Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Italian Job - Wrap Up

It had always been my intention to publish all of these posts while I was overseas, but alas, Internet connectivity proved to be either elusive or too expensive. So here I am back in Colorado with my final posting regarding the trip to Italy.

Although a day later than planned, I did manage to get a run in Venice done. Not the full five I had slated, but four and it felt pretty good. Regrettably, I did not have the means to carry a camera (other than holding it the whole time) so all I have from a visual standpoint is the following link to my Garmin Connect Account:

The Venice water front is a nice flat place to run with the exception of the many staircases that cross the canals. That was not so bad, but I'm just as happy not have stairs as part of my regular work out.

So what words of wisdom do I have to anyone who might travel to Italy regarding training? Well, the following nuggets:

1) While full of cars, tour buses and especially scooters, Rome is actually a great place to run. It's also an easy place to get lost so I recommend both studying your routes on a map as well as bringing some kind of GPS enabled device like a smart phone. You also might want to bring cab fare in case you get really lost!

2) Tuscany is absolutely as beautiful as you might imagine. I can't think of a better place to ride a bike. Drivers on the road gave me plenty of space as they passed and in a couple of cases, actually stopped or slowed so they could. I may have just been luck, but I think cycling is a big part of the culture there and accommodating cyclists is the norm. I would recommend getting your reservations to rent a bike in very early. All the shops I contacted were out of them. I'd also recommend a car if you're going to be staying out in the country as I did. Public transportation is okay, but when you're trying to use the precious time to get your ride in, it's worth having.

3) Venice may be about the most ideal place for a run. It's flat, beautiful and no wheeled vehicles of any kind (including bikes) are allowed in the city. On my run encountered several runners (of multiple nationalities) so it's obviously no secret. One disadvantage is that San Marco Island (where the Venice you know from TV and movies resides) is very small so doing a short four miler like mine was easier. Longer distances would be more challenging. Also, narrow streets and alleys are like to cause GPS drop out.

Regrettably, I did not get any swimming done while I was there. This is mostly because I was either too tired and did not want to make the effort in a short pool, or because the pool had closed early. If you really want to swim, you'll probably have to do a fair amount of advance research to find places you can go.

One final point. Europeans smoke. They do so far more than people in the states. That means you're probably going to pass someone puffing away as you exercise. Be warned.

Now that I'm back home it's back into normal training routines. TriRock is less than a month away and I want to be ready. No less pressing is the Rock & Roll Half Marathon which is less than two months away.

More posts and hopefully more pictures coming up!

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