Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for September, 2007


Published September 30th, 2007

Never bored in Bordeaux

Petrus

 

I’m FINALLY getting around to posting about our adventures in Bordeaux. Given Paris was really about the food (other than the two runs, our primary exercise was walking from cafe to bistro to farmer’s market), you can read about that portion of the trip at Ovens to Betsy (definitely check out the name of the first restaurant we ate at upon arrival).

Not wanting to leave things to chance, I signed up for the Marathon du Medoc through Marathon Tours as we were not only guaranteed entry into the race, we’d also be getting tickets to the Mille-P√Ętes (1,000 noodle) carbo-loading dinner and the 9K recovery walk the day after. Although not an inexpensive way to go, the package also included five nights’ stay at a hotel, breakfast each day, wine tastings and lunch at a couple of chateaux, a welcome dinner and a celebratory gala. Considering our last “real” vacation was our honeymoon to Thailand seven years ago, we decided to live it up. Turns out it was a very wise decision as the International Rugby World Cup is currently being held in France, and many of the hotels in both Bordeaux and Paris were sold out.

Right from the start I knew this would not be your typical tour group (my darling’s version of Hell would be getting stuck on either a tour bus to Branson, Missouri or on any cruise ship). Most of the 100 people in our group were running the marathon, and the majority didn’t think of themselves as “tour people.” I was amazed at their stories: for one 69-year-old gentleman Medoc was to be his 39th marathon; he ran his first at age 40! Another woman was pursuing her quest to run on all seven continents (Medoc would be her fourth and she’s signed up for the 2008 Antarctica marathon). The oldest in the group was 83 (it took a while before his doctor gave him the go-ahead. Although he was capable of finishing the full marathon, he decided to duck out at the halfway mark since he wouldn’t make our group’s cut-off time of seven hours).

But the person who truly astounded me was a tiny woman in her 60s (perhaps even 70s). All during the trip I thought she was there to cheer someone else on; I never suspected she’d be running it. But as they were handing out awards during the gala, I found out that Medoc was her 115th marathon! Simply incredible. (She won the award for the slowest person in our group).

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Published September 17th, 2007

Marathon du Medoc 2007

Medoc finish
We interrupt this blog post for the following announcement:

“Happy 7-year anniversary Pooky Darling! Thank you for an absolutely FABULOUS trip. I love you!”

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog post.

I’m sure no one forgets their first marathon, but the Marathon du Medoc is exceptionally memorable. Perhaps I’ve now set the bar so high — every marathon from this point on will pale in comparison — but I prefer to think this fabulous experience merely assures there’ll be more marathons in my future.

As many of you know, I’ve been planning this trip for more than a year. I read about the Marathon du Medoc in a “Runner’s World” article on the most fun marathons in the world, and given it combines two of our favorite pastimes — running and drinking wine — we were immediately hooked. Add on a few days in Paris and we now had an extraordinary trip to celebrate our 7-year anniversary.

Every article I read raved about the marathon, but I then stumbled across Vince’s blog on last year’s race. Mind you, he too had an incredible time, but temperatures in the 90s and a water shortage diminished the fun (during the first half of the race there was more wine available than water!) I was undeterred, but planned accordingly. I made sure my costume could withstand the heat and I planned on carrying extra water.

The race limits the number of racers to 8,500 — less than a quarter of whom can be from countries other than France. Once I set my mind to something I can’t let it go, so I researched ways of assuring I’d get in this year. Marathon Tours of Boston not only offers a guaranteed entry, they also offer five nights’ stay in a hotel (which can also be especially hard to find during race weekend), along with tickets to the Milles Pate carbo-loading dinner the night before and the 9K recovery walk the day after. The itinerary also included two days of wine tasting at several of the chateaux.

While certainly not a cheap way to go, it sounded like a fun trip (although considering we aren’t “tour people,” I was concerned my darling wouldn’t get as much enjoyment as he would if we were to just go ourselves). Fortunately, my concerns were quickly allayed when we met the group for a 40-minute warm-up run along the Garonne River in Bordeaux on Thursday (there’ll be more on our Bordeaux itinerary in a future post). I think the fact we were all like-minded people (aka crazy runners) helped.

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Published September 8th, 2007

The French say “Merci,” but I say “Mercy”

We made it! My Garmin recorded a final time of 5 hours, 11 minutes, and 50-odd seconds (but believe me, the ENTIRE race was odd!), however, it also recorded a final distance of 26.94 miles. Merde! We’re now lounging in our hotel room eating chips and drinking one of the bottles of wine. Lots of pics, lots of stories, but that’ll have to wait for a bit.

I’m no longer a marathon virgin!

Published September 6th, 2007

Bonjour de Bordeaux!

Just a quick note to say my darling and I arrived in Bordeaux without incident. As befits the marathon, we’ve already partaken (partook?) of the local wines during the Marathon Tours initiation dinner. It looks like we have a terrific group. Tomorrow we start bright & early for more wine tasting at a local chateau, then we’ll hit the carbo-loading dinner tomorrow night.

The few days in Paris were fabulous; if I thought the scenery in Seattle was spectacular, it certainly doesn’t compare to the route we ran when we first arrived, including Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. We’ve also taken in most of the sights on foot, recording at least 6-7 miles per day. Stay tuned for a full report!

Au Revoir!