Saturday, December 06, 2008

A day in Firenze

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment in Firenze and even though it's less than a hundred miles from my house, I thought I'd make the ecological choice and go by train. In two words: total disaster. This doctor charges a lot so I wanted to make sure I got there on time. Since Italian trains are notorious for being late I decided I would leave early and just walk around town. When I got up in the morning it was pouring rain. I got out the super huge umbrella and headed to the train station. I had forgotten that this weekend was the Immaculate Conception Holiday and that everybody would be traveling. I couldn't find a seat going there and in the end just hopped a train and stood the 50 minute ride to Firenze. On the way back the only seat I could find was on a train that was leaving two hours after my appointment. Initially I started to get all anxious about the time I was wasteing, about the work I had to do. But in the end there was really nothing I could do about it. So I decided not to get upset about it and just pretend it was my day off.

When I arrived I was intent on finding a place to have a sandwich with Schiacciata bread, but I couldn't find a bar that was smiling at me. Do you know what I mean? One that has that perfect lighting and atmosphere, not too many people in it. A place where you can just soak up the surroundings. Then I came upon what looked like a restaurant, but it also had sandwiches on the menu. So I stepped in, out of the rain, and found myself in a nice space. I ended up sitting down at a beautifully set table for one, and ordering BaccalĂ  served in a tomato sauce with chickpeas and a bottle of mineral water. Sometimes I forget that I'm a grown up person and can actually treat myself once in awhile.

After the appointment I went window shopping, just wandering around for an hour. I lived in Firenze for 15 years and it's always nice and nostalgic for me to go there. When it was time to head back towards the train station I decide first to have a look at the Ponte Vecchio at dusk, and then stop for a coffee and pastry.

I read on the train the whole way back. That in itself was a vacation!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

When even 5 year olds are watching what you do

Since I don't have an office to go to like most Moms, my timing and appearance in the morning changes from one day to the next. One thing is pretty certain, the first outfit I put on in the morning is not usually my best. Ev has to be take to kindergarten between 8 and 9 am, and I usually hit on 8.45, whatever happens. Sometimes I'll get up at 5 a.m. and work three hours before bringing him to school. Other times I'll have gone out the night before, like last night when I went to a business dinner in Milan, and got home at 1.00 a.m.
Yesterday I had a coffee date with my friend Linda. I hadn't seen her in a long time so I thought she deserved for me to not look like I'd just rolled out of bed. I scrubbed my face and put on some make-up. Even though I'd just had my hair done I put on a head wrap just 'cause I felt like it. With my new cashmere scarf and a camel coat thrown on, I was ready to go.
When I got to Ev's school this teeny, tiny cute little artistic red head named Crystal looked up at me and said "Where are you going today?"

It's really scary when even little five year old girls notice that you're not your usually slobby, I actually have my pajamas on under this coat, mess.

Linda said yes to giving me office space for my experiment. When I told two friends about it last night they both said "Oh, and you'll have to get dress up every day so that it feels like you're going to the office." I hope little Crystal notices and appreciates...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I turned another crappy day into a nice one by taking Ev after school to see "Bolt in 3D". What a fun time! The last time I tried on 3D glasses was like in the 70's and they've done a ton of improvements on the whole sensory experience. Things really jumped right out at you - very, very cool.

I'm giving more thought to the separate office situation and have already come up with a few ideas...I'll keep you update...

Monday, December 01, 2008

25 days to Christmas

I have been in a real funk lately. I could sit here and say that I don't know what is wrong but if I really sat down and was forced to spit out what has me in such bad moods lately I would start on this never-ending list of thing - little things - that are bothering me every day. I think that even thougth they seem like little things, they could potentially be big I just let them cook on the back stove while I get on with other business.


I'm in the middle of projects, nothing quite concluded yet and that leaves me with little energy. The book? They loved it. They loved it so much that they've asked me to add 40 pages to it so they can charge a little more for it. Asking me to write forty pages is like...getting blood from a stone! I love to write, hate to write, and have still not found the perfect combination on how to go about doing that. But I have to. They were super sweet to me and I'm actually going to be earning more money than I thought I would once that sucker is published. I'm still in the planning stages for the 40 page add-on but tomorrow I have to give my business coach my book GANT so I better get moving.


We need a bigger house. We live in a two bedroom, two bath, one huge livingroom with small office space and small yard house with 2 adults, 1 teenager and one child. The only person in the house that has her own personal space is the teenager. I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes and have a HUGE problem concentrating on my writing with all the chaos around. On the other hand, no money to buy a bigger house unless we move to the suburbs or another city, which I don't want to do right now. Rent an office space? Rent a room to write in and work in? Could be a solution. Now that I've written it down it actually looks like an idea. I'll think on that a bit.


