Time goes by, days are getting longer

Time goes by, days are getting longer

The positive thing about running early* in the morning is that you’re not capable of fully realizing what is going on. Well, you see the pace but you’re not blaming yourself too much for not being at your top form.

And actually I don’t really know how my training is going. Sometimes I’m too tired during the work week, sometimes I don’t care and most of the times I’m focused just at one workout at the time. I hope it doesn’t sound too miserable, I’m just trying to do me best and have some work/workout/life balance. I’m at the ‘trust your training and go with the flow’ stage.

In the meantime I’m reading ‘Alias Grace’ by Margaret Atwood and I’ve seen 5 good films
Darkest Hour
Virgin Mountain
Ladybird
The shape of water
3 billboards outside Ebbing

And a great  exhibition of James Nachtwey’s photos (the photo you see is from this event).

And that counts as something.

*by early I mean 6-6.30 am

not ready yet!

Another week flew by and I have to say I don’t feel any more prepared to the marathon than I was before. It’s going to be my 15th marathon (I think, I lost count) and I still find myself thinking: am I able to run a marathon? I guess you’re always a beginner at running because you have to reset so many times. Running after injury, running in winter, running in summer, it all makes me feel new to it.

So far I’m still struggling to get faster, those intervals ain’t getting any easier. I’d like to speed up and run a half before april’s marathon. Turin, Verona, Lago Maggiore?

what’s your morning routine?

Roll over and sleep until you’re too late for work.

 

Nah, that’s not me but to be honest I’m always too late, especially in the morning.

 

Lately I became obsessed with time efficiency,lifehacks, anything that could save me some time in the morning. Every time I read articles about morning routine I think I should wake up at 4 am to meditate, run, do yoga, prepare green smoothie and cherish the sunrise.

The thing I find the most upsetting is the claim some people make: I wake up so early because I’d like to have time for myself before the day starts.

Which doesn’t mean all those people live their lives in service of others, it just means they don’t have time for themselves or they think they don’t. I get it, time before work is the time when I have energy and focus to do something for myself but is it right to do so?

 

My focus and self-concentration should be limited to the lonely hours at the break of dawn? Only in solitude can we find our true self?

 

I’m really quite self-concentrated person but somehow it gets me that only the time I spent by myself is considered ‘me-time’. That solitude has gained this supreme value.

 

I guess a yoga class is me time and although I won’t make the conversation with others I still feel their presence is essential to me.

 

Time on my own is often hectic while time with others have different rhythm. I like being on my own but I don’t believe that once you’re in the world you loose yourself. You let yourself to do so but it’s you, not the others that make this happen.

Book review: eat sweat play

I took a liking to non fiction only recently and it was because  of the running related books.

 

I heard about “Eat sweat play” few times from a non running women and admittedly I snobbed it. Because reasons.

 

Well I thought that’s the book about how sports can be fun written for women who don’t like sports. So I never thought of reading it. Months later I read an extract from the book and it wasn’t actually bad. I bought the book and it was one of the more interesting books I read in the last months.

 

What is it about?

 

Women and their relationship with sports. Amateurs or professionals we all have to face the same problems.

Everyday women often think that sport is for men or that they won’t like it (after almost always horrible school experience) or, even if they finally get into physical activity, they still feel bad that they won’t be feminine enough while sweating.

Professional athletes have to face the femininity issue plus the amenorrea or how the period affect their performance. This last issue is still not addressed by the coaches if not by advising a pill to suppres period. Can you believe that Paula Radcliffe has to think about it? Well, we all do.

 

New things I learnt, new things I remember.

Apart from the chapter about period and athletes I will remember that even if you’re a pro it still counts if you’re pretty or not (in the eyes of media and public). When Venus Williams was winning all there was to win it was ….. Who was signing all the major sponsorship contracts. Venus was called names because she was considered masculine.

 

Who is it for?

Honestly: for everyone. At least for every woman. I thought it would be only for women who are reluctant to move but..I was really pleasantly surprised.
More books like this! Go and read it!

