I guess it has been a while, huh? Don’t worry, I haven’t been secretly running marathons or anything. Especially not in Pisa.
I did, after convincing two friends to enter with me months ago, accompany my running pals to Italy. Unfortunately, because of my work, our travel plans included a night at Gatwick Airport, where I experienced the luxury of a Yotel! pod for the second time.
After almost missing our flight the next morning (I guess it’s important not to confuse ‘Gate Opens’ and ‘Gate Closes’), we made it to our hotel in Pisa with plenty of time to register – or in my case drop out of – our respective races before a spot of sight-seeing, and an early dinner. There was this tower that everyone was raving about, so I took a photo in front of it.
Ronnie dropped to the half after a few months of less-than-stellar training, but had a strong race, and Naomi cruised to the finish of her 10th marathon, with my company for the final 200 meters. The official race photographers managed to capture our magical moment together:
During the marathon, I walked to the Piscina Comunale where I bashed out a 5k swim amongst be-Speedo’ed Italians. It all went fairly smoothly until I accidentally walked into the male shower room after my swim. The three showering men didn’t even flinch. They just sort of casually looked up, stared at me for a moment, and then one of them motioned with his hand the directions to the female shower area. Thanks, man.
After my swim, I decided to dump off my kit at the hotel and read some of my book (‘The Book Thief’, for those interested), hoping to avoid all of the marathon excitement. How did that work out for me? I’ll give you one guess.
The day after the marathon, Ronnie, his girlfriend, Rebecca, and myself left Naomi to make her way back home solo, whilst we headed North by train, through Florence, to Venice.
In Venice, I bought a regional ticket for sometime after 3pm, and the three of us had lunch before I got on yet another train North to Udine, where I would be picked up and driven to San Daniele to visit my great aunt, Rina. Rina knows what I like, and I arrived to chilled Moretti beer, pizza with San Daniele ham, and gelato. Best meal in the world, hands down.
The following morning, after a 74-course lunch (hyperbole, perhaps), I caught a train back to Venice, where I spent a couple of hours blowing the rest of my holiday money on food, beer, and Murano glass before having dinner with Ronnie and Rebecca. I tempted them to a Jazz bar near our restaurant for a few Aperol Spritz refreshments, but Ronnie wasn’t keen on them, so we left after about an hour, and eventually found our way back to our hotel.
Christmas Eve arrived, and I was sad to leave my miniature paradise, but keen to get all of my Italian meat (and cheese, and panettone, and booze- don’t judge) back home and into the fridge.
I made it back to my flat at around 8pm on Christmas Eve, and Ian had dutifully acquired all the food we would need for our Christmas fajitas. It was nice to have a lie-in on Christmas day before doing some weights and waking up Ian to open our presents, which were nestled underneath the ‘tree’ I had created when I woke up.
In case anyone cares, my gifts included: a waterproof mp3 player for long distance swims, a vacuum cleaner (which I am in love with), a Glenmore 24 hoodie (which, fair enough, I bought for myself, but months ago, so it totally felt like a present), and a voucher for a massage. The massage voucher is the only thing that is, thus far, unused. I did also take part in a Secret Santa on a running forum, and received an intensive moisturizing hair masque, which does indeed leave my hair silky smooth.
The fact that I got so many swimming related things is perhaps telling of my running situation. Since the ill-fated 1.3 mile run mid-November, I vowed to take the rest of the year off to, hopefully, allow whatever is wrong with my knee to heal. I had an x-ray a couple of weeks ago, but results aren’t back yet thanks to the festive period backlog.
Other than that, I had another appointment with the physio today, and I have been given the green light to try running again! Strict instructions are to try a 20 minute run, twice a week, with a couple of days of no running in between attempts. I intend to test drive the knee tomorrow. Despite being the only time in my running history (apart from the year I had surgery) I haven’t hit 1,000 miles, here’s hoping 2014 can actually end on a running high!
And here’s a bonus shot of my mom, dad, brother, and niece.