Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Shadow Rising Audiobook Update 2: An attempted catch up

Man I have really let this weekly series fall to the wayside. As a no self blame blog, I refuse to blame myself for this, so I am forced to blame external factors. Either way, I am going to try and cover some of the wild ass events that have occurred. Try and keep in mind, much like the entire Giants season, I am coming at this from a deficit so some stuff has to be glossed over.

The battle of the Stone of Tear is something that is worthy of it’s own blog, as I believe while the battle itself is actually pretty boring, the stuff surrounding it was way more interesting. Lanfear, which I am now realizing that clearly Jordan just ran out of character names and took Lan’s name and added fear, tries once again to unsuccessfully fuck Rand. Since Rand is mostly into children, Lanfear being immortal and shit was never going to succeed. Apparently she can change her form, so if she really wanted to succeed maybe she should change her appearance to a teenager and sing some Billie Eilish while crying about her self-diagnosed depression. See I get what kids are into these days.

Whatever she doesn’t, instead she basically ruins the whole surprise attack on the Stone. What a narc. If you are team trolloc, which for the record I am not as I find them pretty boring, you would hate this move. She basically is Leonard Williams, but unlike Leonard Williams her giving away of her old team secrets didn’t lead to getting carved up by a QB who still is suffering from PTSD after watching the remake of Ghostbusters. Instead the trollocs get zapped to death by Rand. We are now approaching the part of the series where every major confrontation with trolloc’s end with them getting murked by the one power. Kinda like when a dude playing COD on a PC in commie china is going up against us free folk on xbox. The most interesting part of this was that this surprise attack might have worked, if Lanfear didn’t actively use her trolloc’s to save everyone than Rand would hopefully be dead.

Like I said, I really wanted to go into all this stuff but I am way too behind at this point so I have to pick a few things to go over. I promise to right this ship by Friday’s edition.

To end it I want to talk about Mat’s wild ride in the doorway ter’angreal. So Mat is craving for some answers to life’s biggest questions and goes into weirdo world to get some answers. The guy knows he only gets to ask three questions, so he has to play it cool. But he is NOT happy with the shit this Aelfinn pull. Here is how the thing basically goes:

  1. “Should I go home to help my people?” “You must go to Rhuidean.”
  2. “Why should I [go to Rhuidean]?” “If you do not go to Rhuidean, you will die.”
  3. “Why will I die if I do not go to Rhuidean?” “You will have sidestepped the thread of fate, left your fate to drift on the winds of time, and you will be killed by those who do not want that fate fulfilled.”

So Mat starts flipping out that they are trying to get him out of there and start rapid fires questions at them. This for some reason proves an effective strategy, as this losers actually answer him. It continues:

“What fate are you talking about? (…) What fate?” “To marry the Daughter of the Nine Moons!”

“To die and live again, and live once more a part of what was!” “To give up half the light of the world to save the world!”

“Go to Rhuidean, son of battles! Go to Rhuidean, trickster! Go, gambler! Go!”

Possible book review coming this week as well.

Marathon Mike, Race Reviews

2019 TCS New York City Marathon Race Review

Date: Sunday, November 4th, 2019

Distance: 26.2 Miles

Location: New York, NY

Time: 4:40:02

Well if you couldn’t tell by the title of this blog and the accompanying information, I finished the marathon! Though I think it would be hilarious to write a race review for a race I dropped out of, unfortunately for my perverse sense of humor that is not the case. It seems almost to minimize the event to have my entire experience documented in one simple review but I don’t feel like breaking it down into parts so one blog is all this is getting.

I think for the sake of cohesiveness and readability I am going to do this whole thing chronologically. That would mean starting with the race expo. I went to the expo the day before the race, meaning that on a day I wasn’t already in the city I lugged my ass to the Javits Center, which to you might seem like a minor complaint but I really don’t like having to go somewhere to pick up something to go do something else. Whatever.