A life of a morning runner

I’ve never been a morning runner, rather a ‘before lunch’ type of runner. That’s my thing and in ideal world that’s what I would always do: sleep (not too much, just the right amount), have breakfast and 1 to 2 hours later I’d go for a run.

I still do it on Sundays. Ah, Sundays.

Now I have to squeeze my runs in the morning before I go to work. I still consider myself quite lucky as I start at 9.30 am and i have to go out at 8.45am. And I don’t have kids.

I can plan my workout as I want to.

 

On my running day my alarm sets off at 6am.

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I fight with the feeling ‘fuck it I want to sleep’ for a few seconds and then I dash to the kitchen and I light fire under moka. Then I dress (I have to say that preparing everything the evening before helps a lot). Coffee is ready and I sip it careful not to burn my tongue and I chew on a date or two or on few almonds.

I learnt to do few things in advance or in contemporary so I don’t waste time. Like putting my garmin outside before putting on shoes. None of this would be possible without caffeine.

I go out and I run (writing it is much easier than actually doing it but #Irollwithit), sometimes I win sometimes I just have to be glad that I got out. Sometimes fresh air wipe my brain off the bad thoughts and sometimes it brings out all the things I wish I’d said but I didn’t.

Once I’m done I go back and I drink a big mug of water&lemon, I put my running clothes in the washing machine and I take shower. Yes, I worked out this routine to save time. #efficiency

Then I have breakfast while reading the news on my phone and/or scrolling down my Insta feed. #glamlife

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As you might have guessed now none of this is epic and it doesn’t resemble a nike ad.

 

Why do it then?

 

Once it’s done you don’t have to worry how the day goes.

Sometimes you have to work late, sometimes you’re more tired in the evening or just something comes up.

Strangely it gives you energy for the day or at least for some part of it

 

You’re less hard on yourself.

I’m quite pissed when I don’t hit my optimal pace or the scheduled pace but I know that running is a blessing, managing to squeeze your run into a busy day is sometimes a miracle so why bring yourself down?

 

You feel like a badass afterwards.

I think I should make myself an according t-shirt. #lifegoals

 

Why it sucks?

 

Waking up early. I don’t know about you but I’m a solar battery and I fuel with sun. Getting up when it’s dark for me is a nightmare.

 

Going to bed early. Sometime it’s hard to explain that you have to go to sleep when people want to party/dine/watch films until dawn (when it’s dawn that you have to get up).

 

Planning. I plan a lot and sometimes I really don’t want to think about spreading my clothes out to have the ready the morning after.

 

Energy. Like I said running gives you a burst of energy for a start but there are days that it’s not enough (on the other hand it happens also on non-running days).

 

At the end of the day the choice for me is run or not to run. After work I want to do other stuff, relax, meet with other people and so on.  Sometimes I’m just exhausted and I want to lay on the sofa. It’s up to you, put running into your daily routine based on your priorities. Don’t apologize. It’s your choice. As three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae said:

“Yeah it sucks some days, but you get up and do it anyways.”

 

Make it pure, make it last

I know most people fall into 2 categories: those who make New Year’s resolutions and those who get a rash when you even mention them.

I get both sides and I’m such a smart and annoying person who will say “I don’t make resolutions, I have objectives”.

Well, not this year. Sort of. What I want to do this year is to declutter and purify.

I don’t mean decluttering my apartment (although I know it would be a great idea) but my head.

Getting rid of bad emotions and stopping the train of thoughts just for a while is so liberating yet so difficult. That’s what I’m aiming for (not stopping my thoughts those can be useful sometimes), of course it would be great to get rid of all unnecessary stuff like too much clothes or clean up diet but I’m somehow convinced it all can fall into place once your head is ready.

I’m waiting for spring, for days to become longer and light to become warmer. For now I’m just hiding under my warm hat, warm blanket holding a cup of warm (rice) milk or glass of wine. I’m not waiting in vain, I’m planning, doing, swiping the remains of the 2016 and looking out for magnolias to bloom.

I don’t know where you live but for me when magnolias are in full bloom it’s the sign of rebirth. Each year I wait for them and eventually they arrive. Nope, I don’t sleep and wait for them, that would be terribly romantic of me. I have to be dead honest with you, being romantic is something completely different than waiting for the flowers.

