Sunday, 12 February 2012

A 7 course meal and 12k trail run in 24 hours...because you only live once

It seems unthinkable that a few weeks ago I was milling around in a t-shirt at midday and feeling smug about not wearing a coat in January.

Corisca has not managed to evade the blast of freezing weather gripping Europe at moment. But with l’ospedale, just a stone’s throw from Porto Vecchio, visibly caked in a layer of fresh white snow, I was reluctant to turn down the opportunity to run in mountains and make the most of the cold weather.

But rather like buses, invites tend to come all at once. I was invited me to eat at a Corsican restaurant the evening before.

It certainly wasn’t a meal for vegetarians or anyone of a delicate meat-eating disposition. The Corsican proprietor proudly explained how they hunt and butcher a wild boar on Wednesday in preparation for opening the restaurant on Friday and Saturday evening.Course one was , pâté de tête, (brain pâté) followed by figatelli (liver sausages) then boudin,( near enough black pudding) followed by pork ribs, then lamb stew served with pasta...needless to say I was glad I had heeded my friend's advice.

I held onto that age-old cliché “You only live once” as several “digestifs” later, I returned home at 2.30am and set my alarm for 7.30am.

The sky was filled with drifting snowflakes as we arrived at the foot of Cartalavonu
, a track usually used for the downhill mountain biking. To our left, a group of camouflaged hunters crouched with their rifles in tow warming them by the fire.

Running in the winter feels a lot like putting your shoulders underneath the water; you know once you get underway you’ll be warm enough but its not much consolation. We started climbing the hill and sure enough ten minutes later my lungs were breathing heavily and my cheeks were glowing.

Whole-heartedly embracing some thigh-burning ascents was key, especially on 5 hours sleep and the very strong chestnut liquor still lingering in my the system. With my eyes focusing ahead, I concentrated on shortening my stride and distracted myself with the patchwork of scenery overlooking the gulf of Porto Vecchio.

An hour and a half later we were weaving through the heavily snow donned paths in a Narnia-like scene, cascades of snow tumbling from the pine needles as we brushed past.
The descent back took around an hour, I opted for bringing up the rear so that no-one would see me fall over, a wise move incidentally.

14km later and back home, I can honestly say I discovered a new level of tiredness. After recuperating with some pasta I crawled straight into bed.

Running through the forests of l’ospedale made for the perfect cold weather antidote; sunday would have otherwise been spent contemplating how much I ate the night before and considering when it would be acceptable to start eating meat again.