2018 week seven

Books Read:
7. American War — Omar El Akkad

Kilometres Ran:
week seven — 0

To date: 249 KM

Kilometres bicycled week seven: 103.4

When number forty-five was elected president I believed (hoped, maybe?) that the west coast states would secede. Or at least break out into civil war. It still could happen. I’m not so sure about British Columbia joining Cascadia but whatever. But now with this ridiculous trade war over wine and oil that B.C. is caught up in with the petulant, spoilt child that is Alberta, who knows. American War imagines America has finally caught up with reality and sees no future in fossil fuels but the South loses its mind being told it has to drive solar cars and so there’s a civil war. Sounds familiar, except wine. Or maybe sounds ominous. The book follows the life of Sarat Chestnut, not a northerner and not quite a southerner either. I really liked this book — a post-apocalyptic hellscape sans the nuclear winter. The scenario actually seems more plausible than the impending radioactive mass extinction that we’re currently potentially facing. For better or for worse (as far as reading is concerned, for worse) American War drew me back into playing Fallout 4. As if I needed another excuse. I thought this book was great, especially for being El Akkad’s first novel. His depiction of the war-torn South is vivid and the characters are very well developed. Plus a strong female protagonist that I cared about in spite of disagreeing with her. This is a good read.

Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment

I took the week off running after the knee twist and shout at the First Half last week. A trip to physio and for some ultrasound and electroshock therapy helped a bit. Dr. Physio and I had an honest and frank discussion. I have three races on the horizon: West Van 10K is one I’m not happy to but willing to burn. My eye is still on the BMO in May, but I’m starting to think half instead of full, and then a full in Kelowna or Victoria in the fall. Then Helsinki is towards the end of May and I really, really don’t want to be traipsing around Skandinavia on a reruined knee.

Good news is that Dr. Physio ruled out ACL or any tearing, but clearly my meniscus is not so happy. She said I can swim, but I hate swimming, and she said I can ride my bicycle. I don’t mind riding my bicycle so I did a fair amount of that. But I also went for a tour of the YWCA Health + Fitness Centre down on Hornby — the one I walk past going to and from physio. It seems nice, and SC has been going steady there longer than with me. She seems to like it, and it’s nearly half the cost of the Robert Lee YM on Burrard. So I’m considering forcing myself to go swim once or twice a week, hate it or not, and it will be nice to have access to bikes for those rainy days, even if those bikes go nowhere.

2018 week five

Book Read:
5. Find You in the Dark — Nathan Ripley

Kilometres Ran:
week five — 29.3

To date: 194 KM

This book showed up on both the Globe and Mail‘s and CBC’s “anticipated books of the first half of 2018,” which I don’t recall seeing from either of them for any other year or portion thereof but it could just be that I missed all the other ones though if indeed it is the first such list for both what layers of coincidence. I managed to wrangle myself a advanced/review copy (thanks Simon & Schuster!), which is a first for this blog…now in its third year…send me your books and I’ll maybe read and write some nonsense about them…. This is Nathan Ripley’s debut novel, whose real name is Naben Ruthnum and is certainly not his debut. Doppelganger debut. Anticipated though? I think this was originally titled Scrapbook and if that’s the case then I guess waiting since at least 2013 around when Ruthnum won the Journey Prize makes it anticipated. Anyway, Ripley creates this character Martin whom is so unlikeable that in the moments of suspense, or at least what I thought were meant to be suspenseful, I found myself hoping that the implied terrible things about to happen to Martin happened. The story is rather unique and I cannot write much about it here without giving stuff away, but there are some fantastic elements that even for one (like me) who is comfortable and capable of suspending reality may find rather far-fetched. The dialogue between Martin and his partner Ellen is at times pretty unbelievable. It’s nearly as bad as Martin’s internal monologue. Maybe because it’s in (Martin) first person? The book oscillates between Martin’s PoV and third-person narrative and it’s these the third-person parts that are the best of the book, especially the work and personal relationship between the two detectives Sandra and Chris. They’re so much more interesting than Martin. I could really go for more Sandra and Chris. The novel is fine. It’s a pretty quick and entertaining read. If there’s a sequel, I really hope its focus is Sandra and Chris.

Right after this photo trying to put my phone away I spiked it onto the ground and then kicked it through a puddle. Still works though.

One week until First Half half marathon and the forecast today calls for rain and maybe snow, but surely not snow like last year. I’ve contented myself with the fact that it’s going to be a long slow day next Sunday; I’m okay with that. But 12 weeks from the BMO Marathon does weigh a bit on my mind. I have started looking at alternative opportunities outside the Lower Mainland in the fall to achieve my 2018 goals. On the Seawall this morning I came upon a Sun Run training group and I got to wondering why trainers don’t bother to start with a little running etiquette 101 that includes stay to the right, pass on the left, and don’t run more than two abreast. That’s not so hard is it?

2017 Year in Review

My stated goal was to read 95 books or at least 61 books to beat last year. I ended up with 34 and during compiling the list below I notices that I am not good at counting. I can blame it on the fact that the book that messed up the count is not yet published and therefore in not a Goodreads yet, which I used for tracking my reading for the first time this year.