The expo was surprisingly both organized and awesome. Walking in all the volunteers are applauding and cheering you and stuff. Really a cool way to make an entrance. You go to the booth that corresponds with your number and pick up your bib. If you have any questions, which due to lack of preparation I had several, there is a whole set up of race support. With bib in hand you go get your shirt, which I of course have a terrible picture of for the purposes of showing the full experience. They tell you to not fuck up picking the size of your shirt since they will not exchange it, this is not true they will if you complain enough. They have a whole shirt try-on area to make sure you don’t screw up this decision. They ran out of women’s mediums, which as a man doesn’t impact me at all but it almost screwed over my girlfriend. As I mentioned if you go full Karen you can get anything done. If feet are your thing my girlfriend’s toes are in the bottom of this picture. Sorry babe.

Hard to tell from the picture but that shirt is a long sleeve. Okay moving on. The expo itself was huge, first you go through their New Balance sponsored store, where they have a masssssive amount of gear to spend all your money on. I got a workout shirt, a finisher hoodie, a quarter zip and credit card debt. Worth it. After spending your hard earned money you go through to the expo part. It was all these different booths with their sponosers and other things. If you have ever been to any expo it was pretty much the same thing, but for runners. They had all kinds of backdrops to take pictures at, a million booths promoting massagers (please Hypervolt send me one of those little pieces of heaven, no free ads though) gels, bars and other consumables, and for some reason mattresses. The Honey Stinger booth gave out samples of their waffles and I had a million. I really actually had a great time at this thing and not just because I got to massage myself. That sounded weird.

That was all on Saturday. Saturday night we ate a nice delicious and nutritious meal which for me meant a giant cheeseburger and some mac-and-cheese bites. Got all my stuff together, which included a full sweatsuit, hat, and gloves that I planned on donating at the race start as well as what I was bringing. I brought two packets of Biofreeze to rub on the ol’ knees, not that I really needed it more that I had them lying around so why not. I brought two gel packets, some hand warmers, my Bose Soundsports, my Garmin Forerunner 235, my Birddogs shorts, race belt and my Mizuno Waverider 22’s. No free ads of course. With that all laid out and ready to go it was on to the event.

So for anyone not familiar with the marathon you run through all five boroughs. The race starts in Staten Island, a little shit hole that hangs off of Brooklyn, where their is a massive pre-race town they basically set up. Living in Hoboken it was like a 35-minute Uber to the start. Only time living in Hoboken made getting to a NYRR race easy. Apparently the transportation they provide would have taken way longer. O well not my problem.

Depending on your group, their are villages set up that correspond to your color. These villages are huge and contain all kinds of amenities, which is good because regardless of what mode of transportation you take, you are going to be waiting around for 4ish hours before the start of the race. Yes that is for real. They close the bridges at 7am so you are forced to go super early. To make up for this, they have booths that offer Dunkin’ coffee, Honey Stinger waffles and gels, bananas, bagels and for some odd reason therapy dogs. Also 50 million porta potties that all manage to have a line.

People did different things while they waited like read, talk, stretch, try to capture the perfect Instagram picture, but what everyone unequivocally did was freeze. Not that it was terrible out, actually the weather was perfect. It started out high 40’s and moved into the low 50’s during the race with absolutely no wind. Easily the luckiest weather situation one could imagine. It was more that you were just waiting around while the sun wasn’t up, which is chilling regardless of what you wear. That is why they recommend you buy a bunch of throw away layers, and encourage this by having donation bins all over the place to get rid of the clothes as it gets closer to race time.

About 30 minutes out they tell you to make your way to your corral, which once again I was surprised by just how organize this was. They kind of move you into this walled up pens, a little prisionish but whatever, and you wait it out until you start walking. It was here that I finally shed my layers, keeping just the Dunkin’ hat and gloves on. There are more porta potties in the corrals in case you panic that you never got the chance to go.

My wave started at 10:10am, so around 10ish you start walking to the beginning of the Verrazano Bridge. Different groups are on different parts of the bridge, but either way there are a billion people all around. The announcer did a great job of pumping up the crowd. I thought I would be more nervous at this point, but I was actually so jacked up that I was doing that thing that would-be-athletes do before intramural games and was like pumping myself up. I was really excited at this point, I am sure I could go into a whole “wow my whole journey led me to this point thing” but that is fucking corny. But for real though I did spend some time getting ready for this, you can see in the previous 16 blogs about training for it if you really care too.

