When is a run not a run? Week 4 Run 2

Running kit all ready and the technology all lined up to go, so what could go wrong? I’ve been reading that week 4 seems to be a make or break week, so wanted to make sure I stayed the course.

In Italy, if you are a runner you are called a podista and Italy doesn’t really do podistas. The big sport here is cycling, so people expect you to cycle, as that really is the national obsession and they generally express surprise when you say you run. That surprise also extends to when they are driving. Drivers are surprisingly courteous to cyclists, even the big groups out at weekends, but as a podista we don’t quite get the same favourable reaction. I have had people toot, shake fists and shout ‘occhi’ which means use your eyes. I’ve come to the conclusion this difference is because we podistas generally run towards the traffic rather than with it, but to be honest I’m scared of running with the flow and not knowing what’s coming behind me.

Anyway I digress, I set out as usual – down the slope of hope for my 5 minutes walk and then started the programme, Mr Smooth was very encouraging and I managed to do the first run up the hill that kills, so am dead chuffed with that. Then move onto lovers lane and curses what is that I see in the distance – my nemesis. A molto chic lady Italian podista. Now I say nemesis, it’s nothing personal you understand, but the only lady Italians I see exercising do it in full make-up, with immaculate hair and a certain style. Even the cyclists do it too - I am the complete opposite of this model look. To be honest the physical perfection is a bit off-putting, as if you are fit skinny and beautiful I really think you should allow the rest of us (i.e. me) some slack and stay in the shadows, so we don't see you and look at ourselves in disgust.

This lady is no exception, skinny as a rake, wearing a cute shoestring running top, caramel coloured hair swooshing gently, wraparound sunglasses and half a ton of dainty chichi bracelets adorning her wrists. I puff past with Mr Smooth telling me I’ve done 4 minutes of the 5 and to keep going. I notice too that this lady podista is neither salsa red nor is her head bobbing. I have a fleeting thought that if Mr Smooth was given the chance he’d dump me for this molto chic lady – we exchange buongiornos and move on. I round off Villa Bali and my rest walk coincides with her running back and she starts waving at me to stop.

So after much puffing and panting, putting Mr Smooth on pause - I stop, and she introduces herself in Italian – her name is Gabrielle – well it would be wouldn’t it – with all that chic look she has an angelic name too… I’m really rather grumpy now, it’s hard enough doing this training without needing to look like a blinking supermodel too!

She then asks if I understand/speak English and I say yes, then she tells me she is not Italian but Canadian. She is re-visiting the land of her grandfather and staying with a great aunt and wants to know where to buy the locally famous biological extra virgin olive oil.

I am a sucker for pretty much anyone from North America, I’ve always found both the Canadians and Americans I’ve met to be delightfully friendly folk and if I can help a Canadian or an American I will. So we chatted a bit and I told her where she could get the liquid gold – she told me she and her family had been woofing in Tuscany. In truth I have no idea what she meant, so I smiled politely, said goodbye and restarted. so actually she was molto chic and very fit, but she was a lovely lady too - that's kicked that particular prejudice into touch!

This is now my dilemma, we stopped for about 10 minutes for the chat and pleasantries and I just pressed start and then followed the rest of the programme.

My face colour when I got home was a shade less than my usual salsa red, but then I had a good 10 minutes rest during the session… So what to do – re-do this one or move onto the final one for Week 4. Did today really count?


Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

32 Replies

  • I'd move on - see how you do with run three and if that feels 'easy' then you are ready for week 5, if not, then just do run three again. To be honest it really is up to you and how you feel.

    I love to read your Italian adventures - I'm off to run by the field which has been harvested, sprayed with a noxious substance and ploughed in the past week (not quite so glamorous).

  • That's probably a sensible idea - btw just so you know the romance of Italy is tempered a bit - Lover's Lane isn't quite as immaculate as it could be - it's all those lovers leaving reminders behind....

  • Points for entertaining post, at the very least! I have this happen when meeting local dog walkers that want to chat, as I'm too embarrassed to mention I'm running to a programme - due to feeling I actually look nothing like a runner! Personally I would say that it will possibly be too discouraging to do the run again, but if you feel you need to for a sense of security, there would be no harm. You sound motivated enough to plough on, however. I'll be interested to hear other opinions - thanks for posting.

  • i know exactly what you mean, i had to pause Mr Smooth, pause the music, my hands were sweaty so it took ages, and I'm apologising in my rather dodgy Italian, all of the while I'm thinking that I've broken the programme. I think I'll see how easy/hard run 3 is if it follows the usual path I generally find the last run to be the toughest, I don't know why. I am motivated to keep going, I am so useless at any kind of sporting endeavour, this is the only one that doesn't make me look like a numpty.

  • I wouldn't worry. Just keep going. You did the run/walk so as far as I'm concerned it counts. It is different when you get onto the longer runs without the walking intervals. You would need to run them without stopping. But for week 4 you are fine.


  • I never thought about it that way, that makes sense not to be preoccupied when its still intervals. I am going to try Run 3 on Wednesday and see how I get on, if it's awful, I'll repeat

  • You be fine. Just don't slip on anything in lovers lane.😀

  • Eeugh

  • You sound like you're doing fine. If anything I would think it's harder to restart after a 10 minute gap, so well done for continuing. I do my run2 tomorrow so fingers crossed!

