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Making Waves in Venice

Empty gondolas tied up at the shore

Making Waves in Venice

1st run – Mazes

3.02 miles 11:32 pace

Our first flat in Venice was in the Sestiere Santa Croce area, and many of the neighborhood’s narrow calles (streets) ended at walls or canals. I thought it was charming the first few times I had to double back. It was less so on the remaining 5+ times it happened. 

The saga of my right knee continued, and I felt pangs (you know the kind) with each step for the first several minutes. Once I was warmed up, the pain dissipated, and I focused more on my form and pace (and the uneven streets and sidewalks along my path). 

Near the end of the run, I crossed the Grand Canal and ran along the outer tracks of the Santa Lucia train station. I did catch a few strange looks from rail station staff members, but it was the most level surface I found during my first outing. 

Second run – Out and back to St. Mark’s

3.05 miles 10:53 pace

When I took off, I thought, “Running at sea level rules!” I still felt pain in my knee, but it subsided quickly. I saw people running along the waterfront toward St. Mark’s the day before, so I decided to do the same. Unfortunately, I got a late start and had to dodge dozens of tour groups disembarking at the docks. I’d already been in Venice for five days by that point and had no patience for mere tourists. 😂

I looped around San Marco Square, took pictures, filmed a short video, and headed back toward our flat. After side-stepping tourists, arriving at Parco delle Rimembranze, a public park near our neighborhood, was a welcome relief. The trail was close to the water and paved almost throughout the park. I knew I’d return later in the week to run a complete loop of the park. 

Third run – Parco delle Rimembranze, marina and Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo

3.22 miles 10:15 pace

The run began in fits and starts. My back and knee were shit, and I had to stop and stretch less than a minute after starting. The thought of turning around and walking home was pulling at me, but I decided to give it another go. Fortunately, the pain level dissipated as I warmed up and got loose. 

I’m glad I returned to the park because the setting was perfect. Not a tourist in sight, only commuters waiting for water buses and locals out walking their dogs and taking their children to school.

I followed the path around the park and spotted the home pitch for Venezia F.C., Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, which was situated near a canal and next to a beautiful marina. Unfortunately, the team’s final home game took place a few days after we arrived in Venice so we missed it.   

4th run – Parco delle Rimembranze

3.05 miles 9:37 pace (blazing, well for me)

I started along the Riva dei Sette Martiri waterfront. It was overcast and drizzling that morning, and few people were out and about. I was feeling good about my 10-minute(ish) pace as I ran up the stairs on the first of several bridges along the way. Those good feelings didn’t last long.  A commuter carrying a large backpack with a long tube extending skyward blew by me at the base of the bridge, which is not how I envisioned this 3-miler going. She quickly put about 30 yards between us, and I picked up my pace, but to no avail. Her urgency to catch a water bus exceeded my ability to speed up, and she continued leaving me further behind. I eventually passed her. Although only because she was on the water bus heading in the other direction. 😭

I decided to loop around to the stadium and marina again before heading to the interior of our neighborhood. I had to turn around once on a calle ending with a bridgeless canal. Fortunately, I found another route to our street with little trouble. 

5th run – Lido

3.09 miles 10:01 pace

Lido was my favorite place to run, although I underestimated the extra effort required to trudge through the sand (I know, poor me). Jackie and I spent the first part of our day with our Airbnb host, Martina, who lives on Lido. I was concerned as I started, as we’d had a huge seafood lunch about an hour before it was time to run. 

To my relief, I felt terrific, even if I was still bloaty from our lunch. Jackie set up to work at a cafe, and I headed down the street and found a wide sidewalk parallel to the beach. I spotted an opening in the gate to the private beach, slipped through it, and crossed the seashell-littered sand to run closer to the water. 

I love running near bodies of water and this section was fantastic, until I started thinking about how much I ate at lunch 🤢, slowing my pace and causing me to stop a few times. Running is way more mental than physical, and it took me several minutes to get back into the groove of my pace and form (the platters of seafood left an indelible mark on my psyche). 

Next up – Firenze!

Clay has worked with advertisers and marketers to find unique solutions to their business challenges. His insight informs clients’ choices across several mediums, including direct mail, print, branded merchandise and digital advertising.

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