And so concludes the accidental trilogy encompassing how we got here, long view (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry), why things are shite (because Sapiens), and who’s to blame (hint: it’s men). Accidental because I had no idea how well these three actually fit together, and I totally lucked out choosing the correct order to read them. And, not unlike Sapiens, Mad Blood Stirring starts out strong and then falters, devolving into an autobiography with heavy focus on the Fairless’s mother and their relationship. There are five chapters. The first three are very good. The fourth could have been good, but goes sideways. The fifth attempts to tie into the book’s intended theme, but it’s a stretch such that by the end I wasn’t quite sure what the theme is. The title is a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, spoken by Benvolio — the guy that tries to play the play’s peacemaker. Throughout the intro and chapter one Fairless has a bit of a Benvolio-complex (I just made that up), but that disappears by chapter five (along with the editor, apparently). The intro and first three chapters are really very good, worth reading, and could easily stand on their own serialized elsewhere. Fairless’s style is to present a main focus then intersperse asides throughout the chapter. Sometimes it works very well. Other times not so much. The fourth chapter is good in the parts that he focuses on the chapter’s main theme and “the killer”. In the fifth our narrator loses the plot. Or maybe I do. Regardless, my thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for the review copy.
I went to physiotherapy on Wednesday and it seems that I really am on the mend because she doesn’t want to see me for a few weeks as long as I behave and as long as there are no disasters during my attempts to behave. So I’ve been behaving, which is evident by the paltry 25 KM I ran this week. I’m currently 37 KM behind pace to reach 2,018 KM in 2018. I’m trying to behave, and by behave I mean to follow the advice of my physiotherapist to slowly add back distance and maintain rest time between runs. But I’m also trying to decide what I’m going to do with the BMO in May as I keep going back and forth between thinking I should just run the half or maybe just run the full without a full training session leading up to it and see what happens. I think regardless of what I run on May 6 I’m going to run the Victoria full in the fall. So while I’m mulling over what to do what I’m keeping forefront in mind is that I just want to stay healthy.
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.