24 July 2009

Days 62-63

46 Kilometers.
Vittorio dropped me off back in Como on his way to work...it took a while for me to finally wake up, so I walked for a couple kilometers to get out of town. As I was getting ready to start my run, I took a kneel to relieve myself and somewhere between wondering what time it was and accidentally peeing on my hand while trying to shield myself from flashing a nearby car, I noticed that my watch was not on my wrist. Immediately the events of last 8 hours or so flashed through my mind: my taking off my watch to take a shower, my waking up in the middle of the night and realizing that I wasn't wearing my watch and that I needed to remember it when I woke up in the morning, and my leaving the house without really waking up in the morning...without my watch. For the entire run (split into two sections for a short lunch break and some walking) I couldn't help but think of Christopher Walken's watch story in Pulp Fiction. Looking at the white tan line on my wrist, I kept going over all the things that this watch has been on my wrist for: I have had it for about 7 years, and it has been there for just about every tough workout, race, or PR I have ever had...not to mention it has crossed a half a continent on my wrist. This trip has forced me to be a little less sentimental with things, but I really wanted to get this watch back, and was kicking myself for being so thoughtless. I couldn't do anything at the moment, as Vittorio was at work (in Switzerland) and I didn't even have his phone number or address. To make things worse, checking over my bag to see if it was anywhere to be found, I noticed that my long sleeve shirt wasn't there. I left it in Lugano. I guess I had a thoughtless couple of days (I was planning on ditching the shirt long ago anyways, as it was never really part of my originally planned luggage). I had to just forget about those things and keep pushing on towards Milano, through some of the longest dirty suburbs I have ever seen. There, I could take a break for a day and figure out my next few moves.
My arrival in Milano by the way, marked two months from my departure--in those two months, I have been in 6 countries and run around 1,760 kilometers, which averages out to 125 mile weeks if you include my breaks in some of the big cities, (145 miles/week if you don't). The crazy thing is that I'm not even halfway done.
In Milano, I met up with Brenda (the mom of a fellow Columbian) and Antonio, her husband. It was a great couple of days, I got my laundry done and had some time to just relax. Apart from taking me out to some amazing Italian meals, they took me to a pharmacy where I refilled my calcium and bought some antifungal foot cream (my feet are starting to get pretty gross...not there yet, just starting) and went halfway across the world to get me a new pair of shoes. Milano is an enormous sprawling, dirty, fashionable and interesting mess...and I was pretty lucky to have Brenda and Antonio there to take me around. Brenda is American, and Antonio is Italian, so we spoke a comfortable mixture of the two languages.
I was pretty lucky to get an e-mail from Vittorio, who had found my watch in the bathroom, and Brenda and Antonio were nice enough to drive up to meet him on my last night in Milan. The drive seemed really long considering that I had run it only the day before. Vittorio came to meet us on a scooter with Giorgio, and seeing them and my watch was glorious...like reuniting with some old friends. Even though it had only been two days, it seemed like a miracle to see someone who had seen a few days before in another town, and made me excited to reunite with some of the people I have met along the way in future years. It has been an amazing first two months, with so many interesting and generous people...but it is a long road ahead.


  1. I hate that sinking feeling you get when you realize you've lost something... not the end of the world but extremely saddened an kinda hopeless at the same time. I'm glad to hear you got your watch back. Oh and looking at your pics... my goodness man I think a serious pedicure may be in order when you reach Athens. God Speed.

  2. Can sympathise with the whole watch thing, though perhaps not on the scale of your loss!! Glad to hear you got it back (and happy to hear a reference to Pulp Fiction :D).
    Sad to realise you're not passing through Slovenia (I'm here for the next few weeks) though still loving the blog. Keep up the inspirational work

  3. Ryan, my heart sank for you when I read about your watch (which probably smells like your feet if you have worn it that long!)...but very happy that you got it back. As for the long sleeve shirt...i think I bullied you into taking that along..and I believe it was very very handy for those first couple of weeks...so dont knock the shirt!!!! it had mothers orders in it! Cut the toe nails you have left! Love you! Mama

  4. As a runner I am very attached to my watch too. It has been with me through the last 5 marathons and training. So glad you got it back. I know how comfortable we get with just the right equipment. I love reading your blog. Happy travels.

  5. What a great adventure. And you got your watch back. You have also very nice people that you've met. I read your blog everyday and I enjoy it! Have a great day!

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  7. hey,,
    i'm glad you got your watch back.. i absolutley hate losing things considering i'm quite a pack rat..i value every thing i own

    ~wishing you all the best from saudi arabia

  8. Phew!. lucky you!.. glad he found your watch!.. You definitely have an angel watching over you.

  9. Hi Ryan, 62 days and still running stronge, you're amazeing and we love you very much. Take good care of yourself and keep smileing:-)Big hug from Alexander and Ceirra. Love phula