51. XEclogue — Lisa Robertson
this week — 58.77
to date — 1,467.82
I haven’t finished In the Garden of Evil or whatever it is called but I’m just putting it on hiatus for a bit and I’m determined to get back to it and finish it but I just wanted to read something else for a bit. I’ve been told that I’m not allowed to bring it with me to Scandinavia. I went to Word today, formerly known as Word on the Street, formerly known as a thriving literary festival. Sad. Anyway, it wasn’t all a bust because I got to say hello to Rolf Maurer at the New Star table and catch Jen Sookfong Lee talk a bit about her craft and hear Elee Kraljii Gardiner read poems about figure skating and sex in hay bales and get Stephen Collis to sign my copy of his new book Once in Blockadia that I just picked up over at the Talonbooks table where I got to congratulate Kevin Williams for winning B.C. Publisher of the Year and run into the ineffable Jordan Abel and I wish that I would have brought my copy of Martin John along so that I could get Anakana Schofield to sign it and I’m sure that I left someone out but that’s more than enough name dropping for one run-on sentence so I went home and read the copy of XEclogue that I picked up for the steal of just $4 (thanks Rolf!).
But before I read poetry I ran over the Lions Gate bridge for the first time after thinking about how I’d wanted to do that for a few months and it was a really nice run with the change of scenery and the long hills up and down that were pretty great. I did have a bit of a freak out as I passed the lion statues at the foot of the bridge on the Stanley Park side and the ground dropped off on my right and my acrophobia kicked in rather strongly. Or was it gephyrophobia. I wonder if you can have gephyrophobia without acrophobia. It seems like they would go hand-in-hand. I run over the Burrard Bridge pretty regularly but I’ve never really noticed the traffic exhaust but going through the Stanley Park causeway and over the bridge I really noticed the vehicle exhaust. By the time I crossed the bridge and back again it was really starting to bother me or so I let myself believe, and I had a bit of a sore throat that may be merely coincidence.
50. In the Garden of Beasts — Erik Larson (oh my gawd still in progress)
this week — 33.93
to date — 1,409.05
Yes I’m still reading about Nazis. It’s a dense book. Well, not dense in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich sort of dense, but dense. Anyway, I’m just hoping that I finish it before I fly off to Stockholm. In three weeks. I swear, if I haven’t finish this book by then I’ll give up. Out of spite. I remember one of my English lit professors telling me about how she read War and Peace and she was about 50 pages from finishing and quit reading the book “out of spite”. Clearly, that story resonated with me. She’s an administrator now.
Yesterday was the Eastside 10k, also known as the fifth race I’ve ever ran. I took it easy this week and felt pretty good when I left my house yesterday morning in the pouring rain. I’ve written a few times about how I prefer running in inclement weather, though that is usually more to do with the dearth or other people on the Seawall and the Eastside 10k had sold out as of Thursday. Anyway, I left with what I thought was plenty of time then to find that the line up for bag check was a block long meaning that I stood in line for about 20 minutes then made my way to the start corral with only a few minutes before the gun, which meant that I did not have nearly enough time to stand around and slip into some crowd-induced anxiety attack. I hoped to break 45 minutes in this race, a rather ambitious goal. I was feeling fine crossing the start line but I just didn’t feel like I was going to break any personal records and at the 2 km marker when the 45 minute pacer passed me I just settled in for a decent time. And it went all good. The rain was great and the route was great. A few times it felt a little slippery but it was all great and around half way I thought of quickening my pace and then at six a little more and then at seven and the whole time I was in my head comparing the route and its rolling hills to the rolling hills along Dallas Drive in Victoria and I kept trying to figure out if I was was running Stanley Park where would I be right now and then I can around a corner the there was the 45 minute pacer a couple hundred metres ahead and I thought maybe I could catch him and not die and just past 9 km near the bottom of the Dunsmuir Viaduct I passed him I crossed the finish line and clicked off my Fitbit Surge and of course it recorded that I’d only ran 9.98 km and then passed that same lie on to Strava so neither recorded my new personal record of 44:56 chip time for a 10 km run. I think that the Eastside 10k is my favourite race and I really cannot wait for my Chronos to arrive.