So some, I think Frank Sinatra, song about New York played and the race began. I think I am going to break up this review by borough, so without further ado, the actual race!

STATEN ISLAND (Miles 0 to 1ish)

So you are in Staten Island for a total of like 10 minutes. You literally just run across the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn. Starting a race on a massive incline has the advantage of tiring you out right from the get-go and making you really work without proper ally warming up. They don’t call this an easy marathon. After the 2 seconds, 2 seconds too many in my opinion, you are in Staten Island, its on to Brooklyn. Also I don’t have any pictures of anything borough specific after this one, so enjoy. Every week I posted as the feature image to my training blogs an overview of the runners on the bridge, this time I am posting a picture of my actually on it.

BROOKLYN (Miles 2 to 13)

At this point I had just run down the bridge and was feeling pretty damn good. Brooklyn was amazing, the energy was great with live music every mile or so and people packed along the streets cheering on the runners. I was so enjoying it that I didn’t even throw on my music until mile 9. Brooklyn is also flat, which made it an easy enough section. There were all kinds of signs, my favorite was one that said “Don’t Trust the Fart,” because I am immature. Also for real don’t trust it. At this point of the race we were cruising, Nathalie (that is my girlfriend in case that wasn’t obvious) and I were keeping a solid pace, we were doing a good job of spacing out hydration, and feeling overall solid. The crowd was just so lively and vivacious that it was hard to feel pumped. The areas of Brooklyn you run through are really pretty, so it is an enjoyable way to look at things. Right before the halfway point we stopped real quick to pee, and then got on another bridge to enter Queens.

QUEENS (Miles 13 to 16)

A quick popover in Queens to see a bunch of parking lots and factories made this part of the run pretty forgettable. After the bridge our pace started to drop a little bit, but it never got out of hand. Queens had some places with good energy, but it was not really a pretty area so I wasn’t terribly entertained. But of course at the end of Queens is the dreaded Queensboro Bridge, which might be the most unfair obstacle to throw into a marathon ever. SO the Queensboro Bridge fucking sucks, you are in the bottom part of it so there is no sun, it is a steady incline for what feels like at least 5 miles but is actually 1, and at the end it is a steep decline that doesn’t even feel like a break because you have to bend your legs in order to avoid them snapping. I repeat, fuck that bridge. On to Manhattan.

MANHATTAN PART 1 (Miles 16 to 20ish)

This part of the race takes you all the way up First Avenue, which is a cool enough street, if devoid of anything that really stand out to look at. At this point of the race we started to fall off a steady pace a little more. That dreaded 18th mile wall never really smacked me in the face, fortunately seeing a bunch of family and friends helped out a lot here. Around mile 16 I started to feel great, the idea of only having single digit miles to go I think mentally made this whole thing seem doable. I honestly felt fantastic at this point, that changed later on but whatever switch got flipped, it stayed flipped up until like mile 24. We started to hydrate a little more frequently, about ever 2 miles or so. I had also had 2 gel packets at this point (they gave packets out at miles 11 and 18). Another bridge, another borough.

BRONX (Miles 20ish to 22ish)

The Bronx stunk. Not like actually, well a little, but it just was ugly. This could have been because it felt like a tease until the final part of the race, but also there really wasn’t much to look at. There were still a ton of people, and the energy was solid, I just didn’t like this part of the race. Fortunately it was back to Manhattan.

MANHATTAN PART 2 (Miles 22ish to 26.2)

So the last part of the race is quite the interesting little adventure. From an actual running stand-point, mile 23 is basically a giant hill, which is something you always want at the end of a race. You travel down 5th Avenue until you do a quick popover into Central Park, where you go downhill for about another mile or so until it flattens out until the end. This part of the race is brutal, at that point I was starting to lose my little feeling of elation and the constant smacking of the concrete was starting to take its toll. At mile 24 I felt my outer right calf starting to tighten. This lead to my right quad tightening, and it became hard to bend my leg. I was forced to kind of high step it every quarter mile or so for a bit in order to keep the leg from tightening up completely. There was like a good 30 seconds where I wondered what would happen if the thing locked up on me and I couldn’t run, but then I thought there was no way I was stopping at this point so it didn’t matter.

