Friday, July 31, 2009

Threat Level Orange

One thing I have noticed in all of my travels over the past few years is that no matter what is going on in the world, the DHS Threat Level is always seems to be at Orange (high)- or so the announcements always say at the airports. It seems to have been stuck on Orange since the September 11th attacks and I wouldn't wager that that fact will change anytime soon. Even so, that is a long time to be on high alert, nearly 8 years.


I am a very introspective person, a sensitive and someone who has committed myself to my own continuous self improvement and evolution. I have faced down some of life's biggest challenges and come through them with many lessons. Even so, for the past 4 years since my return from living in London, I have more or less existed in a state of semi or complete existential crisis or quarter life crisis or crisis of confidence, whatever you want to call it, I have been at least ankle deep in it since then. I have been living in my own Threat Level Orange. That is not to say that every moment of every day is crisis, it is more that no matter how good things are, the crisis, the doubt, the searching, the hopelessness has never left for long enough to feel confident it is not coming back. In a way, despite all the learning, all the searching, all the self work, all the life in between now and then, nothing has really changed. Or has it?

While I was running today, I was reflecting on the above mentioned "crisis". I was thinking about it because I know a lot of people who are all going through their own permutation of such a crisis. The more I thought about it, the more I was able to accept something that I have "known" for a long time: Life will always have challenges, problems and issues. When we finally accept that there will be both good times and bad times and we will go through them and come out the other side, we can find inspiration and motivation to face things head on instead of just wallowing around in our own mucky. At this point in my life, I have probably already been through worse (or at least things on par) and have come through still alive, still kicking, still with my face upturned towards the light. Oh bla di Oh bla da life goes on. I spent so much time trying to figure out the right path I should be taking, instead of realizing that I am on my Way already. Somewhere along the line, I gave up my personal power and just started waiting for things to get better first, for the time to be right, for me to know all the steps before proceeding. And so, I have maintained my Threat Level Orange state. Maybe I got use to it, like Americans have gotten use to the DHS level or maybe I gave into the feelings/crisis for so long that now I am too petrified to move. Like standing on a diving board, it doesn't get easier the longer you stand there.

I have "looked" for long enough, it is just time for me to leap.

Before my run, I was reading Zen Habits' blog about Two Questions to Help you Gain Perspective. His second question: Based on your current actions and behaviours, where would you expect to be in five years? is something I have been actively thinking about for the entire month of July. I have realized, as I mentioned above, that I let myself become paralyzed, waiting etc. It is no wonder that nothing has changed- my actions of the past few years have dictated it to be so. This entire month I have not only been actively thinking about it, I have been DOING something about.

My training for TransRockies is the embodiment of this mentality. I don't think I have ever trained this hard for a race before. Of course, that is really saying something since I have trained my ass off for all of my races in life. But this time is different. I have not allowed myself to cut corners, to opt out when things get hard, to wait until I felt good or motivated, etc.
Today I was on my run, a rough 23 miler in the Headlands on a super windy day, doing lots of hills. My legs were feeling rough, my energy down because I did 27 miles on the road yesterday. Neither yesterday, nor today was I particularly rearing to go on my run, but I just got out the door and put one foot in front of the other. And in the end, while not the best running I have ever done, I did the work that is a part of the bigger picture of what I am training for. I did not take the easy way out. I stuck to my training schedule and dug in. I faced down the hard stuff and got through it. That made the last two days of training so valuable. And all of my training for TransRockies has been this way. I went into this month of training, after recovering from WC100k, feeling very unsure of myself as a mountain runner. For my entire career, I have never met a hill I didn't want to walk. When training, I rarely pushed myself on hills unless I felt good that day (and thus, I never felt good on hills). But now, I am pushing myself up 5,000 feet of elevation (each) in back to back 30 milers (like this past Sat/Sun) or back to back to back 20+ milers (like the week before that). Suddenly, I am a force to be reckoned with on the hills and how long did it take? 3 weeks of committing myself to it. I do not feel intimidated by the thought of 6 brutal days at altitude, running 113 miles at race pace. I have been doing the serious work to achieve my goal of being fit for this race.

