Sunday, 28 March 2010

Miles: 29.8, Units 22

I took the first part of the week off as recovery from the weekend races - so, just Friday and Saturday, and a steady run whilst marshalling on Sunday. The philosophy of happiness suggests that helping others is in fact the best way to inner peace - and, having spent Sunday morning guarding a T junction whilst the Eastleigh 10k strode past, I get a sense of what that means. You can easily forget the pleasure of actually watching races when you run's great to see the differing runners, their styles and personal battles. Even better, there is a certain surge when you hear those words 'thankyou marshall' from the huffing runners. You experience instant gratification from the participants, and reflect on the general niceness of their usage of the scarce resource of breath to shout out to you. Simple things, simple pleasures!

I am delighted that I avoided the lazy "as a runner.." in the above piece, that is nowadays all too often used to justify completely subjective views with the fake mandate that is assumed from all others in a similar state, as if the mere fact of being part of a group allows you assumed authority to pass off your own thoughts as representative of the collective. Just a bug bear of mine that I hear a lot of now ("As a radio listener.." perhaps I should have said?). Put away the soap box, John. As a blog reader I just don't want to hear it.

Wine of the week is a cracker - Kanonkop Paul Sauer 1999. Aromas of coffee, spice and berries, and of course blackcurrants. Great structure, not too powerful, just really well-balanced. A well-known Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend that won the silver award at the inaugural judging of South Africa’s champion Bordeaux Blend cellar at the Calyon Trophy. Kanonkop is a fantastic estate that reminds me why I like South African Bordeaux blend so much more than actual Bordeaux, most of the time.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Miles: 38.51; Units 21

A tough and very back-end-loaded week as far as running is concerned - a real test of current levels prior to five hard long runs before tapering for Edinburgh. I have done this twice, before Marathons, and it seems to work well as a benchmarker for where I am and what's to do! In true style, of course, I go at this too fast - seems to be my way - and hope I will emerge reasonably unscathed.

I had set myself the target of running a half marathon in training on Saturday and then the Fleet Half marathon on Sunday - if you will, a session of "2 x 13.1 miles with a 12
hour rest". Goal was to hit marathon race pace, whilst reminding myself of what running on tired legs feels like, and I am delighted to say that I whipped my times by some margin! The consequence when I got home was about 3 hours of zombie-like post-bath stumbling including an hour in bed just trying to come round. A quick weigh-in also showed a loss of nearly 2 litres of water - remedial action quickly followed - and rather like a fading houseplant, a litre or so in and I am suddenly lifted up.

This week's picture is of the M3 at Fleet - most of us merely know this as a service station rather than as a not unpleasing small town, so I thought I would pay homage to the fantastic book 'Boring Postcards' which has photos of these odd structures which are in fact so much part of our modern life. Perhaps slightly more odd is that, to search for this photo on Google, I was flush with choice! Proof yet again that we can find someone who is interested in anything. I remember hearing on Radio 4 some years ago that there were 100 members of the Corduroy society in America..says it all, really.

Wine of this week - a reward for a tough weekend - is Cote Rotie "Champin Le Seigneur" Jean-Michel Gerin 2003, a wine from a notably hot year. There was much concern that this would cause baked fruit - but not here, it would seem. I doubt the wine will have staying power, though, for long cellaring, as the acidity is already showing a bit. The fruit is fully ripe, and the wine much more gentle than you might imagine - beautifully integrated tannins, very delicate, almost like a Burgundy, in a way. A delicate note of plums, with a long, lingering and silky taste, and a great finish. Hurrah!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Miles: 25 (plus 8 exercise classes); Units:40? (two weeks)

A double-post this week, to allow for the lack of a post last Sunday. We were at Champneys for a long weekend, hence no post last weekend, very little running and lots of exercise classes. It was a wonderful relaxer - really great. Exercise in the morning, pampering in the afternoon. My favourite class, without a doubt, was a spinning class the like of which I have never encountered before. I've done spinning - ie an exercise bike session - but not in darkness with the music pumping. We span to the beat, pushing the resistance up on the thumping bits What an adrenaline blast! At the end your legs are screaming at you, and you feel surprisingly good.

Wine wise, we were very restrained, having but a half bottle of a rather good Sancerre 2008 for dinner. Very crisp, very clean, and with that steely determination that marks out Sancerre from New Zealand Sauvignon.

So, a quiet post for two weeks - sorry about that - I promise a return to form next week.