Phew. Friends, I cannot tell you what a relief it has been to be done running for the year.
Don't get me wrong; running is one of my absolute favorite things in the world, but it has been a long, packed year for me out on the roads (don't worry, I'm saving the misty-eyed reflection for a different post) and by the time I started tapering for Clarksburg & CIM my tanks were already running pretty low on enthusiasm for training & racing. CIM, in particular, felt a lot like 1st semester finals back in college - "Ugh, I still have to do work??? What month is it anyway???" Suddenly nothing in the whole, wide world--nothing, I tell you--seemed as appealing as sitting on the couch in sweats with a book, sipping mulled wine & stuffing my face with pumpkin bread.
But back in college I continued to drag myself bitterly to the library, and before CIM I continued to drag myself bitterly out the door at least a few times a week (because, try as I might, I couldn't find any person, book, or website willing to endorse a zero-mileage tapering plan. Though I came pretty close to doing it anyway). But oh my GOD I could not wait for a week without mileage attached to it.
Now, none of this is to say that I didn't have an absolute BLAST at CIM, because it really was spectacularly awesome. Just that, once it was over, I was D-O-N-E with running for a while. 'Tis the season for sleeping late, lounging on the couch, losing myself in a good book or two or three, & eating & drinking whatever I feel like (alright, that part's not really any different, but still. The rest).
I just finished Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, which consists of City of Glass, Ghosts, & The Locked Room. It is exactly the kind of book I like in that it is kind of weird & po-mo & bizarrely complex (not in terms of plot, but in terms of subtext & symbolism). The language is beautiful & dream-like, the characters are oddly haunting, & my only complaint about it is that it was too short. I could've read that thing for weeks. Next up: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I've been putting this one off for a while because it's kind of enormous, but I feel like 'tis also the season for tackling large, scary books.
Last Saturday we celebrated my marathon victory with an Alliterative Supper Club dinner (okay, it was not really about my marathon). In August, we celebrated my recent 10K win with a 'T' dinner, which was quite fitting. (Okay fine, that wasn't actually about me either.) Sadly, last Saturday was not an 'M' dinner but a 'P' dinner. Happily, there are still many delicious & seasonally-appropriate thing that begin with P:
Pears & persimmons for starters, with prosecco & peach-prosecco sorbet:
Pear & walnut salad & Patianna Sauvignon Blanc:
Our host apparently got a case (or some similarly large amount?) of the Patianna for a whopping $7 a bottle. Sauv blanc is generally pretty inexpensive, but still a *steal* for how tasty it was.
Peri peri prawns & Pacific Rim Riesling:
I highly recommend Pacific Rim if you're looking for reasonably good, inexpensive riesling ($10-12ish)! They make a sweet & a dry.
Peppers-stuffed-with-peppers-stuffed-with-peppers (among other things, the multiple pepper stuffings included parsley, pancetta, & parmesan), & pinot noir:
Continuing the theme of tasty, inexpensive wine, this was my first time having Coppola pinot. I have generally steered clear of it as several of their varietals I've tried in the past have tasted cheap & young, but in a world where "pinot," "good" and "not balls expensive" is kind of a pick-any-two situation, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how completely drinkable the Coppola was! (Again, $10-12ish; pinot often doesn't really get drinkable until you get into the $25-30 range, so this is rather remarkable.)
Prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin with pears & prosciutto, drizzled with pear eau-de-vie reduction & garnished with pomegranate seeds; Porter Creek Zin.
If you go wine tasting in Sonoma, you must stop at Porter Creek & see Mike & his dogs. He is probably best known for his pinot & viognier, but his zin is very different from the high-alcohol fruit-bombs you might think of when you think of Californai zin. It's very food-friendly & has a kind of an earthy syrah-like-thing going on. Really, everything he makes is good, though, & his tasting fee is like $3.
Parsnips, purple potatoes, & portabello mushrooms; more pinot:
Pear tart & pear eau-de-vie:
We also finished off a keg of homemade pale ale:
It was a good night. What's creepier is that, five days later, I am still cooking with 'p' foods completely unintentionally (penne pasta & winter pesto with parmesan, bell peppers, & pumpkin bread for dessert).
So yeah. I'll get back to run-blogging in not too terribly long, but in the mean time, this is how I'm restoring my soul & rewarding myself for making through a long, hard slog of a running year & finishing at least semi-strong. :)