Every year, I make a list of goals of things I want to accomplish and about 6 months later, I examine the list (which I keep with me) and go, wow none of these magically became true. I feign surprise but I know it is because I was not committing to it. Thus change or achieving those goals was not really something I wanted to see happen or was actively cultivating. But this month, now, I am realizing that all that wading through the mud was in fact slow steps forward, it was progress. I have been taking the long road and sabotaging myself all along, but I am starting to feel the reins back in my own hands. I am starting to understand truly that I am not stuck slowly walking up the hill of my own life, I am fully empowered to learn to run up the climb, to sow the seeds of which I desire to reap. Now is the time, for the first time in a long time, I am an active participant in my own life, instead of passively waiting for life to come to me. I am eager to see what I have in store for life, instead of waiting to see what it has in store for me.

Threat Level Orange

One thing I have noticed in all of my travels over the past few years is that no matter what is going on in the world, the DHS Threat Level is always seems to be at Orange (high)- or so the announcements always say at the airports. It seems to have been stuck on Orange since the September 11th attacks and I wouldn't wager that that fact will change anytime soon. Even so, that is a long time to be on high alert, nearly 8 years.


I am a very introspective person, a sensitive and someone who has committed myself to my own continuous self improvement and evolution. I have faced down some of life's biggest challenges and come through them with many lessons. Even so, for the past 4 years since my return from living in London, I have more or less existed in a state of semi or complete existential crisis or quarter life crisis or crisis of confidence, whatever you want to call it, I have been at least ankle deep in it since then. I have been living in my own Threat Level Orange. That is not to say that every moment of every day is crisis, it is more that no matter how good things are, the crisis, the doubt, the searching, the hopelessness has never left for long enough to feel confident it is not coming back. In a way, despite all the learning, all the searching, all the self work, all the life in between now and then, nothing has really changed. Or has it?

While I was running today, I was reflecting on the above mentioned "crisis". I was thinking about it because I know a lot of people who are all going through their own permutation of such a crisis. The more I thought about it, the more I was able to accept something that I have "known" for a long time: Life will always have challenges, problems and issues. When we finally accept that there will be both good times and bad times and we will go through them and come out the other side, we can find inspiration and motivation to face things head on instead of just wallowing around in our own mucky. At this point in my life, I have probably already been through worse (or at least things on par) and have come through still alive, still kicking, still with my face upturned towards the light. Oh bla di Oh bla da life goes on. I spent so much time trying to figure out the right path I should be taking, instead of realizing that I am on my Way already. Somewhere along the line, I gave up my personal power and just started waiting for things to get better first, for the time to be right, for me to know all the steps before proceeding. And so, I have maintained my Threat Level Orange state. Maybe I got use to it, like Americans have gotten use to the DHS level or maybe I gave into the feelings/crisis for so long that now I am too petrified to move. Like standing on a diving board, it doesn't get easier the longer you stand there.

I have "looked" for long enough, it is just time for me to leap.

Before my run, I was reading Zen Habits' blog about Two Questions to Help you Gain Perspective. His second question: Based on your current actions and behaviours, where would you expect to be in five years? is something I have been actively thinking about for the entire month of July. I have realized, as I mentioned above, that I let myself become paralyzed, waiting etc. It is no wonder that nothing has changed- my actions of the past few years have dictated it to be so. This entire month I have not only been actively thinking about it, I have been DOING something about.

My training for TransRockies is the embodiment of this mentality. I don't think I have ever trained this hard for a race before. Of course, that is really saying something since I have trained my ass off for all of my races in life. But this time is different. I have not allowed myself to cut corners, to opt out when things get hard, to wait until I felt good or motivated, etc.
Today I was on my run, a rough 23 miler in the Headlands on a super windy day, doing lots of hills. My legs were feeling rough, my energy down because I did 27 miles on the road yesterday. Neither yesterday, nor today was I particularly rearing to go on my run, but I just got out the door and put one foot in front of the other. And in the end, while not the best running I have ever done, I did the work that is a part of the bigger picture of what I am training for. I did not take the easy way out. I stuck to my training schedule and dug in. I faced down the hard stuff and got through it. That made the last two days of training so valuable. And all of my training for TransRockies has been this way. I went into this month of training, after recovering from WC100k, feeling very unsure of myself as a mountain runner. For my entire career, I have never met a hill I didn't want to walk. When training, I rarely pushed myself on hills unless I felt good that day (and thus, I never felt good on hills). But now, I am pushing myself up 5,000 feet of elevation (each) in back to back 30 milers (like this past Sat/Sun) or back to back to back 20+ milers (like the week before that). Suddenly, I am a force to be reckoned with on the hills and how long did it take? 3 weeks of committing myself to it. I do not feel intimidated by the thought of 6 brutal days at altitude, running 113 miles at race pace. I have been doing the serious work to achieve my goal of being fit for this race.

