week ten – 69.7
2020 to date: 591 KM
“February in Newfoundland is the longest month of the year.” So opens Small Game Hunting‘s synopsis on its House of Anansi page. Thank gawd February is over. I wanted to like this book and it was such a slog and I spent so much time wondering just WTF was going on that I just could not. It reminded me of reading Faulkner in undergrad, the echo of people much smarter than me lamenting greatness like tinnitus all the while just wondering what the hell is happening. Sometimes I get the urge to pick him up again. This reminded me maybe nah. Moving on, below the flat we let in Mexico City was an English language bookstore that -of course- I stopped in to browse. Inside was a wide selection of children’s books, high school and university textbooks, and various exam prep, as well as a small selection of local authors in translation. I picked up a few but this Dávila collection of short stories had a blurb that included comparisons to Hitchcock and Kafka. I like Hitchcock and Kafka. This collections didn’t disappoint, and Dávila’s comparison to Kafka is apt. I liked it quite a bit and it was fun to recognize references I would have never understood before visiting Mexico City. In a city with so much to discover, this was a pleasant surprise.
Race weekend in West Vancouver for the WestVanRun 5K on Saturday and 10K Sunday (today). I set a goal to run a new personal best and aimed for an under 19:00 finish. I had a pretty good morning. I got into a slightly uncomfortable pace that I thought I could hold onto. The course starts at the top of a pretty steep hill and then runs pretty much flat out through the Park Royal mall parking lot and then back along the West Van Centennial Seawalk to the finish. My middle splits were pretty even and I managed a bit of a kick to the finish and crossed the finish line 19:03 with not a lot left to give. When I checked my finish online it said I placed fourth in my age group. A couple hours later friends messaged to say I missed claiming my third-place age group award. The runner who finished second overall was first in my age group and instead of double-dip, the organizers bumped everyone up a spot. So I was third in my age group even though I was fourth. It seems so strange to claim an award that I got but didn’t actually earn. I guess now I know how people who wear those fancy Nike shoes must feel all the time…. Anyway! I am now 3/3 not being on hand to accept my age group award.
This morning was the WestVanRun 10K and after a 9/10 effort to get to 19:03 in the 5K 23 hours earlier (thanks, Daylight Savings Time) I dialed back my expectations. I’d wanted to try to go under 38:00 but that was a pretty lofty goal at the best of time let alone the day after a hard race. I decided instead to go out at 3:55/km pace for the first 5K and then hang on for dear life and at least beat the 40 min pacer. I hit half way in 19:36 – one second behind pace – and the hang on began. I dipped a bit through 7 and 8 KM then traded lead back and forth with Michael Prince. I thought I had him beat but he had a better kick to the line; I crossed the finish a few seconds behind him for 39:30 chip time and my second fastest 10K and second time running sub 40:00.
Later today over-analyzing the weekend (as I tend to do) I’m sure that I have it in my to run a sub 38:00 10K but I have a bit more work to do to get there. I was really happy with how well I recovered between races, all things considered, and I wonder how I could have done in the 10K today if I hadn’t raced the 5K yesterday. I felt like my Saturday was a better day, but when I looked at the stats I found that today’s 10K was actually a better performance, which I still find really (pleasantly) surprising. I certainly do not regret racing both. I’ve decided to pass on the St. Pat’s 5K next weekend, and the Vancouver Sun Run in April and just focus on the half marathons I have lined up between now and summer. Summertime will bring the Mile2Marathon Chase the Pace 5K on the track followed by the VFAC Summerfast 10K around Stanley Park so I won’t have to wait too long to take another shot at going faster than I have ever before. Next up though, is the gruelingly hilly April Fool’s half marathon on the Sunshine Coast. If I can set a new PB there I’ll be ecstatic.