Buongiorno!

We’ve settled in at our hotel in Padova, Italy. Padova is a medium-sized city about one hour west of Venice. We’ve been here about two days now but it already feels like we’ve been here longer. We’ve tried to make an effort to get out more and experience the places we’re traveling to for Nick’s races. In the past we’ve often done what most other athletes do when overseas for races—stick to the hotel. Sometime this is in effort to rest up for the big race, sometimes it’s just due to boredom, and sometimes it’s just the result of a summer filled with constant, tiring travel. But we want to change all that. So, while still prioritizing the upcoming race, we’ve been exploring our surroundings.

The first day we were here we were pretty tired and jet-lagged from the 18 hours of travel we had just completed. Arriving at the hotel around noon, we ate a quick lunch and then took a short nap to catch up on the sleep we had missed the night before. Restaurants don’t open for dinner until about 8 pm here (I supposed that’s better than Spain where dinner didn’t start until 10!) We decided have a quick snack at 6 at the gelateria across the street and then catch the bus into Padova for dinner. One euro bought us a 20 minute bus ride into the city. We strolled around for a while—and by that I mean got lost for a while—and eventually ended at Pizzeria Pe Pen, which had been recommended to us by a local. It was a beautiful night so we sat outside in the Piazza and had an incredible dinner of Pizza, Vino (for me), and salad. I cant’ get over how inexpensive—yet quality—the wine is. Two euros (about $2.50 US) bought me a quarter of a liter of red wine—about a glass and a half. I savored every drop of it.

The second day we headed off the track in the morning for Nick’s traditional pre-race workout: four 200-meter sprints with a short jog in between. I warmed up with Nick for 15 minutes (I’m so proud I can do that!) and then held the watch and timed his sprints for him. Since he’s racing in two days, and the effects of travel from the day before were still in his legs, he wanted to run relaxed and work his way down to around 25 seconds for the last one. For all you non-track people reading this, the goal of this workout is just to run fast and get his body used to racing pace without tiring himself out for the race. After the first one, I told Nick to guess the time. He guessed 28 seconds, but it was actually 26. He ran the next two at about the same time and then finished up with a 25.2 for the last one. We left the track feeling happy with the workout and excited for the upcoming 800 meter race on the 3rd—which also happens to be my birthday!

Nick doesn’t often race the 800m, but the goal of this race is to get him used to a fast pace and prepare him for the 1500m in Milan in about a week. It’s still early in Nick’s training, but it’s always good to have some race practice under his belt to help prepare him for the Commonwealth Games in 5 weeks.

After Nick’s workout at the track, we followed the trend in Italy and took the traditional mid-day break and napped for two hours before we headed into Venice for the evening. A 20-minute bus ride plus an hour-long train dropped us in front of the Grand Canal—the main channel that flows through the city—filled with gondolas and small passenger ferries that travel up and down the canals. Since we didn’t want to walk far, we hopped on a ferry and took it to Cannaregio, a part of town that is less “touristy” and features lots of small osterie and trattorias —bars and small simple restaurants. We strolled around (which, if you remember, is code for “got lost”) and eventually ended at a small local restaurant for some caprese salad and pasta. It was getting pretty dark so we made our way back to the train station where, like true tourists, we missed our train and had to re-route by catching several others back to Padova.

Today we won’t do very much. It’s Nick’s rest day before the race. Two former Michigan Wolverines are here as well, Andrew Ellerton and Alan Webb. The three are all running the 800m tomorrow so the outcome of the race will provide good opportunities for some friendly bragging rights.

We are still unsure about our plans after we leave Padova, but we’d like to do some traveling and see more of Italy before Nick races in Milan. Until my next blog, Arrivederci! Ciao!

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