Running in vineyards

I’ve never really ‘jogged’ before, not in any productive way. There was a brief period when I started university where a few of us would go out in the evenings and do a run. I spent most of it walking behind them with my hands on my hips trying not to throw up. The only reason I kept up with them at all was because I was frightened of being left long on a dark path by the golf course…

My fitness has really flagged in recent years (and now I’ve come home, away from the stresses and power-walk commuting in London, I have put on a bit of weight) due to a rather sedentary university life. So I have to find a way to get my fitness back. I enjoy team sports, but the life of a nomad is hard on that idea. If you’re never in one place for very long, it’s difficult to get involved in any sort of team or group sport. I am becoming more and more of a couch potato as the days go by, and I can imagine the life of a freelancer will be hard on my waistline, so jogging it is. So I am kick starting my fitness with running.

Starting to do something physical again has been a bit of a relief, even if it has to be bloody jogging. The achy muscles, the endorphin rush, the nagging pain in your knees and ankles. I’m doing the Couch to 5k training plan (C25k), and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Even if it is running.

I’ve quickly learnt (from the three weeks I have done so far) that I am the kind of jogger who goes tomato red and has no real ‘exercise gear’; only free t-shirts from bars I frequented at uni and some second hand shorts. I even had a second hand sports bra (it has since been replaced). So when I started on this running malarkey, there was one condition: no-one could see me do it. This is where the vineyards come in.


My view when running
My view when running

Where my family currently live in the south of France is wine country. Real, serious wine country. My sisters go to the local high school ten minutes away and they say by mid afternoon the whole village stinks of alcohol from the local cooperative cave. I’ll do another post of living in The Land Of The Vigneron another time, but suffice to say wine is a pretty important part of life in this area. Therefore there are vineyards everywhere. Most have roads winding through them, connecting one backwater village to another and the furthest vineyards to the roads heading to the local cooperative. They are therefore perfect for running, particularly the dirt tracks between the fields big enough only for a little grape-harvest tractor. Even a vigneron tending his vines would have a hard time spotting me, now that the vines have grown to about chest height. It’s perfect cover for if I collapse in a pile/throw up/start swearing in time to my left foot hitting the ground on one of my jogs (all extremely likely things to happen). The only thing that puts me slightly on edge is a rather weird ‘farm’ with a high fence and an unnaturally aggressive dog I have to pass on my loop. I say ‘farm’ because I’m not entirely sure of the crop it grows in those polytunnels…

Anyway, these vineyards mean that no-one has to see me run. When I get more confident in my running technique and looking red and sweaty, I will try to include the village in my loop. But for now I am quite happy to stumble along through the stoic rows of the vineyards, with only the sounds of the enormous dog trying to tear itself off its chain and kill me to break the silence…


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