I woke up after a good night of sleep and walked out to meet Stefano and Ella's parents Libero and Tina who had set out some stuff for me to eat. Tina gave me my laundry that she had washed and dried, and as I checked out my socks I noticed that there were no longer holes in the toes. Tina had actually mended my socks. Not only had I had a great dinner with some awesome people and a comfortable place to sleep...but I also got my laundry done and my socks repaired. I definitely know very few people who would bother to repair their socks...I think Italians are much less prone to just throw something away when it starts having problems. Regardless, it was awesome.
Stefano drove me back to where I had left with Ella the day before, and I spent the early afternoon doing some work in an Internet cafe and getting a bite to eat. I started running towards Orbetello around 2 pm, where I had found a place to stay through couchsurfing.
It was supposed to be a pretty straightforward 43 km down the Via Auralia...but when I got to it, it wasn't the same two lane country highway that I had been on before, it was a 4 lane freeway with a clear "no pedestrians" sign. I started running down it anyways, but after a couple kilometers I started feeling pretty unsafe. Running is not very fun when you have to step off the road every couple of seconds to let a semi pass by.
I decided to take first exit and try to find another way to Orbetello. There was a system of country roads that would take me there, running almost parallel to the Auralia, and the road that I was on just about connected the two. The key word there is "just about," so I ran 5 km down small country road really hoping that I could make the connection between where the road ended on my map and the main road I needed to be on to get to Orbetello. After missing my turn and having to add on an extra mile to get back where I needed to be, I got to the end of the dirt road on my map. I was at the top of a hill, and there was about a half mile between me and the road below. This half mile was through a farm, and right in the middle there was a strip of green that most likely meant a river that I would have to cross. Not really having another option, I hopped the fence into someones farm and made a run for it. I had to climb through some serious bushes to get down to the river bed (which was amazingly mostly dried up) where I spent 15 minutes picking stickers out of my shorts, and then another couple minutes tweezing splinters from the stickers out of my fingers. Eventually I emerged triumphantly on the road again and set off running towards Orbetello.
The climbing through the bushes had made me tired a little bit sooner than normal, so at 20 km I stopped in a tiny town called Montiano and bought a liter and a half of water. I drank it all and was still a little bit thirsty. I have no idea how I can fit three liters of water in my stomach, but I did...and I even kept running afterwards. This detour had added a lot to my mileage for the day, so I had to keep up the pace to get to Orbetello before too late.
Around 4 Paolo gave me a call and asked where I was at, I told him about my detour and how I would be arriving a little bit later than planned. A few kilometers later, a car pulled over on the side of the road and Paolo introduced himself. He cycles around the area pretty frequently, and had known exactly where I was. He gave me directions to get to his place and set off towards home. His place was not in Orbetello, but another 10 km or so away down a peninsula. It was going to be a long run.
I stopped once more after another 20 km and grabbed a banana and some liquid before struggling through the last several kilometers to Paolo's house. It was a 55.2 kilometer day, and I was tired and concerned about some pain that I have been having near my ankle.
I had some fruit with Paolo's family and took a shower before Paolo and I had some pesto and wine for dinner. As we at this amazing pesto (made from scratch by Paolo's mom) I used a bottle of frozen liqueur to chill my ankle.
Paolo proposed that I take a day off to go out boating with he and his brother and some some friends, and after thinking about it for a while, I accepted. I have a friend from my cross country team coming out to meet me in Rome for a few days, and if I took off a day we would most likely arrive at the same time.
16 August 2009