I attribute this to a few things, the first is obvious exhaustion. I had been running for 4+ hours at this point and my body was feeling it. Next was that for the second half of the race, we had taken much more water breaks, as well as gave quick hugs and high fives to people who came to see us. This kind of stop-and-go style led to lactic acid build up. It’s not like we walked at any point, it was more that the change of pace and grabbing water and shit disrupts the run. We were running slower, at the pace we were going it was not the most optimal running motion for me or Nat. The last thing is that it was a god damn marathon and shit hurts. If I ran the whole thing without any type of pain or exhaustion than it wouldn’t be a challenge. Eat shit haters.

Going up and hill and down a hill, the TCS New York City Marathon finish line was finally in sight. The crowd for the second part of Manhattan, and really the whole race, was absolutely going nuts. It was crazy motivational and inspiring and while I don’t really ever feel moved by that kind of stuff, I honestly was blown away by the crowd. New York may be a cesspool of grime and filth and the worst kind of people, but it is still the best place on earth and nothing shows that more then being cheered on by millions of people. The people in Central Park were cheering their hearts out, and it actually did help push us too the end.

Sure enough we crossed the finish line, so ending our adventure. Well not really, they make you walk another mile as a sick, sadistic way to torture you before you are allowed to exit the park. If you selected a post-race poncho you got out of the park a little earlier. I did not. For real though I am not even kidding you actually have to walk a mile out of the park. It takes 45ish minutes and is absolutely horrible. They do give you a post-race bag with an apple some snacks and some drinks. I guess that is cool.

So to wrap up this monster blog, I have a few last thoughts on the race. This is going to be super sappy so if that is not your thing stop reading. You probably have already.

First off a humongous thank you to everyone who came out to support me. Seeing my family and friends during and after the race was something that helped push me to achieve a life long dream and I will forever be thankful. I feel truly blessed to have such great people in my life who are willing to freeze their asses off just to see me for two seconds and cheer me on.

Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this whole process. So many of you reached out during and after the race and it meant a lot. Nobody, I repeat nobody, wants to hear someone talk about running and training for a marathon, yet my family and friends were always willing to put up with me blabbing on and on about pace, mile splits, tempo runs and all other running related things. They also listened to me complain about how much time this was taking up, how I had to get up early all the time to get in a run, and how I was constantly sore and exhausted, with nothing but patience and understanding. I apologize for whining and promise I will continue to.

But I could not possibly end this blog without talking about my girlfriend Nathalie. About two years ago, Nathalie set this whole thing in motion based on me mentioning that it was a life goal to run a marathon. She carefully researched how exactly to get into the marathon and got me a NYRR membership so that I could begin the journey. She decided to embark on the journey with me and we began the process of the making the dream happen.

She was with me grinding out the 9+1, meticulously planning our runs, making sure we signed up at the right times, and constantly getting on my case about planning things better. Without her I would never have been able to sign up, get too, and meet the prerequisites to even get into this.

This year we began training for the marathon, and throughout the process she continued to encourage me to push myself in order to put myself in the best position to succeed. Her tireless efforts in her own training were inspiring. She worked her fucking ass off and it showed. She facilitated rearranging our social lives to accommodate our training schedules, she was there every time I needed to bitch about being too exhausted, and her incredible toughness and resiliency motivated me to keep working. She is a warrior.

This was one of the best experiences of my life and I could not be happier to have experienced it with her. We had an absolute blast, and through all the tough times, the fights, the whining, the pain, we always kept the goal in mind and when we both crossed the finish line it was incredible. I am so beyond proud of her and grateful we got to do this together. Thank you Nat. I love you.

