27. Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
week twenty nine – 29.9
2019 to date: 1,382 KM
On or around the first anniversary of Bourdain’s death I dusted off my copy of his first book. I admired him very much and his death struck me harder than most other celebrity deaths. But his passion for food is lost on me. I understand it, but I don’t get it. My relationship with food is not so great. I eat because I need to stay alive. I read a book earlier this year about eating and obesity and in it was described a study in which the participants consumed a liquid diet that has all the necessary nutrition and I thought that sounded pretty much perfect. I don’t even remember what the study was about. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good meal. I have also noticed that many of the good meals I used to enjoy were merely a catalyst for the consumption of massive quantities of alcohol (mostly red wine). You see things differently when the food has to stand on its own.
On Thursday was Take the Bridge. Forty men and then 40 women racing to two check points however they choose to get there and back. The registration sold out in, I’m told, one minute. I was lucky enough to secure an entry. Turns out that some of the fastest people in this city are also pretty quick on a computer because when I saw that start roster my hope went from be competitive to don’t be last. We all met at Vancouver Running Co. for check in and at 8 o’clock they released the map. The men went out first at 9 p.m. I’d scouted the first checkpoint with fellow Mile2Marathoner Matt Diederichs and figured I knew my way around well enough to just wing it on the second. Beginner’s naiveté. The mass start was chaos—below the Burrard bridge we ran down a gravel pitch with plenty of divots towards the boat launch at Vanier Park. I hung back and found a decent rhythm and reached the first check point near the back of the pack. The race back to and then over Burrard was my first mistake, taking a trail through the brush next to the bridge that added some extra distance. I got onto the bridge and started to pass a few people, then made my second mistake taking by avoiding the stairs at the north and an opting instead to take Pacific. Making it worse, I took a right on Howe instead of Hornby, meaning that I missed the cut through May & Lorne Brown Park completely on the way to checkpoint two under the Granville Bridge. I was faster than a few of the guys ahead of me, but they made better route decisions. Coming back over Burrard Bridge I managed to catch and pass a few more guys. Then I got to the south end and turned the corner back to the finish line under the bridge and as I did I saw two leap the railing thereby cutting a couple hundred metres and getting them both across the finish before me. I finished 20th out of 40 and I am fine with that especially because I had so much fun. I hope that this is a taste of more to come because I will definitely do it again given the opportunity.
With Take the Bridge done I had a rest day on Friday and then got up bright and early Saturday morning for the Vancouver Falcons Summerfast 10K around Stanley Park. I’d been sickly for the week and while TTB ended up being only 4 KM I ran hard and it’s taken a lot more out of me than I figured. Excuses be damned, I still wanted to finally get under 40 minutes and this was the course to do it. Flat, fast and familiar. According to Strava I’ve run this loop now over 250 times. I got off to a great start and at 3 KM I was still under pace with a few seconds to spare, but I already knew that I wasn’t going to be able to hold it. I did the best I could and hit 5 KM at Lumberman’s Arch 20:06 and took a Maurten. I felt it kick in at 6 KM (a weird feeling that I have never really, consciously noticed before). It didn’t do any miracles but I believe it curbed the downward spiral that would have come otherwise. I hit 8 KM at 4:16 pace; I knew that sub 40 was not going to happen but I figured I might have enough left to get over the finish in eight minutes. Nine came and went and I emptied the tank on ten, crossing the finish at 40:40 (chip time).
It’s not sub 40 and it’s 11 seconds off my personal best. But it’s my personal second best over 10 KM, and I’m absolutely confident I could have gone sub 20 over 5 KM if that was the distance, and my fastest two kilometres were the first and the tenth (3:51/3:56). It wasn’t the goal day I’d wanted, but it was a pretty great day anyway. I have two more chances to run under 40 minutes coming in September: the Eastside 10K and the North Van Run. It feels very doable.
I could write a lot more about running this week, but this post is already a day late and probably too long. See you next in week thirty.