Keep your fingers crossed for me so I arrive safe&sound to the day magnolias will bloom.

 

 

The secret of the perfect marathon

I’ve been away for a while…I was quite busy with , my training, complaining about my training and wondering why my training is going so bad.
When it came to the race day it all went marvellous. Ok, almost, but it was 96% great and I had my (unexpected) PR so I shouldn’t complain.
My 13th marathon (Venice Marathon) went great: the weather was perfect, I wanted to pee just for the first 10 km , I liked the views all the way and even that I started to feel tired at the 35 km I really didn’t care. Probably because I really enjoyed everything. Well, the nagging pain in my right shin was the only cloud on the sky but I decided to go on.
3h45min, I still look at this result like it was someone else’s but after 2 weeks from the race I have to recognise (with pride) that yes, it’s mine and I made it.

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This was one of the few perfect races that I had in my short running career and I wondered why. Well, PR. Of course it’s not compulsory but it helps.

*Don’t stress too much.*

It’s not that you shouldn’t care but I noticed that I perform better when I’m focused and ready to do my best but PR is not crucial for me. Like few years ago during my Rome Marathon I wanted to run well but I knew that the course is too demanding to run fast. And every time I wanted to beat my own record I was so concentrated on the pace that I got myself dehydrated.

*Trust your training*

My training for this marathon was far from perfect. I put on all the miles, I ran all the long runs but it wasn’t always the perfect pace and I had to handle different personal issues. I was exhausted from travelling, moving and it was hard to tell where it was all going. My pace and mood were all over the place and even running wasn’t helping (though having a scheldue was). Still, I did my homework. Once you did everything you possibly could with the time and energy you had you shouldn’t be to hard on yourself. Just be faithful that all the miles and all the foam rolling, abs and carbo loading didn’t go to waste. Everything else is beyond you so don’t worry.

*Prepare, prepare, prepare and when in trouble: improvise*

You should do whatever you can to be prepared so you can feel comfortable. Training,clothes, gels, hydration: prepare it all. Then remember that you can expect everything from a marathon. Still, the improvisation is the privilege of those who studied more than the others. Be focused, determined, don’t give up but be prepared to accept what the day gives you.

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…and have some fun. It’s only running.

what to do when your training sucks

Honestly: you tell me.

I really tried to do my best and train seriously but the results were quite miserable. You want to know my excuses?

First it was hot, extremely hot. And humid. One cannot expect to perform well when it’s that hot. It’s even safer to slow down and to lower your expectations.

Then I finally moved (#Londoncalling) and it was pure hell and emotional rollercoaster even if most of the things were done for me. Yes, I’m a drama queen.

Then I was finally in London but just for few days and then I went for holidays. Again: hot, humid, sea and holidays. I ran but hey, you can’t stress yourself too much on holidays, right?

And I finally came back to London where temperature is perfect for summer training (it’s rubbish for anything else to be honest). And finally I had perfect conditions to run and zero excuses. You know what I discovered?

If you really want to you can find excuses anyway. Story of my life.

I’m slower here than I was in Milan with higher temperature and humidity (it’s humid here as well but let’s not get dramatic again). I really can’t explain it. I eat well, I rarely drink (maybe that’s the key!) and I sleep a lot. Still, I’m much slower. I suffer on my long runs, mentally and physically (piriformis and IT band are killing me a bit).

What the hell? Marathon is coming and I’m so not ready. Let’s make some good resolutions for August: what blogs are for? You write stuff in public so you feel obligated.

 

At least try to aim the pace, don’t give up just because

 

Do the necessary excercises for legs and glutes

 

Foam rolling: it really helps.

 

Just remember you have marathon coming so suck it up.

And last and the most cheesy one: be grateful, you can run.

tired of music during your workouts? Try podcasts!

I don’t listen to music when I run. I wondered why that is so I tried for 5 min this morning during my usual workout and it wasn’t a good idea: my heart was pumping like I was about to have a heart attack (I’m so emotional…). That’s what probably people have in mind when they say that listening to the music breaks your natural rhythm. Still, I don’t like to run in complete silence. If you’re like me or you like to use the time you spend on your workout to listen to something fun or informative then you should try podcasts.