While that would have been the perfect place to end this, I want to say that this is not it for me, I will continue to post about training and running and events. I am not positive what comes next, but when I do know I will be sure to write extensively, perhaps to extensively, about it. Thank you all for reading along. O yea here is what the medal looks like.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 16: O crap this is really happening

We have approached the final rendition of the Monday (or Tuesday, or even in this case Wednesday) marathon training blog. If you are reading this for the first time well the context is pretty easy to figure out if you have any type of awareness. Sunday is the TCS New York City Marathon and I will be participating in it. This is my first marathon so I have no idea what to expect. The only thing I know is baring death I will finish it. So if you never see another blog posted on this illustrious site know that I am not resting in piece.

Might as well talk about last week, though at this point the recap is just to put off having to talk about the future. Last week was one of the lower mileage weeks as the taper is in full effect. Tuesday was a murderous tempo run that I thought I flew through. Every single tempo run in this entire plan I have absolutely dreaded, and every single time I finished the tempo portion I have never felt better. There is something about pushing myself that really feels good. This was no exception. Like even if I am bone tired I seem to be able to push it for an extended amount of time. No one may care but if for some reason you see tempo run and think “fuck that,” well try it. Or don’t I do not really give a shit. Word.

The rest of the week was simple. The Wednesday and Thursday runs were easy enough, and the long run went really well. I see that I clipped off the Sunday run in that image but I am not going backwards so I ran five that day as well. Honestly that week felt nice, I did some yoga and flipped unto my ass trying to do a head stand and the instructor laughed. I mean I laughed too so whatever.

Lets talk about this week. Two 5-milers, a 3-miler and a 26.2-miler. The strategy is simple: don’t worry about time and try and have fun. Fun comes second, I didn’t do all this training to fuck around, I plan on finishing this and doing a respectable job. The strategy is going to be very similar to how I was doing those long runs. I will start by hydrating every 5 miles and will continue to try and keep that up as long as possible. I plan on having gel at miles 6, 12, 18, and maybe 24 though that seems like a lot. I do not think I am going to be able to have a little bit of a banana but whatever.

I will be sure to take enough pictures to make a somewhat decent race review but I make no promises. It is kind of hard to write about this the last week because at this point it feels so close that I just want it to happen but instead I am here writing about it. O well.

Final Note: Not really sure how I am getting to the race so there is a chance none of this happens. That is what I get for not selecting transportation when they asked. Go me!

Also I kind of mailed it in on this blog so if for some reason you actually read to the end of it don’t judge me on this try reading another one.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Shadow Rising Audiobook Update 1: The start of the rise of a shadow

God damn I did not realize last week I just did a recap of the third book meaning that update 1 for this book has the potential to be absolutely massive. Checking the progress on the audiobook I am a quarter the way through it, which is the not-so-crazy 10 hours to cover. If I am not communicating sarcasm effectively well that is the fault of the reader not the writer.

This book is fucking massive. Sometimes since I typically read things on the Kindle app (no free ads) the size of a book never really crosses my mind. Unless of course it is the Dark Tower, where every book felt like 1,000 pages too long. This book actually is over a 1,000 pages which is insane to think about. This book is also the start of the plot meandering, since Jordan is not exactly known for his brevity. Whatever it has been great so far.

In order to avoid having to write 90,000,000,000 words talking about all the great stuff that happens, I think I will cover two parts. The first is always the introduction. I actually just read that this is the only book without a prologue in the series. Whatever the first chapter is essentially that. We start the book with the ever rare Min POV. Min’s eternal war in subverting gender roles has unfortunately hit a snafu as she must do away with britches and throw on a dress in order to infiltrate the seemingly easy-as-hell to enter White Tower in order to deliver Moiraine’s message from 40 years ago to the Amrylin. I don’t care about those two meeting at all, I just like Gawyn, who she runs into on the way. Bornhold goes to the Two Rivers with ya boy sneaky Ordeith. I also don’t really care about that but I like the part where Ordeith is saying how he hasn’t tortured anyone but later says he was torturing some I think travelling people but they don’t count since no one will even notice. Just found that part funny.