49. The Missionary Position Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice — Christopher Hitchens
50. In the Garden of Beasts — Erik Larson (in progress)
week thirty four — 49.69
week thirty five — 35.21
week thirty six — 67.32
to date — 1,375.12
Last post I wrote that I really wanted to get back into writing weekly and less weakly. That is to say that I really wanted to break this habit of combining multiple weeks into single post. And then I decided not to write anything for three weeks. Weakly indeed. There are 16 weeks left in 2016. Let’s see if I can write 16 times. On Sunday, September 4 the Catholic Church made Mother Teresa a saint. So that pretty much trumps all the “cool pope” stuff that I have to read in social media and old-people media since Jorge Mario Bergoglio changed his name to Frank and started wearing silly(ier) hats. And who can avoid such an opportunity to revisit one of the greatest polemicists of our time. Not I. As for the Larson, well, suffice it to say that I’ve met a perfect storm of laziness in my reading habits of late, coupled with a book that is far denser than it appears on a book shelf. And I’m enjoying it, as much as you can enjoy reading about the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s and find it all eerily similar to Donald Trump’s rise in the political ranks in America. Rank indeed.
For all the concerns that I expressed in my previous entry about burnout or piquing or some other such nonsense it seems that the relevant word for the running part of this piece is the same as for the reading and the writing: laziness. I don’t know if it was complacency or boredom or what, and I don’t really know what changed, but since writing about how I seem to be getting slower I have achieved a successive string of personal bests at 10 km and 12 km and on a couple longer runs. The trick was to actually push myself rather than do entire laps of Stanley Park only breathing through my nose. Next weekend is the Eastside 10 km and I have a goal in mind that not long ago seemed ridiculous but now seems within the realm of possibility. I’ll let you know how that goes.
47. Installations – Nicole Brossard
48. Hysteric – Nelly Arcan
these weeks — 73.4
to date — 1,222.9
I need to break out of this new habit that I’ve formed of coupling multiple weeks into single posts and get back into a habit of posting once per week. Though that depends as well on me reading enough to have something to write about reading. Running doesn’t seem to be a problem, although having something interesting to say about running on a weekly basis is getting a bit trying. Anyway, two weeks, and two books with nothing in common except that they are both excellent reads, by women, originally written in french, from Quebec, and in translation. And I swear I didn’t do it on purpose. I took the Brossard along for some fill between the shouting matches I was dutifully stenographing at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation offices, as is one of the things that I now do in order to purchase food and wine and housing and books. I don’t know why I chose to pick up the Arcan afterwards. It’s not a happy book, as none of them are, but her writing is so great. It’s a beautiful train wreck. I have two of her books left to get to and through. I just don’t think I can do them in a row.
Week thirty three was really rather thin on the running side of things, partly because I’ve been really focusing on swimming and minutely because I went to Kelowna for the weekend for my sister’s wedding and didn’t run at all. A really terrible excuse. Anyway, for all the complaints that I have about the accuracy of Fitbit and Strava they do both seem to be relatively consistently inaccurate, which is interesting when I look at Strava especially, because Strava likes to do this subtle shaming thing (in my case) where it looks at similar runs/routes and shows an overall trend. And my overall trend in Strava is that I piqued sometime back in February and my pace has slowly but steadily declined ever since. It has made me wonder if this is a product of age or because I don’t actually train or because I’m wearing myself out by running 40 to 50 kilometres per week without really giving myself a break. So I’m giving myself a bit of a break and I’m going to see what happens. Take a few days off (I can’t remember when I last took more than two days off in a row) and then go out and just see what happens and how I feel and then try to interpret that result. I’m curious, though regardless of what happens I’m sure I’ll find a way to overthink what it means. I’m good at that.