Greetings all. It's fair to say that the last 3 weeks have knocked me for six, with the horrible week of the chest infection (and no wine), and a couple of weeks of steadily getting better. So, it was with some trepidation that I stepped outside of the front door today for my first Sunday run in a while.
Before I talk about that, Saturday brought an altogether nicer experience, in the form of a lunch with Janet at Hotel Terravina in the New Forest (well, edge of..Netley Marsh). For those who don't know, this is the recent venture of Gerard Basset (formerly of Hotel du Vin fame, now a Master of Wine, a Master Sommelier and winner of numerous worldwine prizes for generally being a great and super-knowledgeable chap in the world of vino). I have written on Terravina before. Its real draw for a wine-lover is that food and wine get equal billing and importance in the experience. So, you have lovely food (tasty, not huge portions) and a really great time with the wine list, including the excellent recent addition of the 250ml carafe concept, enabling 3 wines to be tried and still only drinking a bottle's worth. So, after kicking off with a beautiful Manzanilla 'en rama' from Barbadillo whilst mulling the menu, to partner Salmon we drank an organic and natural Montloius (Chenin Blanc from the Loire valley, low/no sulphur, so flavoursome). Then, with Hake, Janet paired an Oz Semillon and with pork, I enjoyed a beautifully crunchy and stalky Cabernet Franc from Uruguay. Naturally a pudding wine to round off the selection, a botrytis riesling for Janet and a Pedro Ximenez (think Christmas Pudding in a glass) for me.
Hurrah for taxis. We stumbled across the threshold at 4pm, tea, papers and a snooze by the fire, then a bracing walk at 6 to shake off a bit of a hangover! I summoned enough energy to decant a beautiful Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel 2006 to warm up a light supper, half today and half tomorrow.
And so, on to the running. Recovering as I am, I was mindful of the impact of cold air on my lungs. I have just invested in a marvellous piece of running gear - for a mere £12 - called the Original Buff that comes in a huge variety of colours (see http://www.sweatshop.co.uk/details.cfm?ProdID=10328). Essentially it's a tube of lycra, that can go from scarf (a 'running cravat' sounds a bit Victorian, I think, but it does feel strangely like that!) to mouth cover to headgear as the weather changes - very flexible, and just providing the right amount of cover. For me it was perfect, to ensure that I didn't suck in too much air at the ambient 4 degrees C, but a bit warmer. The lungs really thanked me for that. Though I probably did look a bit like a bandit out on my long run - still, I can't imagine many Wild West characters choosing a steady plod round Romsey though. Anyway, after 4.5 miles, that was enough - these are the runs that to do a bit too little is a much better idea than doing too much!
So - back to wine and running again. Happy days.
Pip Pip and a jolly week to you all!