As to some actual action that effects important people. I’m talking the Ta’vern Trio. The Big Three if you will. Rand has started to go low key psycho, and as a result he starts using the one power to “acciedently” try to murder his friends. First off is your boy beared Perrin. See clean-shaven Perrin is a guy you could trust. An offensive lineman who is an all around decent chap. Bearded Perrin is a horned up maniac. First off the guy almost gets killed by his own ax, but fortunately he is able to stop Rand’s attempts at murder. Bearded Perrin fuckksssss, no doubt about that. Ask Faile.

Then the hero of the story is busy hustling some lordling losers in cards like a regular Phil Ivy (that is the only pro poker player I know) when the cards start trying to fight back. Mat has that drip. He is in a fresh new coat, he has a bunch of Tear lords sons eating out the palm of his hand, hes checking out the ladies anddddd he gets that feeling that he is about to make some cash money. Turns out Rand can’t possibly leave him alone and the little pictures on the cards try to murder him. Mat throws knives at the cards, which is a dope defense and saves himself. DRIP.

I guess this forces me to talk about Rand. So Rand is in his chambers when Berelain decides she wants to booty call him. There is not doubt that Berelain is that bitch. She is the First of Mayene, which is a tiny little shit country, but she is also wild hot. I know this because every chance that little horn dog Robert Jordan gets, he talks about her tits and ass. Rand of course is a little bitch boy, so instead of laying down the dragon, he traps her in some air. Maybe he is one of those dudes who gets off on watching naked women be tortured without doing anything? Who knows the levels of Rand’s depravity. Either way, some reflections come out of the mirror and start fighting him. He wins, but the reason behind this is obvious. He had to make it look like he wasn’t trying to activly kill Perrin and Mat so he faked having his reflections try to kill him. Loser.

That about wraps up one fraction of this monstrosity. I think next week I will try and do the battle that takes place in the Stone of Tear. Mainly because it is the easiest subtitle. I also want to do a little deep dive into Mat’s run in with the doorway ter’angreal. Happy Friday!

Final Notes: Since I did not Photoshop an image for this week here is a little bonus. It is supposed to be a picture of Gawyn though I didn’t think much of the original. Also I took the over last night at 41.5. Not even close.

Book Reviews

New Spring Wrap-up: Springing me deeper into the Wheel of Time

Trash subtitle, not a trash book. New Spring is a Wheel of Time novel and serves as a prequel to the Wheel of Time series. One may question what would posses a man who has spent 100+ hours listening to the WoT audiobook series and writing about it weekly to also pick up a prequel book to the series and to that I have a simple answer. I am not a wealthy man and this book was offered by Tor as a free e-book. Being a man that quite enjoys both the WoT and free things, this was a match made in heaven.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it was quite the mindfuck listening to the audiobooks during my run, I think I was listening to the second or third book when I read this, and later on reading about events that transpired 20ish years prior to the start of the series. Felt like things were hopping around a lot.

So this book follows some of the best characters in the WoT series, Moiraine (I think I actually spelled her name right on the first try) and ya boyyyyyyy Lan Mandragoran. Set twenty years before we are introduced to fuckwad Rand, the book opens up with the oft mentioned Aiel War wrapping up. It’s funny I just listened to a part of The Shadow Rising where both Gaul and Lan are in the same room and they both have a mutual dislike for each other and it is obvious that the Aiel remember Lan whipping their asses in the war. We rarely see Lan as an actual battlefield commandeer so him strategizing and leading men was a great opener. There is a part where some lord requests for Lan to be the anvil in a hammer and anvil type trap on a group of Aiel and Lan agrees, despite having a feeling that the hammer is never going to show. So when questioned about it Lan says something along the lines of “I gave my word so I will stick to it.” Badass. I should go look for the quote but I won’t, read the book if you want it.

We get introduced to Moiraine and Siuan when they are Accepted. They are serving as cup bearers to the current Amyrlin, Tamra, when Gitara, who is the Keeper of the Stole, has a god damn seizure and croaks out a prophesy that the Dragon has been reborn. She then abruptly dies, which is kind of funny. Moiraine and Siuan vow to find and protect the Dragon without letting anyone know what they are doing. The Amyrlin tries to track down the Dragon by offering money to anyone who pushed out a kid in the last week, and the two collect all the possible candidates in a list. This list becomes their own personal quest. They wind up getting raised to Aes Sedai and set out to start tracking down kids.

