I received an advance copy of this new David Means book of short stories. I was previously unaware of him or his work and I am not sure that I’ll bother to pursue any more after trudging my way through this collection. I see that he branched out briefly from short stories to write a novel that was nominated for the Man Booker. Perhaps that one is worth a look. Means has quite the résumé and I feel like I should have liked this a lot more than I did. The title story was dark and funny and okay, and I also liked “The Terminal Artist” about a serial-killer nurse. But I spent so much time going through this collection like running in the pool. So much work for so little satisfaction and often seeming to get nowhere. Then one day I was clicking through the Guardian online and came across this Tom Gauld comic and thought yep. But what do I know. Anyway, thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the review copy.
I bicycled a lot less and ran a bit more this week. The bicycling less due to the torrential albeit prototypical rains that have arrived in Vancouver, well, let’s be honest, about a month later than usual. So October was spectacular and I ran a grand total of 72 KM so I feel rather ripped off. But things are starting to feel a bit better so on Hallowe’en I took a Mobi bike from the station around the corner from my place and rode down to Sunset Beach and (since I missed the actual one this year) I ran the Ghost Race segment from Burrard Bridge out to Third Beach and back and it didn’t suck. I was slow and exhausted but the pain was manageable and knees and stuff worked the way they’re supposed to work.
Now I just need to not rush stuff. And with that in mind I did not run the Fall Classic this year but instead after wasting my extra hour of sleep from daylight savings time change overnight I got up at the crack of dawn to watch the NY Marathon on television and then bicycled up to UBC (PS Arbutus to UBC up 16th sucks BTW) to catch the half marathon and 10K finishers and then bicycled back home plus a loop around Stanley Park Drive and then had a snack and a short nap and then went a ran a 10K loop around the Park and wondered why I was so exhausted that I barely ran it sub-50. I’m taking tomorrow off.
Tanya Tagaq is probably better known as the Inuk throat singer who won the 2014 Polaris Prize for her album Animism. This is her first book and don’t be surprised if it takes home a few awards too. (Long-listed for the 2018 Giller Prize it did not make the short list unfortunately.) Like her music, Tagaq smashes together multiple genres, telling the story of a young girl growing up in Nunavut in the 1970s. I like this book a lot. I like how she weaves memoir and mythology with bit of poetry to tell the her story. I look forward to more lit from her.
Another week without any running as this nagging injury continues to nag. Worst of all, the weather this October has been nothing short of spectacular. In fact I think that the only day of rain the entire month so far was the day of the Victoria Marathon. With weather like this I’ve done all I can to take advantage and with this knee pain that does not seem to want to go away that means riding my bicycle as much as possible. So I commuted to and from the office every workday this week, plus rides around UBC and Stanley Park. I figure I’ve only got another couple rides before the weather turns. Daylight savings is right around the corner too which isn’t going to help on the long ride home in the evenings. While it’s been fun pedalling around, setting new segment PBs on Strava, and trying to maintain my fitness, I really long for a good run. I missed the Ghost Race this year (which ended today) and I had a couple fun races for fall that I was eying up. Fortunately, it seems, I didn’t pay the entry. But I did pay for the Fall Classic, and it looks like I’m going to be two-for-two tapping out of the half marathon. It’s coming up in just two weeks and I just don’t see it happening again this year. I’m sure I could finish but I’m not interested in prolonging another injury through the winter. That could change but I’m resigned to the notion that my next race is going to be the Icebreaker 8K in January, followed by the First Half when I’ll have another shot at a sub 90 half marathon. Any I’m okay with that. Mostly okay.
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.
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.