Breaking 2

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

On Friday, my wife and I stayed up late to watch Nike’s attempt to break the 2 hour barrier for the marathon. It was an exciting couple of hours and although the attempt ultimately “failed” I found the whole thing very inspiring, especially going into race weekend for the Vancouver Marathon. Internet reaction to the attempt was (unsurprisingly) mixed, and I was going to post my thoughts but fellow speculative fiction author, Bill Dowis, summed up how I feel much more succinctly so I’m just going to point you here –   Out Now [Breaking 2 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 8th May 2017]

F is for February (and Flu)

Philip HarrisMetrics, StoriesLeave a Comment

It’s probably ironic or something that the first year I get a flu shot is also the first year I get the flu (although I may have had it 25 or so years ago, maybe). I don’t think those two things are related – the shot was months ago and isn’t 100% effective. It is something that makes me smile though. It’s a bitter smile, but a smile nonetheless. I’m just entering my third week of being ill. I’m past the sweating, fevering, coughing up bits of odd coloured gunk stage and into the annoying cough with a mild headache and bunged up ears stage that shows no sign of letting up. It’s no longer enough to stop me functioning at something close to my normal levels (such as they are) but it’s annoying. How anyone puts up with long term illness I have no idea. I was going stir crazy within a couple of days. The first thing being ill did was completely derail my writing plans. I kept up my writing streak but that was about it. I was planning on revising Zombie Book 2 and then starting Zombie Book 3. I did the revisions, very slowly, and a bit of … Read More

Looking Forward, 2017

Philip HarrisChatter, Indie Publishing, RunningLeave a Comment

After posting my belated end of year wrap up, I figured I’d better also look forward to what’s ahead in 2017… I talked about setting goals on New Year’s Day and mentioned my big personal goal – running a marathon in under four hours. That goal has actually been in the back of my mind for a few years but 2017 is the year I’m really going to focus on my speed and fitness (and weight) and try to hit that. My wife and I recently worked out which races we’re going to take part in this year and it’s a fairly long list, but a lot of them will be used as training runs for my main goal of that sub-four hour marathon. Time will tell whether it will pan out but I’m looking forward to trying. I’ll probably make the odd post here about my progress for those who are interested in how a moderately unfit, middle aged guy prepares for a marathon. I also mentioned my eight book publishing schedule. That’s pretty aggressive, even though I have a couple of the books complete and two more in draft form. I’ve laid out the schedule for the first half of the year and this is what it … Read More

One Sleep To Go…

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since I talked about my running here. The main reason for that is I barely did any running last year thanks to a hard-to-pin down calf injury. Towards the end of last year, I found a chiropractor and started getting weekly physiotherapy. It’s helped a lot and although the injury is still there, I’ve been ramping up my running. I ran a fairly slow half-marathon at the Vancouver First Half-Marathon in February. It took me 2 hours blah to finish which is x minutes or so slower than my best time but my calf held up which was the important thing. So, now I’m facing a much bigger challenge. Tomorrow, I’m running the Vancouver Marathon. This will be my fourth time. Previous attempts have got gradually quicker (5:29:11, 4:37:54, 4:18:28) but I’m nowhere near the shape I was in 2014. My goal is to finish without the catastrophic drop in pace I normally experience in a marathon. Bonus points for finishing under 5 hours. Extra bonus points for sticking to my nutrition plan – I normally abandon it about 20km in and then pay the price at the end. I’m actually really looking forward to the race, which is a testament to how good the brain is … Read More

5 Things I Learned Last Week

Philip HarrisChatter, Five ThingsLeave a Comment

I’ve been ill the last week or so, and I’ve managed to catch up on lots of blogs. Here’s five things I learned along the way. What3words Wants To Change The World’s Addressing System Amazon have launched the DashButton – now you can order essentials like washing powder or cat food just by clicking a button. You can treat a bullet wound with processed white sugar Honey works too apparently. Magic is a text based concierge service that will do things for you. And when they say things, they mean pretty much anything that isn’t illegal. I’d be all over this but unfortunately it’s US only. A couple in Japan have created Run-Bell – a handheld bell runners can use to warn pedestrians they are about to pass them. I’ve lost count of the number of pedestrians I’ve scared by calling out that I’m coming up behind them, so this isn’t as bonkers as it might sound.     For a limited time, I’m giving everyone who signs up to my mailing list 5 free books, including a copy of my science fiction novel, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet when it’s released later this year. Click here to sign up and get your free books. [5 Things I Learned Last Week by Philip … Read More