Lan on the other hand is in a little bit of a pickle. Returning from war, he realizes this old milf he used to sleep with has tried to raise the Golden Crane while he has been gone. Not pleased with this he decides to track her down. He meets, you guessed it, Moiraine on the way and the two begin an adveserial relationship.

When they get to the city of Chachin some stuff happens with the Black Ajah and stuff. Having spoiled 60% of the book I won’t ruin the ending.

Many lovely people of Reddit question if this book should be read before one begins the WoT. While that would make it a nice number of 15 books, the answer is an emphatic NO. Reading this book contains massive spoilers for the series as you know the driving forces behind Lan and Moiraine’s actions. This severely takes away from the mystery and intrigue of those two characters, as well as spoiling a whole bunch of stuff about the Dragon. If you go into book one having read this, it takes away a lot of the fun. Save this for after, as a nice reminder of how great the series is. If the idea of reading a prequel novel after reading a masssssive 14 book series is too much for you, give it some time and come back to it.

I rate this book:

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 15: The calm before the storm

Not really sure what I am going to do to replace this Monday series after this is all said and done but with just one more blog to write after this one maybe I should focus on the task ahead. The title of this blog says it all, with two weeks left until race day this is the time to really focus on making sure my legs will function properly come time. At this point I am delirious with running, it has consumed my every waking moment. I wake up sore as hell, whether it is my calves twitching like a addict in withdrawal, my lower back feeling like I spent the previous day carrying overpriced textbooks I never planned on reading around campus, or my hips feeling like I just finished shooting an adult film, my shit hurts. Those were some A+ analogies.

Week 14 on paper did not seem to be the worst thing, in practice it felt horrible. The week started off with some solid intervals, as I previously mentioned I was going to do 2 minute intervals and I did. 2 minute intervals are god damn torture. Maybe that is why last week sucked, I don’t think I ever truly recovered from the intervals. Moving on to what should have been a nice easy 4-miler. If you were in the tri-state area on Wednesday, you may remember the tsunami. I ran in that. NEXT. Thurday was actually not too terrible I ran with my favorite running partner (that would be my gf, yes a blogger who reads fantasy books can have one of those), and Friday was of course the greatest day of all. I’m talking hills! Also hit the gym Friday night not to brag or really just show how little I have going on in my life that I can work out twice in a day, on a Friday no less. I promise I have a 9-5 job. I also so Post Malone Tuesday night. Not like I saw him while I was out, I paid money to see him preform. No real reason to include that in this but here you go.

The long run physically was difficult in the sense that I felt as if my body was already starting off sore. I didn’t do legs at the gym, but my body felt as if it was stiff and it never really seemed to loosen up. Fortunately my mental game seems to be on track, I just listened to my audiobook and knocked it out. No gels or anything, just a quick pit stop at the water fountain around mile 8.

Looking at this week there really isn’t much to talk about. The 6-mile tempo run tomorrow will probably be the most difficult thing I have to overcome, and since that is in the beggining of the week at least I will get that out the way. I am taking off today, and while I have a day off on thursday, I think it is crucial to get in a yoga class. The long run of the week is 8 miles, so no real challenge there.

Wrapping up this whiny ass blog it really hasn’t hit me that this training is almost at an end. I am not one to get wrapped up in the moment so it still doesn’t feel like I will be running the marathon in two weeks. As someone who had always had ‘running a marathon’ on his bucket list or whatever you want to call it, I am surprised that the buildup hasn’t broken me mentally. Perhaps running those crazy long training runs, and slowly building up to this distance has just made it seem like a tangible goal as oppoosed to a pipe dream. Who knows maybe I will freak out next week. Lets get after it.

