1. The Architecture of Happiness – Alain de Botton
week three – 57.6
2020 to date: 163 KM
I’ve been a de Botton fan for a while but I have a few gaps in my collection. Then before Christmas SC and I spent a day shopping local on Main Street and Mount Pleasant, which never excludes a visit to Pulp Fiction Books. These visits take longer than they did back when I lived a few blocks away and I could come in and quickly peruse the new arrivals and then carry on my merry way. Anyway, on this visit I didn’t get much farther then the new arrivals and ended up at the cash register with a small pile, including this de Botton title that had been on my radar for a while. And it did not disappoint. I think my only complaint is that de Botton tends to use “which” sans preceding comma and in every single instance when “that” would suffice, which annoys me slightly more than the lazy use of the Oxford comma but not quite as much as the comma splice. Incidentally, I also quite like le Corbusier and if you don’t then you might not share my enjoyment of this book. Okay, I have two complaints. The second is that the book is chock-full of fantastic photographs, all in black-and-white. I wish that they were most or all in colour.
Strava says that today is Quitter’s Day – according to their data, January 19, 2020 is the date they predict most people will give up their fitness resolutions. I have mixed feelings. I think New Year’s resolutions are dumb because they so often fail but then they’re arbitrarily attached to a date that only comes around once a year so there’s a tendency to put off trying again until the arbitrary date comes around again. If you can get past the arbitrary date, then I think resolutions can be great. I have read that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, so tripping on or before day 19 and then not getting back up makes sense. But I also read that the 21 days thing is bullshit. Maybe if you want to make positive change, just decide to do it, be ready to fail, and also determined to learn from failure and move the fuck on.
So this morning I woke up and dropped some Nuun into the CIM Finisher bottle I got after failing pretty hard back at the beginning of December last year and I went and ran my first race since – my first race of 2020 – the Icebreaker 8K. After snowing all week the weather warmed and the rain washed most of it away, and then it rather miraculously cleared up a bit to provide a slightly damp but otherwise pretty perfect race morning. I had set a rather arbitrary goal to run 31:30. I’d never raced an 8K before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, or where my fitness was at coming into the new year. I ran my best 5K and 10K this past September and I was rather curious to see if I could run 3:59s for eight kilometres and not die. Well, I’m alive. I had a great start and felt really good going through the first couple kilometres, and I just focused on keeping a steady pace through seven and then finish strong. It didn’t quite go that way, because by six kilometres I was really feeling it. I managed to catch a couple people who’d been leading me for most of the race. With just under a kilometre to go I was passed back by one who had a better finish kick than me, but I did manage a bit of a kick down the last long straight to the finish, crossing the line in gun time 31:40 (31:38 chip time) for 3:58 /km average (and very even) pace and fourth in my age group. I am very please with that result. My body felt good and still does a few hours later sitting here typing this. I was very close to my arbitrary goal, and exceeded my other. I checked off my January race with a smile, and I’m really looking forward to my first goal race of the year: the RunVan First Half half marathon in just three weeks.
Last thing: during some step near the Icebreaker finish and my post race warm down jog my Strava running odometer clicked over 10,000 KM and I think that’s pretty cool.