Sunday, 25 July 2010

Miles 18.23; Units 23

Another week of only two runs - however, I have been reminded that I did also go to a circuits class and a gym session, so in fact I still exercised more than about 99% of the population! It just doesn't seem that much in relative terms to me. I am aware that the last statement sounds a bit please accept it for what it is worth! Another great long run out with the club through the Hampshire countryside. It hinted at drizzle but limited itself to mildly muggy. We had a newbie with us today, which made me cast my mind back to that time for me, and the slightly embarrassed 'new girl/boy at the disco' emotion it can engender. I did feel for her, as she said 'oh I fancy about 10 miles' which then became 13 with a chunky hill at the end - and then she had to run 2 miles home! The testosterone of the group was rising, the boys and the girls!

I was also thinking about the power of music on the run, and my taste for pumping electronica, not a style I was into when young - however now I love it for driving you on, espcially the 1990's Ibiza type tracks. I was wondering what it would have been like to attend some of those raves, just letting yourself totally go to the music. Can't imagine that that must have been like. One of my favourites right now is 'Rapture' by IIO (if this doesn't work, maybe search for 'rapture IIO' on youtube). There is something just so mesmeric about it, I am sure that I enter some kind of a trance focus when I listen to this whilst burning round a track. Oh how my life has changed from 5 years ago..

Just awesome music for intervals.

Wine of the week is a belter - Domaine de la Janasse Terre d'Argile 2007, Cotes du Rhone Villages. This wine got 91 points from Robert Parker, and I am not surprised - it is just his kind of wine, really big and extracted. It's a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Mourvedre from this well known producer, who worked up something very special in the excellent 07 vintage. It is so dense, with a nose of blackberries, and kirsch. There is a rich, texture of fruit, and a long long finish. Plenty of life in this wine. Quite glorious, and a shocking 15.5%!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

miles 18.31; Units 27

A two-run week...must be the first time in a long while as low as that, other than when injured or post-marathon. On the up side, two good runs - including a very early morning loop round Braishfield, not my usual at all. I have never really got on well with morning running, however I guess that's just because I have never done a lot of it! There is something about the freshness of the morning that just can't be beaten...usually. On this occasion, however, I seemed to have decided to co-incide with the work and school runs. It certainly gives you a different insight on the travelling public- ie yourself, normally - as they push on to work or school in the metal cocoon of a car, mildly oblivious to the running public. You get some odd looks as well, though I'd like to think that was merely jealousy from the desk bound wage slave reconciling his morning activity with what looked like a very much nicer start to mine. Couldn't resist using this picture either - tee hee.

All in all an odd week, as I have been grappling with the right direction to take workwise. More of that in later blogs I am sure.

Wine wise, something of an oddity. From the southwest of France, a white called Côtes de Saint-Mont, Les Vignes Retrouvées, 2008. It's from the rather obscure grape Manseng, which gives a dry yet full flavour, with an overwhelming sense of grapefruit juice. You can't just drink and not think with this wine - it demands notice, rather like a petulant child. I haven't actually worked out fully if I like it (which may make you wonder why it is wine of the week - fair point) yet I am intrigued, and look forward to the other bottle of it, which I shall consume this summer.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Miles 24.31; Units about 25 (maybe)

Well, what a beautiful week for running! This would be for two reasons - firstly, that I started to get back into some harder training again with an interval session - 4 x 5 mins at 10k pace may not sound like much, but it was pretty testing - and secondly, because I managed to meet with the Southampton Athletics Club for their Sunday run. Only 5 of us this time, as we tackled an undulating (nay steep!) 13 miler through the countryside from Winchester. Just another one of those runs that reminds you what a glorious part of the world we live in down here.

Running with a group is a different experience. Firstly, you have to subjugate your own needs for the group, regulating your pace to match the front or the back. Inevitably the group spreads out, but that's ok, you wait for your fellow runners at strategic points if you are up ahead. Also, the route is not yours alone. And, you must also take your turn at the front, pushing the pace where necessary. What you get back is a great camaraderie, and a reminder of the social side of running. There is motivation, support..and if you want, just the pleasure of other's company, where you are working hard. There is no need to talk, and you must get the balance right between keeping conversation going and shutting up when the others just want to run. Finally, you tend to run at an easy pace, and don't take the long runs too fast- something we are all guilty of at times.

A varied week on the wine front - nothing sensational, however I did enjoy Morgenhof Chein Blanc 2008. Only now as I look for a pic of the bottle, do I find that it has been highly rated in the February 2010 issue of Decanter magazine., and Steven Spurrier chose this wine amongst others as his personal 'Best New World White Wine'. I can see why, for sure. He says "From high elevated 40 year old, dry land vineyards this benchmark Chenin Blanc has full honey and flower on the nose with natural acidity bolstering the pure depth of fruit, a wine that is there now and will age well." I would just add really crisp, with character, and perfect with fish and salad. I only wish I could remember where I bought it from...

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Miles 18.3; Units substantial

Another busy and mad week on the work front, though I did manage to squeeze in an extra 5 miler to get the weekly total nibbling up a bit. I am just starting to notice a bit of 'creep' around the midriff...have to watch out for that one. On Sunday, my long run of around 10 miles was absolute torture with a belting hangover from the Saturday night. You do quite literally sweat out the alcohol on the way round! I was debating having my first long run with the running club, but to be honest, not only did I not feel like it, I probably wasn't legal to drive anywhere.

So far, I have not set a new running goal, though I feel that time is nearing. I do seem to be able to go for about 6 weeks before the lack of a focus gets in the way a bit. When you have to go out and put in the hard miles of fast work, which means pushing your pain threshold, it is difficult to do that without a specific purpose. Now why do I also think that's a bit of metaphor for how my life is at the moment...

On to pleasant topics, and of course Wine of the Week. No question this week. We went round to Keith and Pete's for dinner on Saturday, and I took the opportunity to raid the cellar. Standout wine was Grahams 1983 vintage port. Sensational, with everything you'd expect - sweetness, power, perfect balance between alcohol, fruit and tannin..figgy, slightly cooked plums, very fine and with a long, subtle finish. 1983 was the famous (soi-disant) split declaration, with some shippers favouring 1982 and some 1983. Over time the latter year seems to have proved the better bet. Such. class, depth and complexity here. Graham's is on the sweeter side, and I like that.

An the final good news is that I still have one more bottle, and I reckon it needs drinking in in the next 12-24 months. Such a pity..

Pip Pip