Final Notes: For your own mental sanity please don’t ever watch nor bet on the Giants. Shurmer calling a draw on 3rd and a million when we needed to convert that first down to keep the games hope alive has haunted me since yesterday. Also the decision to take the ball out of the end zone after the Cardinals field goal and not just take the touch back, essentially negating using the two minute warning as a time-out was one of the worst time management coaching decisions I have ever seen. So bad.

Book Reviews

Port of Shadows Wrap-up

I have fallen very behind once again on reviewing the books I have been reading and almost forgot all about this one. Which would have been a shame because I am a huge fan of both Glen Cook and his masterpiece series The Black Company. Widely considered by every blog and fantasy book site to be the father of the Grimdark sub-genre, Port of Shadows is a worthy edition to the series. Despite what stupid ass reviewers think. People just love to hate.

To be fair I thought Cook was dead so it’s good to see that is not true. Congrats on being alive bro.

On Goodreads they have this book listed as Book #1.5 which I guess puts it between books 1 and 4. It is not exactly clear to me the timeline of the book, but than again the timelines for any of the books are not exactly linear. Honestly the beauty of these books is that they just go from spot to spot with absolutely no time explaining things. From the first time the company fights a werewolf thing in the opening chapter of book one I was hooked so I might be a little skewed in all things Black Company. Actually I just looked it up (despite my commitment to no research) and this book takes place between The Black Company and Shadows Linger.

This book has not been well received. The reasons for this seem to fall into two categories, the first is that it has a lot of contradictions that don’t mesh well with the rest of the lore and history of the series. The second is that there is a plot device that Cook uses involving the characters losing their memories of the events taking place in the book, which conveniently allows this book to fit in between books 1 and 2 without ever being mentioned in any of the later books. Sure that is not the most original concept nor is it great to have conflicting lore but as I mentioned the beauty of these books are that they are super confusing and the details are murky. The individual story itself is a ton of fun and fits in well with the style of the series.

Port of Shadows has two separate story lines. The first is a flashback to the time of the Dominator, where we follow a necromancer who has an obsession with trying to bring back dead girls to I guess replace his dead daughter. This story line is cool as hell, the girl he revives happens to be a Senjak sister that got raped by a bunch by the Dominator’s guards and disposed off. Here is where the details conflict, we have no idea who the sister is supposed to be but whatever. The Howler and another Senjak sister, probably either The Lady or Soulcatcher (all time villain btw) attempt to rescue the sister and the Senjak girl gets captured. The necromancer bolts with the two girls and creates a kind of fortress in the world and of course bangs the dead girl eventually, starting a breeding farm of Senjak clones.

The other story line follows the Black Company who are in service to The Lady and are posted in the city/town of something I honestly can’t remember. Their goal is to root out the rebel group called the Resurrectionists who are trying to, you know, resurrect the Dominator. They capture a sorceress known as Tides Elba, who looks remarkably like the Lady. As they continue to root out rebels they keep finding more girls that look like Tides Elba, now known as the Taken Mischievous Rain. The people in these books have the coolest names. Eventually this leads to an underwhelming confrontation at the fortress from the other story line, and we find out that the girls have been breed in order to open up the Port of Shadows, which is supposed to bring back the Dominator.

I hate writing summaries of books as you can kind of tell, because I would much rather talk about things I liked and disliked. It just is hard to talk about things without at least summarizing the book somewhat. I thouroughly enjoyed the creativity of Cook in this book. Sick rhyme. Like the necromancer thing was so engrossing, just the obsession of this creepy old diddler experimenting and essentially creating a self-sustaining castle through his cloning was interessting and made a lot of sense in terms of the overall plot. You could kind of tell from the beggining that eventually the clones the Black Company kept finding were this revived girl, but that seemed intentional. The way the Black Company is organized and their relationship with the Taken is always a fun read. Mischievous Rain was equal parts awesome and a sympathetic character. It is such a cool concept that The Lady transforms these people, who may or may not have opposed her, into her minions. Also One Eye is the best.

Read this if you like The Black Company. Don’t complain about it. Also I finally figured out a simple way to rate books. Books are only going to be rated on the widely academically accepted Virgin/Chad scale. If you want an absolutely hilarious Reddit post on this read below.