I like themes like sports and fitness so many of the podcasts I listen to regularly are about running or well being but not only. I decided to recommend to you 2 sports related and 3 random podcasts.

 

Coffee with Crachel http://www.coffeewithchrachel.net

I came to know Rachel and her boyfriend Chris through her Youtube channel. I wasn’t that intrerested in the beauty content but she struck me as a very funny, ironic and opinionated person. Recently she and Chris decided to start their own podcast about coffee, living in Seattle and many more. It’s hard to define this podcast but they’re both hilarious and witty. Just give it a go.

 

Off camera http://offcamera.com

it’s the most tranquil of the three but yet the most inspiring of them. San Jones is a photographer and director who after years of making photos (and friends) of the celebrities (mainly actors) he decided to start a series of interviews with actors, directors and many other personalities. At first thought it would be too…normal to accompany my runs but it became great companions of my long runs. Some celebrities really surprised me, some of them I discovered thanks to this podcast.

 

Answer me this. http://answermethispodcast.com

Ollie and Helen are real professionals (of comedy) who are ready to reply even most absurd question. Ok, some of them are not absurd, maybe a bit unusual.

Just send it to them and maybe your question will get picked. It’s the personalities of the hosts  that makes this podcast special.

 

Rich Roll Podcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-rich-roll-podcast/id582272991?mt=2

This podcast is quite popular so maybe you already know it. If not, you definitely should. Rich Roll is a vegan athlete, entrepreneur, author of two books. He often invites other vegan athletes but also ex-addicts, motivational speakers, doctors and in general people with great stories to tell. I always have impression that Roll wants to learn from these conversations as much as he wants his listeners to learn.

 

Ben Coomber Radio https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/ben-coomber-radio/id567519571

This is the right podcast if you want a good advice on your fitness routine and nutrition. Ben likes to dive into different trends from paleo to vegan to find because there’s something useful in every approach as long as it’s not extreme. Just like Rich Roll he invites different guests and once in a while he dedicates an entire episode for Q&As to which he replies with his co-host, Rachel Ray. I personally think it’s one of the few so ‘balanced’ fitness podcasts with a host who doesn’t claim to have the only valid opinion.

 

I hope you liked my recommendations, if you have your favourites please let me know.

 

best things in life aren’t things

 

Yesterday morning I went for a short run. I had to wake up quite early (for my standards) and although I woke up fairly easily my legs didn’t collaborate. I was too sleepy to dwell too much on this but still I wasn’t very happy with my pace.

Later that day, I realised that that was my third day in a row of consecutive workouts. The day before I ran, two days before I rode 100km on my road bike. So on third day I was a bit tired, achy (of course stretching is the first thing I’ll skip #guiltteam).

I took my Training Diary and I looked up what I was doing exactly the year before. I was running few times a week for about half an hour as I was fresh out of serious injury. My body was getting used to effort and it was rebelling against me. Big time.

Running, training injury free is a gift. Or maybe it’s a thing you must work hard to achieve. Either way, once you’re in a injury free zone be happy, appreciate it, celebrate it with an easy run, rest day, yoga session, bowl of fruits or a nice glass of great wine. I’m really good when it comes to ‘celebrate ideas’, let me know if you need some more.

While I’m writing this I’m on a sofa trying to have a moment for myself after a bit hectic day. My living room is even more messy than usual because I’m preparing for a move to London and we have to gather in one place all the bits and bobs. As a result we live in total chaos for few days just transport the mess to the new apartment. Don’t get me wrong, my middle name is Mess, so I don’t feel totally bad with it but I feel a bit overwhelmed. You can’t buy this feeling of carelessness when your biggest dilemma is what’s for dinner.

There are some things in life that make it whole or just better. It’s a puzzle and sometimes I don’t even realise it’s there. Hey, I’m not saying money is not important. It just falls into different category.

It was inevitable, this post is extremely cheesy. I’ll post something serious and professional next time.