Sunday, 27 June 2010

miles 13.1; Units 22

Another lean week on the miles front - just a treadmill session in the basement gym of the Holiday Inn in Bolton (which was as good as it sounds..) and a lovely, lovely 10 miler today in the morning sun. Up to Hilliers arboretum, hen through Ampfield wood, back via Green Lane. So many other runners out too - we are a happy crew, with the knowing glances of 'look at what we are doing to enjoy ourselves that others aren't!' Getting up early, heading out when the day is still crisp - oh, that is such a treat. I am really beginning to appreciate the natural world in the morning, from having a coffee on the patio with the gentle morning sun starting to warm the day, to the fact that it is just - well, quieter at that time of day. Makes you feel very philosophical about things.

It's been a strangely busy weekend, which started with a wedding reception on
Friday at Marwell Zoo. It is somewhat peculiar - in a really good and different way - to be met by a Zoo train at the gates, and driven through past the hippos and tigers on the way to the rather lovely Victorian Gothic pile in the centre, where Roger and Tess (for it was they) were wading in for round 2, the evening crowd. Just lovely - and met some great folk. The photo this week is indeed of Janet on said train!

Winewise, probably Saturday evening won with a further bottle of the Lanzaga Rioja 2004, all cherries and strawberries, nicely developed tannins, and a really warm, rich palate. This is new-wave Rioja production, so fruit and oak, not the old, oxidised style (which can also be lovely, a bit more mushroomy). I think I will keep the remaining bottles for a year or so - should be just great.

Definitely a week of not putting into action all the plans that we'd carefully made on holiday. Better next week..

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Miles 23.69; Units lots and lots

Dear Reader, a double-post this week, as last Sunday I was in Italy. More of
that later. Quickly on the running front, very low miles, due in part to work commitments (having to spend days in Bolton..) and in week 2, because the route from the Agriturismo would have made a 4x4 have a bit of a think about attempting much of a run! A 400ft straight climb up a trail in the heat..well, you can see why the miles did not happen!

Let me take the chance to wax lyrical on a wonderful holiday in Southern Umbria. We stayed at the Tenuta di Canonica near Todi. The views were astonishing - towards Todi on the left, and down towards Lago di Corbara. We spent many hours just staring at it - hence the low level of holiday book reading! The Tenuta was also a fabulous place, with the wonderful Francesa and Matteo looking after us very well. Janet was especially taken with Mozart the African Grey parrot, who used to tweet away all day very merrily, mimicking the phones and the owners. He'd go all quiet when you went up to him - and then when you walked away, say 'goodbye'.

Wine-wine a festival of local Umbria wines - Rubesco by Lungarotti, Sagrantino di Montefalco by Caprai, and Grechetto di Umbria, to name but three. I do feel there is a real opening for a wine tasting centre around Montefalco. We were disappointed to see that our usual enoteca has shut - not surprised in a way, the location was poor and he did not seem especially commercial - perhaps that's why we liked him! There is so much that Montefalco needs to do to make itself as well known as Montalcino.

And here's me on our wonderful terrace getting slightly pickled in the afternoon after lunch on an Orvieto Secco by Bigi - dry and crisp (the wine, not me). Happy days!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Miles 23.08; Units 23

First week of getting back into the step of things - with the pleasure of no specific target other than enjoying my running and keeping life in balance. I've had 4 runs this week of 4, 5.5, 6, and 7.5 miles, all just at whatever pace I fancied - which is still probably a little fast, however if you are in the mood then just go for it, that's what I say! A lovely run on Sunday, out to the Salmon Leap, then across the fields to Squabb's Wood, and back along the Old Salisbury Road. This is a great trail/road run with some lung-busting climbs, and a cautious trek across a field with cows in it - you have to skirt round them and generally they leave you alone! One of those just perfect runs when you start out before it is too warm, and the heat only picks up as you are heading for home. You have the joy of having beaten both the sun and the traffic! Get back before 10am, and your run will feel fantastic. Definitely one of those runs today that is de-stressing, just a real pleasure, and enough to give you a glow of effort on returning home without feeling blasted. I sense that, as after previous marathons, I will now have a great 4 weeks of running as I fancy, and then some time around mid July I will feel the need to set a new goal.

Winewise, a lovely one last night with the first barbeque and outdoors dinner of the year. I am sure that some of you have been merrily dining outside as soon as the snow melts from the patio table - not for me! We tucked into a glorious bottle of Kanonkop Pinotage 2003, from South Africa. Beautiful, deep red colour, lovely ripe berry fruit nose, and (a tasting note from the label here) a hint of banana - yes, it really did have that! The tannins were perfectly integrated and soft, providing structure with no harshness. Big in the mouth, not dominating, and just right for BBQ meats. I know that Pinotage ( A cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, very much South Africa's own grape) is not seen as a 'top flight' variety but you know, when it is good, it is a pleasure. And this one was!