Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Me, My Heart, and I :: Running and writing practices as habits

After consistently running every other day for the last few weeks, running has become a habit for me once again. It was a habit for many years and then after skipping one day that led to one month, the habit was broken. Whatís great about a habit is that even broken, you can mend it back by continually practicing. I noticed this not only with my running, but also with my writing. I found that the key to creating a habit was keeping a scheduled practice and not listening to fears or worries when they tap me on the shoulder.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Shifting gears or shifting focus

My run up to Piazzale Michelangiolo the other day was a bit challenging because I hadnít done it in a few weeks, but today it ended up being even more challenging. The other day, I had to prepare myself mentally yet today I had to push my body more. My run was going well until I reached the long stretch of stone sidewalk in the middle of the incline. It was warmer this morning and the sun was shining on the right side of my body. I looked out at the valley for a split second and thought about walking instead to take in the view. was an excuse for me because I just didnít think I was going to make it to the curve in the road much less up to the piazzale (large piazza). But, thereís one thing I learned from running and that is when the going gets tough, you either shift gears or shift focus.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Running and writing my way to confidence

Lately I havenít been able to focus on my writing projects. I even started a few blog posts that I gave up on. I wasnít exactly sure why I was feeling so distracted and disconnected to my writing, but this morning I had an idea. Running affects my writing a lot. Itís almost as if they are intertwined. I didnít realize it until last year when I took a six-month break from running. I hadnít planned on taking a break, but after skipping one running day, then a week, and then a month, it was easier to not go out than it was to go for a run. I didnít think the break would affect me that much, but it did. I not only felt disconnected from my body, but also from my writing.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Running along the Arno before taking off

Today was my last day in Florence and I began it with a run along the Arno. During my stay home, I headed up to the Piazzale Michelangiolo for each of my morning runs. However, because it was a little chillier than it has been, I decided to stick to the centro (downtown area). When I arrived at the end of Ponte alle Grazie, I turned right and headed toward the Ponte Vecchio, which looked like it was lit up by the sun that was just coming up.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Pausing to savor the moment

I was almost not going to go running during my stay in Florence because I had forgotten my iPod in France. At first, I was upset with myself because I hate forgetting things. Then, I realized that I could take my iPhone with me, which has all my music on it. I had only run with my iPhone on vacation, but I didnít realize how this change would end up being so rewarding.

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During my run yesterday, many thoughts came to mind about my life in Florence and a Parisian suburb. When I talk to my friends, I understand that it looks like a dream to be living between two different countries and be able to speak both Italian and French fluently. I didnít get to this point in a day; it took many years of persevering. I remember when I was in my university library studying for my French literature class and how all I dreamed about was living in France. In my early twenties, I wouldíve been content waiting tables or working in a bookshop just to live in France. Fortunately, I got a hired by a French software company that sent me to Paris. France drew me into its web after I stayed with two different French families (one month each) right after graduating high school. Florence, on the other hand, called to me after only spending three days in its embrace.

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For my run this morning, I headed toward Ponte San NiccolÚ with the sun glaring in front of me. I tried to look out at the Arno, but the cobblestone sidewalk required more of my attention at times. After crossing the ponte (bridge) and heading back toward town, I was able to take in the city monument by monument. First, I saw the Duomo, then the side of Santa Croce, and above to my left was Piazzale Michelangiolo. Then, I let my eyes fall on the torre (tower) of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Ponte Vecchio.

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I love fall. And, of course, spring too. I love the seasons in which nature is quickly changing. In only a few days, we could miss it all. Today during my run along the Seine, the tree-lined path had small piles of leaves on each side. The trees, which were full of leaves only a few days ago, were almost barren. The wind and rain swept the remaining leaves off the branches and onto the path below.

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