The only thing that's making me happy right now is the cutey-pie above. Today at school they had the roller-skating final Christmas Show Extravaganza. I had to control myself from laughing too much - they were so cute! Ev was very cautious, never going too fast, always in control. Sort of like he always is. I love him so much :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Marathon nr.28

New York was my 28th marathon. I went into it unconfident and not even sure if I'd be able to finish it. After four months of nice steady workouts, three or four different problems surfaced at once. My back started to ache even more, I developed Piriformis syndrome on my right hip and the only solution was to not run. Since I had so many work trips in the last month I couldn't hit the pool or take a ride on the bike, my only alternative was yoga and rest. I did learn a GREAT stretch solution for the Piriformis though, which is this...

...and I did that about five times a day. I think this is what saved me in the end...

New York was a blast. So much fun, so many moments of pure happiness...

My plan for the marathon was to walk five minutes for every thirty minutes of running, hoping that I'd be able to keep it up all the way to the end. My friend Giorgio, who'd had a pneumonia during the month of september, was going to run with me since he had doctors orders to participate but not run the entire race. We were brought to the start at about 6.15 am and had to wait in the freezing cold until our wave start at 10.20 am. It was really really cold. I thought I was going to toss my clothes at the start and the half way point but I kept them all. The start was a little anticlimatic since I was used to being on the bridge, having the national anthem, and then BANG, the start. This time with so many runners (I think about 40,000) we weren't even on the bridge when they started the race. We started our watches as we crossed the first timing mat and began running. Giorgio had brought a camera and started taking pictures right away. Even though it was cold, the skies were clear and beautiful. When we got to our first walking break Giorgio hesitated. Even though he wasn't supposed to care about our time and just follow me, it's really hard for a competive person to slow down and actually walk BEFORE they're tired. At about mile 12 he asked me what time we would be hitting for the half. "When we get to the half I'll let you know. We're not there yet so I can't tell..." I shut my mouth every time he started to talk about time splits or projected finishes (huge accomplishment for me...) and he eventually calmed down after 30km. We kept running and walked on the programmed times. We had one bathroom break at about the 22km mark. There was a long line and we had to wait awhile but we tried to make it up a little by slighly reducing the walk break. By the time we hit Central Park we were weaving around all the people walking, which was just about everybody. I was having a little bit of a trouble in convincing myself to keep running but I tried to concentrate on the voices of people yelling things at us and disassociate myself from my body. This worked really well and brought my all the way to Columbus Circle. We ended up finishing in 4h50' with a halfway split of 2h21'58".
You can see our photo documentary of the race HERE. Put it on Slideshow with a five second picture turnover so you have time to read the commentary.

I had so much fun that I signed up this week to run the Paris Marathon on April 5th. I just have to keep all those injuries at bay!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My new assistant

Just before I left to go to work in Venice this last week Evan pulled me aside and whispered "If you bring me with you I'll work..." Just tugging on those heart strings. He'd just gotten his new glasses and had a whole new look. I couldn't say no so we left for Venice together. Working in Venice is not as glamourous as it sounds because 3 of those days are actually spent inside a huge white tent while music is blasting in your ears and marathoners with lots of nervous energy walk back and forth...and back and forth. But Evan stuck to his word and really helped me out. He even launched into an english explanation of the pacing groups with some foreigners and tried out a word or two of Spanish. Marathon day was beautiful. Maybe a little too beautiful, weather wise, for the runners but better than a rainy day for sure. Now I'm packing and off to New York. He tried to talk his onto the airplane to NY...he'll be going with Piero to Naples instead. But I promised to bring him back a present and he was good with that.

(We won't mention the teenager that told me she couldn't wait 'til I's sort of a ying-yang thing with the two of them)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Taking a breather...

Two days in Rome and two days in Amsterdam. That's what I did last week. Running, running, running around (and not the good kind) from train to metro to taxi to airplane to ferry boat to bus and back again. It's amazing how you can gather so much energy from doing things. I mean, sometimes I'll be at home totally exhausted from doing nothing and then running around and sleeping four hours per night and hyped on energy.

- The two days in Rome were spent by night sleeping at my client-friend Patrizia's house. She lives right next to the Vatican church and from her balcony you can see the dome of the cathedral. It was really nice to spend to with her. By day I went to a two day Brian Tracy seminar. Something about "Million dollar habits". Though you really can't take everything he says literally, I did get a lot of great ideas on how to make my various businesses better and I have a new work energy that will last for a while.

