Proofreading in the Pudding

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. It’s performance review time at my day job but I’ve also been proofreading Travis Heermann‘s new self-published book – Sword of the Ronin. I backed the original Kickstarter project and when Travis emailed out to backers asking for help proofreading the manuscript I stuck my virtual hand up. Sword of the Ronin is the second book of the Ronin trilogy (the first being Heart of the Ronin) and I’d originally planned to read the first and second novels back to back. Obviously, that wasn’t practical – Travis needed the proofreading done by the beginning of May and I don’t read quite that quickly so I jumped right in with the second book. I wasn’t sure whether that would be an issue but Travis drip feeds information from the first book so I never felt lost. Sword of the Ronin mixes historical elements with fantasy into a fast paced adventure and I really enjoyed reading it. There’s plenty of action and some really effective writing – particular the part where our hero, Ken’ishi, ends up in…okay, no I won’t spoil it. Things get quite graphic in places so bear that in mind, but those scenes … Read More

It Hurts How Much?

Philip HarrisChatter, Running, WritingLeave a Comment

The snot monkey has packed its bags and is saying its last farewell’s and today is a holiday here in Canada so I decided to try a short 6km run. Ouch. The run itself was fine and we kept a reasonable pace but as soon as we stopped I felt a bit light headed and even now, a couple of hours later, my body is still complaining. There’s less than six weeks to our next Marathon so this is “not a good thing”(tm). Progress on The Ghost Smuggler continues apace (I’ve always wanted to be able to say apace)  – mostly because I’m most of the current chapters are brought over from previous drafts. That said, Ethel the Muse was on fine form at 4am this morning and she’s insisting that I need to weave two characters from early chapters into the final act (actually four characters, but three of them are a related group) and add a sprinkling of technology. No idea how I’m going to do that but it shows that the outline isn’t stopping me from continuing to write like the Simpsons. Oh, and I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the key characters needs to change … Read More

Only Three Days?

Philip HarrisChatter, Movies, Running, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

My wife and I went out for our first long run in a couple of weeks yesterday – a “short” 18km route to ease us back into things. It was a fantastic day, cool with clear blue skies. We ran along the English Bay seawall, round Lost Lagoon, through Stanley Park along Pipeline to the east seawall, then right along the seawall to “Mile Zero” before cutting back to Lost Lagoon and English Bay seawall to run home. It’s a route we use a lot – it’s flat, there’s a decent amount of variety, a few places to get water and you can double up the middle 6km to get some extra distance. I felt good during the run but an hour or so afterwards I was feeling pretty beaten up. My calves were very tight and there was a little ball of pain half way down my back. It was at this point that Ann mentioned that it only takes 3 days for running fitness to start dropping off. And I’d missed over two weeks. Thinking about it today, I think it had more to do with the fact that I wore my “race shoes” – a pair of … Read More

Seven Point Story Structure

Philip HarrisRunning, Stories, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

Fantastic run yesterday. Our route took us from False Creek, along English Bay, up through a fog shrouded Stanley Park, across the Lions Gate Bridge, back down to the seawall to the little pier at Dundarave and back again. The weather was perfect for running and I wish I’d had a camera with me. If I had I would have got some fantastic shots of the mountains rising up out of a layer of very low cloud. That’s a long way though, either 28 or 29km depending on which gadget you believe so I spent the afternoon alternately reading Justin Cronin’s vampire apocalypse novel, The Passage, and lying on the bed thinking about the plot of The Ghost Smuggler. I’ve been gearing up to restart my rewrite and last week I decided to try the Seven Point Story Structure that’s often talked about by Dan Wells. The results I got by going through that exercise have made a huge difference and reignited my enthusiasm for the rewrite. I heard about this system on an episode of Writing Excuses and followed that up by watching the YouTube videos of a presentation Dan gave about the system at Life, the Universe, and Everything (you can find the first video here). … Read More

4:41:24

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

For most people in Canada, Thanksgiving Weekend means family, friends and lots of food. For my wife and I, it meant the Victoria Marathon weekend and the culmination of our latest marathon training regime. We arrived on Friday, a day earlier than in the past and spent the afternoon checking in, picking up our race numbers, trying out a few free samples and spending far too much money on new running shirts. That left Saturday free for us to see some of the speakers at the expo and take a bus tour of the marathon route. The first speaker we saw, Lucy Smith, gave a very enjoyable talk that spanned a broad range of topics – from training in Madeira to what motivates the children she teaches to the changing face of running technology. Lucy was followed by Dr Trent Stellingwerff who managed to make a science filled talk on nutrition very accessible, not to mention useful. Next up was renowned race announcer Steve King (no, he doesn’t write horror novels) interviewing three Olympians –  1500-metre runner Hilary Stellingwerff (wife of Dr Trent Stellingwerff), two-time Olympic medalist, triathlete Simon Whitfield and 2012 Bronze medalist, track cyclist Tara Whitten. This was the highlight of … Read More