Every year, I make a list of goals of things I want to accomplish and about 6 months later, I examine the list (which I keep with me) and go, wow none of these magically became true. I feign surprise but I know it is because I was not committing to it. Thus change or achieving those goals was not really something I wanted to see happen or was actively cultivating. But this month, now, I am realizing that all that wading through the mud was in fact slow steps forward, it was progress. I have been taking the long road and sabotaging myself all along, but I am starting to feel the reins back in my own hands. I am starting to understand truly that I am not stuck slowly walking up the hill of my own life, I am fully empowered to learn to run up the climb, to sow the seeds of which I desire to reap. Now is the time, for the first time in a long time, I am an active participant in my own life, instead of passively waiting for life to come to me. I am eager to see what I have in store for life, instead of waiting to see what it has in store for me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Salomon Running Team


The first pair of trail running shoes I ever bought were Salomons. I loved them. In fact, I wore the same pair of Salomons for the entirety of my first year of ultrarunning. I didn't want to wear any other shoes. They fit my feet, my running style, and what I want in shoes. After getting into the ultrarunning world, I dreamed of someday being a part of the Salomon racing team. Not only do they make amazing shoes, fantastic clothes, they have a fantastic team of talented runners. It is a small, tight-knit, committed group according to my friend and Salomon runner, Glen Redpath. Sounds like my kind of team. In fact, this year I took no shoe sponsorship because I didn't want to run in a product that I wasn't fully behind. I would rather pay for shoes that work and I like, than be sponsored by a company that doesn't make shoes that work for me. But now, after 3 years, many miles, races and pairs of shoes, I am excited to announce that I am officially part of Salomons Racing Team! I am super stoked and so proud to be representing such a great company. I am very grateful to the team and to the company for inviting me into their family, it is an honor for me to be able to represent for a company that I firmly believe in.


Back to the basic, my bibimbap

[caption id="attachment_581" align="aligncenter" width="685" caption="Fast Foodie Bibimbap"]DSC_0464[/caption]

At the beginning of this year, I was motivated. I was driven. I was ready to establish my food writing as consistent and present. I wanted to share my love for cooking, my navigation through my eating special needs and my support of my nutritional needs from endurance sport. I thought and still think I have something unique to offer. But I have fallen short in my follow through. Good intentions only take you so far, commitment and doing the work produce results. I have dreams, no goals of writing as a living, both food and sport. But in order to make that happen, I have to dig in and do the work. Much like my running. There are many good reasons I have not been as consistent as I like, but none of them are good and none of them will produce the results I want. Now that things have simmered down, I have had time to think about what I really do want. And I have renewed my commitment to my goals. They are goals, not pipe dreams. I have spent a good amount of time in the past 5 years waiting for the right moment, or trying to figure out the right direction, or mostly just trying to make it through the day. But inherently, all that brooding produces no tangible results, no change, nothing. So what is the answer? Just do it. I just have to put myself on the line, do the work and put one foot in front of the other. I am taking a page out of my own book (of running) and going after my goals.

What that means, my dear reader is that I am back, I am committed and I will be here and present. Doing what I love, cooking up a storm, writing amazing delicious, nutritious (and special needs) recipes, working on my food memoir, taking food photography and bringing it all to you here! Stay tuned.

