I’m not sure you can classify spending less than 48 hours somewhere as a “holiday,” but my brief visit to Rome certainly was a much-needed escape – both from NYC and organic chemistry!

Normally I travel everywhere with my Saucony’s – I love to explore a city on foot and see the sights early in the morning before the streets get busy – but last weekend, running wasn’t on my list of priorities. Not when I had so little time in such a great city and less than two days with E, who I hadn’t seen in 6 weeks, and certainly not when I hadn’t slept much in a week and had a wedding to attend the day I landed. As much as I love to run, it was liberating traveling without any form of exercise gear whatsoever.

So I swapped my running shoes for flip flops and heels. Yep, those were the only two pairs of shoes in my bag, along with a couple sundresses and an evening gown. What took up the most space was my massive orgo book, but thankfully I left studying just for the plane. I gave myself two days to pretend that I wasn’t a student, that I didn’t have a billion things to do, and it was amazing. I actually felt like I was back in London and it was just another one of my weekend getaways with E. Being in Europe again felt perfectly normal – strangely, more normal than coming back to NYC a couple days later. I guess I still am adjusting to being back in the US, even 10 months after leaving the UK.

Rome was exhausting but exhilarating – the NYC heat wave seemed to have followed me to Italy, but when you are surrounded by so many incredible gelaterias, and when it’s perfectly normal to take a mid-day siesta on a weekday for several hours, the scorching sun doesn’t seem quite so bad. I hadn’t been to Rome since 2002, but I had a vivid memory of one of my favorite gelato places and it’s exact location in relation to the Pantheon. So, as soon as I made it to the city and was reunited with E (who looked very Italian I might add, waiting for me outside the hotel, reading a paper), we headed to the Pantheon, got a coffee at one of the best coffee places in Rome (Sant Eustachio) and then a massive three-flavor gelato with fresh whipped cream at Giolitti. Not exactly the healthiest of lunches, but when in Rome…also I knew that a wonderful, huge dinner awaited us at my friend’s wedding reception that evening.

  

The wedding was beautiful – unbearably hot in the church, which made me regret my wardrobe decision (long evening gown rather than the shorter dress I had worn to last year’s wedding in Ravello) but it eventually cooled off up at the villa overlooking the city, where the reception was held outdoors. I had taken a redeye and landed at 10am the day of the wedding, so I was quite proud of myself for staying up until 2am and waking up early the next morning to enjoy my one full day in the city. I definitely paid for it upon my return to NYC, but it was worth it!

Here are a few photos from the wedding:

  

  

I could certainly use another escape right now. As you may have noticed, I’ve been particularly silent recently, mostly due to my second orgo midterm and final exam (with Rome squeezed in between), and moving apartments, all in a 10-day period. It’s hard to believe that it all starts anew this week – I begin volunteering at Sloan-Kettering tomorrow morning, followed by my first of two new summer classes (food microbiology & sanitation and life cycle nutrition, both at NYU). Class is every day, Monday – Thursday. My coached runs with Gilda’s Club begin this Sunday, and I also start volunteering once again with City Harvest. At some point, I will also furnish my apartment so that my clothes aren’t lying around in garbage bags and I have more than a mattress on the floor and a makeshift desk!

I am starting to feel a bit drained, having had very little down time since I started school in January, and very little sleep in recent weeks, but I am excited for my new schedule and I am VERY excited to get settled in my new apartment. I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally have my own space – specifically, a fairly large, air-conditioned and quiet space, with a small but really nice kitchen! Most of all, I can’t wait for E to FINALLY move here from London later in July. It’s been nearly a year since I left London and now I only have to wait 26 more days. I’m living a bit further away from transportation and from campus, but closer to the river and in a much more peaceful, green location. Hopefully that, along with my new awesome bed, will translate into better (and more) sleep and better running!

Speaking of which, I’ll end with a quick training update. I managed to knock out 15.5 miles in Central Park very early on Friday morning, in an attempt to beat the heat. I’m still struggling to adjust to the summer weather, which means my long runs have been on the slower side (although that’s as much due to not sleeping enough), but at least I finished the run. My calf/hamstring are still not feeling 100%, which has been frustrating this early on in Chicago training, but I’m trying to just take it day by day. I think the lack of sleep and added stress of school has made it harder for my body to recover. I need to respect that I am not a machine – I really do try to do it all, but I have to accept that I have limits and need to give my body and brain the rest it requires!

On the gel front, I tried Hammer gels on my long run – orange and huckleberry flavors – and they actually didn’t taste too bad, so they are still in the running. I didn’t really like the consistency all that much though – they seemed particularly sticky and like the power bar gels, I think I would want to take them with water. But at least I didn’t want to spit them out when I tried them!

As much as I wish I had another day to get myself organized, it will be nice to shift gears and dive into my second summer session. At least I have Wednesday off, as well as a massage booked for Tuesday! Most of all, orgo is DONE and I did very well in the class – that in itself calls for celebration!

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