4. The Third Hotel – Laura van den Berg
week four – 30.1
To Date: 158 KM
This was a case of seeing this cover on a whole bunch of best of lists or best selling lists or some such case of Baader-Meinhof phenomenon so I picked up a copy and read it and oh boy ghosts again? That or Van den Berg’s protagonist Clair had her own BMPh for her recently-deceased husband but then they do it. Like do it do it. Like what Amethyst Realm claims to have done 20-something times IRL before settling down with one lucky spook. Except Clair is monogamous and I don’t know why I seem to be fixated on spectral sex right now either because this is a pretty great novel. Although rather surreal and I think I got lost a couple times following Clair following her dead husband around Havana, Cuba. (And re-tickled my travel itch.) This book seems rather polarizing, with people either loving it or really not. One thing everyone seems to agree on is that it is a weird work, extremely well written. And I agree. I think that once some of the best-of sheen wears off a bit The Third Hotel is going to get a lot of positive, non-popular attention. So watch for it in your kid’s kid’s Lit class assuming universities still have Humanities then.
So to recap, at the beginning of this year I set a goal to run a race per month and then I hurt my achilles and went to my physiotherapist who said “no running farther than 5K,” which meant no Icebreaker 8K race, which meant no January race, which meant my 2019 goal was, well, what Amethyst Realm would call “ghosted.” Then, in what can only be described as my own case of the BMPh I stumbled across the Try Events Chilly Chase, which featured a 5K distances. Armed with this new information I went to physio and asked for permission, and permission was granted. Hurray! Another goal for 2019 is to run a sub-20 minute 5K and I thought that, although I’m injured and not in optimal shape and currently my nose runs faster than I do, with a good day I had a chance. The race left the community centre in Olympic Village and followed the Seawall around Science World to David Lam Park, and then back. The 5K left at about 9:15 a.m. following staggered starts for the Half Marathon, 15K and 10K distances. I had a great start but quickly caught up to the slower 10K-ers whom it seemed had never been told to please not run six abreast, let alone stay to the right. So there was a lot of pylon dodging for the first two and a half kilometres. (Coming back was better.) I turned on my watch to record the run and then didn’t look at it until I crossed the finish line and turned it off to see it display 5.04 in 20:13. I didn’t sub 20 but I ran a new personal best in 20:09 official time, good enough for fourth place overall, and my best finish yet.
I wonder if I would have had just a bit more to give over the last kilometre if I’d checked my watch and seen how close I was to 19:59 and I’ve spent a lot of today thinking about it and I really don’t know the answer. What I do know is that sub-20 is well within my reach when I get my next chance at the WestVanRun 5K in March. I’m excited already.