5 for Friday

All female Milan Marathon Relay: running for a good cause

This Sunday Milan will be full of runners! Between marathon runners and relay runners there will be few people left on the couch..

Let’s hope they will not stay there, we need some cheering along the way!

This year I run for AISM (Associazione Italiana per Sclerosi Multipla), an Association that helps people affected by multiple sclerosis, both patients and their families. Thanks to my friend Greta I’ll be joining another 3 women in a relay. I have to say that running for good cause is incredible: you feel faster that you really are basically you smile all the way. Finally you’re running not only for your benefit! If you want to donate (what you pay for your regular coffee would be great!), please follow the link https://bit.ly/2IcFMRx

Green monster: my shake full of goodness

You know I love my fruits and veggies but I’m not a big fan of fruit juices as they have little to no fibre. Recently I found myself in an emergency: I had to process a bunch of oranges that started to go bad (nice problem to have, I know).

That’s how I created a Green Monster: oranges blended with a lot of fresh spinach and some fresh ginger. If you don’t like spinach trust me you won’t feel the taste of it! Vit C from oranges will help to absorb iron from the spinach and ginger will do some good as well and give you that sharp, ‘zingy’ taste!

Reading: a bit of spookiness and of course running

I have two new books on my Kindle and I love them so far! The first one ‘A skinful of shadows’ is a very well written spooky story. I’m not a fantasy of horror lover and this one is not a typical ghost story. It’s about a girl living in England around English Civil War, a girl with a particular gift, trying to deal with it the best she can. The synopsis will probably won’t make you want to read it but trust me, it’s a great story!

‘The way of the runner’ is an incredible book: it’s not about Kenyan runners or obese people becoming runners! That alone should sold that for you!

Seriously, this book tells a story of fenomenon:running in Japan. I knew japanese runners were fast but I had no idea how fast and that running was such a big deal there. You probably heard of ekiden, a relay running in a japanese corporations but I bet you didn’t know that the big companies have professional running teams! I’m getting into this book and if you’re like me, a running nerd, you’d like it as well!

Coconut oil

I’ve already told you I use coconut oil everyday but now I’ve found another use: taking off my makeup. I’ve tried that method a while ago and it didn’t go well and now I know why. Simply the coconut oil I had before was not of a great quality..The one I’m using now is simply divine. I put a small amount on my face, makeup simply melts off and I take everything with a small cloth damped previously in warm water. Then I normally wash my face with soap. Works incredibly!

Spring!

I love summer even more but I have to say that spring, longer days and everything that blossoms makes me very excited for each day! I love light, I’m addicted to it so springtime makes me feel so positive even if not everything is perfect 😉 Few weeks ago I went for my first bike ride of the season and I can’t wait for another one!


Game changer

I think we should all make an investment in something that will make us live better, feel better, run and recover better. I mean a really powerful tool: sleep.

Sleep is my favourite.

My grandma used to tell me that sleep is the best skin care you can get.

True but it’s much more that that. Lack of sleep has a true domino effect on your life, if you fix that everything else becomes easier.

Sleep and your appetite. To be concise I’ll tell you only that our appetite is regulated by 2 hormones and lack of sleep destabilizes the level of the hormone that makes you feel satiated.

So if you don’t sleep enough you feel hungry even though you have eaten enough. When I don’t sleep enough I crave sugar as a quick ‘pick-me-up’ solution.

Sleep and your time reaction Researches show (I always wanted to use that phrase) that sleep deprived people have similar time reaction to drunk people.You probably have seen it on your own example: if you haven’t slept it’s hard to focus and remember things, simple tasks can take you a long time and you’re moody. What’s worse you can’t just make up for a week of insomnia by sleeping in during the weekend. Consistency, even if so boring, is always the key.

Why we actually have to sleep?

The debate is still open on that.For a long time we thought it was all about regeneration of our bodies but the newest researches shows that the main reason might be different. Every day we see different things, receive a lot of informations and stimuli. It seems that sleep is the moment we’re saving those informations on our internal hard disk. Crazy idea, right? Consider this: we use only a small amount of our brain and during sleep our brain activity and overall body activity doesn’t just stop, it goes on.We’ve managed to land on the moon but we still are not sure how and why our brain and body function.

Did you know that the idea of sleeping 7-8 hours per night is quite new notion? It’s a XX century ‘invention’, before that time it was believed that 4 hours will be enough.

