Monday, May 19, 2014

Hard Core Training

The 4th Annual Half Corked Half Marathon is coming up this weekend and I luckily scored a double entry into the race. Patterned after the full marathons in Médoc (Bordeaux) and Napa, the Half Corked Half sees participants run a course through wine country in the Southern Okanagan - and, probably more to the point - that offers up a dozen or so water stations at various wineries and strategic spots along the route. If you haven't already guessed, the folks running the water stations turned that water into wine tastings and bites of food (along with the water, of course).

Problem is that the race has become so popular in its brief existence that the race organizers, the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association, needed to introduce a lottery system to select its participants. Spots in the 2013 race were in such demand that all the spots were taken within a minute of them being offered.

Despite knowing that you'd have to run 18.6 km - likely in costume while sipping away - this is one difficult race to get into. I knew about a dozen folks that had entered the lottery and I'm the only one that got in - and even that was on the second round draw to fill empty spots.

Building my running distance back up to acceptable distances had been going along nicely but about six weeks or so ago, my left knee started hurting. At first, it wasn't anything that a little wine after the run couldn't overcome - until, a couple of weeks back, my race buddy, Mr. Cool, and I ran a 15km course in miserable weather, after which the knee started kicking up something fierce. Training hasn't been going well since. In fact, it hasn't been going at all.

Hoping I'd still be able to fight my way through the race, I started some physiotherapy to check things out. As luck would have it, the diagnosis was bursitis and the physio figured I could struggle my way through the race without doing much more, if any, damage. Of course, I did have to face a few chuckles when I told friends that those most vulnerable to my injury were middle-aged, overweight women. Go figure.

All this meant that I simply had to focus my training on the drinking-wine part.

In recognition of the fact that the race is just around the corner and that we'd be running along the Black Sage Bench, I thought it would be appropriate to open a bottle from one of the wineries supporting the event.

1612.  Burrowing Owl Merlot (Okanagan Valley VQA)

Burrowing Owl wines have made The List on enough occasions that I don't really need to go into news about the winery. Check out one of the other posts for more on that front.

Now that we've finished off this bottle, I see that John Schreiner, one of BC's top wine scribes, wrote in February 2012 that it was time to start drinking the '06 Burrowing Owl reds. He confirmed that he thought 2006 was "one of the strongest vintages of the decade" but he figured that they'd peaked and that they might only hold for another year or two.

I suppose we might have pushed that limit somewhat, but I'm happy to say that Boo and I both thought there was still plenty of life left to this Merlot - and I'll be quite happy to open the last two bottles that we have tucked away. Maybe that should be sooner than later though.

Now, the hope will be that I've got as much life in this tired, old frame to get through the race without Mr. Cool having to carry me too far on his back.

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