I wasn’t a Sleater-Kinney fan. I wasn’t not a fan either. I mean, I didn’t dislike them in the active sense, I just never really listened to them. I’ve also never watched an episode of Portlandia. So why this book? Well, mostly because I won it in the raffle at the Real Vancouver Writers Series even a little bit ago. Times change. I used to be the guy that would buy an arm’s length of raffle tickets and never win anything. I’d be standing there, clutching my plethora of tickets, always the bridesmaid. All that’s long forgotten now. Now I’m the guy that shows up and wins the t-shirt every event. T-shirts coveted by others in attendance that I will likely not wear outside my house because they are either entirely too large (an XL Feminist Killjoy in a bluey sort of grey) or if my size, not exactly my colour, as would be the case this time ’round with the size M Anvil Books in hot pink. And a book about a band I did not listen to and a show that I do not watch. But I enjoyed the book. That era in Pacific Northwest music is close to my heart and brought back a lot of memories for me. Plus I think I now better understand the song “Olympia” from Ninety Pound Wuss‘ self-titled debut album. “It is completely lost on me why Jeff Suffering hates Olympia so much,” thought early-20s me. “JHC that was over 20 years ago,” realizes current me.
This week I flew 7,500 KM to run 21.1 which sounds cool even if it’s not quite the truth. That the Helsinki City Half Marathon was at the same time that we’d planned our annual spring sojourn was coincidence. A happy coincidence non-the-less. Friday we rode bikes to the race festival to collect my bib and race package and race t-shirt. My pink race t-shirt. My dusty pink Helsinki City Half Marathon 2018 t-shirt. Did I mention it’s pink? For those keeping track, I’ve suddenly gone from zero to two t-shirts for Anti-bullying Day.
I wasn’t out to break any PBs. Rather, I wanted to run 4:37 as a bit of practice for my full marathon goal in the fall. Plus the terrain, with seaside breezes and the occasional gusty headwind, and rolling hills throughout, matches what I’m expecting in Victoria on Thanksgiving. I also thought it would be a nice test of pacing during a crowded race. And it was. The course started rather narrow, which made for a very slow first KM and I was bumped a few times before the group spread out. I was on goal up until around 15 KM, and then started to fade. The rolling hills, especially over final few KMs really killed me. The heat didn’t help either.
I somehow missed the final two KM markers, trusted my watch and started sprinting with what Garmin said was about 500 metres to go, and crossed the finish line inside Telia 5G arena at 1:39:09 for my third fastest chip-timed half marathon. I really wanted to be 1:37:24 but anything sub 1:40 is pretty great.
My overall impression of the course was that they’d picked a route that they really liked and then measured it and realized it was a couple KM short, so they arbitrarily tacked on a dirt trail loop through the woods behind the finish stadium to make it up to 21.1 KM. It was really weird. Otherwise, the race was fun, and the organization that put everything together had it together. I was honestly disappointed when I saw the t-shirt colour. That’s my only real complaint. Now for a couple weeks of casual runs around Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm.
week forty eight — 42.67
week forty nine — 38.98
to date — 1,933.8
Seems that a lot of people did not like this book and then it went on to get long-listed for the Man Booker so what. I’m an Amis fan, though it’s been a long, slow slog through his library. And I still like his memoir Experience the best. Maybe I should reread that. You know, since I’ve nothing to read or anything. In spite of the warmth from the roaring flames of the CanLit Dumpster Fire 2016 I decided to go to the Real Vancouver Writers Series year end party and as usual bought a bunch of raffle tickets and expected to not win anything as I’ve been going to RVWS events for years and always buy raffle tickets and never win anything but this time I won (Sad Mag subscription) and then I won again (a pair of very hipster, ahem, artisan ceramic cups) and then I won top bid on the Chuck Tingle t-shirt for his Hugo Award nomination, which if you don’t know the back story then read it and hilarious.
I bought myself Christmas presents and Christmas came early in the form of a new Garmin Vivosmart HR+ and a couple pairs of Adidas Adizero Boston 6 runners and everything is better. I’m still getting used to the Garmin interface and the iPhone app, but I’m already much happier with its distance and tracking accuracy. New shoes are really great. After logging 1,145 km (oops…) on my Nike Air Pegasus 33s it was time for something new. To say the least. The Boston 6s are lighter and fit my narrow feet better than the Nikes. So far, no complaints. Which is weird for me. I complain about everything. I’m a marathon and a half or so away from my goal of 2,000 km for 2016 and with three weeks to go to cover 67 km I think I’m going to make it, barring illness or injury and I better not have just jinxed it.
this week — 52.17
to date — 236.98
I’m still not sure if I feel sorry for Martin John or not. The book was great, but I couldn’t come to a conclusion about how I feel about the protagonist, nor could I discern how Schofield wants me to feel about him — not that that really matters. It’s a great book that doesn’t need my endorsement, what with its Giller nomination and the volume of press it’s received. I met Roger soon after I started as the managing editor for The Capilano Review, and by proxy, CUE Books. Our chat that day in TCR’s office turned towards the latest firebombing of New Star Books (an occurrence that has been repeated a half dozen or so times since that conversation, unbelievably without any progress from the VPD). Roger made a joke that the bombing was due to his new manuscript. I still don’t know if he was joking. Regardless, I wanted to read IKMQ (not the manuscript in question; that’s still forthcoming I assume). If I had more ambition I’d like to do a textual analysis centred around the number 64 and its factors, which abound. IKMQ is a great little book, with not-so-subtle anarchistic themes throughout. I first heard Raoul read at a Real Vancouver Writers Series event and I’ve wanted to read his book ever since. I think it was a raffle prize at the event, but I’ve developed a bit of a reputation as the guy that buys RVWS raffle tickets but should just donate my money and not get my hopes up. I never win anything. Then I found a signed copy of Transmitter and Receiver at Russell Books in Victoria. Win!
I really don’t win anything at all ever. So I don’t really have my hopes up for the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon that I entered that’s coming up in May. I’ve no doubt I’ll finish, so I guess technically that means I’ll place, but win? The thought never even crossed my mind. I’m a member (sounds so prestigious) of Flying Blue so I’m often tempted by deals emailed to me from KLM and Air France. Then one day I received an email from Air France, one of the BMO Vancouver sponsors, inviting me to enter to win a “Platinum VIP” entry in the event, so I entered, and I won. I’m still not quite sure what that means, except that my entry fee is getting refunded and I get to crash some VIP tent at the finish line. Perhaps there will be beer. I did notice a distinct lack of beer sponsorship for the event. Seems like a miss to me. Sober February will be a distant memory by then, I’m sure.