Thursday, May 24, 2012

Half marathon on Sunday

We are running the Med City Half Marathon on Sunday. It looks like a big race and a fast course.

I'm not as sharp as I have been this year. I have gained a few pounds, focusing on lower-intensity long runs in the hills. That's ok, as I had planned this summer to be mostly about ultras.

My half marathon PR is 1:13.54. It's within reach, if conditions are perfect and there is a good pack to pull me along. The winning time has fluctuated from a 1:11 to a 1:19, so I could be way behind or way out front, depending on who shows up.

Why do races like this have to start at 7 am? I know it's potentially hot, but still. They could start the marathon at 7 and the half at 9.

In other news, I finished Once a Runner. I had heard a little about it, and had seen and heard quotes that I never realized came from that book. The Girl won a copy of the book in one of her races and it had been lying around. She had gotten to page 108 and then abandoned it.

I have read quite a few books in the last few years, because of my commute and so on. A lot of John Irving and a bunch of easy reads. Once a Runner is not exactly well-written. It jumps all over the place, sometimes going into annoying detail and at other times just ending a sub-plot abruptly. Had it been about NASCAR, I don't think I would have finished it, but it happens to be about running, with lots of cool historical references. The reader sort of knows that Cassidy will end up winning some big race, but the how is a big unknown.

It may be to running what "House of God" is to medicine: few people have actually read the book, but everyone knows the good quotes.

But seriously:

- What happened to Mizer? How can he describe him in such detail and then never re-introduce him in the plot?
- And Nubbins? In any normal book, we would at least have followed his running progression.
- And O'Gorg or whatever his name is. We hear a brief narrative from him, describing Cassidy. Then he is in a race with Cassidy later in the book, but is just mentioned briefly. why introduce him and never use him again.

I'm such a girl. My favorite part of Once a Runner was the love story. Andrea is frustrated with Cassidy's singlemindedness but it's almost like she understands it better than he does. The love story sub-plot is so understated that their breakup is never even described. In the big race, she is the first to recognize him, despite his long hair and beard. When she screams his name at the end is the book's best moment. And you never find out if they get back together or even meet again. Great stuff.


SteveQ said...

Race start times are for the convenience of the race director. Most marathons are held early on Sunday mornings because they need less traffic control then - not because the runners prefer it. The Med City course is fast and the competition is light for the half, though there's always some young kid that blasts through it.

PiccolaPineCone said...

now you must read the long awaited sequel: "Again to Carthage". I think it was in the making for something like 30 years and was finally published 3 or 4 years ago to relief of the dozens of fans (myself included) waiting for it. In it, Cassidy takes on the marathon distance.
Your observations on Parker's writing style (or lack thereof) are interesting. I think we, as runners, are definitely willing to forgive a lot of anyone who actually takes pen in hand to tell a tale about running. However it amazes me that you enjoy Irving as much as you do if you found Parker's level of detail annoying. - and I say this as, as well you know, a huge Irving fan ("a sound like someone trying not to make a sound" - could there ever be a better title for a kid's book than that???). I am really curious as to why the Girl abandoned it on p. 108 - was the blatant sexism too much to take? The reader must forgive that as well and write it off to being a product of the times.
Finally, my dream race starts at 5.30 am.

The Lorax said...

My mom abandons almost every book at page 108, PPC.

SteveQ said...

I just heard the marathon was canceled due to heat there! Hope the half is still on... and you don't melt.

Fast Bastard said...

Steve Q, right now the marathon os still on, but people have the option of switching to the half. The half will be big, as there are accepting runners from several other area races. I'm more worried about the projected headwind than the heat. It's only supposed to be 60 degrees at 7 am.

PPC, you have to admit that while Irving may describe many characters in great detail, he never leaves a reader hanging. Sometimes, his epilogues are even a little too exhaustive, to the point of explaining the fate of every single character. Think of how everyone gets nicely "wrapped up" in Garp at the end.

I will definitely read Again to Carthage. Is Mizner or Andrea in that one, I wonder?

PiccolaPineCone said...

FB - funny, even though i have read OAR at least a dozen times, i only read ATC once and essentially immediately forgot its entire content (and i only borrowed it, never bought it). literally all i remember is that he was training for and ran a marathon and there is a scene in the end that describes him running the marathon much as his bog mile race is described in OAR.
yes, it always kind of bugs me when authors of fiction explain everything that happens to everyone in great detail in a synopsis at the end... like, we KNOW they aren't real people... if you are not going to use their stories as part of the narrative then don't bother wrapping it up for us!

Lorax - really? I find that surprising for a woman as literate as your mommy. Hey, by the way, are you still using your nuk? if not, any tips for helping la cocotte to kick the habit?