I am in a castle, a museum or an old Roman library. It is an awesome place, like in a mystery novel...and I am wandering through on some adventure looking for a bathroom. Stepping around a corner in the dim light, I do not notice the step below. I understep and lose my balance. I collide with the ground but suddenly realize that it is not castle floor that I have hit. I have collided with the hard earth, waking up suddenly to realize that I have fallen off my high stone park bench. I am not in a romantic castle. It is 6 a.m. and I am lying on the ground in a public park in Marina di Cerveteri.
I hadn't slept much at all, but I knew that I needed to take off. Today was going to be one of the hottest days yet, and it would be good if I could make it out of town in the early morning. I gathered my things and set out on the road towards Rome. The first 6 km were pretty slow, as I had not really fully woken up and I actually desperately needed to find a bathroom. Once I had found something to eat and a bathroom though, I was ready to run and clicked off a solid two hours or more.
Two hours of running was my line today. I am pretty good about running while being sleep deprived...my years at Columbia of being an architecture student and an athlete prepared me for this part of the trip. I would sleep for two hours and then have to do a two hour progression run at the Rockies. I couldn't say "Sorry I can't go, I'm tired" then...and I definitely can't say it now. But two hours of running was my line today though. The sun wore me down, and I stopped in a grocery store to grab something to drink before walking the rest of the way into the city. The road was a bit crazy, and I definitely had to hop over some highway barriers and run along some very busy sections on occasion. I made it though, and now...now I am in Rome.
When I got into town, I called Tobias, a friend of Marco who works for Brooks. Originally I had planned on staying with him, but he was away on vacation. He tried to find some of his friends...but they were all on vacation too. Everyone was on vacation. John (who's mom I stayed with in Milan) gave me a huge list of people he knew in Rome. All of them seemed to be on vacation too. The whole city was gone. I had been sure I would find a place...but it seemed rather unlikely now.
By some miracle however, Paolo from near Orbetello was coming into town late at night for an appointment he had in the morning (he is a dentist)...and once again he hooked me up with a comfortable place to sleep for the night. Until I met him, the rest of the day was pretty uninteresting. I fell asleep in the park inside of the Castello S. Angelo and spent some time in an Internet cafe.
Around midnight I walked 5 km or so to the north side of town to meet up with Paolo at his apartment. It was pretty strange seeing someone that I had seen 4 days before. Those days in between had been pretty rough, but here I was...in Rome and with a bed. It was glorious.
22 August 2009