- The next two days was spent in Amsterdam with Piero at the European Athletics Convention where Piero and I gave a presentation on the decline of middle and long distance running. It went really well :-)) . After it was all over we were taken on a tour of the canals and then dinner in an unconsecrated church. I thought we'd be able to see more of the city in the morning but the Amsterdam marathon was being held and since they had to close all the streets for four hours they had to take us to the airport SIX HOURS EARLY. The only thing I was happy about there was the Starbucks at the airport.

The kids did really well with the new babysitter, as well as the babysitter with the kids. So I have a new life now because I can actually go and work a little more outside the house without constantly being worried about what is happening.

I have two days home and then I'm off to work for four in Venice. Evan and Piero will come with me whereas Olly has to go to school. Good thing I have the babysitter!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

To the Moon!

This is a really crazy month workwise. I have so many projects and events going on at the same time. Almost every single one of my clients has a race this month, I'm still wrapping up the book because we have to re-shoot some exercise photos, Piero and I are preparing to go to Amsterdam next week where he's supposed to give a talk to the European Athletics Ass. on the downfall of long distance European runners. Since he's not so fluent in english I'M going to be presenting his speech (HA HA!!) - anyway, it all involves a lot of translating and assimilating what he's, I'm preparing 87 virgin marathon runners for the Venicemarathon and the ...I also have two kids and a house to take care of. It gets to moments like these that time with the children consists in being in the same room and nodding or letting them know you actually heard what they said is the one form of comunication. This week the only quality time I was able to give Evan was at bedtime: giving him a bath, pajamas, reading a story and then talking with the lights out. And that's when the most interesting questions come...
Last night he asked me what he was going to do when he gets older. "You can do anything you want to do. You can be an artist or a doctor or whatever you want." He thought about that for a minute and said "I want to be a postman". He loves to go to our mailbox and open all the mail. "No, I wouldn't be good at being a mailman...I want to be an astronaut. I could go into space. I really want to go to the moon. But, I'll take you with me Mom, I don't want to go without you."

Can't wait!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What I did this weekend

- Turned 48. I made myself a carrot cake with coconut frosting. I couldn't find a candle for it so I had to use a Winnie the Pooh fireworks fountain (Evan loved that). Groovy Yoga class to start my day and a cappuccino at my favorite coffee place. (do people still use the word groovy?)

- Went to a real movie with just Piero, Burn before Reading. The last few films I've seen at the movies have been animated or this was a special treat.

- Found my dream babysitter. One of Piero's cousins has a daughter that has come to study for the next FIVE years in Modena. She's already watched Evan and he adores her. She's sweet, does housework and is not asking much for her services. So so happy...

- Ran a half marathon: 2h06'32", my best time in the last two back made a few protests in the first km's, but then I was okay. I ran the whole way at a steady 6'00"/km pace and am thrilled that I didn't have to stop and walk because of cramping legs or my aching back.

- Talked to my sister. She didn't call on my birthday but rather the next morning. When I hung up I realized that for her she HAD called on my birthday since she lives in Kauai and is 12 hours behind. Thanks Mare!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Running photos

I was going through some photos the other day and came upon this file of various that didn't "make the cut" for our private website. Some of them I really like and wondered why we discarded them. You decide!

This is Ottavio doing some postural exercises, something we all tend to not do enough of.

Ottavio and Stefano (Baldini) coming up the grade. Notice neither of them have their feet on the ground.

Shoes, shoes, shoes...most pro's come to a workout with at least two pairs.

This is a photo Piero took in Namibia last year. I think they were doing a long workout.

Livigno, Italy. So, I understand they have to travel a lot but they really can't complain...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Monza half Marathon

It's a really good thing that my daughter is studying photography because her mother SUCKS as a phographer. This is the only photo I took at the Monza Half Marathon last Sunday. It's a self portrait of me and my friend Lucy. Then I put the camera in my bad and forget that I even had it. I had about 20 clients running it, including four that I have a pretty intense communication with (email, telephone calls) but had never seen face to face. Very exciting! I ran with one of them, Roberto. Or rather, I kicked Roberto from the start to finish in the butt so that he would make it to the end. He did, and I was very proud of him. He finished in 2h18' and I never ever thought we could pull that out of him. As for me I was happy because I stopped and waited for him for three times for about two minutes and felt okay until the end. My back was okay but I did do a little extra yoga this week to compensate. The next big get together is in a few weeks when I'll meet the first timers I'm training for My First Marathon. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moving on

I've been in a pretty good space lately. Lots of new plans and finding different ways to spend my time besides thinking about the book...did I tell you how happy I am to get that finished? Now I have this avalanche of work that keeps coming in and I'm finally able to program it instead of feeling totally overwhelmed. Plus, I have days off now. Sounds crazy but I haven't had a real day off for a really long time because whenever I had free time I felt like I should be spending it writing. I would go out for a nice day (family or racing) and come home guilt ridden because I should have been writing. No more!
Today I bought some supplies for a canvas book I want to make for personal workouts. I'll show it to you when it's done. I want to do a prototype and then if it works out nicely set up a small production and make them for the holidays. Sewing and graphics and writing and sports all wrapped into one! My favorite :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What I'm doing right now if you want to know...

