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….

On Passing 2,000 km and Stuff

Stuff Read:

27. Get Me Out of Here — Sachiko Murakami

One thousand five hundred twenty three pages of Early Career Development (studio arts) BC Arts Council grant applications

Kilometres Ran:
week thirty four — 55.9
week thirty five — 42.6

To date: 2,021 km

The first couple days holed up in the Victoria offices of the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development I managed to escape down the street and around the corner during lunch hour to spend my per diem at Russell Books and I picked up a copy of Murakami’s collection of poems (among others). I have travel on my mind, as it is one week until I get on a plane for CPH via RKV. That’s Copenhagen via Reykjavík. What, you didn’t know that? Neither did I. And I sort of wish that Murakami had included a glossary of airport codes in her book, but it was otherwise fine. Fun and fine. A break from the mountain of grant applications that I was adjudicating. And before you get all confidentiality apparently, I’m allowed to say that it happened and that it was for the Early Career Development program and, well, that’s pretty much all that I’m allowed to say about it. Suffice it to say, though, there are some pretty excellent young artists in this province that are going to make Montreal or Berlin very proud once Vision Vancouver finishes selling off this city completely. Excellent stuff, really. This was my third jury, and in spite of the daunting commitment it is one of the most rewarding experiences. I’d almost do it for free. Actually, i don’t really want to do the math. I’m pretty sure it’s below minimum wage if you put any sort of effort into it. And I’m the reigning heavyweight champion of imposter syndrome. There was effort.

And while there on the last day of August with the sun setting in the wildfire haze blowing in from central B.C. and with the Legislature behind me I ran past 2,000 kilometres so far this year. So about four months ahead of last year, and about 275 kilometres ahead of my pace to reach 2,600 by December 31. I celebrated with a glass of wine in my hotel room at the Royal Scot, peering into Acrobat Reader on my Macbook Air. I only ran 42.6 this week, which is off of the 50 per week that I’m aiming for, but I’m fine with that since I am so far ahead but I’m also looking forward to a few things, the impending one being the Copenhagen Half on the 17th. It’s way too early to be tapering. Which brings up something else: On Sunday, September 10 there is a fun run on Strava “to be part of a global attempt to set the record for the most half marathons completed in one day” and I’ve signed up for fun and I’m wondering how stupid it is to run a half marathon seven days before racing a half marathon. Because initially I thought that Copenhagen would be a fun run and I wouldn’t try to kill myself but as it gets closer I’ve gotten the urge to try to break 1:38 and I think I can do it but I wonder if The Great 13.1 Record is going to mess it up. I have no idea. I have a few days to figure it out. I’d ask for comments but I know that no one actually reads these.

Summertime Slacker

Books Read:

25. Hysteric — Nelly Arcan
26. Chinese Blue — Weyman Chan
27. Forthcoming organized labour history book

Kilometres Ran:
week thirty — 58.3
week thirty one — 56
week thirty two — 69.7
week thirty three — 56.6

To date: 1,922 km

So rather than read and write about it I decided that since I’ve barely read anything there wasn’t much point in writing about how I’ve barely read anything. So I didn’t. As you can see. Does anyone enjoy reading Nelly Arcan? Are you even allowed to enjoy reading her? I think I have two left to read of hers. Her work is so good but so heavy and depressing. I got to see and hear Weyman Chan read at the Talonbooks launch for Human Tissue, which I also purchased along with Chinese Blue but haven’t read yet. But I will, not least because Chinese Blue is so damn good. Trudging through nearly 400 pages of MS Word manuscript is rarely enjoyable, but I find the subject matter very interesting. I hope it gets published. And properly edited. You know, unlike this blog.

In three week I fly to Copenhagen for the Copenhagen Half Marathon on September 17 and I’m pretty excited about that. Travelling gives me an excuse to update my wardrobe, so travelling for a race must mean new running gear, right? It’s not like I need a new pair of racing flats but that didn’t stop me from picking up a second pair of the Adios 3. Plus they were on sale. I’ve been very curious about On Running shoes since their propaganda somehow started ending up in my Gmail inbox. They’re a bit pricey to just take a chance on, which makes me lament that there’s no test drive for running shoes. And then, as if my mind had been read, on Thursday at Forerunners on West 4th’s sunset run On was supposed to be on hand to demo their line up so I showed up. On, however, did not. But I had a good time anyway, with a short 9 km out to Spanish Banks and back to the store. The group is really friendly, and the run met at 7:30 p.m. rather than the typical 6:00 p.m. that every club seems to love but precludes me from being able to participate. I make it sound as if I would if I could. I’ve written here before, and numerous times, how I enjoy running for its solitude, But once in a while it’s nice to get out and be around people that also like to run. I do not know very many.

forty two by forty two week two

Books Read:
10. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil — George Saunders

Kilometres Ran:
week eleven — 12

To date: 575 km

If I was going to make it to 95 books in 2017 I would need to be currently read my twenty-first right now to be on pace. I am not going to make it to 95 books. I realize that there are still forty-one weeks to go and there are a lot of poetry books out there that really deserve to be read. I have a couple that still are on the to-read. I’ve been reading a lot about running (duh) and one thing that came up a few times is that training plans should be written in pencil. I think that extends to life in general. Set goals in pen. Make plans in pencil. Phil kept bringing to mind the guy with the flowers in the banned Appetite for Destruction album cover art. So thanks for that George.

And then I got really sick, which really sucks. A chest cold like nothing that I’ve ever experienced before and hope to never experience again. I spend a while trying to appease my confirmation bias searching fruitlessly on Google for a reputable-sounding article that said that it was fine for me to run with the kind of sick symptoms that I had and I couldn’t find anything. And I really tried. But everything just said don’t be an idiot just rest and recover or you’re going to make it worse. So I did. And hence I ran 12 kilometres this week. My training plan called for 80-something. I’m concerned about missing a whole week with only six weeks to go until BMO.