  • Yes I think I am better going for run 3 and if it's really horrid, then re-do at that stage rather than over worry at this one. Best of luck tomorrow with yours, look out for molto chic podistas ;)

  • Ha, I'm just pleased that at least no-one walking has overtaken me - yet :)

  • Entertaining report Jan.

    A run is not a run in my book when you don't get out the door...😉

    You did fine...R2 all done and dusted...😄

    Your Italian runs are never dull...x

  • Yes have come to the conclusion that move on and upwards is the best thing, don't look back as there's nothing to be done about it. I have since found out what Woofing is - and it's strictly speaking wwoofing - which is kind of volunteer work in farming where you swap your labour for bed and board. So not only was she molto chic, molto fit, she was also molto charitable too. Talk about me and stereotypes.... Mr 118 is probably a multi-millionaire or something.

  • 😄😅hmm with those legs.. 118 man I mean...lol

  • I feel your pain with the interruption, I did W6R3 last night and was going really well until one of the dogs stopped to go to the loo 😏

    I added an extra 5 min run onto the end just to "punish" myself for having a 30 second break!

  • Oh no punishing myself... now I hadn't thought about that at all, but I did run extra at the end as a quid pro quo. But not 10 times the break gag would have been 100 minutes. You're a toughie!

  • I managed to avoid stopping again at the poo bin by sort of flinging the bag in as I ran past 😆

  • Throwing poo and running, now that's a heck of a skill. From pooch to 5k - a new forum awaits...

  • 😂😂😂... this post really made me giggle especially as I had just returned from my run when I read it and was feeling, to say the least , less than glamorous!!! I think if I was you I'd do the final run for Week 4, see how you feel... if you feel good then, so be it but if you find it tough re-do that run the following time out. However I'm very much a novice myself so perhaps you should not be listening to advice from me. But whatever, please keep your posts coming because I simply loved this one!

  • I think I missed an opportunity to ask how the effing hell she managed to look (a) cool (b) brown (c) glamorous and also why wear bangles?

  • Got held up by herd of cows crossing road the other day. Milking cows amble soooo slowly - now I have to time my run before or after they've crossed! It was so hard to get going again 😬

  • You poor thing that couldn't happen here, because Italy hides their cows, I have a theory that there are cow hills that open up to reveal thousands of cows. It's really frustrating having a break isn't it? I really liked talking to Gabrielle she was very nice, but all the while inside my head was screaming ' why couldn't you have stopped me in 20 minutes' time'

  • Maybe it's too hot for cows to be outside!? They must make all that yummy ice cream from something.

  • I will be sure to ask the local ice cream man - in Campo di Fragole - Strawberry Fields he is a Beatles fan...

  • I will ask our local ice cream man from the beautifully named Campo di fragole - strawberry fields. But gelato only permitted once a week otherwise I start to resemble the hidden cows!

  • I loved this post!!! I think that at the stage you are at it's fine to move on. If it had been your final graduation run probably you should do it again but it's not and I don't think, therefore, you should repeat.

  • Thank you I saw your graduation post, well done you on achieving that, I have decided to move on and up, and if it is a real struggle do it again.

  • Brilliant post! As a beetroot faced, would be (British) runner living in Canada, I can assure you that all Canadian podistas ( I love that word, I'm adopting it as of today!) are not uber chic, although some do still make me wonder if I'm an imposter, I have never seen any wearing bangles to run in!!

    I think it's a classic case of , the grass is always greener. I read posts on this forum and wish running was as popular with "normal" people here as it is in U.K. I came to this forum for support as there are few podistas here, no ParkRuns and according to the app, my nearest fellow C25k er was 996 miles away! I miss the deciduous woodland, fields of cows and sheep and that uniquely British 'bridleway'.

    Then, when I posted about running in snow, beside icebergs ( that was last month, it's 31degrees today!) and running into moose, I realized that people felt the same about my situation. It was great to read your post and I am sure loads of people will feel the same, thanks for sharing. 😀

    I agree with previous posters, move on, don't need to repeat the run.

    PS Woofing here is used to mean eating or drinking something with great enthusiasm, usually more than is strictly good for you. I thought your visitor meant she had been devouring it on holiday ( for breakfast, lunch and tea!) and wanted to take some home.

  • So I think the fun bit about Italy is it has so many cultural differences and that's what I love. I love it here, albeit dealing with councils and governments are both headachey, costly and very time consuming. I think my 'nearest' is in Germany, there are only 4 park runs in Italy and I think the closest is Milan, which at 4 hours drive away, pretty much means I won't be park running. I love or am scared of the idea of crossing mooses - they can be feisty as I saw once in Banff.

    And I know woofing can mean eating or drinking but then I Dr Googled and it also is a volunteering thing when you stay in a farm and work for food and a bed. She did say it was damn hard work but enjoyable and as she was a medic going onto an AIDS and HIV conference, I think not only was she sickeningly fit, gorgeous, but also so charitable and an all round good human being. I must aim high to reach at least one of those attributes.

  • I've no idea, but I loved the story :-D :-D

  • I think the 'woofing' may be 'wolfing'? If you wolf something down you eat a lot of it, usually quickly. Which actually pretty much sounds like me on a daily basis with anything edible!!

  • Yes I think when Dr Google came to the rescue Wwoofing is this really nice volunteering thing. But then I also think you could spend load of time wolfing down food and drink in Tuscany

You may also like...