2018 week twenty nine

Books Read:
36. Nightwood — Djuna Barnes
37. The Book of Repulsive Women — Djuna Barnes
(Links to free PDF from Green Integer Press.)

Kilometres Ran:
week twenty nine — 45.8

To date: 1,460 KM

Back in June the Lit Hub Daily newsletter reminded me that 126 years ago Djuna Barnes was born, and of course I’m using reminded loosely, and I was reminded that I should probably get around to finally reading Nightwood and why not follow that up with some Repulsive Women. Nightwood is a rather dense peice of metafiction that primarily follows Robin Vote around Continental Europe during the years between the two World Wars. I made the mistake of underestimating its under 200 pages. I found this book to be a lot of work, but worth it in the end. At the polar opposite of the spectrum, and Barnes’ career for the matter (one if not her first book) is The Book of Repulsive Women, which is comprised of eight poems accompanied by five ink drawings. This you can read in a single coffee. The imagery and themes in the pages of Repulsive are fully fleshed out years later in Nightwood.

At the start line, with the pulp mill cloud maker on the hill hard at work.

This morning I woke at 4:30 a.m. to prepare for a short drive from downtown Kamloops over to the North Shore and MacArthur Island Park for the 6 a.m. start of the Kamloops Marathon half marathon because Kamloops is hot at the end of July and I happened to be in town and I was born and lived there for over 30 years so I thought it would be fun to run a race there. So let’s unpack that ramble. The race started at 6 a.m. because on a normal July weekend it would be nearly or over 30 degrees by noon. I assume they were aiming for a cool morning start. At 6 a.m. there are also fewest monster trucks on the road that the race shares. It was a perfect morning, clear, calm and about 14 degrees. Kamloops sits in the Thompson River valley and the mountains were still shading much of the course. The course loops out of MacArthur Island Park, through North Kamloops out-and-back along Westsyde Drive and along the shore of the North Thompson River to where it meets the Thompson and back into MacArthur Island Park. It’s a very scenic course, not to mention flat and fast. Well mostly flat. There’s one hill at 5 KM and I wouldn’t characterize the City’s infrastructure “well maintained.” There was some pothole dodging.
I thought the vintage Joy Division t-shirt was a nice touch.

I set a goal this year to run a sub 90 minute half marathon and after having to adjust and realign I decided to chase that in Kamloops today. It started well and I was having a good time and making good time for the first half or so and then things started to fall apart a bit. I’m not making excuses, because I’m chalking these up to learning experience. Two things: fuelling, and O2. Fuelling: This is my third race not at home. My previous two I’ve rented suites with a kitchen. This time around, I stayed in a hotel and I did not eat properly Friday and Saturday. I paid the price when I started to bonk. I set out to run 4:16/KM splits, and ran 4:33 at 12 KM. I tried to recover but my tank was mostly fumes. O2: I train at 0-50 metres elevation. Kamloops is around 350 metres. I thought it might be a factor, but I didn’t really think it would be a factor. Then at around 15 KM I started to feel like as asthmatic. I couldn’t catch my breath and by 17/18 KM I had a bit of a wheeze on my inhale. It was a really strange experience. I can fix the fuelling, but other than acclimatizing I’m not sure how to handle the O2 piece. If that’s even what it really was. Who knows?
Missed the ceremony to get back to Vancouver but still got the Gold AG Medal.

So I didn’t run sub 90 minutes. But I had a great time on a great course and in the midst of not doing what I had set out to do I did a some other firsts. I ran a new personal best, shaving a hair thin four seconds off my previous best time, and in the process I was first in my age category (my first award finish) and I finished 11th overall. I make fun of Kamloops, but this was a really great race. It’s very well organized and the course is pretty great. It’s a hidden gem. I will definitely run it again. Especially since I have both a title to defend and some unfinished business.

2018 week twenty eight

Book Read:
35. Runner: Harry Jerome, World’s Fastest Man — Norma Charles

Kilometres Ran:
week twenty eight — 47.0

To date: 1,414 KM

Weeks like these I’m very glad to be ahead in my reading goal. I didn’t know this was a children’s book. I just knew that it was nominated for a 2018 BC Book Prize. That it is a children’s book I figured out in the first few paragraphs, unlike, for instance, by the fact that it was nominated for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. Anyway, the book is a biography-as-novel that tells the true story of Harry Jerome, a kid from Winnipeg whose family ends up in Vancouver, and who goes on to crush the 100 metres in the 1960s, earning the title World’s Fastest Man. There’s an excellent bronze statue of him at the 1 mile marker on the Stanley Park Seawall. I liked this book because I like Harry Jerome. I also like how well Norma Charles did capturing and presenting the ugly racism that Jerome faced throughout his career, and especially her presenting it in a way accessible to young readers. The book is a quick read–it is a children’s book after all. I think it’s worth reading at any age. I’ve made habit of late of linking the book I write about back to its publisher’s page whenever possible, and I have here as usual. I wanted to buy my copy straight from Red Deer Press. The problem is that the list price for the book is $12.95 but the shipping was an additional $19.07 so I bought it from the devil for $12.95 plus free shipping. I still feel bad about it. Sort of.

Slacking off in the sunshine.

Weeks like these I’m very glad to be ahead in my running goal. I’m 331 KM ahead of pace to reach 2,018 KM this year. However, I am 329 KM behind pace to reach 2,018 miles this year. And if I’m going to achieve my BQ goal in twelve weeks I’m going to need to have no more 47 KM weeks for at least the next 10 or so. The excuses for the paltry running this week are threefold. First, I spent today, AKA long-run Sunday, at the office, and now I’m typing instead of running. Second, instead of 8-12 KMs of hills on Thursday, I did the Grouse Grind, which is only a couple KMs. Or, according to Garmin, 1.9 KM. And third, my knee is acting up. This is the very frustrating since bad knee is right, but current acting up knee is left. So I’m trying to be careful with my load, while at the same time loading for Victoria Marathon, and staring down a 21.1 KM race in Kamloops in seven days. I was born and raised in Kamloops, but I’ve never run there unless you count my single day on the high school track team where I ran the 200 and 400 metres 25 years ago. So we’ll see what happens on July 22. The course is flat and fast, but it’s at elevation (only 345 metres, but that’s about 300 more than I’m used to) and, as usual for summer in B.C.’s interior, it’s going to be about 34 C and forest fire smokey. Should be great fun.