  • Inserting in the graphics and photos for THE book. It's been approved by my editor who commented that it was "fascinating" (hee-haw!!) and three guinea pig female readers who said they "gobbled it up". I'm super excited, to say the least.
  • Missing my 30th High School Reunion. I am so bummed about this you have no idea. I was all set to go when the teenage unit in the house started to pull one too many pranks and I just do not feel comfortable leaving the fort unattended. Oh well, the positive thing is that through the Facebook space they set up I am back in touch with some cool people that I literally have not seen in thirty years.
  • Training for NYCM. I'm still going, I'm still running. Amazing since my back is totally screwed and sometimes I can't move...but then I do some yoga and I'm okay. I'm starting to get excited about American coffee and walks in Central Park.
  • Getting the kids back to school. Love the kids, also love when I can work uninterrupted for several hours on end and this can only happen from september to june when they are in school.
  • Excited about new projects that I'm planning and book touring and anything that has to NOT do with the actual writing of the book. I am so happy about not feeling guilty anymore that I am not working on THE was consuming my life, literally.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Macca Interview

I know most people use their ipods for music but I mostly listen to audio books and podcasts. I have four podcasts I listen to on a weekly basis and one of them is Ironman Talk
The two hosts are cooky together but very very informative as far as Triathlons go. Last week they did an Interview with Chris McCormick. The best interview I have listened to EVER. You have to pay attention to it while you listen, mostly to the host Bevan James Eyles who has a pretty thick New Zealand least for me. If you are a sports fan, especially Ironman - go listen now! Or download and listen while you ride your bike. Very inspiring.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Being self employed had never been any goal of mine. It was something that just evolved, mostly out of desperation to be able to take care of my child, then children, on my own time. The only thing I had going for me when I started out (as a freelance) was my monthly writing gig at the National Running magazine. I've been writing this column for twelve years now. I remember the first year I wrote the column it took me almost the entire month to write, rewrite, clean it up and finally send it. Slowly over the years I've able to cut down on production time and now if I'm really pushed up against a deadline I can spit it out in a couple of days. But I'm still not able to do what I've always dreamed of and what I imagine real writers do: sit down at my desk with a cup of tea and have the words just flow from my fingers and onto the ex-paper, now computer screen. All of the sudden I'll have something much more important to do: clean up the house, look at a web page I needed to look up (which leads to never ending websurfing), write up some training schedules or whatever I can come up with to momentarily put off writing. I have tried to impose schedules, make myself sit in front of blank screens until I write, deny myself fun if I didn't get X amount of words written. And I can't say that I've ever found the winning combination. The joke of this is that writing has become my mainstay. I make my living from writing, yet I don't want to admit to myself that I am indeed a writer. In Italian even!

I'm putting the finishing touches on my book. It's a book on running for women. If you don't know me, I can affirm that I've gotten thousands of women in Italy to start running. My editor asked me to write a book for women and I will be looking for typos and errors and grammatical corrections throughout the text this next week. It took me four years to write it. Four F******* years! That's a lot of stareing at blank computer screens. At some point it started to block my entire life and I had to just get it done and over with and get on with something new. I was scared of the criticism (Italians are VERY fast at that) and whether I really had anything new or different to say. There was also the newborn, the teenager and husband who is away working 300 days a year and the other freelance jobs that I had...oh, and the housecleaning and cooking for four that seemed to take up a lot of my extra time. But now as all the pages come together I do know that my outlook is different and that my way of living sports and running is unique. I had a meeting with my editor thursday to decide on the cover graphics. What they want really shocked me and then got me excited and now seems perfect for what I have to say inside all of those pages. I can't wait to show it to you, and I will as soon as I can.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beijing - here he comes!

Ottavio Andriani, an athete my husband Piero has trained since he was thirteen years old, has qualified to be on the Italian National team for the Olympic Men's Marathon in Beijing.
I am so proud of them both!