Ok, so how many hours per night do you sleep?

Are you waking up rested?

Do you wake up during the night?

Are you a sound sleeper or anything can wake you up?

Who’s afraid of the half marathon?

Are you a new runner or you’re already a runner but races are not your thing? Then you’re probably a bit afraid of your first half marathon. 21km, 13 miles, it’s not a bike ride. Even on a bike 21km is a good distance, imagine running it.

Well, I’ve done so many half marathons I don’t even count them any more.

Run baby, run!

And I’m still afraid of half marathon. Why?

Let’s face it, I’m a slow type of runner. Of course you can discuss that, everything is relative, my pace can be fast for someone or slow for another runner but in my standards I’m slow. I’m not negative, I can recognize my strengths: I’m resistant and I recover quite fast. Speed- not my forte. That’s why half marathons are a really serious test for me.

When it comes to running, the shorter the distance, fewer excuses you can have.

In the marathon or ultra everything can happen, you start at the top of your form and then, after 10-15 km something happens because it takes time to cover the distance and the load on your body is major. 10 km or half marathon..a little bit of strategy but in essence you give what you have,the faster the better.

Race adrenaline

For someone who used to race every other weekend (yep, I’ll tell you about it in another post) I ran not a lot of races last year. And I have to say it was good for me, last year was, from the personal point of view, really stressful and delusional. As a result I had little to none motivation to go out, race, ecc.#life You can imagine that in this situation standing on the start line with thousands of people wasn’t something I was looking for. #anxiety #stress #life

Now I feel better and my objective for 2019…

aaah, you thought I had no resolutions  for 2019? Think twice.

Is to do things that scare me. A bit. It’s like with exercise: a bit of stress in small doses is good, too much too often.

So half marathon it is. Or two half marathons. I’ve signed, I’m sealed (training hoping to be ready) and I hope to deliver.

What’s the distance you’re afraid of?

Are you preparing any race this year?

Are you more stressed or emotional before a race?

Any pre-race routine to calm down?

3 Italian marathons you can’t miss

Weather you live in Italy or you’ve been here on holidays you know it’s a beautiful country: each region is different, food and wine are amazing and people are kind.

What you probably don’t know is there are different running races you shouldn’t miss. I could babble for hours but let me introduce you 3 amazing marathons I ran in Italy that should be on your bucket list!

Rome Marathon

http://maratonainternazionalediroma.it/

Happy and tired..but how come my plate is still empty?
..and bring the wine!

When? At the beginning of April.

Course: mainly flat road race with some bits of pebble-like road (called sanpietrini from San Pietro, Saint Peter, a patron of the city)at the end of the race. Nothing dramatic but just be aware. What is incredible about this race is the beauty of the course:most of it crosses the most iconic places in Rome. The weather is almost always perfect for running and the arrival at Colosseum is worth every mile you sweat.

I ran it twice and every time I couldn’t believe it’s a race you can just sign in without a ballot. Just sign in and think later.

Around the race: best part of running marathon in Rome? The food! Go and have a dinner at ghetto and order fried artichokes. Life will make more sense afterwards.

Rome is in Lazio, central Italy. If you have spare holidays visit Rome and then take a short trip to Tivoli and Frascati.

Venice Marathon

http://www.huaweivenicemarathon.it/it/venicemarathon/

Tired and happy with my medal from Venice Marathon, best marathon EVAH!
Yes, it was a PB.

When? At the end of October

Course: I know, I know, you probably expect all ups and downs as it is Venice and it’s known for its bridges and canals. It’s partially true. The marathon starts outside of Venice and at the beginning you run along the Brenta canal but it’s flat and you can admire a lot of beautiful villas. Before the arrival to the city itself you see the industrial part of Venice, then you cross the Freedom Bridge (il Ponte della Libertà) around 32 km (and it seems incredibly long) and the last 10 km are in the Venice itself. 10 km of bridges, ups and downs and it’s a pure torture. Worth it, trust me.

Around the race: it’s easy to walk a lot in Venice but save it for later. It’s hard to eat well in Venice a s it is a very tourist town but look for ‘chicheterie’, that is small bars where you’ll be served popular and simple finger food, snacks accompanied by wine. I personally recommend “Alla vecia carbonera” or “Al mercà”.

