Don’t Tell Me Not to Run

Books Read:
31. Don’t Tell Me What to Do — Dina Del Bucchia

Kilometres Ran:
week forty — 33 km
week forty one — 20 km

To date: 2,299 km

I loved this book. It’s a great collection and really deserves the positive critical reviews it is getting. I’m very happy for Dina. I’ve managed to have my name end up on the colophon page of a few books but never the acknowledgements. None that I’m aware of anyway. So the acknowledgements shout out to my old little Downtown Eastside gallery where Dina happened to be in the last show I was involved with there gave me all the feels.

Granville Island Turkey Trot

I Turkey Trotted, and it was a lot of fun and I set a new best for 10K shaving over 2:30 off my PB at the 2016 Eastside 10K, and I scored my first top 10 finish with a seventh in my age category. I was less excited when I saw the posted results at the finish, with me coming in seventh out of nine. But by the time all the results were in it was 7/153. My knee is still not very happy with me and my physiotherapist said no running if I want to be better by the Fall Classic and I do but I went out on Friday the 13th and did the Ghost Race because Don’t Tell Me What to Do (thanks Dina) even though I dislike Lululemon (but have somehow managed to justify Kit & Ace). But since then I’ve run none and I’m going a bit crazy even though I’ve put about 100 km on Mobi Bikes it’s just not the same. I’m still over 200 km ahead of pace to reach my goal of 2,600 km in 2017 but for my head’s sake I really need to go for a run.

On Passing 2,000 km and Stuff

Stuff Read:

27. Get Me Out of Here — Sachiko Murakami

One thousand five hundred twenty three pages of Early Career Development (studio arts) BC Arts Council grant applications

Kilometres Ran:
week thirty four — 55.9
week thirty five — 42.6

To date: 2,021 km

The first couple days holed up in the Victoria offices of the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development I managed to escape down the street and around the corner during lunch hour to spend my per diem at Russell Books and I picked up a copy of Murakami’s collection of poems (among others). I have travel on my mind, as it is one week until I get on a plane for CPH via RKV. That’s Copenhagen via Reykjavík. What, you didn’t know that? Neither did I. And I sort of wish that Murakami had included a glossary of airport codes in her book, but it was otherwise fine. Fun and fine. A break from the mountain of grant applications that I was adjudicating. And before you get all confidentiality apparently, I’m allowed to say that it happened and that it was for the Early Career Development program and, well, that’s pretty much all that I’m allowed to say about it. Suffice it to say, though, there are some pretty excellent young artists in this province that are going to make Montreal or Berlin very proud once Vision Vancouver finishes selling off this city completely. Excellent stuff, really. This was my third jury, and in spite of the daunting commitment it is one of the most rewarding experiences. I’d almost do it for free. Actually, i don’t really want to do the math. I’m pretty sure it’s below minimum wage if you put any sort of effort into it. And I’m the reigning heavyweight champion of imposter syndrome. There was effort.

And while there on the last day of August with the sun setting in the wildfire haze blowing in from central B.C. and with the Legislature behind me I ran past 2,000 kilometres so far this year. So about four months ahead of last year, and about 275 kilometres ahead of my pace to reach 2,600 by December 31. I celebrated with a glass of wine in my hotel room at the Royal Scot, peering into Acrobat Reader on my Macbook Air. I only ran 42.6 this week, which is off of the 50 per week that I’m aiming for, but I’m fine with that since I am so far ahead but I’m also looking forward to a few things, the impending one being the Copenhagen Half on the 17th. It’s way too early to be tapering. Which brings up something else: On Sunday, September 10 there is a fun run on Strava “to be part of a global attempt to set the record for the most half marathons completed in one day” and I’ve signed up for fun and I’m wondering how stupid it is to run a half marathon seven days before racing a half marathon. Because initially I thought that Copenhagen would be a fun run and I wouldn’t try to kill myself but as it gets closer I’ve gotten the urge to try to break 1:38 and I think I can do it but I wonder if The Great 13.1 Record is going to mess it up. I have no idea. I have a few days to figure it out. I’d ask for comments but I know that no one actually reads these.

Summertime Slacker

Books Read:

25. Hysteric — Nelly Arcan
26. Chinese Blue — Weyman Chan
27. Forthcoming organized labour history book

Kilometres Ran:
week thirty — 58.3
week thirty one — 56
week thirty two — 69.7
week thirty three — 56.6

To date: 1,922 km

So rather than read and write about it I decided that since I’ve barely read anything there wasn’t much point in writing about how I’ve barely read anything. So I didn’t. As you can see. Does anyone enjoy reading Nelly Arcan? Are you even allowed to enjoy reading her? I think I have two left to read of hers. Her work is so good but so heavy and depressing. I got to see and hear Weyman Chan read at the Talonbooks launch for Human Tissue, which I also purchased along with Chinese Blue but haven’t read yet. But I will, not least because Chinese Blue is so damn good. Trudging through nearly 400 pages of MS Word manuscript is rarely enjoyable, but I find the subject matter very interesting. I hope it gets published. And properly edited. You know, unlike this blog.