(p.s. this is the third athlete that he's trained to reach Olympic level...)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

57 km week

Did I mention I'm running a marathon in FIFTEEN WEEKS??

Yes, it's true. Last week I did my first "official" training week, so the countdown is on. I ran five days out of the week which put me at 57km. I'm a little sore but I survived. This week I'm just repeating the same workouts to see how it goes...stay tuned.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


My concentration problems have been resolved with sleep. When we got down to the beach house my mother in law had started working on creating a new apartment. There were builders hammering away from 6 am and you would think that I'd have had a horrible vacation. Not so. I slept through everything, then I'd sleep in the afternoon for a few hours and then go to bed early. I did this for the first three days and then I was cured and ready to work normally again.
The day before we left to come home Evan said that he wanted to stay at the beach with Grandma. The next day he changed his mind and said he wanted to come home...but then he changed it again one more time. I hate hate being away from him but it is also the perfect opportunity to get my work projects out of the way and GET ON WITH LIFE. Sorry, the shout out is for me...Piero was asked to go up to St.Moritz to train the Olympic team for the next two weeks and then they'll decide whether to send him up there again. So it's me and Olivia at home. Rather it's me at home and Olivia running around town with all her friends doing summer stuff that you do at fifteen years of age.

I do have to say...don't tell anybody...shhhh...I'm enjoying this time right now. I wake up and eat a leisurely breakfast then I start to work. I work and get four times as much done as I normally do and then around 8.00 pm I go for a run. Right now it's about 95° every day so I wait until night to go running. Plus there's light out until about 10 pm. I've also gone out to the movies twice, a pizza dinner out with friends and on friday I have a cocktail date with my friend Linda. Yep, I'm really living it up here! Ha!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

One week vacation down south

Tomorrow we're leaving for a week down south where I plan to
- Swim every day in the sea
- Eat my weight in watermelon
- Write, write, write (books, articles)
- Spend some one on one time with my Honey
- Run, if heat permits (it's been 100° every day here for the last ten days and running has been really ugly)
- Try and find some peace with myself, something that has eluded me lately...

Inexplicable date

I've been cleaning my studio space up a bit this week, rearranging books and shifting dust from one bookshelf to the next. I took down this wood box where I have all my old letters in and set in on the couch. Later that evening Olly was sitting on the couch talking to me and she started to finger through the letters. She asked if she could look at them. I said sure, just a part of my past - I'm not jealous of them if I'm there. It was interesting that she didn't want to read the Italian letters, only the ones written in english. As if the Italian was too real for her while the english was part of some sort of life I'd once had. She wanted to know about the gay best friend I lived with for a year and the boyfriend that I had for so many years that succumbed to ALS in his early thirties and also my little brother who used to write me a letter once in awhile. Very short, very sweet.

"How come these people used to write to you?"

"Because, Honey, when I was younger the internet didn't exist, as well as cell phones with sms messaging. We would sit down with a pen and paper and write a letter and then the other person on the other end would wait anxiously for the postman to deliver it." She laughed at that.

The world has changed, for the better and for the worse.

So yesterday I was listening to some music I had downloaded and inexplicably started crying for like fifteen minutes. All I could think about was my brother and how much I missed him. I re-read his letters and thought about how I used to read them all the time and that in actuality the pain of his not being here has lifted ten fold during these years. It used to seem unbearable. Now I just get really sad.

This morning P and I went and had a cappuccino together at the local bar while we read the paper. I looked at today's date: 29 june 2008.

A ha.

Yesterday was the anniversary of his death. I didn't even remember that, but maybe that why I was somehow drawn to the letters and the box and the tears. I feel better now, as if I needed to do that. I'm glad I remembered in some way.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No news is good news

I turned the television off for today. I usually like to clean the house or iron while I watch some trashy show that's not worth sitting down to. Lately I've been questioning how much garbage gets syphoned through my head. Especially the news. Triple that for Italian political news. Lately they've been covering Vatican ties with the mafia, including kidnapping agreements and bodies being buried with illegally within church walls. Then there's the President who owns three television channels and asks political favors in exchange for putting girlfriends and wives into soap opera roles. It just all makes my stomach turn and look in total horror at this society I've chosen to live in. I'm sure it's better and worse around the globe, but right now all I want to do is hike into the Sierra Nevada mountains for a month and cleanse myself from all this b******t.

So I'm turning my tube off today. I'm writing and doing some work on articles that are due next week and then Ev and I have Yoga at six o'clock and P is coming day is full!

Friday, June 27, 2008

School's out!

