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...?
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....