32. Homage to Catalonia — George Orwell
week forty two — 0
week forty three — 10
week forty four — 33
To date: 2,342 km
A year and a bit ago I went to Barcelona and before I went I decided that I would pick up a couple books not necessarily about Barcelona but with some connection to there. I ended up with The Shadow of the Wind and Homage to Catalonia. I read Shadow and it was pretty awful. And Homage sat on my shelf and then suddenly Catalonia was in the news and so I figured it was a good time to get some back story. The book is pretty great, and so relevant to today, not least for the fact that the Left still cannot get its collective shit together and just work towards a common goal rather than fighting about every little nuance of disagreement. So some things never change.
I went to physio and the physio said, no more … well what actually happened is that I said that I was a bit concerned that I was going to run terribly at the Fall Classic and was feeling really out of shape and that I maybe wasn’t so concerned about my knee, because I have self-detrimental willpower when it comes to running (which is probably partly why I’m in this mess in the first place) and she said maybe you should switch to the 10 km. That’s what she said. So I did and for a little bit there I felt like a bit of a fraud claiming the RunVan Hat Trick because I wasn’t running the half but then I figured that if I’d run the BMO Half rather than the full marathon in the spring I wouldn’t think my hat trick was a fraud so I’ve managed to justify that BMO Full + Turkey Trot + Fall Classic 10KM does = legitimate hat trick. Still wanted to run the half though. Still disappointed.
Some Stuff Read:
The Voyeur’s Motel — Gay Talese — New Yorker, April 11, 2016
Rachel Maddow Interview — Playboy (USA), March 2016
The Morning After — Karl Ove Knausgaard — Playboy (USA), March 2016
What XOXO Really Means — Emma Rathbone — New Yorker, April 18, 2016
The Assad Files — Ben Taub — New Yorker, April 18, 2016
Binge-watching Game of Thrones — Clive James — New Yorker, April 18, 2016
these weeks — 31.15
to date — 456.27
I’m sort of cheating putting two weeks into one post but I was traveling eight of the fourteen days and it seemed an easy way to get past this little blip in my reading-running-writing endeavor, so here it is. I didn’t read much before, during or after my jaunt to Barcelona. Before was overly occupied with getting ready to go. During was entirely occupied with doing stuff. And after was recuperation, and, let’s be honest, getting caught up on The Division. If you don’t know what that is, that’s ok. Anyway, I knew I wasn’t going to read much so I only took my iPad, preloaded with a few books I thought that I might attempt, along with the new, no-nudie March issue of Playboy I managed to procure on PDF (ahem…) and a full-access New Yorker app graciously given to me by the lovely SC. I didn’t read any of the books. I find it difficult to read books on airplanes for whatever reason. I did consume a bunch of articles, a few of which I listed above, in the order I recall that I read them. I think. The Voyeur’s Motel was entirely captivating from start to finish. I’d very curious to read the book, but I wonder if the article was just the right length. I’m not sure it needs a book. Maybe. I quite like Rachel Maddow, and I enjoyed her interview. She’s a lot smarter than I thought, and I thought she was pretty damn smart. Does Knausgaard really expect me to believe he was in his 20s before he masturbated for the first time? Really? Creative non-fiction indeed…. For a short bit I signed emails Godspeed. It didn’t make the list, but I thought what Rathbone included was pretty great. Assad is terrifying. I had no idea. I had a bit of an idea. But didn’t think it was this bad. But I also wonder if it was a propaganda piece. James’ rundown made me want to re-binge-watch Game of Thrones in advance of the new season starting up in a couple weeks. That’s definitely going to cut into my reading time.
I ran three times, including today. I didn’t run at all in Barcelona. The Sun Run is on Sunday and while I’m not worried about it I really want to smash my last year’s time and I’m not feeling overly confident that I’m going to do all that well. A year ago I’d run 10 km less than a half dozen times in my life. Now a 10 km run is my short run. I find it incredible how much I’ve progressed in the past year. I certainly don’t regret the time off in Barcelona, but I think next year I’ll plan my spring trip a week or two earlier. I also wish that I would have run in Barcelona, and I think I’m going to make an effort to run at least once where ever I travel from now on, just for the experience of doing it. Turns out we stayed not too far from some great running and I sort of feel like I missed out.
