From: "mermrunnerlinda" <>
Date: Sat Sep 17, 2005  6:34 pm

Subject: Medoc Marathon



Dear Merm Friends,

What a trip and what great fun! I could make this e-mail into chapters, one
more fascinating than the other. Given the fact that it is Sat. 5:30 NY Time, but
for me 12:30 a.m., I will not be able to keep my eyes open long enough to
give you all the details. They will come as you see us again in the upcoming
weeks - and there ARE plenty of stories!

First, let me tell you that Cindy is still in Paris - she is leaving there Sunday
early evening. Laurie came back to NY Wed. night, and I arrived home late
last night - (5:00 a.m. body time).

Also, let me set the record straight: Laurie was in at 5:11 (as Pat posted),
Cindy came in at 6:20, and although they have me coming in before 5 hrs.,
it's not a legit time. (In my dreams I can run that fast!) I did about 18 - 19 miles.

Let me explain:

On the way up to the marathon last Saturday, the tour director pointed out a
spot on the course that a runner can turn off and go in a different direction,
then rejoin the race later to get the medal and bottle of wine at the end.
Because it's not a very serious marathon, many do this. I took note of the
turnoff which is at 20K, then an additional mile to where the race ends - as I
wasn't thrilled about going 26.2 miles right before going to Paris. Unlike NY, there
was a cutoff time of 6:30hrs. and hearing that the course was "slow" (reasons
which you will soon understand) I figured if things weren't going well,

 I'd opt out.

As it turns out, I was running well during the first half, and was on pace to
come in around my usual 5:45 time. I felt pretty good, and imagined myself
finishing and getting in before 6 hrs. - a good half hour before their cut-off

But, as it turns out it wasn't to be for me, as I fell into a gulley coming out
of a chateau. Yup - rolled right over my ankle and down I went. One of the
German guys, trying to catch up to his group brushed past me and made
contact with me as we were on a hilly narrow part of the trail. I was all the
way to the right, so I had no extra space to get my balance. I was fortunate
to take the brunt of the fall in my hip and rear end, and only had a turned
ankle. (One of the girls on our tour also fell and sprained her ankle - to her
credit she finished the race - but then was on crutches for the remainder of
the trip).

Of course, everybody was wonderful in helping me up, and other than some
bruises on my hip and leg, along with the sore ankle and a diminished ego, I
came out of it OK. I sat for 5 minutes or so, and then continued, but as the
distance became longer, the ankle hurt too much for me to go the full 26.2 miles.
Enjoying the rest of the trip was also on my mind - so I took the 20K turnoff
and I slowly jogged a mile to the finish. Then, because I felt so guilty for
cheating, I ran about 2-3 miles in the opposite direction to the runners who
were approaching the finish. After thinking I punished myself enough, I joined
the route by turning around, and ran back to the finish with runners. By the
time I got to the finish, my ankle was hurting quite a bit so I picked up my
medal, bottle of wine, and a duffle bag they gave out and went to the first aid
station to ice my ankle. Then I went into the finishing tent for a free beer -
as it was a hot day and you guys know how I am on those hot days.

NO - I am NOT giving up my medal or wine, but now you understand my
"finish time."

This marathon is a cross between a MADI GRAS (as 95 % of the runners run
in costumes - and many are outrageous!), AND - RUNNING WITH THE
BULLS, (as there are buzzed runners, if not outright drunk, pushing floats,
carts etc. through the course - and when they come through, you better be
going faster than them, or move to the side, or risk going into a gulley), AND,
of course a MARATHON. We ran through 59 vineyards, and about half of
them offer a tasting of their wine outside their chateaus. LARGE groups stop -
drink - sing - take pictures - then run again. Everybody is having loads of
fun and the spirit and energy coming off the runners is incredible. The
countryside is beautiful - you run right into and through the courtyards and
vineyards of the different chateaus - on dirt roads, packed down gravel, and
sometimes paved roads. It is very different from a city marathon.

The chateaus are harvesting their grapes this coming week, so the vines
were filled with LUSH GRAPES - and ladies - they were all a beautiful

MERM purple. One of the greatest sights was while running on the trails you

could see all the runners who were ahead of you, as their heads bobbed up and
down. All you saw was the green of the vines - somewhat the way you would
see the gold wheat fields of Kansas - the green vineyards seemed to go on
forever - but you could see the colors of all the runners' costumes and the

heads of the runners as they made their way through the trails.




It was quite a sight!

In spite of my minor injury I had a great time and think this marathon is very
special. I would write more, but I must go to sleep. I am going to open up
one of the French wines I brought back with me, have a glass,



and then go to sleep Perhaps tomorrow I will be more awake and tell you about the
many STORIES connected to this trip.

By the way, if you had seen Cindy's costume, you'd understand why it took
here 6:20 hrs. I don't even understand how she ran in that get-up! More to

Hugs, Linda