To start myself off, after a 2 day-60 mile weekend, I decided to make a rendition of bibimbap. I have been reading Hungry Monkey and he talks about making bibimbap with his daughter. There is also a children's book by the same name (Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park) which I really liked to read to my preschoolers when I was doing storytime at the Seattle Public Library. Wikipedia defines:  Bibimbap (Korean pronunciation: [pibimp͈ap̚] ) is a popular Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice" or "mixed meal." Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.It can be served either cold or hot. That is my kind of definition, so I decided to build my own and the results were super tasty. I strayed away from some of the traditional Korean flavor profiles, kept it vegan and gluten free and threw on some spicy kim chee. It was delicious, simple and filling.

Bibimbap


1 cup saffron rice, cooked
1 tbsp. peanut oil
1 cup broccoli , diced
1 cup brussel sprouts, diced
1 cup braising greens, diced
½ cup green beans, diced
¼ cup bell pepper, diced
1 pkg hot and spicy baked tofu
2 tbsp. cilantro
¼ cup kim chee

Directions:
Cook saffron rice according to directions.

In a large skillet, heat peanut oil over medium high heat. Add in all the vegetables (chopped small) and sautee until crisp tender. Spice with chili powder, 5 spice and salt (or whatever spices you choose!). Stir in 1 cup of cooked rice and cook for a minute.

Top with baked tofu, cilantro and kim chee.

DSC_0465

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Italian vacation, a bite sized snap shot

market

Central Market, Florence, Italy.



I have been absent, I know. Like I said I would be. But it truly does seem like forever since I have posted something new for you. I have been busy living life and sometimes life moves so fast that we choose not to slow down to record it. But, while in Italy for vacation/work I experienced so many foodie experiences that I couldn't help but want to share it. It was profound. Italian food, as I have known for a long time, is not all about pasta. In fact, it takes a backseat to the amazing fresh produce, hand crafted meats and cheeses and beautiful Italian wines. It is alot easier to be gluten free in Italy than you would think.

I had two particular meals which were so outstanding, I could barely contain myself. My favorite part of the meals were that they were amazing, fresh ingredients prepared simply. I love when good food is able to stand for itself. Another great thing about the two meals were that both restaurants were family owned and operated (one was actually on a farm) and the majority of ingredients were handmade by someone in the family. These experiences were not had in the touristy areas of Florence, but further afield in Fiesole and Chianti. We were very lucky to have some local contacts who put us on to the amazing experiences. The first meal (which happened 4 days into our trip) was at Trattoria Le Cave di Maiano in Fiesole. The second was at Ristoro L'Antica Scuderia as part of our private wine and food tour. Yes, we had a day where we had a driver/guide/foodie extraordinaire (who also looked like 007 & could have easily doubled as our body guard) took us around Chianti, where we did meat, cheese, olive oil, balsamic and of course, wine tastings. We also had lunch together at Ristoro L'Antica Scuderia as part of our day. Both meals provided us with profound food experiences. Zucchini blossoms and porcini mushrooms (fresh!!!) are in season, the produce is at its best (see market picture above) and these restaurants (and the country for that matter, since it is where Slow Food started) are heavily committed to the philosophies of Slow Food. Also, despite Florentinian food having some heavier dishes (fried foods and a good deal of meat), everything is served family style and you end up eating just a little bit of everything, in the end having pretty light meals. It is, in my opinion, the best way to experience food. I would rather have small bites on many different amazing dishes, than a lot of bites of just one.

There is no way that words can describe the experience completely, so instead I am inundating this post with pictures (from my new camera!!). It is easy to see how profound of an experience this was.

Trattoria Le Cave di Maiano


Via delle Cave 16, Fiesole. Telephone: 055/59133. Website: www.trattoriacavedimaiano.it

