In the morning, Dan and I had some breakfast with Tobias and his kids and we drove back into town where Tobias dropped us off at the Caracalla baths, a place that I had arrived on foot (and interestingly the inspiration for the old Penn station)...and the place from which Dan and I would begin running towards Napoli. The large part of our run was along the Via Appia Antica, and we collectively marvelled at the Italian landscape and numerous Roman ruins as we hopped over giant classical paving stones. It was incredibly hot, but we were lucky to have flowing potable fountains about every 20 minutes of the run...so apart from the heat and an epic endless uphill, it was a pretty good run. The good thing about epic uphills is that they generally end in epic views and long downhills. When we hit a huge bridge in Arricia and looked over at the countryside below, it all seemed worth it.
We got into Lanuvio in the early afternoon and bought something to drink. A couple minutes later, a Brooks van pulled into the center of the tiny town and Tobias stepped out and introduced us to his friend Dereje. There was a race in a somewhat nearby town called Sabaudia this evening, so we went with them to watch the race.
We spent the rest of the day lounging around a race start (we couldn't enter because we lacked some Italian athletics card...not that we really wanted to anyways after a 31 km run) talking to some cool runners and relaxing. Dan was having some problems with his knee, and he got some ice from a camo military medic van before the race rolled around us. Dereje ended up winning, and as I smiled and shouted as he came out of the woods into the last 200 meters, I couldn't help but feel like I was at a race back home cheering on my teammates.
After everyone rinsed off with a hose and watched the awards ceremony, we drove with a group of people up to an amazing little restaurant in the mountains. We didn't even order anything, but they just kept bringing more and more food. Plates and plates kept coming out, and we shared them "family style" between 7 people or so. The food was amazing, and the meal ended with lemon gelato, limoncello and pastries. It was an epic meal that lasted into the late hours of the night. Eventually we drove back with Tobias, Dereje and Andrea to their place nearby. I took a shower, threw my stuff in the laundry and went to sleep stuffed. A couple rough nights last week sure helped me appreciate the easy ones a bit more.
25 August 2009