Zion Canyon 2011

Zion Canyon 2011
Zion Revisited 2011

How To Approach an Ultra or Ironman

Jordan Rapp quote sums it up!

This Jordan Rapp quote sums it up.
"It's about the process. It doesn't matter what you do tomorrow and it doesn't matter what you did yesterday. It's about today, and making today count. That's especially true in training, but it's the same mentality that I carry into racing. Focus on the task at hand, not on the finish line, or the next part of the race, but what it is that is right there in front of you in the moment."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Italy Trip...Day 5,6 Florence, Pisa and Venice.

   I have a beauty of a cold, or maybe the flu, so I can catch up on the posting. I tried a 3 hour run yesterday but had to pack it in after an hour. So I'm going to rest until the weekend at least. I don't remember the last time I got sick.We still have 5 weeks until the Mesquite Marathon, I should be OK.
  So back to Italy we go. We started the day in Florence, or Firenza as they call it in Italian.It's known as "The Cradle of the Rennaisance". We went to the Academy of Fine Arts, where we saw Michelangelo's "David".

I can't describe how awesome this 17' tall statue is. Portage said she could have stared at it for hours. The story is that back in 1500, a few other sculptors had tried to work with this huge slab of Carrera marble but couldn't because of all the cracks and fissures in the rock. So in 1501, Michelangelo says "Watch and learn from the Master, boys", and carves David, just to show them he could. Finished in 1504, David weighs 6 tons, and has detail you can only see up close, like veins in his arms. He is carrying a rock in one hand and has his sling on his back. It's  the "David" of "David and Goliath" in the bible! Who knew?
 A little known fact about Michelangelo is that although he loved beauty, he himself was not a handsome man. Judging by a portrait of him we saw, he looked a bit like Jack Palance with a beard. Not good.
  The architecture in Florence is all stunning, and they even have a big marathon in the fall.

Replica David. This is the one they put up when they removed the original from the Piazza della Signora and put it inside the Academy of Art. It had been outside, exposed to the elements, for almost 400 years, but in 1872 they finally decided they better protect it.

The Ponte-Vicchio.  Dates from the 11th century. It was the only bridge in Florence not destroyed by the Nazi's as they retreated in August of 1944.
  "There have been stores on the Ponte Vecchio since the 13th century. Initially, there were all types of shops, including butchers and fishmongers and later tanners, whose industrial waste caused a pretty rank stench. In 1593, Ferdinand I decreed that only goldsmiths and jewelers be allowed to have their stores on the bridge"

I bought a leather belt, this guy is embossing my initials in it.
"Gratis" service with the purchase.

  So from Florence, we headed to Pisa and got an nice unexpected surprise. There was no lineup to climb the Leaning Tower. We got tickets and up we went.
Ever wonder what's at the bottom of the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Our ride from the bus............

The Cathedral in the "Square of Miracles". That's said to be the nicest lawn in all of Italy.

The Bells, The Bells! By the time they finished the tower and put in the bells, she was already leaning, so they put the bells in straight. The tower was started around 1100 A.D.

The view from the top

The marble stairs got very narrow going up to the top.

Portage gets a shot of the stairs. That's Leigh and Vinny from New Jersey on the left.

Vandalism carved into the wall in 1878
Highly original pose.

Copycats! Looks funny from this angle.

The marble stairs are worn from centuries of tourists climbing them.
This was truly one of the trip highlights, we climbed the same 294 steps that Galileo had 400 years before. I bet we did it faster though, under 3 minutes bottom to top for Portage and me. The inside and outside walls on the downside were worn all the way up.We actually felt dizzy by the time we hit the top.
That's a keeper.
 The Tower became so dangerous that people were not allowed to climb it between 1990-2001. Italians corrected the lean a few years ago, from a 19˚ lean to it's present 12˚ lean. They could have straightened it completely, but then who would want to visit "The Perpendicular Tower of Pisa"?
This is a caper plant, growing out of the walls at Pisa.

Pisa is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded in 600 B.C.

A little to the right............

That's better

  From Pisa we headed for another highlight, the amazing city of Venice, or "Venezia" in Italian.
For protection from Barbarians, the Venicians decided to build their city in a swamp. They harvested millions of trees and pounded them on end into the mud until they hit bottom.Then they built a city on these pylons. The pylons didn't rot because there was no oxygen in the mud, they are actually petrifying.
The whole city is all built on upright pine and oak logs that are nearly 2,000 years old. At the end of this street is where executions used to take place.

  Venice is actually made up of over 100 Islands with more than 400 bridges, and is way bigger than we thought it would be, with a population of around 300,000. A brief history can be found here. Elton John has a place in Venice. We spent two very expensive days there, but I would go back in a heartbeat, no problem.
You gotta do the sunset champagne gondola serenade, even though it sounds cheesy.

An interesting fact about Venice is because there is no alternative, sewage goes directly into the canals. Ewwwww.
  More on Venice later. Gotta go lay down. Being sick sucks.

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