[caption id="attachment_541" align="aligncenter" width="685" caption="Beautiful antipasto spread"]antipasto[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_542" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="The deck in the hills of Fiesole, my dad and sister."]deckat la cave[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_543" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="The chef/owner/waiter's father makes the prosciutto."]handcrafted meat[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_544" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="In the center is Coccole, my sister & I's favorite. Fried bread that is eaten with the soft cheese & prosciutto pictured above (not gf friendly)."]coccole[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_545" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Fried zucchini blossoms"]zucchini[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_547" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Gnocchi, handmade that morning by Francesco (our waiter/chef/owner). AMAZING! Unlike any you have ever tried."]gnocchi[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_548" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Filet wrapped around asparagus with fried polenta squares."]steak[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_549" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Free range (aka wild) chicken. Brick-smashed with herbs."]chicken[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_550" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Favorite dessert: Vin Santo with biscotti (holy wine)."]vin santo[/caption]

vin santo 2

[caption id="attachment_563" align="aligncenter" width="685" caption="After a 3 hour lunch with Francesco (owner/chef/waiter/etc) we were friends. He chased us down after we left to give us a bottle of his favorite wine. All that and lunch was only 150 Euros. Worth the trip just to meet him!"]After a 3 hour lunch with Francesco (owner/chef/waiter/etc) we were friends. He chased us down after we left to give us a bottle of his favorite wine. All that and lunch was only 150 Euros. Worth the trip just to meet him![/caption]

Chianti Day


[caption id="attachment_552" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="1,000 of the best Italian wines, you will never see stateside."]1,000 of the best Italian wines, you will never see stateside.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_553" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="peppered salami tasting at the butcher in Greve"]peppered salami tasting at the butcher in Greve[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_554" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Balsamic vinegar being aged"]Balsamic vinegar being aged[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_555" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Overlooking the hills of Chianti from Montefioralle"]Overlooking the hills of Chianti from Montefioralle[/caption]

Ristoro L'Antica Scuderia


Via Di Passignano 17- 50028 Tavarnelle Val Di Pesa. Telephone: 055/8071623. Website: www.ristorolanticascuderia.com

[caption id="attachment_556" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Starting the meal off right with a crisp, cool glass of Prosecco."]Starting the meal off right with a crisp, cool glass of Prosecco.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_557" align="aligncenter" width="685" caption="Antipasto spread."]Antipasto spread.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_558" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Fresh figs and handcrafted meats"]Fresh figs and handcrafted meats[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_559" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Pecorino and a type of fruit cake, surprisingly delicious!"]Pecorino and a type of fruit cake, surprisingly delicious![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_560" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Look but don't touch (in my case: allergic to eggs). Our special "surprise", fried egg with fresh shaved truffles."]Look but don't touch (in my case: allergic to eggs). Our special "surprise", fried egg with fresh shaved truffles.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_562" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Perfectly cooked steak with juniper berries"]Perfectly cooked steak with juniper berries[/caption]

Florence left me very satisfied as a foodie. It takes some work and a bit of insider help to get away from the touristy, americanized restaurants, especially if you are staying in city center like we were. I think it is a catch-22 for a lot of Americans: if you go to a place that is a local spot, you likely won't be able to read the menu and there may not be anyone there willing to translate for you. But if you go to a place that is tourist friendly, then the authenticity also goes down. My recommendation is first, go to the restaurants. Next, find a local who is willing to help you navigate. I had a few other great food experiences, one after my race (that I discuss here) with our running buddy/gracious host Lorenzo at the park where we raced called CowSheep. He also took us out the evening previous to a great restaurant called 4 Leoni. All in all, I returned stateside with a profound foodie experience.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slow Times for a fast foodie

Calling in the ninja to take down website problems.

Well, apparently I am not the only one who was baffled by my slow website. Sorry about that folks. Turns out google changed some things and it affected the way my website was working. Since I use a custom domain I guess they think I inherently know these things! Not so much eh? But hopefully I have it fixed now. So clear you cache and catch up on some reading!

I am officially in training now for TransRockies in August with Caitlin. I am super excited not just for the race but for the training. Howard has me doing an awesome schedule with lots of back to back longer stuff. This week every other day (Wed, Fri, Sun) is a 3 hr run and that is just my second week of training. Righteous!! Speaking of which, I think my pre-run gluten free waffle with pb and coffee has digested and I need to hit the trail!

