Off and Running

Now that our European traveling season has finally commenced, there’s much to update you all with! We departed Ann Arbor one week ago, and after a quick seven-hour flight, arrived sleepy and hungry in Paris. From there we caught the express train into Brussels and another on to Leuven. We had a short two days to recover from the flight, adjust to the European time zone, and catch up on missed sleep before Nick raced an 800 meters. That’s not necessarily the ideal way to prep for a race but the intention for this 800m was simply to be a “rust-buster” workout for Nick before he begins his European racing campaign.

We spent our time in Leuven training at the university track, visiting with the Athletes in Action team based in Leuven (who we connected with via Twitter!) and walking around the Friday morning market, scoping out unbelievably gorgeous Belgian pastries and buying fresh fruit, cheese, bread, and yogurt for our lunches. Nick even made a fun little video of our short time there.

We were pleased with Nick’s race. He ran 1:46.18  for third place, finishing strongly in the last 150 meters. Tactically, he doesn’t feel like he ran in a way that would produce the fastest time he was capable of that night, but crossing the finish line feeling easy is a good problem to have—especially at this stage in his racing season.

The next day we packed up and caught a flight to Perugia, Italy, where we were greeted by our good Italian friends, Piergiorgio and Pompeo, who took us back to our favorite town in Italy: Spoleto.

Since arriving in Spoleto, we’ve not had to want for anything! Piergiorgio showers us with free gelato and frozen yogurt from his newly built gelateria. He also lets us use his BMW whenever we need to—which means we’ve taken it every day to a nearby mountain stream for Nick to ice tub.  Nick’s had 10+ running partners to train with every day and even more to “rabbit” his five-mile tempo run, even if some could make it for only 100 meters!

Piergiorgio’s gelateria, “Yogopaz”, named after his wife, Paz.

Every time we come here, we feel blown away by the hospitality and friendliness of people in this city. Even if many cannot speak English, and our only means of communication is through Nick and I’s limited Italian (and inventive use of sign language by both parties), we still feel like we have good friends here. Additionally, it’s interesting to note that probably about seven of these friends are named Fabio.

Nevertheless, this has been an amazing week for us to relax, enjoy good food, good company, and train hard for London. But before the big London race, Nick will race this weekend in London—at the Aviva Grand Prix on Saturday. He’ll run the mile. We’re excited to see where exactly his fitness is at. We’re feeling confident he can run very well and any prayers or support you want to offer our way are welcome and appreciated!

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4 thoughts on “Off and Running

  1. Brilliant choice of flag bearer for NZ. Good luck Nick and Sierra. I bet Grandma was the proudest lady in NZ today!!! Best wishes, Wayne and Diane Henderson from Kerikeri. Run hard!

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