The well-earned joys of a ten-mile run

The older one gets, at least in my case, the more one enjoys the after-run bon repas and libation.

Stan Trybulski recovering at D’Vine Restaurant after a ten-mile run

That is not to say that my training runs are not enjoyable for not only do I choose courses that run along the shoreline or veer inland through gentle verdant hills, marshes and sun-sparkled ponds teeming with wild fowl and wild life, but during the longer mileage I am also able to find a zone where I am completely within myself.

Nevertheless, inspired by Tyler Brûlé , the editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine, I decided to combine a scheduled ten-mile run with a more than hearty meal and drink.   A few weeks back, in his regular Weekend Financial Times column, Brûlé recounted a hike in the Bavarian Alps followed by dumplings and goulash at a mountain-top weinstube. Jolly good, I must say, but as I run mainly at sea level, happily I have the option of fresh surf or turf, with a plethora of decent restaurants to fit the bill.

And for this run, I chose the Guilford, Connecticut, half-marathon course, truncating its 13.1 miles to ten so that I started and finished at the historic Guilford Green. Unlike Brulé, who kitted himself out in full Bavarian regalia, I opted only for my Skechers, running shorts, SAS tee and water-belt. More than sufficient for a run that starts near sea-level and ends there, the middle section only meeting hills in Sachem’s Head, the early 17th century Native American fishing ground.

Tidal marshes at Sachem’s Head

Its colorful name was bestowed after a 1637 battle on Bloody Cove Beach in which the Mohegans and their English allies defeated the Pequots and beheaded the Pequot sachem or chief.   Soon, the Guilford area would be bought by the Puritan settlers at a forced sale and now Sachem’s Head is the comfy preserve of upper-middle-class New Englanders.

Yet, the runner, as if on holiday, can cool himself in the greenery and bask in the sea-views without suffering the woes of a mortgage and steep property taxes. And, at the end, happily part with a few dollars whilst recovering over a beer and blue cheese burger—or better yet, a dry martini with a twist and a roll filled with hot lobster meat dripping with butter and surrounded by freshly fried chips begging for the salt-shaker. Unlike most Americans, I omit ketchup on my fries, and unlike Brits, no vinegar, nor the mayo or aioli one is offered in Paris. Only salt for me.

One of the many coves at Sachem’s Head

So I started out at 11 a.m., the air still cool but with sunny skies, not caring about my pace, only wanting to go for an easy run, knowing that at the end the ten miles could have been 13 or 15 if I had chosen, for those that run an easy way live to run another day. But where to recover?

Guilford’s Green is lined with churches. On the east side is Christ Episcopal Church with its Anglican Catholic roots; on the north, the First Congregational Church, with its Puritan heritage, and on the west side, flanked by art galleries and restaurants is the St. George Roman Catholic Church. I could do a wine bar, Japanese, Italian, or tack on another mile and run to the picturesque harbor for sea food. What to do? Only at the end would I decide.

As I ran past the marshes and up the hills and along the ocean front, I was pushing against a strong wind but by mile 5, I was heading downhill, the wind at my back, aiming for the village green and a well-deserved repast. Toweling off and changing into dry clothes, I pondered further about where to eat when my sight crossed the green to D’Vine and I decided to give that restaurant a shot. And it was well worth it. No lobster roll and martini, no blue cheeseburger and beer. I went immediately for a double appetizer portion of steak tartare, assez piquant, and a side of frites accompanied by a glass of Bordeaux Superieur.

D’Vine Restaurant on the Guilford, CT Green

I chose well, for the raw sirloin came topped with a pair of poached quail’s eggs and the Bordeaux Superieur was a 2011 Cuvée Nicolas Barreyre, an offering from the Chateau Barreyre, on the Gironde River in Macau, just south of Margaux. Unlike most of the wines from this area, the Barreyre is 70% merlot and when Tom Ammerman, the proprietor, set the glass of wine on the table, I did not have to raise it to my nose for its bouquet of red fruit and mint filled the air.

I was in heaven. After polishing off the meal, I fought the temptation to order a second glass of wine.  Spring is approaching and I knew there would be plenty of other runs and other well-earned joys.



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