For those that know me and marathons, starting the last-minute prep for this with an equipment failure was not great. I forgot the shorts and socks and arm-band I planned to use during the run. Chris nearly had to slap me to get out of the head-space of all the OTHER things that could go wrong. Luckily he and vacations give perspective. Oddly I didn’t get any of the chaffings I was certain I would get and I survived without my phone tied to my arm.
The drive out was stunning. We are staying in a coastal town that is as charming as it is rural and remote. The AM fog had just begun to lift as we drove out of the marshlands into the Medoc wine region on our way to Puilliac. The stunning view helped settle my anxious nerves. As always Chris was the perfect sherpa and encouraged me to have fun. It is my 20th marathon and having him by my side never gets old.
Everything I read about this marathon did nothing to fully prepare me for how stunning, fun and SLOW it is. This is by intention. They joke here that if the French are to run a marathon, it needs to leave time for a cigarette, some wine, and some food.
To those that have run marathons and read this – do this marathon. Plan for more or a 5-6 hour run/walk event and prepare for heat. The crowd was so big I didn’t get past the starting line for 35 minutes but that was fine- the costumes, energy and new friends were all quite entertaining. I worried that the slow pace and heat would leave me cramped, but I had none of the problems I have had for the last three marathons. Weird that preparing thing – do the prep work and get predictable results. So, so weird. One would think that after 20 of these I might learn? Maybe by the time I do 40 runs, I’ll get a rhythm.
Outside of the cheese, wine, oysters, pate, home-made cookies, and sparkling water, the race logistics are flawless. What looked to be entire families and villages come out and set up tables for brunch to watch the spectacle of the marathon runners.
Through this I found an appellation that stands out for me – the Haut-Medoc – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haut-M%C3%A9doc_AOC the wines here are deep, smooth, nuanced and have a subtle finish while presenting with a clear terroir (or place) – sorta like me, eh? After the run we had a casual lunch at some waterfront cafe, I enjoyed an enormous beer and we took a casual stroll along the market booths, tasted more wine and gathered the making of a lovely dinner back at our Air B&B castle.
Another sweet highlight was finishing the drive at the Ocean where JJ and I stripped to our underwear and frolicked in the water like two adolescent boys- though we screamed like little girls when we first hit the brisk water. Chris has pictures. I’ve asked him not to share!