Running on a Dream

Ciao a tutti!

I’m still hanging tough in good old Sicily, and have recently been out and about in mainland Italy (pictures at the end of this post). Equally as exciting, I began personal and marathon training!

Recap of last week’s travel training:
3 miles easy: Canal-side in Venice – saw different parts of the city and several cruise ships

4.5 hours of hiking from Vernazza to Riomaggiore – one of the most beautiful hikes of my life (and that’s sayin’ something after several memorable beautiful hikes in Ecuador, Glacier National Park, western Washington state and Alaska)

Ran 2 miles HARD of an attempted run in Vernazza – steep inclines seemed to defeat the “easy” nature of this run

7.6 miles easy: Intended to tack on the last mile from the previous run, and instead, got a little carried away in Rome. Started out easy and relaxed as I was leading our travel crew on a run from our airbnb to the Villa Borghese and over to the Tevere. I kept stretching the run another half mile here and there, to accommodate the Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps, and we ended up at 7.6 miles.

Duomo+PLUS run in Acireale.

Something that’s been on my mind is my footwear at work. A recent Runner’s World article addresses the extra foot stress that comes from wearing high heeled shoes:

“One study found that women who regularly wear high heels had calf muscles that were about 12 percent shorter and Achilles tendons that were about 10 percent more rigid than women who regularly wear flat shoes. A different study showed that basic walking mechanics were different (in a bad way) in women who wore heels at least 40 hours a week compared to women who wore heels less than 10 hours a week. Note to men: The heels in this study were only 5 millimeters high, so this might apply to you as well.

What To Do About It: Walk around the house barefoot. As much as possible, wear flat shoes with a toe box that allows your toes to spread. If heels are unavoidable in your profession, do the best you can to minimize the time you spend in time, such as wearing other shoes when commuting. Also be diligent about calf and Achilles flexibility exercises if you have to wear heels for work.”

Although I prefer to wear flats for my foot health, it is fun to wear heels sometimes; and, some days I just want the extra burst of self-confidence that comes along with the additional burst of height. Reading the whole article renews my yearning for a job that balances physical activity with desk work – the article points to long commutes (mine is 35-40 minutes each way) and long hours at the desk with poor posture (guilty) as two other major contributors to running injuries.

I would love to incorporate more motion into my work routine. Already, I am lucky to have two projects for which I collaborate with a colleague down the hall from me. I take advantage of the proximity to trek down the hall for the majority of our work – rather than use the phone or email. This gives me the opportunity to stretch my legs and spend 10-15 minutes standing while we hash out the next detail of our project. I also try to incorporate a stretch session into each work day, a habit I nurtured more religiously during my winter marathon training. I plan to return to this habit. Do any of you have suggestions for ways to incorporate movement into a desk job? Let me know in the comments section!

See you soon…

p.s. A few favorite pics from my recent trip to Venice, Vernazza (in the Cinque Terre),Rome and within Sicily! I traveled with my husband Dave, and his sister MariBeth and her husband Dan. We also had great trips this spring with Michael and Dan – pics below, too!

View from the hiking trail leading away from Vernazza toward Corniglia – you can see the balcony to our apartment rental.

Venice from the vaporetto (public transportation barge on the canal)

Venice from the Rialto Bridge

The Mediterranean Sea from atop the Turkish Steps in Realmonte (near Agrigento)

Dave, me and Michael – awaiting performance of Antigone

Scene from Antigone – performed in Italian at open-air Greek amphitheater in Siracusa

Another view of the amphitheater in Siracusa

Windmill at the salt flats in Trapani with Dan – we had a whirlwind trip filled with dynamic foods and sights

We also had world-class arancini (say it “are-on-chee-nee” – this is the plural) at Bar Giageri in Piano Tavola. Here’s a photo of the arancino di pistacchio (arancino is singular). Dan declared this arancino his favorite Sicilian food of the trip – risotto wrapped around a pistacchio, cheese and ham filling, lightly battered and fried.



Filed under Food. Cibo., Running, Travel

4 responses to “Running on a Dream

  1. Wow! Your photos are making me inspired to run again…I was getting off to marathon training, or at least establishing a baseline but something nasty has happened to my hamstring so I’m a week or two behind. I’m jealous that you’re starting your training at 10 mile long run. Must be the influence of la dolce vita!

    First, rest assured that a 30 minute commute is peanuts. Most people around here travel an hour or more. So relatively speaking, you’re winning in that arena. I usesd to set a timer at work so I would move. You might think its disruptive, but if I got water to stay hydrated and did a lap around the office, I was actually more productive…or course, maybe I have ADD. Another trick is to just install a treadmill at your desk. Do you think that could become mainstream in Sicilia? Stand while you read, sit while you type is a good motto. Surf the internet less. 🙂

    What marathon is next?

    • The timer is a really good idea – and I’ve been contemplating it…I think it is time to try it out (pun!). I’m going to need to be better about hydration, too, so incorporating that into the timer will be helpful for me.

      The treadmill at my desk, or a floating desk, is a dreamy idea – and totally never gonna happen at my office, ha! Even as a contractor, I think that they would allow me to purchase the treadmill and bring it in – but considering the sardine can nature of our office, it wouldn’t fit. Love the idea!

      Next marathon is a repeat from last year – Lago di Garda, in mid-October.

      As for the high entry point – I maintained 20+ weekly mileage between my last post-marathon rest in late April and now. It wasn’t always easy or pretty, but it kept me at a solid baseline and none of my first week runs stressed me out (!!!). I chose a challenging training plan, but the stated goal of the plan is to leave you feeling strong and capable at the end of each training run, so if I start to feel like I’m struggling after each run, I’ll modify the plan along the way.

      Hope your hamstring recovers quickly!

  2. I can’t even say how much I love this post! I love reading about your runs through Italy – so jealous! I can picture how gorgeous every mile is!

    • gorgeous miles – check!

      challenging mountain hills – check!

      crazy Sicilian drivers – check!

      lol – I’ve got it all down here, ha ha! Also – I know you love Italy, and if you’re planning a Sicily visit while we’re here…we’re getting close to being under a year left. It makes me too sad for words so I’m not talking about it much, but reality of a move is around the corner.

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