In the morning I gathered up my things, locked up my little room and went over to the cafe to drop off the key with Rosellina. I bought a delicious sandwich from her and then a little package of wafer cookies to bring with me on the run. It was going to be another long one and considering the fact that my clothes were still wet, my legs felt like garbage and my ankle felt like it was sprained, I would be walking a little bit. To avoid taking the freeway I would also be taking a mountain road that didn't exist on my cellphone maps.
I walked the first 10 km. I followed another set of long switchback roads down to the valley with my damp clothes hanging off of my arms. I ate the bag of wafer cookies and spoke loud nonsense to myself as I walked. After a pretty long time of walking, I packed up my things and used a bit of my emergency toilet paper before setting out running. I don't know if I twisted my ankle the day before, or if it was just the high mileage, but my ankle was really bothering me. It didn't help that the second 10 kilometers of my run were entirely uphill. When I finally peaked the hill after 10 km of uphill running with some 18 percent grades my ankle was pretty irritated, and I decided to walk once more. Once again, the part that I walked was entirely downhill...but this time through a beautiful dirt forest/country road that I would have loved to be running on. Once again I occupied myself by whistling and gibbering nonsense for a couple hours.
When I got out of the woods, down the hill and about ten kilometers from Grassano I was starving. I only had 1.20 £ on me, and there wasn't much of an option for stores, but I settled for a bottle of water and some form of giant Hostess-type snack that I knew I would regret (but the only thing I had enough cash to buy). I ate and drank and started running, and once more my run ended on a giant hill. In this part of the world they just love building their towns on the top of the hill rather than in the valley. Great for views, rough for running. The hill was tough, and my ankle was bothering me, but the largest problem was definitely the constant feeling that I needed to vomit due to the large quantity of disgusting artificial cake in my stomach. Made it through though, and when I got into Grassano I started checking off things I needed to do from my list:
Get cash from ATM.
Get and take Ibuprofen (hoping to reduce the inflammation before the next run).
Get place to shower and sleep.
The first three were easy, but the last one required a lot of walking back and forth on the main street while being constantly uncomfortably chilly (as soon as September hit, it started becoming more cool during the day, and freaking cold during the nights).
When I was getting tired I went into a cafe and ordered a Coca Cola. As I drank from a bendy straw and a glass bottle, the bartender asked me "why are you here?"
From that point came the story that I am so familiar with telling, and from there came a crowd of young people who wanted to help me out. One of them (Francesco) had spare room/studio thing that didn't have any electricity, and he offered to let me sleep there. Before going to bed I went to another apartment where I took a cold shower (no hot water) and washed my stuff. Francesco dropped me off and left me the key...and I had a long night of sleep.
10 September 2009