now. So for the next 20 KM it was pure willpower. Which was a great test and I feel like I passed but I also have growing concerns about my knees cooperating come the Victoria Marathon on October 7, and my body not deciding that just over a third to the way through it is time to check out. And maybe probably possible that’s a good thing. With five weeks to go there’s still time for a little under-confidence motivation. Friday sucked. I’ll probably do it again.