I’m still reading Roger Robinson’s When Running Made History and it seems sort of fitting that I finish it and write about it next week. I haven’t read much this week but I did pick up a read a pretty great Haruki Murakami short story called “The Wind Cave” in the September 3 issue of the New Yorker and you can read it too here if you haven’t already used up your free articles this month however many that is (five?) but it’s also October tomorrow so new month! or you could clear your cache and browser history or you know get a VPN or something. Or get a subscription and then randomly pick up an issue from a few issues ago from your coffee table one night when the power has gone out and you’re sitting in your darkened apartment with a few bottles of slowly warming ginger beer and a Petzl headlamp. Or just read it online.
I’m tapering and by tapering I also mean trying to rehab a knee enough to convince it to work for just 194 minutes, give or take, next weekend. In spite of that, it was a busy week. I bought a new bicycle, one with more than one gear, which is nice. I decided to try out the indoor pool in my new-to-me building for a few laps of pool jogging and pool jogging sucks but it felt good so I’ll probably do it again (a lot again). And today I ran the North Van Run 10K and it was really great. This week has been a mental drag as I second guess myself on whether or not I’m going to meet my goals in the Victoria Marathon next weekend. Recap: Goal 1) run a BQ which means 3:14:59 or faster Goal 2) set a new PB which means 3:34:40 r faster Goal 3) don’t die. More on Goal 1 later. My plan for today was to run the first 5 KM at goal marathon pace and then run the second 5 KM faster. And it worked beautifully and was a lot of fun. At 5 KM I was right on 4:37/KM average pace and then I followed that with my third fastest 5 KM for a chip finish 43:46 good enough for 28 overall and 8 in my age group (my age group winner was the overall winner at who finished just over ten minutes before me). The weather was awful but I don’t mind running in the rain. The finish on this course, though, is ace. The last 1,500 metres are a nice downhill onto the straightway to the end of Burrard Dry Dock Pier looking out across the harbour to downtown Vancouver. I think it’s the best finish line I’ve run through.
I’m especially happy with my result today because of how everything felt at the start and throughout. Lately I’ve had to fight through pain for the first couple kilometres before everything loosened up but today I felt great through warm up and from the gun. It wasn’t easy to hold back and stick to my race plan; the NVR course is slopey but fast and I’m sure I could have set a new PB out there today. But I definitely didn’t want to blow a tyre a week before chasing a BQ in Victoria. I definitely got a confidence boost from today, but 3:14 is still very ambitious. Then the news this week: BQ times for 2019 are minus 4:52, and they’ve dropped the standard across the board by five minutes for 2020. I’m not interested in running Boston 2019 or 2020. But I want to run that BQ time. But I’m not running 3:09 in Victoria next weekend. But I want to end this somewhat positively so I’ll say that I’m still looking forward to crushing my first marathon time.
this week — 34.21
to date — 515.63
Alright so I’m in a bad mood. I’ll get to that later. Anyway, Murakami. I think that the first thing that I heard about this book was, “Not his best work.” Suffice it to say that Murakami fans seem to dislike What I Talk About When I Talk About Running; however, I am not a Murakami fan. That sounds bad so let me qualify. I’m reminded of being much younger and person X asks me if I like band Y and I have never heard band Y and therefore I have no opinion of band Y so I reply, “No, I do not like them.” Which is then interpreted as I hate band Y when in fact I simply do not like band Y because I have never heard [of] band Y. I neither dislike nor like band Y. I have no opinion. But the question was, do you like band Y. To which the only answer is, “Nope, I do not like them.” So I digress. I cannot tell you much about Murakami, or if this book is any good within the context of his catalogue, but I can honestly say it is my favourite book of his that I’ve read. I will even go so far as to say that I found this book, not inspirational, but motivating, and I can see myself going back to it from time to time. I didn’t like all of it, for instance I found the bit in the last third or so where he posits some doubt about global warming and tries to imply that the scientific consensus on the matter is not really a consensus, and really, really makes himself look like an ignorant ass, a bit trying given his massive influence and readership. But there it is. Maybe that’s why it’s not his best work. I should read some more and decide for myself. As far as books about running go, it was pretty good. Yesterday on the bus and Skytrain I read The Hatch and then last night I went to the 2016 Talonbooks spring launch and last year Colin Brown headlines the launch with readings from The Hatch and all that is to say that it took me a year to get around to reading Brown’s book. I think I need to revisit it and explore more of the Surrealist themes, but I probably won’t because there’s a lot of other stuff to read. But I liked it. Brown is one of those interesting characters in my life. We all know people that we mostly only know from social media and seeing them in the real world is sometimes weird. I especially like to make it weird because I have zero qualms about saying hello and trying to have a conversation with someone that I “only” know on social media. The results vary. Brown is in a different category, though, because he is an active member of the board of The Capilano Review society for which I was the managing editor for over two years, and yet interacting with him outside of a Capilano Review context always seems to inspire the “social media friend” reaction. “Hi Colin.” But in all honesty it could just be that he has no idea who I am. His book is good though. You should read it.
So I mentioned that I’m in a bad mood and the reason I’m in a bad mood is because I went for a run today for what was supposed to be me last or second-to-last run before the BMO Half Marathon on Sunday and at around kilometre six my knee started saying, “Nope” and by seven-and-a-half it was definitively NOPE and for the first time since I started running seriously I had to stop and walk. I ended up walking about two kilometres of my 12.5 km route and I’m not happy and I’m really concerned that Sunday is going to be ruined by this stupid knee. So I’m in a bad mood. Oh but I broke 500 km so far this year this week.