Tip: book your accommodation waaaay before the race, hotels, b&b and all that stuff cost a lot in Venice

Florence Marathon

http://www.firenzemarathon.it/it/

Less tired not less happy

When? At the end of November

Course: has been changed in the last few years and became more flat and more ‘urban’ that means you can see more of the historic city center along the way. That doesn’t mean you won’t experience a bit of outskirts of the city. There are pros and cons to this; while outside the city center is probably not the part you hoped for (less picturesque) when you signed for a race but  it’s the less problematic,flat part of the marathon. City center means bridges, road that sometimes is flat asphalt but sometimes huge pebbles (like in Rome).

Of course the historic city center is one of the most beautiful you’ll see in Italy

Around the race: Florence is in Tuscany, one of the most well known regions of Italy. Make the most of it and if you can go and visit Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa. If you stay only in Florence take a stroll around the town, visit Duomo, Uffizi and taste the amazing Tuscan wines: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano and amazing but still under-rated white wine, Vernaccia.


Have I convinced you? I think running those races is one of the best things you can do in your running career. The views, the food and the wine are amazing, you don’t have to sign in for a ballot and the bibs cost way less than for the world’s majors marathons. Plus you can bring your family and friends along and all of you will have a great time. Win, win, win.

it’s always a detox time

September, the beginning of autumn. Every time I scroll through my Instagram feed I see that the world go on detox. Not just diet, a detox. That supposed to be cleansing after these 2 weeks period called vacation that was preceded by at least 1 month period of read-for-the-beach diet. And before that we had a spring awakening awakening cleanse because as you might have already guessed: we ate like pigs during Xmas.

Green concoction : managing your sense of guilt since..forever

People say that with climate change the seasons just disappeared. I believe it’s our culture that did that. Our year is made of periods of famine, brief feasts followed by detoxes and cleanses. All year round we should be vigilant. Calories are just waiting around every corner.

It’s rarely to hear, both men and women, to admit they ate something without any justification. “I had pizza but I’m going to the gym tomorrow” or “This must be like a thousands calories but I walked a lot today”. Food makes us guilty.

My cleanse juice of choice. Ok, it’s an image from my last race, Marathon du Médoc.

No matter how valuable you are as a person your value is primarily your looks. Looks is the first thing the world will judge you upon.. It’s a natural but it becomes toxic when it stays the main indicator of  your value.

You’d probably say it’s not true and that we value intellect and wit. If that’s true why one of the most common messages in the wellness and fitness community is self acceptance? Love yourself no matter what! You’re worthy and beautiful and even your flaws are beautiful! And you’re smart! You must love yourself no matter what the social media is trying to make you believe! If all of this is true why we’re constantly teated like children binging on sweets?

Don’t get me wrong: I love good healthy food and I feel my best when my body is well nourished with food that makes me feel good. Having said that my looks should never be a fast jump to judgment of my persona. If I loose weight it doesn’t necessary means I’m in a good place in my life but that is what people assume. If I loose weight I might be sad, stressed or ill but the first reaction is compliment. My value is not my looks so don’t try to convince me that I should fit a certain size and then if I feel bad about myself convince me again that looks doesn’t matter and I’m worthy ‘no matter what’.

mud, mud everywhere

On Sunday I ran and easy trail but damn it was muddy like no other I ran.

I didn’t have that much fun: muddy, foggy and cold. Strangely the distance was bearable (30km) so at least I trained the mental part of the race (remember ? the one I struggle with the most)
So each puddle of mud has a silver lining I guess.
And I have a nice colorful pair of Brooks Caldera to run trails.

Trails&co

Last week I went with my friends for a non competitive run in the countryside. It was mostly off road with some uphill parts. I wasn’t terribly fast and it was only 24 km but I ran all the hills, I drank all the hot tea at the refreshment points and I finished happy.

Today I came back even more happy on my normal running route and I realized that for some time I haven’t changed it. So next week I’m running a trail, short one and not very hilly. My legs but also my head need some change sometimes. Overall I like running now and running likes me back.

Oh, New Year’s goals!

 

I have already registered for two races, Paris Marathon (8th of April) and another one I cannot tell (cause superstition) but still I’m having trouble rolling out of bed on a weekday early morning to go for a run.

I can’t wait for days to get longer, I simply hate running in the dark!

 

Good deeds of the week: I bought a 3 sessions from my osteopath. Just in case. Just to take care of myself in the 2018.

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.

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.”