Last weekend we set out to run our first race since the Paris Marathon in April in Richmond Park. I had high hopes when I initially signed us up to this half marathon, envisioning a late spring/summer filled with nice evening runs that would get lighter and lighter. But then summer struck London early and with it came a lot of health issues that I wasn’t expecting – mainly severe hay fever and weird colds that came as a result of it.

I’m not going to lie, before experiencing it myself, I thought hay fever was a myth. But after having suffered from it badly this summer, I apologise for my previous stupidity! It’s been incredibly tough to simply LIVE with bad hay fever, let alone train for a race that in essence requires you to be outside a lot (yes yes – I know there are indoor treadmills but I fucking HATE them! – so no, they are not and never will be an option for me.)

So simply put, I didn’t train for this race and having been ill the week prior to race day, I was genuinely worried that I wouldn’t make it past the 5K mark. Any normal person would have skipped running the race, but I had convinced a work colleague to run it as well, and me being me, I was way too proud to let him run the race without me.

If I’ve learnt anything these past years from running, it really is that consistency is key and that you have to listen to your body. I obviously had consistently avoided running/training for this race which isn’t to be advised (!), but equally, I listened to my body when it was telling me that it couldn’t cope with any outdoor activities. So my only game plan was to find a consistent pace that I felt that I could keep throughout the ups and downs of the race course (there’s a lot of hills in South London!) and not worry so much about time, just focus on finishing. And it worked!

We did 4 laps around an area of Richmond Park in total. I could easily have stopped after 3 laps since the 4th one was incredibly difficult, but I soldiered on hoping for the best. As you can see on the pic, my “gun time” was 2:15:57 and my real time was about a 50 seconds faster. Not bad by any means and I’m still in awe of what my body and my mind could accomplish despite the lack of proper preparation.

I’ll try to avoid another situation like this in the future where I’m so unprepared, but for now, I’m just grateful to have come this far in my fitness journey that I can bash out a 2:15 half marathon relatively pain free & smiling.

I continued my European tour last month by visiting Italy again. This time I finally had the opportunity to spend more than two days in Torino which was a real treat.

I ate A LOT of nice food during my stay, as you have to do when you’re in Italy or what’s the point in even going!? This huge cannolo was a particular sweet highlight – the picture might not give it justice but it was essentially as big as the palm of my hand :)

We managed to catch a heatwave during our visit which meant that staying in the city was extremely warm. So we took every opportunity we had to go on mini adventures outside of the city and explore hidden gems in the Torino area. This amazing castle in the small town of Rivoli was one of those gems.

The old castle and some of its ruins have been turned into a museum of contemporary art and apart from displaying modern art in the most amazing surroundings, a bonus is that the castle is up on a hill so the views from the grounds are fantastic as well.

I managed to find a room in the castle that matched the new summer dress I had brought along for a very special occasion – Alberto’s dads 60th birthday party.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have a second family, they really are the loveliest and always try to make me feel part of everything they do, even if language sometimes can be a bit of a barrier.

On one of the cooler days we were taking a stroll around the city centre and we bumped into a friend from London. It was a super nice surprise and it really helped to sell in the idea of maybe moving to Italy one day. We even managed to view a potential new pad for when we eventually move down… ;) (I kid, it’s another castle).

No trip would be complete without seeing lots friends and making homemade pizza, two things that we managed to tick off our to-do lists.

All in all, another successful trip – I just need to raise the bar of my Italian lessons so I can finally have a proper chat with both Mamma and Nonni :)