In three week I fly to Copenhagen for the Copenhagen Half Marathon on September 17 and I’m pretty excited about that. Travelling gives me an excuse to update my wardrobe, so travelling for a race must mean new running gear, right? It’s not like I need a new pair of racing flats but that didn’t stop me from picking up a second pair of the Adios 3. Plus they were on sale. I’ve been very curious about On Running shoes since their propaganda somehow started ending up in my Gmail inbox. They’re a bit pricey to just take a chance on, which makes me lament that there’s no test drive for running shoes. And then, as if my mind had been read, on Thursday at Forerunners on West 4th’s sunset run On was supposed to be on hand to demo their line up so I showed up. On, however, did not. But I had a good time anyway, with a short 9 km out to Spanish Banks and back to the store. The group is really friendly, and the run met at 7:30 p.m. rather than the typical 6:00 p.m. that every club seems to love but precludes me from being able to participate. I make it sound as if I would if I could. I’ve written here before, and numerous times, how I enjoy running for its solitude, But once in a while it’s nice to get out and be around people that also like to run. I do not know very many.

forty two by forty two final

Books Read:
None

Kilometres Ran:
week eighteen — 58.7

To date: 1,033 km

I didn’t read anything this week. I spent a lot of time listening to music and white noise and visualizing what I was going to be doing on Sunday. Some things helped more than others. Largest tax return in my life was good. Pretty much anything to do with vocational / local / provincial / federal / international politics was not so much. Trusting the training plan was very difficult as well. I’d never tapered before, which doesn’t mean much when I’ve never run a marathon before either, I suppose. In the lead up to Sunday I ran just 15 km over three days.

Why does everyone post their gear before a race? Not one to feel left out I posted this pic along with the BMO Live Results link. I decided to wear this particular shirt from Joe Fresh that I bought it at the Superstore on Grandview Highway when I thought I might give this running thing a try. I’ve come a long way, but I haven’t forgotten how I got here. Like most of them do, the idea came to me while out running. I wasn’t even sure I had the shirt anymore.

Sunday was beautiful and clear. I was up at 5:30 a.m. and didn’t need an alarm. Excited and nervous but feeling at least mentally confident I went for a walk around the West End to try to settle my mind and stomach before a casual jog down to the Canada Line to catch the Skytrain up to Queen Elizabeth Park. The start was a blur. At 5 km I was just under my pace and by 9 km that had grown to 2 minutes. I felt good. I’d trained for that 9 – 11 km hill. At 21 km I was still under pace and feeling fine. That 1 km stretch of hill from Spanish Banks up to West 4th is cruel and unnecessary. Bastards! At 29 km just coming up onto Burrard Bridge the 3:30 pacer caught me. The bridge got awfully crowded and my elbow connected at least once with someone trying to pass on the right. Accident I swear. As I passed the West End around 32 Stephanie was there with a home-made sign. I needed that because I was starting to fade. I knew I wanted to get to 36 km by 3 hours. As I rounded Prospect Point I checked my watch: 3:00:48. I was starting to hurt and had just crossed into the farthest I’ve ever ran. But I’ve ran this route I don’t know how many times. That helped a lot. The last 6 km was all in my head and my head was a lot of back and forth between “you can walk it’s fine” and “fuck you”. If Strava and my iPhone are to be believed, I somehow managed my last kilometre at 5:05. Stephanie was there waiting for me as I crossed the line for a chip time of 3:34:41.

I’m reflecting on the experience now, as I have been for the past 36 hours or so. I expected to be more emotional at the finish line. Or maybe differently emotional. I was pretty euphoric and very lightheaded. The one thing that’s really bothered me in these hours since crossing that finish line is that for all the book launches and art openings and readings and events that I’ve supported not one of my friends came out to support me. Except my love, best friend (and coach whether I wanted coaching or not) who was there when I needed her and was there at the finish line.


Final thoughts. It’s the economy, stupid. I have trouble trusting devices. I turned on my Garmin watch and my Strava iPhone app at the same time. Garmin recorded 42.8 km and Strava 43.2 km. So that’s annoying. The times, however, are both pretty close to the finish line clock (I was a bit preoccupied and initially forgot to turn them off), which means that over the course of a 42.2 kilometre course I ran an extra 500 to 1,000 metres by not choosing the most economical line. That’s a lot. I wanted to run 3:29:00 and I really don’t have any particular reason why I chose that time except that it seemed like a good number. I also wanted to run an average 5:00/km pace. If you’re even okay at math you know those don’t work out, especially with the economy issue I just mentioned. Strava says I ran 4:59/km for a marathon +1. Yeah I don’t trust it, but I’ll take it. I wrote earlier about my taper and I really don’t know about it. I don’t think I ran enough the week of the race but I have nothing to compare it too since this was my first time running an effing marathon. I ran a marathon. Forty-two kilometres for my 42nd year alive. I still think that’s crazy.

In February of this year, when I was chasing Sasquatch in the snow around Harrison Hot Springs still feeling sorry for myself for the First Half getting canceled due to weather, I was still saying  that I couldn’t imagine ever being interested in running a marathon, and sitting here typing this I can’t imagine never running another one. I’m thinking of a BQ for BMO 2018. It could happen.