Marathon du Medoc had been my on my bucket list since seeing it profiled years ago in Runner’s World. I mean a marathon with wine at every fueling station? With people dressed in costume? What’s not to like?
In case you don’t know about the Marathon du Medoc, it travels through wineries in the Bordeaux region of France. Every aid station (and there are a lot!) has wine, food, water and coca cola. Every year there is a different theme and almost everyone in the race dresses accordingly. There are also a lot of teams pushing decorated carts throughout the race. It’s pretty much a 26.2 mile rolling party- definitely not a race that most people take too seriously. Luckily I had never intended to race this one so at least that part of my plan was working out.
I had planted the seed in the minds of my husband and running partner years ago and luckily they were on board with the idea of doing it for my 40th Birthday. It turns out they like wine and costumes too :). Of course, at the time the idea came up, we had no problem cranking through 3:00ish hour marathons so the plan was to enjoy lots of wine on the course. The cutoff time is 6:30 hours so we should have been able to enjoy lots of wine.
But things don’t always go as planned and last Fall when I was at a crossroads with my knee, one of my main motivators was getting my knee geared up and in shape to do this marathon. I knew where I was at, I was not going to be able to properly train for this marathon (or any marathon) and Microfracture was really my only option at the time. My doctor said if all went well, I could start running a bit in July and I figured by the September 12th race date, I’d be able to run most (if not all) of it.
I don’t need to detail the surgery and lack of recovery because that is covered in other posts, but needless to say I was not able to start running again and it was a very real possibility that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the marathon before the cutoff time. As ridiculous as it sounds to even myself, I began a walking marathon training plan. The per mile pace is 14:52 minutes which doesn’t sound too hard, but it is definitely not a strolling pace. If you add in extra time for wine tasting, pictures, etc. it gets a little dicey.
So I walked a few times a week and then did my long walks on the trail I used to do my long runs on. It was tough to wrap my mind around the hours it would take me to complete these long walks so I started listening to audio books and they definitely helped pass the time. I also brought a lot of snacks and they also helped to dull the pain and monotony. I know there are a lot of people that walk marathons regularly and I have a whole new respect for them! They are likely not strolling along as I once thought Marathon walkers were (most marathons have cutoff times) and being on your feet for that many hours is not fun…..now I know.
My progress along the way…a lot of time spent walking and lots of Fitbit steps!
Anyway, my training plan was going well and I was able to keep up the pace on my walks so I felt pretty confident going into the marathon. But as every marathoner knows, a lot can happen over 26.2 miles so I definitely had my doubts going into it. Still, as people kept telling me, the worst that could happen was that I would be walking through chateaus in France drinking wine…hard to feel bad about that!
My running partner and I (along with our husbands) had signed up to do the race through Marathon Tours. Going through Marathon Tours offers guaranteed entry along with a package that included wine tasting at different chateaus before and after the race, some meals, hotel, airport transfers, transportation to the race….essentially organizing our entire time while we were in Bordeaux. It was nice to know that all of the details were taken care of for us and we really didn’t have to worry about anything.
So the day came for us to leave. We said goodbye to our kids and tried to cram everything we’d need for 2 weeks (we spent some time after the race in Paris and Cannes) into our luggage and we were off!
A bad plane selfie….Au Revoir Seattle!