Two Sleeps to Go

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

Two sleeps to go until my wife and I run the Victoria Marathon. This is will be the second marathon we’ve run and I’m feeling a lot better about this one. I injured my foot while training for the first race and missed about 6 weeks of preparation, including all the longest training runs – the furthest I’d run before the race was about 25km, well short of the 42.2km distance of the race itself. That made the race very tough. The first half of the race was good (2hr 20 ish) but with my lack of training we were going too quick and I started feeling ill about 28km in. I had to take an extensive walk break to avoid throwing up and everything went downhill from then on. My calves felt like rock and it was a struggle to run for more than a few minutes. There was a lot of walking in the last 10km – let’s leave it at that. We finished the course in 5 hours 29 minutes which was at least an hour slower than we’d trained for. I did pick up a lot of free gels though. This time, I made it through all sixteen weeks of … Read More

One Week Down

Philip HarrisChatter, Running, The Ghost Smuggler1 Comment

So, one week into 2012 already. We started Marathon training this week with a 6km tempo run on Tuesday, a 10km tempo on Wednesday and a 10km slow run this morning – which was a shock to the system. Our instructor seemed like a nice guy, but we discovered this morning that he quit and it’s not clear who is going to lead the group now. They didn’t say why, so perhaps he has a good reason but it was very sudden and it’s left the shop scrambling to find a replacement. I spent yesterday taking the next step in an ongoing attempt at making space on our bookshelves by moving our DVD collection into binders. Over Christmas I did the same with my videogame collection and it’s tedious but does free up a lot of space. Yesterday, I covered all the TV DVDs, mostly Buffy, Farscape, The X-Files, Millenium and The Simpsons plus a selection of newer stuff like Dexter and The Big Bang Theory. That little lot came in at three binders (350+ discs). Not the most inspiring way to spend the afternoon but still, it’s good to have a bit of empty space on the bookshelves. Of course, a friend at … Read More

Doing the Santa Shuffle

Philip HarrisMusic, RunningLeave a Comment

Yesterday was our last race for 2011 – The Santa Shuffle. It’s a 5km fun run round Stanley Park and the seawall and this year was the third time we’d taken part. The weather was great (one of those amazing Vancouver mornings we didn’t get last weekend) and we timed our arrival perfectly so we didn’t need to stand around in the cold for too long. Despite having run the half marathon last weekend and promising to “take it steady” we actually ended up finishing in around 25 mins 30 which is our fastest 5km yet. The post race refreshments (beef chili and some granola bars) were good as well so it was a successful event all round. One of our local HMV stores is closing down – presumably falling victim to the relentless advance of digital content – so in the afternoon I dropped by to take a look at their 60% sale. It turns out that it’s mostly a 10% sale (although if you want a Metallica clock then you can indeed save 60%) but I did pick up a copy of Murder by Death‘s album – Red of Tooth and Claw. I first discovered Murder by Death (or … Read More

Vancouver Historic Half Marathon

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

You get some amazing autumn mornings in Vancouver. Crisp, clean air. Clear blue skies. Bright sunshine reflecting off the sea with snow capped mountains in the background. Wonderful. Yesterday was not one of those days. It was cold, wet and grey. It was also the day of the first ever Vancouver Historic Half Marathon and the fifth half marathon that my wife, Ann, and I have run. Medal for the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon The route started at the naval base on Dead Man’s Island and followed the seawall around the edge of Stanley Park, looping round twice before finishing back on the naval base. As well as the half marathon there were 5km and10km races along a subset of the Half Marathon route. It was raining heavily when we arrived but although it stayed pretty gloomy for most of the race, the rain eventually died off and it wasn’t as gruesome as we’d initially feared. It was a fairly small race, roughly 400 people with 250 of those running the half so as the race progressed the field thinned out nicely which meant we could focus on running not dodging other runners. The seawall is a beautiful place to run, … Read More

Long Slow Distance

Philip HarrisRunning, TelevisionLeave a Comment

Sunday is Long Slow Distance day which also makes it not really do much else day. Yesterday was a 20km run – our longest before the race we’re doing at the end of November – which meant the rest of the day was given over to resting and a handful of random chores. We did watch the third episode of Grimm though and I’m still not sure whether I like it. I’m used to genre TV shows taking a while to get going (Battlestar Galactica being the notable exception) so I’m going to keep watching for a while longer but so far it seems like a fairly average show.