Today is Ev's last day of day care, he starts again in mid september when he enters into the "5 year old" class. He's really excited about that, big boy at the school and all. Olly is taking a remedial class for geometric design. She has to re-take a test in september before being promoted to the sophomore level so she'll be on pins and needles for the whole summer not knowing which class she's in.
I know this is turning more into an update diary about what we're doing, but I just can't do better than this right now. I have my projects to clean up by the end of July, and then I start anew. By some sort of stroke of Attraction a women I had worked with on my Running Clinics for Women wrote me an email that she's interested in producing a DVD for next year and it looks like she's willing to do most of the work. Sometimes I feel like I get things handed to me on a silver platter...I DO appreciate it and I DO know when it's happening. To get ourselves creatively motivated on the project I've decided to go to La Parisienne in september. It's a weekend of women's running with a huge expo and 6,5km race. Last year they had 13,500 women which is HUGE for Europe. I'm sure I'll get a lot of great ideas there, if anything, I'll absorb all that great female energy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Patience, mostly with myself

I've been having a lot of problems lately with concentration. My mind weaves back and forth from one activity to the next and I can't seem to find the focus to finish anything unless I totally and completly put all my energy directly into it...which seems like nothing at the moment. It seems like I get interrupted every three seconds by one of the kids...or it's time to fix the next meal or do something like, I don' t know, sleep. I don't know what to do about me, myself and I. I've tried every trick in the planet except totally seclude myself which at this moment in life I just can't do.

Have I always been like this? I think so, it's just gotten worse lately. Sigh.

I'm working it out even by just writing here for a few minutes.

You're probably all dying to know what I've been doing in the last month. Let's see...

1- My mother-in-law came to stay with us for 2 months. I survived.

2- I "raced" another sprint triathlon. Totally cool, in the south of Italy on the Ionian Sea. During the swim I could see sand and shells and fish. I won my age group in 1h25'03". I was the only one in my age group to show up. (don't tell...)

3- Evan's been sick three times with subsequent weeks of staying at home from day care.

4- I'm getting my running up to a decent pace and should be ready by mid july to officially start my marathon training for NYCM.

5- I didn't get depressed about the whole entry topic situation, just still trying to figure out the solution. This is a pretty major accomplishment for myself. Go me!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wherever you may be

The strange thing about when people pass away is that they never grow old in your mind. My sweetheart little brother who today would have been 46 years old will forever be 22 for me.

I used to cry for him every day for about five years in a row. Then I realized that I just couldn't keep it up forever and I really needed to get on with life.

But that doesn't mean I don't think about him almost everyday. Especially on his birthday and even if he'll never grow old.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Sprint Tri: my workouts

As you can see from my blog updates I've been super busy with little time to write here, or race. But I really wanted to take part in the Viareggio Sprint Tri because it's organized by my team and one of the first races I ever did (in 1997...). My training two months before leading up to the event consisted in: 2 pool workouts, one of which was a full 750mts just to make sure I could cover the distance (!) , 1 eighty km bike ride + 1 forty km bike followed by a fifteen minute run, 4 various runs which never went over fifty minutes, and 20 yoga lessons averaging twice per week.


I did three minutes better than last year - finishing in 1h29'05".

I'm totally sold on the yoga. My left leg is totally healed and whenever I go out and run hard and start to feel pain I just do some of the asana that I know will take care of the problem and I'm good as new.

Now I have to start a slow build up for NYCM, in the meantime I'm signed up for another sprint next weekend. Workout and race strategy is the same - why mess up what's already working for me?
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Monday, May 05, 2008

Marathon nr. 27

See this footer here? This is what I signed up for the other day. I'm really really excited not only to be going to New York, but also to be running a marathon. I'm also a little scared. My last marathon was in 2006 (Thailand!) and since then I've been trying to resolve my back problems. I don't want to get too excited if I end up having to not race, on the other hand maybe my enthusiasm will help me heal. Let's all cross our fingers and toes! I have six months to prepare so there's plenty of time to work things out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Or is it White-Green-Red? The Treviso Marathon had this idea that they would have three separate starts for their marathon and assign a colour of the national flag to each one. At the half way point the three roads would meet and, having supplied a appropriate coloured hat, they would form the Italian National flag. It was really complicated to plan everything, but in the end it all worked out. I put just one pacer from each start point and coordinated it so that they would meet up with one another at 21km. THAT worked too (amazing!). It was actually very emotional, lots of tears were shed. The picture here is of the three 4h15' pacers. The guy in red was sobbing uncontrollably at the finish line.
One of the women I train, Alessia, ran her first marathon there. She wrote a nice story about it (sorry, in Italian!), though there is one excerpt I thought was funny: "While I was at the start sitting on the ground so I could take off my long pants and hide the gels, tie my shoes, I start a conversation with a couple. They're nice. I tell them this is my first marathon. 'Really? Good luck!' Then they see I have the blue bracelet to follow the four hour pacers and they ask me how many long runs I did. "15 miles" I tell them. They look at me shocked and then say "and you want to follow the four hour pacers?? Are you crazy? 15 miles is not enough, you'll never make it!"

