Well, now.  Day 1.5 of shingles virus “recovery”. No run this morning.  Right now, I’m happy to put my feet up.  I really was dragging myself through every mile the past 7 days and that completely sucks the fun out of running.  What is a trail runner to do when she can’t get out in the forest and breathe the luxuriously damp cool air?  She stalks her incredibly talented Italian friends on social media as they dive deep into trail running through the Alps now that the snows have melted off their trails.  I went and visited those friends, Davide and Countess Fifi, about 2 years ago and I’m counting down the days to go again.  When I was there I arrived with a miserable case of bronchitis and was only able to run once along the canal in their small town near Milan.  I hiked in the mountains with Fifi and her girlfriends while their men went off to run up a mountain and back on Easter Sunday.  I never realized how “big” I am as an American and how tiny Italians are.  I shall provide perspective! Here are the very capable and successful Italian ladies who trail run and hike and took me out for a couple hours.

They look like your average trail runners.  Lithe and light and ready to tackle the Alps.  And then you put me next to them with my Dutch and Polish heritage at 5’8″ tall……even my feet are huge.  I do wear a size 10.5 trail shoe though.

My friend Fiona (Countess Fifi) is next to me.  I’m the giant American.  You might think it’s just the women who are tiny.  Nope.  I was by far considerably larger than any Italian man in nearly the whole darn country.  My presence drew regular stares.  Who knew they were so thin and less than tall?  In Fiona’s defense, she is actually British and married Davide who is full Italian but she fits right in and her Italian is flawless.

Davide and his group of friends run down mountains, they run up mountains, they run through valleys and every darn picture is of breathtaking scenery.  I’m glad I can attest to the fact it’s even more gorgeous in person.

That picture above is from a hiking trail leading along the east edge northward out of Lake Como.  Simple train ride from Milan and then hop off and try to find the trail and keep on the trail.  Trail markers in some places in Italy are less than ideal.  By that I mean that they suck.  Despite the frustrations of staying on the trail I wanted and not taking the wrong fork it was worth every minute because after 4-5 hours of hiking I got to eat a thin crust pizza the size of a serving platter and had no guilt.  That’s entirely my pizza.  You don’t share pizza in Italy.  Everyone gets their own.  What’s not to love about that country?  And don’t even get me started on the pistachio gelato….

I may never run an actual race in Italy because I don’t live at an altitude I could ever successfully train at but on my bucket list is to take a self guided tour with Run the Alps.  Check them out at runthealps.com and join me in my Italian dreaming. For great pics of the trail adventures of my Italian friends, follow them on Instagram at davideferrara and remador75.