24. The Shadow of the Wind — Carlos Ruiz Zafon
this week — 46.08
to date — 425.12
Sometimes I’m reading a book and I think that it’s going to get better or at least I’m hoping that it’s going to get better and sometimes it does and other times it does not and then I get to wondering if I’ve wasted my time and if I just should have stopped reading this book that I’m not really enjoying and forego the sense of accomplishment that comes with being able to put down a book as finished rather than as abandoned. I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t get into it, and as a result it sucked up way too much of my time. Mostly because I tended to avoid reading it. And to say that I read it is a stretch. To say I skimmed the last half of the book is probably also a stretch. I don’t know what it was about it that I didn’t enjoy. Maybe it was that I didn’t find the attempts at suspense suspenseful. Maybe the mystery wasn’t very mysterious. I’ve disliked characters a lot more than I disliked this guy. Maybe I didn’t dislike him enough. I don’t think I found him emotionally engaging at all, like or dislike. And (I think I mentioned this last week) I found the dialogue mundane and pandering to the reader. Perhaps it was the translation. I don’t know. I’d wanted to be excited by the book about going to Barcelona next week. I am excited, but not because of the book. Alas.
Normally here is where I steal a running photo and insert some completely non-related quote from whatever I’ve been reading into the photo as a sort of mock motivational image, but I’m not going to this week. I did it last week, and I don’t think this book deserves two. And I’m feeling lazy.
Not too lazy, though, but perhaps a bit tired because this is one of the best weeks for running that I’ve had so far this year, including another half-marathon-plus at a decent pace that makes me think that the impending BMO on May 1 isn’t going to be so bad, though that’s still a bit away. But I’ve done two half-marathons now in the past couple weeks and if nothing else I have the mental side covered in that I’ve no doubt in my mind that I am going to be able to run it and finish it and maybe even finish in a decent time. We’ll see, since with this trip overseas looming I’ve a bit of a break from my running routine to get past, and then I have to get motivated to get back into it when I return. The head games that I play with myself seem to be my greatest obstacle.
24. The Shadow of the Wind — Carlos Ruiz Zafon (in progress)
this week — 36.31
to date — 379.04
I’m going to Barcelona for a week in a couple weeks and I wanted to read about Barcelona so I picked up The Shadow of the Wind and George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia and, perhaps, made the mistake of starting with the Zafon book. It’s okay, but I’m finding it a slow read. Mind you, it is quite a bit longer than the average book I’ve been reading of late. But I’m not really getting into it so I find that I’m not looking forward to reading it as much as I probably should. By Jonathan Ball’s “rules” in 95 Books I probably should have just given up. The story is interesting but somewhat formulaic and some of the dialogue is patronizing. Maybe it gets better.
I ran a half marathon this week not to see if I could but to see if I felt like dying in the hours and day or so afterward and it wasn’t that bad. My time was alright too. When I signed up back in December to run the BMO half I estimated that it would take me about two hours so I entered my time guess as 1:59 and it turns out that was rather conservative. But I’m not really sure what I should be aiming for. I don’t have a goal in mind at this point and I wonder if that’s not a good approach to be taking. I’m thinking that I should aim for something between 1:45 and 1:49 for the BMO and then try to beat whatever time when I do the Scotiabank half near the end of June. Though I’m really going to have to figure out hydration if I want to not die during a summertime half marathon. I’m really bad at the science of running. I liked running because I could just go do it and that was that but now I have to warm up and stretch after and eat and drink “properly” and pay attention to what I eat before I run (usually nothing, which is probably a problem too) and strength training between run days and blah blah blah. It’s more work than I’d anticipated. I didn’t really anticipate anything–just point my shoes and go. I’ve learned the hard way that there’s much more to it than that.