Monday, 25 April 2011

First steps after the marathon

It's Bank Holiday Monday, and I am now all set up in my running gear (always important to buy a new set at the marathon expo, so you have something to look forward to when you go for the first run after the big day!). Nice stuff from Gore as well...

8 days since I last pulled on a running shoe...long enough to miss it and want it again..

..still disappointed (a bit) over my London performance, but getting over it...3:38 still a great time, and I know I throttled back in the second half anyway as I knew I wasn't on for  PB or qualification time. I reckon that's why I am not so knackered now.

..have had a week of good food and wine, nothing spectacular, just some pleasing bottles - sitting here now I can remember:

Volnay Vielles Vignes Nicolas Potel 2005, silky yet with a bit of tannic bite
Vigna Flaminia Rosato by Vallone, from Brindisi, a lovely dry and rich wine, made from Montepulciano and Negroamaro grapes, perfect with tuna steaks
Hannibal 2004 by Bouchard Findlayson, a strange blend of Pinot, Sangiovese and Rhone grapes..light yet heavy, if that makes sense!

Will start to write again next week, I think, less formulaic..

Pip pip

John.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday, 10 April 2011

VLM week -3: The week with the visitor to Romsey

With three weeks to go to the marathon, there can be only one thought, and that thought is TAPER! The hardest part of any marathon training is sometimes having to stop, and let your body rest and recover before the race. You suddenly find yourself with these strange things called 'evenings' back again! With the clocks having gone forward, and your runs dropping to 4 or 5 miles, you are back and showered by 8pm - and with an hour of daylight still in hand. A good friend who is running the marathon for the first time said to me 'you warned me about this - and last night I had just that sensation, I suddenly didn't have a run to do, and I didn't know what I should be doing!' Ah well, only a few weeks to go..

There is still training to be done, of course, with 4 runs and 24 miles during the week. You run the same number of times, and still run the fast sessions, you just drop the volume. In the final week there will be some runs where it takes longer to get changed into the gear than the run itself!

Another delightful part of the training now is that you have the time to stop and talk. On my long (ish) run of 14 miles on Saturday, I was stopped in the road at Chilworth by an American lady who was walking to Southampton. It was about 4 miles from where she was, so I pointed her in the right direction - and then I suddenly thought - why not go to Romsey instead? So, I turned round, and sent her there instead. I carried on with my run, thinking no more about it and about 6 miles later I looped back, and met her again, about a mile from Romsey! So I stopped and walked with her, and found that she was a visiting Professor from Singapore University, who had a couple of free days before a meeting on Monday in Southampton. I sent her on towards the town centre and the Abbey. The next day I received the loveliest email from her, telling me all about her great visit to Romsey - and the most uplifting phrase that, even now, makes me feel very happy to have helped: "..And all of this pleasure, plus the conversation with you:  all because you suggested I turn left rather than right on my morning walk!.."

How often do we just turn right rather than left...?

On the wine front, an interesting oddity to go with a lamb casserole. Biferno Rosso Riserva, 2004 (Camillo de Lellis) is from  Molise, one of the least visited small regions of Italy on the eastern side of the Appenines, just below Abruzzo.  This wine tastes like the people making it haven't even heard of television, let alone the internet! Look at the label..and how wonderful that these unique experiences still exist in this world of homogeneity. Anyway, what of the wine? An overwhelming nose of plums and prunes, still lovely and fresh, rich and ripe. The grape mix is Montepulciano (not to be confused with the place in Tuscany) and Aglianico. These are not fruit-driven wines, they are long, balanced, and as classic as a Rover P5B! A real treat.

Two weeks to go....

Saturday, 9 April 2011

VLM week -4: The week with the wine tasting

Hello dear Reader. Once again my frequency has fallen. - so let me endeavour at least to engage you with quality!

Well, what a week! Runningwise I was aiming for steady, and this week was the week with the plan for the Longest Run, an important part of any marathon Schedule. I was pushing for 25 miles at just shy of marathon pace. Did I manage it? Well, to be honest, no. I will explain....

This week was also the week of the Wine Tasting. My first paid engagement for a private client rather than a bigger corporate 'do'. A lovely lady who attended my December tasting in Windsor called me out of the blue a few weeks before, and wanted me to run a tasting in her house for 8 people, as a birthday present for her husband. How delighted was I! What a great, great opportunity. So, we planned in secret, and managed to keep it quiet from her husband. It was a real success, and once again reminded me how much I love doing this kind of thing, and indeed how good I am at it, if I may be slightly immodest (purely in the interests of self-motivation, you understand.). The selection was spring-focused, with a few 'off the beaten track' entries to keep it fresh. We tasted:


Grüner Veltliner, Lössterrassen, Weingut Stadt Krems, 2009
Pazo Señorans Albariño, Rías Baixas, 2009
St Véran, Vernay, Château de Beauregard, 2009
St Aubin Rouge Premier Cru Sentier du Clou, Domaine Henri Prudhon, 2005
Gianni Brunelli Rosso di Montalcino, 2008
Côtes-du-Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel Rouge, 2004

Stella Bella Cabernet-Merlot, 2007, Margaret River
Muscat Saint Jean de Minervois, Domaine de Barroubio, 2009

Cálem Colheita, 1990
(all from Majestic apart from the Prosecco, from Waitrose)

and I would recommend them all. There was an even split for the whites and the reds, just proving the point that everyone has a different palate.


So, back to the running - I suppose that a hard 25 miles after being on your feet from 5pm to 11.30pm, then not getting to bed till 1am, then marshalling at the Eastleigh 10k...yep, that was asking a lot! I still put in 23 miles in 3.15, which is actually spot on for most marathon programmes. All in all a good run, and one that will set me up well for the bog day.

Two final wines from me - a lovely Vinsobres Altitude 420 by Jaume, 2007, and a very fresh unoaked Chardonnay from Fariview, called Capra. The former from the Wine Society, the latter from Waitrose. The Vinsobres had good, crunchy tannins, plenty of structure, and ripe fruits. a few years in that one I think. The Fairview was a delight, all peachy fruit and good length. Just fresh!

Pip Pip
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