Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New Tech, Old Tech

I'm so upset...Last month Piero bought me a new computer. It's a very weird story too. I didn't really want a new computer, I had a nice comfortable ASUS laptop that I used with no problems except for that every once in a while the cooling fan would get stuck and make this weird noise. Anyway, he insisted so I let him buy me a new Toshiba - very basic, no frills, but the ASUS I had bought in 2001, so the Toshiba had five years of technology on the ASUS. This was wednesday evening. Thursday morning my ASUS wouldn't start up. It just literally died on me...the weirdest thing, like it was waiting for that to happen. Or maybe it got offended that I bought a replacement. Anyway, I just discovered that my new computer doesn't have an infrared portal, which means I can't download photos from my telephone! I am so bummed. I went on this ride sunday and took a ton of photos to decorate my blog with and now I have nothing to show you!
The ride was 70km and it took me 3:20:21 to do. The pics you would have seen:

- Leaving from Modena the first town you would have seen is Maranello. Maranello is known for one thing and one thing alone: Ferrari. I took a photo of the test track (you can see it from the road) and then the front of the Ferrari office building, which is actually kind of boring. I think it was constructed in the sixties and they've never updated it.

- This particular road I took goes up to Serramazzone and has a 15km 7% climb. I kept getting passed by a bunch of cyclists as if I was standing still so I got really really excited when I saw that I was going to pass someone. I even took a picture of him as I passed. In the picture you would have seen his yellow WOOL jersey (which should have given me a clue there...) and his LEATHER cleats (clue number two...) and I just about laughed out loud when I saw the poor guy was about eighty years old. WHEEE, I passed you old man!!!

- Several pics of the beautiful Emilian mountains and farms.

- A lovely photo of the pastry I ate back in Maranello on the way back. I swear I do this ride JUST to be able to eat those things...they're this crunchy pastry layered thing with a Chantilly cream inside. Comes in small or super large. I've only ever bought the small so far...I'd have to do 100km to buy the super large. The picture at the top was the best I could do...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Thailand, again!

I don't think I've mentioned it but I'm leaving for Thailand in three weeks. I went last year when I was invited as a journalist to write (and run) about the Thailand Temple Run .
A few months ago they contacted me again and asked me if I'd like to come and write (and run again!) a new marathon that they were organizing in Phuket. Um, yes, I'd like that very much! I talked my friend Linda into coming with me and I'm making it into a mini-vacation. I'll be leaving on the 15th, arriving in Phuket on the 16th. The run is on the 18th and starts at 5.00 am. Linda will probably do the half marathon, though if her foot continues to give her trouble we'll rent a bike and have her follow me. I'm really excited about the prospect of going snorkeling and sitting on a beach with nothing to do. I'll take my computer so that I can write the article under a palm tree while I sip on some tropical drink. Did I mention that a Thai massage here for one full hour costs about three dollars? I'll be getting one or two a day!
On the way back we've decided to stop in Bangkok for some shopping. We went online to look at hotels...OMG, they were so inexpensive! I'm so used to New York, Paris and Rome prices, which are sometimes bordering on ridiculous. The most expensive hotel that we saw was the Marriot Resort and Spa, a whopping $110.00 dollars for the room for one night. But we thought that we'd then have to "dress" the part and really didn't want to have to bring along formal clothing. So we went with a nice three star superior called the Narai Hotel. It has nice rooms and a pool and a fitness center and three restaurants. Breakfast is included in the 40.00 dollar per room per night tarif. That's twenty dollars apiece. Last year when I was in Bangkok I went to some all you can eat Asian Buffets for four or five dollars. I think I could retire here...
Plenty of photos will be coming on this page at the end of the month. Stay tuned. The kids? Oh, they're going with Piero to Grandma's at the beach. They'll be out of school next week so everything is taken care of on that end. WWWHHHHEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Body Composition (or Fat fat, fat)

In my quest to put the scale away and ignore the numbers, I went and had my body compostion tested. I had already done this in 2001 when I was training for my last "half" Ironman, so I had old numbers to work with, specifically 64 kg x 19,7% body fat. I felt really good then, it was easy to maintain and racing triathlons was FUN when I didn't have to worry about stuff jiggling.
Since having Evan I really felt that my body comp had changed. Some of that could be age or just having another baby, but with all the physical activity that I do I knew that I could reverse it a bit. Most people will look at me and tell me I'm thin but I knew that my composition was off...and now I have the proof! I measured out at 67,5 kg x 25,2% body fat.


For women, a body fat of 10-12% is essential, 14-20% is considered a healthy range for athletes, 21-24% is healthy for fitness, 25-31% is considered an 'acceptable' range and anything above 32% is considered obese.

So I'm not obese and I am "acceptable", but from an athletic point of view, I have to knock down some of those numbers. I'm even slightly out of the fitness range. I'm actually excited about it. I'm not interested in "losing weight", just in changing that fat number. I'll need to gain some muscle too, which is why the numbers on the scale won't be important to me.

I'll go back in about 8 weeks to re-test.

Excuse me now while I go have breakfast...

Sunday, May 21, 2006


I didn't really mean for it to be an ultramarathon. Actually, I didn't even mean for it to be a marathon! I had signed up for the Pisa marathon back in february. I liked the course because it was in the area where I used to live in Tuscany and I really hadn't gone back since then. But then a few things came to hinder my even getting to the starting line:

- my blood test the month before with the low iron
- my getting a huge charley horse cramp in my left calve that left me limping for days before the race
- Evan coming down with a 101° fever for three days before the race.

