Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The ultimate carbo-loading experience

You might've noticed that my posts for the past week and a half didn't actually mention any runs I'd gone on.

That's because I haven't run in more than two weeks, during which time I was busy prepping for, going on and recovering from a week-plus visit to Italy with my sister!

At the Forum — one of my favorite spots — in Rome. We'd already done the Colosseum, which you can see in the background.
Our trip was every bit as fantastic as one would expect, full of beautiful architecture, delicious food and drink, sunshine (take that, polar vortex!), amazingly ancient history all around us ... and runners.

I don't know why the sight of runners surprised me. I'd seen running tours for Venice advertised, and I've read about marathons in Rome.

Maybe it was the contrast with la dolce vita that caught me off guard — and before anyone suggests that Italians might need to burn off all that gelato and pasta, let me be the millionth person to point out that they do a lot more travel by foot and by bike than most Americans do.

Authentic margherita pizza in Naples. This restaurant — L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele — was the one featured in "Eat, Pray, Love" and was every bit as delicious as depicted.
Or maybe it was just their odd gear that made me do double-takes. I swear at least half of them were running in biking shorts, and more than a few were in what appeared to be everyday shirts.

They're a very well-dressed nation, no doubt, but why ruin those stylish tops with sweat? At least the odd outfits I saw in West Des Moines were athletic-gear-based.

Unlike when I went to London, I didn't feel the slightest twinge of envy watching Italian runners, though.

I was getting enough exercise not just walking, but also climbing monuments and ruins on sometimes-uneven pavement, and I think my mind needed a break from my 5K dud and from training during the polar vortex.

But I was happy to see runners. I'm so used to feeling like my leisure activity is scorned (even I call it a stupid hobby) that if a nation known for appreciating the finer things is engaging in it frequently, that's a huge selling point for our community.

* * *

Did you miss posts because I wasn't plugging them on Twitter and Facebook? Here's what went up in my absence.

April 5: Reflections on 5K training plans

April 7: Upcoming race: Grand Blue Mile

April 9: Running crafts are complete

April 11: Upcoming race: Woofin' It 5K

April 13: Second installment of 2014's quarterly goals

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