Apart from the fact that this is the rudest thing to say to ANYBODY at the start of their first marathon...The long slow run is a useless exercise. Her 3h58'31" finishing time with negative splits proves it! Plus, she doesn't even look tired at the finish line...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Olly Blue Eyes (actually they're green...)

I think every parent secretly waits for the day that someone tells them that their child is a genius, has a special talent, will grow up to be a special person. Tuesday I went to the bi-annual parent teacher conference. Ugh. It's so hard for me to calculate whether she is doing okay or not just because the system is so different than in the States. Seven teachers said that she is "smart, intelligent, stands out from the rest" but hasn't quite brought her work up to a good standard. On the other hand she does have the capability to do it so it's all really up to her.

Her photography teacher says that she has vision unlike anybody she has ever taught, including any of her senior students, and she's hoping Olly will pass this year because she wants to have the honor of teaching her for all five years. (for anybody not following she's enrolled in an Art Institute, five year programme). I told her what her photography teacher had said. She was moved to tears, enough to go and study for an Art History exam. I'm just crossing my fingers that she gets all of this and understands what a great life she could have with this talent she possesses if that's what she wants.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Busy things I've been doing

Not a lot of blogging time lately. From March to May I'm always really busy with my business and this year seems to leave me little time for anything but work and family. Here's what I did just this last week.

We went to Rome for the marathon. Piero had an athlete running , though he pulled out at the 28km mark with a muscle problem. I 'm not crazy about the Rome Course, but the start/finish line cannot be beat! Here they are taking off in the picture above and then in the picture below... just before all the marathoners started arriving.

Evan is the best traveler. For now we can throw him into any situation with absolutely no protests. On marathon morning he got out of bed at 6.00 am and we all went to the start together. And he's smiling too!

Earlier in the week we brought Evan to a Dinosaur exhibit in Cremona put on by the London Natural History Museum. It was fantastic! Ev is really into dinosaurs right now and has them all memorized. They had live sized mechanical models with sound and all.

The best thing that happened was my little girl turning 15 years old. The cake in the foreground is the Coconut white birthday cake that Evan and I made for her. It turned out yummyummy...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Retail Triathlon Therapy

Yesterday I was feeling really down. I don't know why but it's been this way for a few days. I've tried all the usual remedies but nothing seemed to be working so I decided I'd try some retail therapy. I put my road bike in the car and brought it to my bike shop. I bought myself some new shoes (Gaerne g-opal) and pedals (Look) and left the bike to be cleaned up for spring. While I was there I looked at a few bikes and have decided that once THE project is done I'll take the advance money and buy myself a bike. The choices at the moment are between a Pinariello and a Trek. I feel better :-)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Circus, Italian style

Before entering the big tent would you prefer a cappuccino or a glass of champagne? We went for a lollypop and a coffee. The lady behind the bar had on the biggest pair of fake eyelashes I've seen in a long time. Kind of went with the circus theme. Lots of acrobats but every few animals. Eighteen dancing ponies and four camels. We enjoyed it just the same.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leave of absense

If you have now or have ever had any sort of creative block in your life (and who hasn't?), go out now and buy this book. I finally understood where my imfamous writing block is coming from...whew! Now I can get back to work!
All this means that I've set due dates for myself and announced to various people that projects I've put off for---ever are now coming before the summer is over. I have to put in more concentrated time on my projects and less on superfluous internet activities. I'll still put stuff out there once in awhile (ps - I'm leaving in an hour for Rome to run my half marathon--so excited to have a weekend with friends!) , but the concentration will be on THE project.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Yoga 201 (!)

I went to my doctor yesterday to get my blood tests ordered up. He asked me a couple key questions which sort of all added up to the type of tests that he's asked for. I'll have to wait until the end of february to have them done (Hello nationalized medicine!) but when I went home I looked up one thing in particular. The key symptoms are:
  • Fatigue (yes)
  • Weakness (um, yes)
  • Difficulty in losing weight (check!)
  • Course, dry hair (battling all the time with that)
  • Cold intolerance (I use hot water bottles during the day while I work to keep warm)
  • Muscle cramps (day and night! Do you remember my swims last summer while I battled not drowning while I worked out cramps that would last for several minutes. Happens during yoga too)
  • Depression (I try and keep it at bay...)
  • Irritability (hard to say...ya know when you just get bitchy?)
So, the verdict won't be in until the end of the month and I hate to do an internet self I'll just wait on it. ZZZzzzzz...