Well for the first consideration I just thought I'd run the marathon and not care about my final time. For the second I put hot packs on my calf and then ran a half hour on the saturday before the race and it seemed okay. We took Evan to the doctor on saturday afternoon where he was given an antibiotic and said he'd be fine.

It rained just as we started out, but then the sun came out. It was hot every once in awhile but not unbearably so. Don't ask me what happened but I had to hit the bushes THREE times within the first 12km, at that point the "race" part was pretty much over for me and I just decided that it would be a lovely day to walk to Pisa. It was. The weather was beautiful and I had a friend that walked/ran with me and we were having such a nice time that right after the 34th km we found ourselves alone. We kept going forward and then we got to an intersection and demanded to know where the course was. The police officer said: one km back! AAACCHHH. I stood there stunned for a minute, looked for a way to cut the course, but there wasn't. So we walked back the whole one km and rejoined the race. I ended up finishing 44,195 km in 5:26:32. It really proved to me that I don't EVER want to run anything beyond a marathon. No thank you.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dream: what does it all mean?

Please help me. I know how many of you are reading these entries, I even know where you're from. I have this "problem" and I really need some collective anonymous advice.

I have this dream that I dream periodically. Sometimes I'll have it once a month, other times I'll have it even more often than that. This week I've had it three times already. Last night was even more intense than usual.

I've had this dream, on and off, for the last twenty years.

I've always read that a recurring dream is an unsolved problem and once you get rid of the problem you stop having the dream.

For simplicity I'll give you the dream I had last night.

The Dream:
I'm in Italy. I'm the age that I am (45). I don't have children. I do have Piero. I decide that nothing has really happened for me here in Italy professional-wise and so it's time for me to go. I have to go back to the States and start over again. Much of the dream is centered around planning what job I'll have, where I'll live, whether I'll go back to school. I always start out with zero money so I have to get like a quick waitressing job first in order to get back on my feet and have some cash. I'll send for Piero later when I have some money. I'm sad that I wasn't able to make anything out of myself in Italy. Really sad. But then I realize I have another 20 years to be able to do something with myself in the States and I get excited.

End of dream

Through the years the dream morphs. Sometimes I have one child or both of my children. Sometimes none. Sometimes no husband, or sometimes he'll come "later". Many times I'm going back to school to be re-educated, other times I spend all the time looking for an apartment to live in, in San Francisco.
There is always a huge sadness at leaving Italy and not doing something with myself there. It not happening or my not having done anything. I'm always really excited about the new prospects, the new life, though still sad to leave the rest behind.
When I wake up there is always a huge relief. Or is there?

What do I have that is unresolved?
Is there something in this dream that I'm not seeing or don't want to see?

If you need any pieces to the puzzle to help me out I'll be glad to answer any questions.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


This has been a really difficult and emotional week. Olly is having some problems that we're trying to sort out, but in the meantime it's a daily battle. Throw in PMS for both of us, Piero gone for the week (solo parenting), I was really a wreck yesterday.
When I went to pick Evan up and nursery school at 1.00 pm he was all happy 'til we got to the car and he started to cry because he wanted the other car. After that he cried for anything and everything. Finally at about 2.30 pm I took him off to bed. He fell asleep within five minutes and didn't wake up for another four hours. When I woke up an hour later I found Olly asleep on the couch. Then at about four o'clock she started sleep talking and asking where all her friends had gone. I led her back to the couch and closed her eyes. She slept another hour. Surprisingly we all went to bed at 10.00 pm and slept instantly, waking up at 6.00 am.

Last night we all piled into the same bed. I had already turned off the lights when I heard this really feable "I love you Mom". She was so faint in saying it that I had to have her repeat it a few times. She did too.

This morning while I was getting the laundry Evan made me stop and lean over to him. He caressed my face and said "Tu sei brava" (you're good, as in a good person) . Almost made me cry. It certainly made up for the emotional crummy week.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Finding Myself

I don't remember how it came to me or what made me even think about it. One day I was surfing the web and found THIS.
I've always wanted to do a half, in fact in 2001 I actively looked for one to do but the closest was in England but I didn't have the time to travel for it. Instead I found one on the Island of Elba.
It wasn't a full half (make sense?), but with a 2km swim/66km bike/14km run, it was pretty close. I can positively say that in the summer of 2001 I was in the best shape of my life. I finished that triathlon and felt fantastic. Which brings me to now...When I saw the Monaco Half the first thing I thought was summer 2007. Then I thought, why wait? I always say I don't have the time to train but if I cut a lot of the wasted time I produce during the day and get myself (and the family) a little more organised, I do have the time. The most difficult in training and on the course will be the bike. If you're so inclined go check out the bike course.
I'll have to do some REAL cycling training. I have some good size mountain ranges near my house and then we'll spend the month of july in St.Moritz so it shouldn't be a problem finding training routes.
So this will be my new focus. It's interesting how your perspective changes. I'm slowing weeding out the fat loss blogs (especially people that don't do the talk or walk the walk!) and replacing them with inspiring Tri Blogs like this one or this one.
Monday (a holiday here) I road 60km on my bike. It was good to do that. It confirmed that I'm still in good biking shape but that I'm a little rusty. Second it reminded me to lubricate certain body parts for me next ride. Ouch!