Books Read: 34

Tally-ho:
About Running: 2
Poetry: 8
Non-Fiction: 14
By Not Straight White Dudes: 18

The List:
1. Mister Pip — Lloyd Jones
2. The Princess Diarist — Carrie Fisher
3. The Long Tomorrow — Leigh Brackett
4. Nutshell — Ian McEwan
5. Inside of a Dog — Alexandra Horowitz
6. On Bullshit — Harry Frankfurt
7. The Last Gang in Town — Aaron Chapman
8. How Proust Can Change Your Life — Alain de Botton
9. In Persuasion Nation — George Saunders
10. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil — George Saunders
11. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse — Ed. John Joseph Adams
12. Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person — Daniel Zomparelli
13. Ultramarathon Man — Dean Karnazes
14. The Mercy Journals — Claudia Casper
15. The Hatred of Poetry — Ben Lerner
16. 10:04 — Ben Lerner
17. White Noise — Don Delilo
18. 3 Summers — Lisa Robertson
19. The Disappearing Spoon — Sam Kean
20. Same Diff — Donato Mancini
21. Bad Feminist — Roxane Gay
22. The Mood Embosser — Louis Cabri
23. Why I am not a Feminist — Jessa Crispin
24. The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood
25. Hysteric — Nelly Arcan
26. Chinese Blue — Weyman Chan
27. On the Line (Review Copy) — Rod Mickleburgh
28. Get Me Out of Here — Sachiko Murakami
29. From the Poplars — Cecily Nicholson
30. Human Resources — Rachel Zolf
31. Rue — Melissa Bull
32. Don’t Tell Me What to Do — Dina Del Bucchia
33. Homage to Catalonia — George Orwell
34. Running: A Love Story — Jen A. Miller
35. Notes from a Feminist Killjoy — Erin Wunker

Pretty Good Year

*The 2017 First Half was canceled due to weather; this time represents the Forerunners First Half social race-replacement run.

The morning before I flew to Copenhagen for the September half marathon I injured my knee. I ran anyway. And in the craziest race (experience?) of my life, ran a new personal best at 21.1 KM. Then I came home and, while knee still hurt all the time except when running I raced the Thanksgiving 10 KM and ran a new personal best and landed my first top-ten category finish. I wanted to run 2,600 KM in 2017, and I was on pace to run over 3,000 but then after some gentle prodding I swallowed my pride and went to physiotherapy. I took a break, took some X-Rays, took some bike rides, and fell behind. I’m not healed, but I’m better. And in spite of not meeting my goal, I accomplished a lot that I’ve rather proud of. Running my first marathon. Running the Copenhagen Half Marathon. Writing about running Copenhagen for Canadian Running.

Kilometres Ran in 2017: 2,538

Some 2017 stats according to Strava:
Runs: 195
Running time: 203 HRS
Elevation gained: 30,935 M
Average distance/run: 13.3 KM
Runs 20 KM or farther: 31

I made a few resolutions last year and didn’t do very well, so I’ve adjusted some expectations for this year. In 2017 (and 2016 for that matter) I found that if I hadn’t read anything I was less likely to write anything here. With that in mind, for 2018 I want to read a book a week and write here once a week and keep running as much as my aging body allows. And faster and farther than last year.

Goals for 2018:
Read 52 books
Write 52 posts
Run 2018 KM
Also run 2018 miles (¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Run 10 KM in 39:59 or faster
Run 21.1 KM in 1:29:59 or faster
Run 42.2 KM in 3:14:59 or faster
Oh and there’s still that needlepoint ambition from 2017….

Fall Classic and Falling Behind

Books Read:
33. Running: A Love Story — Jen A. Miller
34. Notes from a Feminist Killjoy — Erin Wunker

Kilometres Ran:
week forty five — 38.2
week forty six — 16
week forty seven — 0
week forty eight — 8.3
week forty nine — 20.5
week fifty — 32.6

To date: 2,458 km

I haven’t written anything here in a month and a half and I wanted to get one more post in before my end of the year review that will probably come out on January 1 or 2, or whenever I motivate myself to review this year that was. I thought that Miller’s memoir was light and entertaining, though some reviews online were less than please with the amount of attention spent on her multiple failed relationships. The two of you that have been reading this blog since its inception will know about my own correlation between a toxic relationship demise and transforming from casual jogger into runner, and then the subsequent self-admission much later on. I don’t recall focusing on it much and I will not regale here. Suffice it to say I found Miller’s memoir hit close to home on some points but not in a PTSD sort of way. I wanted to read the Wunker and then won a copy at the season wrap of the Real Vancouver Writers Series. People complained in reviews that Notes is, well, notes. I liked it. I found it very pithy and wise with a Nietzsche-Gay-Science-esque quality of style. I was less attracted to the third part about feminist parenting because I have no interest in parenting. At all.

I ran the Fall Classic 10 KM and completed the RunVan Hat Trick, and while my time I cannot call disappointing I did run several minutes slower that the Turkey Trot 10 KM just a few weeks earlier. It is equally amazing and amazingly frustrating how quickly my stamina has diminished since cutting then quitting running while trying to nurse my knee back to not-hurting-all-the-time-except-when-running. If losing my endurance is the most frustrating, the annoyance that my knee hurt all the time since mid September except when I’m running, is a very close second most. I ran twice after the Fall Classic and then went to physio and ended up back at square one and I think my physiotherapist was as frustrated as me. So I took the rest of the month off. I’m slowly easing myself back into it. Slowly as in way to slow for my head, but a bit more quickly than my physiotherapist would like. I’m trying to find the balance of the two. That means that I’m not going to meet my goal of 2,600 KM in 2017, but I’m okay with that. I’m not great with that, but I’m already looking forward to 2018. The Vancouver First Half is just eight weeks away, and then the BMO Marathon is 12 weeks after that. Time to get my legs and lungs back.