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Fast Times" in Firenze

I admit it. I have been enjoying my recovery from the WC100k a lot. Immediately following the race, I flew back to the states, ran a bunch (well a bunch for just having run 100k-i.e. 50+ miles), paced/crewed for Krissy at WS100 and then turned around and flew back to Europe for a family vacation/work trip (kind of one and the same when you work in the family business) to Florence, Italy. So by enjoying, I mean keeping busy and not really doing much resting or recovering. And so many of my runs have really, really sucked. I just haven't really had the energy, which is natural after a hard 100k on the life force sucking pavement. I am sure the being in a different time zone every other day and not sleeping very well doesn't help. So when our generous host for our trip & business associate suggested over dinner last Monday that me and my sister join him for a big local 10k the next night, I agreed but was not really looking forward to the snails pace I was feeling I could muster. But what the heck I thought. It would be a fun outing, good to spend some time with Lorenzo, Tim (a consultant to Lorenzo's company), my sister and some other of Lorenzo's friends.

My sister and I went for a morning run to shake out our legs and get some miles in, then we spent the day wandering around, playing the Boboli Gardens and napping (my favorite activity). The race didn't start until 8:30pm, so Lorenzo picked us up about 7:50 and we drove over to the park where the race was held. While I had suspected that this was going to be more of a run than a race, boy was I wrong. There were more than 300 runners (which on a Tuesday night seems like alot) and was more race than many ultras I have done. T-shirts and everything. Lorenzo registered us and we warmed up a bit.

I was hungry and tired. Lorenzo kept teasing me saying I had to run fast and make everyone mad by winning, but I was not feeling it. I felt more like passing out than running a step. But ah what the hell, it was 10k. A marathon feels like a sprint, so a 10k feels like not even getting started running. We went to the start, were marched up the starting line archway and after a minute of silence, the gun went off.
Apparently, the cells of my body are activated by the start of a race because suddenly I was going and feeling fine. We had all started pretty far back in the pack, so I bobbed and weaved through the crowd, clipping along comfortably at just about 4:00min/km. I felt really comfortable and decided just to aim for 4:00min/km or thereabouts, i.e. my marathon pace. I passed runner after runner after runner. Each time I would give a smile and zoom onward. I was wearing my SD100 mile t-shirt and know that is pretty easily understood, so I can only imagine what people were thinking. About 3.5km into the race, I approached what I suspected were a top group of the female runners. One of them had a bike pacer, which I took as a good indicator of being one of the faster crew. I felt surprisingly good, so I just swung wide and moved past them easily. I heard some fast Italian talking as I past, but was blissfully unaware to their WTF or whatever they were uttering.

After one loop, I was at 20:30 and feeling strong, so I decided to pick it up a notch. I started passing a lot more people, but never saw another woman. I found it most entertaining that when I would past men, they would grab my shoulder and try to hang on. And then they would drop off, not able to keep the pace. With about 800 meters to go, one guy whom I had passed easily came charging up behind me and tried to make a move on me, trying not to be outdone by a girl. We turned the corner to the final straight away, I turned to him and smiled and said, "good work, you can do it". And then I put more than 25m on him to the finish line with a strong finishing kick. I finished in 40:07 and even better, as the first woman! Sweet!
Me, Lorenzo and Sarah after the race
It was pretty cool to come and win a race. Even better that it seriously shocked the Italian. I come to find out that this was no small race. The race announcers pulled me to the microphone and tried to interview me and those who spoke English came up to me to ask me where the heck I came from and why I had decided to run. Tim came in 3-4 minutes later, then Lorenzo, then Sarah, then Lorenzo's friend. The best part was that there were not only t-shirts but an awards ceremony and everything. We waited around for the award ceremony and I got to get up on the podium and receive my winnings which included clothing, a bag and the best part: a scooter helmet. Pretty crazy.

We finished off a great night by going to the restaurant that was right there in the park, called CowSheep. We ate great local food, drank delicious wine and spent time with great friends. Winning was fun sure, but the real good part of the day was experiencing good friends and good fun. I came to find out later that there was a decent sized article in the Sports section of La Nazione about me and the fact that I was just a tourist who showed up for the race. Ha!

I am back home now and looking forward to getting back to training for TransRockies. I had a fantastic run yesterday, 30 miles in the Headlands which made up mostly for the lower mileage week I had in Italy. I had a great week in Italy, but I am definitely ready to get back to life after a super busy June. I have no idea where the month went!

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