In the good news my yoga teacher, after ten lessons together (once a week) asked me to switch classes and go to the Level 2 with another teacher. She thought I needed something more challenging so yesterday I tried the new class. Apart from the fact that I was totally intimidated by it because whereas my "class" had lots of nice comforting housewives in it, this one had YOGA BABES. But I just closed my eyes and concentrated on myself. Everything was a lot more challenging and there was even one position that I totally could not do. (like the above bridge pose but with your legs shooting up towards the ceiling. You achieve this my just flipping your legs UP) . I asked the teacher (and studio owner) afterwards if he felt this was the right class for me (cause I was feeling TOTALLY like it wasn't) but he told me that I'd done really well and that most people in the class had been practicing for years. Whew...I decided to go twice a week. Once with the advanced class and once with my first teacher - but on friday when she has a few more advanced students. One of my 2008 goals was to make it to level 2 - I just didn't expect it with a month!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Time for a check-up

I know I haven't blogged lately about my running or triathlon now is a good time as any to do that! In three weeks I'm racing the Roma-Ostia Half Marathon. I've been regularly training since the beginning of december but for some reason haven't gotten into the kind of shape that I would expect from regular workouts. I always think that it's just because I'm just not fast or that my back is hindering any progress but I always leave any real physiological reasons until last. Thursday was a holiday here in Modena, the patron saint's day "San Giminiano". They have an annual race every year which I already wrote about last year. For the 2008 edition there were only two girlfriends instead of five - well we know WHO is consistent now! The race is an odd distance: 13,400 metres and I was able to average 5'55"/km for the race , which I was happy about considering how I've been feeling lately. The only problem was that my heart rate was really high for that measly speed. How am I feeling you ask? Run down, tired, sleepy. I went on another run friday and had to take a nap in the afternoon and then another run this morning where after twenty minutes I had to take walking breaks. There are some huge red flags waving here and I need to get it all checked out. Tomorrow I'm going to the doctor to order some tests. Mostly iron levels and hormone levels. If nothing shows up I will be going back to my homeopathic doctor. To all the naysayers, he's the only one who's ever cured my energy problems (no, this is not the first time that I've had this problem).

This is the Military Academy where the race starts from...

Here I am walking in after the finish line...and while I was running my race...

Piero and Evan were assisting Bald1ini while he ran a lactate test (I think he's preparing for the London marathon again ...)

Kind of humbles you when you're complaining about your energy problems and six minute k's!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Win Money! Lose Weight!

At the beginning of december I was in a dilemma about how to get through the holidays without gaining too much weight. Short of getting sick, I almost always gain a few in that one week window between Christmas and New Years. Nowadays it takes me months and way too much mental and physical energy to take it off again (menopause sucks...). Then I came up with what I consider an ingenious plan. I called my Business Coach up...his name is Alessio. He'd just had his fat and muscle mass measured and it turns out that he needed to lose about 12 lbs. The plan was this:

- From December 2nd to January 7th we had to lose 1,5 kg each (about three lbs). I figured it was an easy enough weight that we didn't have to really "diet", but it would ensure that we were careful during the holidays.

- If I lost the weight and Alessio didn't, he owed me 100,00 euro (now the fabulous equivalent of 144 U.S. Dollars),

- If Alessio lost the weight and I didn't, I owed him 100,00 euro.

- If we both lost the weight, congrats and cheers with a glass of mineral water.

- If we both did NOT lose the weight we both had to donate a hundred euro to charity.

I lost, he gained, I won!

I'm planning on spending most of it on clothes. I did already donate a small portion to my favorite charity.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

No T.V. Friday

For 2008 I've reinstated one day a week as a television-less day for the family. Don't get me wrong, I love television. I even have a special satellite dish subscription so that we can get 500 channels and see any program we want. The audio is bilingual and I can see all my favorite American shows (Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, ecc) in english. But as a family we do tend to get rather automatic with it and just flip it on whenever. Having one day a week where we purposely do not turn it on gently reminds us that we can also listen to music or put a nice atmosphere in the house or have a reading night. We did this on a regular basis years ago but sort of got out of it. Evan had never experienced it so it was really funny for him to get up in the morning and read the sign on the television. At first he didn't get it, but he started playing with some toys and never asked again for the rest of the day. As for me, after a really tough day, instead of plopping myself in front of a movie I simply went to bed earlier.