Quick Strength for Runners by Jeff Horowitz

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

I don’t like going to the gym. Yeah, I know. That makes me so special. It’s not the idea of exercise that’s the problem. I run dozens of miles a week and get twitchy when I can’t but give me the option of spending three hours doing a hard run in a storm or an hour in the comfort of a gym and I’ll go for the run. It’s party the terrible music that gyms are legally required to play (or it’s the endless TV turned up too loud if it’s the gym in our apartment building). Yes, it’s partly the people – or at least the fact that there’s invariably someone on the machine I’m supposed to be using next. Having to (gasp) switch the order of my workout is far more annoying than it should be. And don’t get me started on “those people” – you know the ones. Most of all though, it’s boring. Yes. running for three or four hours also sounds boring but a) it’s probably outside (and I live in Vancouver) and b) it’s a very mechanical process that doesn’t require much thought. I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I’m training and the actual running … Read More

Beating the Blerch Part Two

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

When we left our hero, he’d travelled to Seattle, spent four hours in a line to get his bib and book vandalised by The Onion and become one of the last people to watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the cinema. When I was training for my first marathon, I was given some advice for the final days before a race – “Don’t stand when you can lean. Don’t lean when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can lie down.” Basically, you want to rest as much as possible for a couple of days before the race. So, spending the Friday before a race standing in a queue and the Saturday morning wandering aimlessly around the Seattle waterfront was not the best way to prepare for race day. Saturday started with us tracking down breakfast at Le Panier – A Very French Bakery near Pike Place Market. It was recommended to us by one of our fellow marathon runners (a Saturday runner whose marathon bib number was 1!) and proved a perfect place for breakfast. The apricot croissant and pain au chocolat I had were both delicious, the bread looked and smelled equally good and the prices were excellent. If you’re in … Read More

Beating the Blerch Part One

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

It turns out I took part in two marathons last weekend. The first was the four hours I spent queueing to meet Matthew Inman, better known as The Oatmeal. He’s the mastermind behind this fantastic comic on running and the associated book – The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. He was at Road Runner Sports in Green Lake on Friday drawing sketches and signing autographs. By a bizarre coincidence, that was also the pick-up location for race packages for the Beat the Blerch races taking place at the weekend. Beat the Blerch sold out in twenty minutes but I was just about quick enough to snag an entry to the marathon – my sixth marathon and the first I’ve run outside of Canada. We decided to take advantage of the race to spend some more time in Seattle so went down early on Thursday and stayed until Monday evening. We took the train down from Vancouver to Seattle – partly because we hadn’t been on a Canadian train yet and partly because it’s a bit more relaxing than the bus. It’s also an early start – we arrived at the station at about 5:15 to get our seats and make sure we got through customs … Read More

Facing the Blerch

Philip HarrisChatter, RunningLeave a Comment

If technology and my race preparation align, I should just be starting the Beat the Blerch Marathon in Carnation, Washington as this post goes live. This is my second marathon of the year, the other being the Vancouver Marathon in May. The original plan was to run four marathons this year but I had to drop out of the Bahamas Marathon due to injury and dropped down to the Banff Half Marathon so that I could run with my wife who was injured for that race. I’m running this one on my own, my wife wasn’t able to register – it sold out in about 20 minutes. It should be an interesting race. For the runners out there you can see the route here. I made a fundamental error at the BMO race – I started out aiming to finish in under four hours and it cost me a personal best. Had I aimed for four hours fifteen minutes, I probably would have come in under that. This time I’m going to try to be a bit smarter and aim for a slower pace until the turn around point and then assess where I am. I’m also going to make a concerted effort to do better with my … Read More