“Don’t judge a runner by his wine label… or… something like that.” Review: Kirkland Brut Champagne N.V.

Today, I ran the Goodlife Halfsy in Lincoln. I’ve run it three out of the four years it has occurred, pacing it once, and competing twice. Going in to today, I had abstained from alcohol, had been hydrating like crazy, got plenty of rest, had my new shoes and all of my other gear prepared, got up early enough to poop before the run, got warmed up well, and in all other ways prepared myself to run as well as I am able.  I was well-trained and the weather was a perfect forty degrees. I was planning to PR (get a personal record) today, a cocky proposition to say the least, and I had a bottle of bubbly waiting in the fridge to help me celebrate when I got back to Omaha.

To make a long story short, I did not PR today. I haven’t PR’d since I was thirty. I did come within in less than thirty seconds, which is both as encouraging and maddening at once as you might expect. It’s heartening to feel that I’m as fast as I was when I was thirty. It’s also aggravating to come so close and yet fall short. I was well on pace to murder my PR  until mile nine, when I hit a wall. From that point forward, my legs were leaden, and no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t make them move any faster than they were.

One of the things that stood out to me today, and always does in fact, was the number of runners who passed me who are, if I may be so awful as to write this down, arguably lesser than me in the physique department. The interesting truth about running is that looking the part doesn’t matter much. I’ve been absolutely destroyed by the short, squat, and elderly over the years, and it is both awe inspiring and humbling at the same time. As my gears began to grind today and I felt my sub-eight pace slowing to more like a 9:20, I smiled as both the svelte and the not-so rushed passed me towards the finish line.

I was turned on to Kirkland brand wines long ago by friends on Vivino. Kirkland (Costco) has more buying power than almost anyone else in the world, and they use it on wine the way they do on everything else. As a result, their Kirkland label wines are often pretty darn good, and punch well above their weight class. This $20 bottle of Champagne is a good example. It isn’t “Chateau” anything, it’s just a solid bottle of wine. Like a runner that doesn’t look like a runner in a traditional sense, it will fly past a lot of the more expensive Champagnes I’ve had and be celebrating at the finish line by the time they know what hit them. Yeasty with sour hints of unripe fruit and toasted brie and a steady stream of bubbles, it checks all the boxes for a good Champagne, but costs half as much as most of them. Winner winner!

When I got home today, Sonja and I turned on the football game and paired this bottle with some wings from a local joint. I didn’t have a PR to celebrate, so instead I raised a glass to all those runners who passed me in the last three miles, whether they had a fancy label or not.

Cheers,

Mark

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