Payton Prep senior Katelyn Hutchison poses in front a ruin in Italy (K. Hutchison photo)
Going out the country as an athlete is an experience. There's no word or words to quite describe it. You have all these plans of how you're going to work out and when you're going to workout; what you will or won't eat and how much you will eat. But while this is all going on you have to find a way to completely immerse yourself in the culture without breaking all these rules you've given yourself. What I learned on this trip to Italy was how to adapt and when to say "screw it, you'll never have this opportunity again."
My classmates and I spent eight days in the country of love, art, and fashion. All eight of these days were full of college commitments, late nights, and lots of gelato. While there seemed to be no time or place to workout, we did something new every day that worked my body. We traveled to Mt. Etna, the tallest volcano in Europe. The climb felt like I did a hundred squats and two 400s all out with no break. If my coach is reading this, I hope this compensated for the six 200s I was supposed to do that day. When we got to the top of one of its craters, you could see the small city of Catania. The reds, greens, browns, and blues of the sky and volcanic rocks fit together perfectly to create a beautiful horizon with little small houses as dots. It was like powdered sugar sprinkled across a fluffy piece of cake. A fluffy piece of cake I had to stop myself from eating.
Mt. Etna was just one of the climbing adventures we had in Italy. We climbed to the top of La Rocca, the huge rock in Cefalu', the last day we were there. My workout plan had me on a light work out for that day but getting to the top of that rock was like the descending ladder I didn't do the day we visited Vatican City. I think the five hundred and ninety-one steps I climbed to the top of the Vatican definitely covered that. Needless to say, my entire workout was completely modified to fit the cultural experiences in Italy. They definitely make for better stories to tell later on.
Working out in Sicily is not as easy as you might think despite the beautiful ruins (K. Hutchison photo)
Working out was only half the battle. No athlete can say that it's easy to see carbs, fat, and grease in one place and say they won't have the temptations to eat it. And if there are some, I am definitely not one of them. On every corner there was pizza, gelato, cannolis, bread, and espresso. Walking down every street was like taking a huge whiff of flavor town. I felt my Guy Fieri senses tingling. There was no way I couldn't try everything I saw because I knew I wouldn't have these opportunities at home. This was the point in my life where I had to let my track guard down and be a regular teen for once. If there was a number to put on how much food I tired while in Italy, including the things I never had before (octopus, swordfish, calamari, beef tortellini, and others), it would be the number of gelato flavors. I think that number is never-ending. (Seriously, one store had about 48 completely different flavors).
I don't know when I'll visit Italy again, but I can say that this was the time of my life. Not only because of the country itself but the people I was with. I truly enjoyed spending 8 days against the world with them. Until next time Italy!