an accomplished sort of weekend

It’s been a good weekend. As I wrote elsewhere, I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun finishing DFL in a regatta. I don’t feel too bad about the last-place finish, since I was racing women 20 years younger, who are training at a collegiate level, and I haven’t been in a boat for about a month. On the erg, yes, but my training there is aimed more at distance than sprints – and as any rower will point out, ergs sink. Also, as an open race, this was a 2000m distance, not the 1000m masters typically race. So add all those things up, and I finished way behind. On the other hand, I rowed a race I’m proud of: I was right with my competitors at the start, stayed with all but the winner for the first 500m or so, and kept up the pressure all the way through the race, never slacking or giving up.

Nearly as good, I met three new people: a Taiwanese rower who speaks good English, an American rower and his Malay girlfriend. I have phone numbers and addresses from all three and will definitely be making plans to get together.

Today I slept in, then despite my body making absolutely sure I could tell that I rowed hard yesterday, I did a long erg piece. If I hadn’t had the race, I’d have been doing a steady state 18km piece yesterday and a 13km piece full of power tens today; I decided the race took care of power so I did the 18km piece, at a light pace. Though actually the race was closer to the VO2Max piece I have scheduled for Tuesday (2000m at a 5km pace, 3000m at a marathon pace, repeated twice) so might do the power intervals then instead. Unfortunate, since as planned it’s long enough to require getting up extra early. Getting up at 5:30 then getting on the erg may be the very definition of adding insult to injury.

And I’ve turned the heel of the first of the socks I’m making as a stocking stuffer for Rudder – I realized I ought to do those while he’s not around, if possible – so I feel terribly accomplished this weekend.

One other thing I need to say: if anyone who reads this has been considering buying Here There Be Dragons, by James A. Owens, don’t. Or be prepared to ignore a lot of faults. The plot is mythic in scope, with a well-imagined world combining a variety of legends and motifs, and there are plenty of the sort of sly literary references I love. However, the writing sucks. At least, the writing in general is mediocre and the dialogue is absolutely awful. It doesn’t appear to have occurred to Owens that a bunch of Oxford scholars during the Great War would not be using the phrasing of an American kids of the late century, nor would they address each other by first names immediately upon meeting each other. The point where I nearly threw the book across the room is when they first meet the previous Caretaker of the Imaginarium Geographica (is that even proper Latin? Wouldn’t it be Geographica Imaginarium?) who is an older man. The scintillating dialogue on that momentous occasion:

“Call me Bert.”
“Okay, Bert.”

No, no, no, no. Do not think so. And with one exception, everyone they meet, including the archtype of Noah, speaks in the same register. Really, this book would have worked better if instead of making it a period piece, Owens had elected to make it something like one of the Voyage of the Basset series.

But the interlocking mythologies and the literary references really are kind of fun, which is why I have refrained from setting fire to it. (That plus Taipei really doesn’t need any more particulate pollution.)

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