Sapiens seemed fitting to follow Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (except for the hurry part), not to mention that they both go by three names. Astrophysics talks about how we got here, and then Sapiens talks about what we’ve done since we got here. Which is basically just ruin everything. It’s not a happy book, in spite of the (rather failed) attempt to inject a happiness principle into the work in the second last chapter while at the same time attempting an argument that history should be concerned with happiness. I was not convinced. This book started great and then went steadily downhill. I appreciate that he labels capitalism a religion, less so his praise of it. The author’s abject cynicism builds throughout the book, culminating with his trepidation around genetic engineering and AI. I get that humans are awful but I don’t think I needed the last three-quarters of this book’s (rarely substantiated) opinion to get me to awfuller.
Pacific Road Runners First Half half marathon week. It started out pretty great. Physiotherapist suggested I stick to the trails for a bit. I opted for some hill work on the Avison Trail, and on Wednesday in the rain at the trail peak where it crosses the Causeway I found a $100 bill dropped no doubt by some poor well-heeled (oxymorons ftw) tourist. Friday and a 13.5 KM round-trip to Forerunners on Main to pick up my race package. My legs felt great. Saturday morning, my cold still above neck I went for a short shake out. My recovering right knee and left shin both felt great. Race morning I jogged down to the start line at the Roundhouse in Yaletown, checked my bag and made my way to the start corral with 10 minutes until gun. The corral was crowded as to be expected, when dude next to me pulls his shorts to the side and takes a piss on the ground then casually moves a few feet forward. Gross dude. Humans are awful. Guy behind me says, “Been racing for 40 years I’ve never seen that before.” (Waiting for race photos to be posted; if I can find him and I’m sure it’s him some shaming may ensue.)
My training has been weak with these two injuries and I was expecting this to be a slow race. I really wanted to be around 1:45 but was prepared to be close to 1:50. What I hadn’t considered, and really should have known considering the hours and KMs I’ve put on the segments, is that this is a very fast course, and the weather was perfect for a race. I’d written on my arm some somewhat ambitious distance times and was pretty happy to reach 10 KM about 30 second ahead of pace. Then disaster. Into 14 KM just past Siwash Rock, I still don’t know what happened but I had a little stumble. It felt like the inside of my knee gave out, or I twisted it, or I don’t know what. But it hurt a lot. I kept going. I don’t know if I would have if it had been just another day on the Seawall; I wanted to finish the race. I fought through the pain and kept going the last 7 KM with a sprint to the finish and crossed the line at 1:43:04 chip time.
Within minutes of finishing I could barely walk. Now 24 hours later and it’s still pretty bad. The pain kept me up all night and no amount of ice pack, heat pack, Advil, or Voltaren seems to do much. My physiotherapist said no running this week after the race. That’s fine because I can’t. I’m signed up for the West Van 10 KM in three weeks, and now 12 weeks out from the BMO Marathon. I think both are in serious jeopardy.
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.
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?
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.
It seems like I’ve been reading a lot when I put it here, but it doesn’t seem like a lot in real life (this isn’t real life this is the internet). Inside of a Dog was pretty good. It wasn’t really well written in that I think that it could have been maybe half its length, but it had a lot of information that I didn’t know, and I learned a few things that I thought I knew about dogs are, in fact, myth. I still don’t think I’ll get a mutt, but I’m closer to being talked into the idea. On Bullshit should be required reading for our time. Last Gang is about as much fun as nostalgia can be, I suppose. Proust didn’t change my life, but de Botton/Proust left me with some stuff to think about.
Running was pathetic, as you can see. I’m annoyed. I don’t know what I’m doing with this thing that I’m supposed to be doing called a “taper”. I’m probably doing it wrong. Week four was fine and then in week five I had planned to run Wednesday (and did) and then on Friday run over to Forerunners on West Fourth to pick up my race package for the Vancouver First Half, which I did not because it was a wet blizzard. Then I was going to do a short five-to-eight on Saturday but because I didn’t go to Forerunners on Friday I was going to do that on Saturday instead but the weather again was terrible and the weather doesn’t really bother me that much but the roads and sidewalks were predominately impassable. And then the news came that the Vancouver First Half was canceled. So I didn’t run this morning. I ran 12 kilometres this week and now I’m sitting in my hotel room that smells like vomit (not mine) at Harrison Hot Springs (that also has such terrible wifi that I’ve had to tether to my phone tor write this) for a week of CLC Winter School and it looks as though the only running I’m going to get to do this week is on a treadmill. I’ve never ever run on a treadmill, so that should be interesting. But I want to run to Sasquatch Park at least once. So we’ll see.