I understand fulfilling the curiosity of running a marathon once. I'll never understand running a marathon a second time.
I wasn't able to pass up the invitation to run a marathon in Chianti. Free room, meals and entry for a race that weaves its way through the rolling hills of Tuscany. On the Wednesday before the race, sick in bed, being fed potions by Ben's grandmother (bless her), I though maybe I shouldn't. By friday evening I was better. Twelve hours later I was feeling fine only fifteen kilometers (marathon: 42k) into the race (everybody feels good, fifteen k in) and by 30 I was wondering if I'd finish. By 35k I started using tactics that I never though I'd appreciate: "Come on Rickey. You can do it. Just seven more k to go. Come on. It's not so bad. Come on Rickey," as opposed to the normal violent and obsene approach that I usually employ. At 37k I saw the kilometer marker "37 kilometers." "Come on Rickey. 5k to go. Just 5k. Just 5k. Just 5k. Just 5k." If you've run a marathon, you'd understand this. After a kilometer passed I saw another kilometer marker ahead. When it came within my bleary-eyed grasp: "37 kilometers"... that's when I wanted to cry. "37 kilometers" (think four-year-old whining and crying) "but you just said 37 kilometers. i can't run five more kilometers." the tears welled up and almost fell.... Luckly I found out it was a typo. "39 kilometers." I just barely held off the two runners behind me, battling what sincerely felt like broken femurs, dislocated hips and crushed feet, for third place.
Really the race was wonderful. At one point I was headed down a dirt road with an olive grove off to my right, a vineard off to my left and the many towers of Sienna up ahead, mixed amongs the layers of hills that Tuscany is so well known for. Up above - a blue Tuscan sky and a recently waning moon. Later on, a mile long corridor of cypris trees (33k into the race... how dreadful to see first, second, fourth and fifth before and behind me). Hunters in their German camoflauge with their spaniels, gun shots, cobblestones, red soil and "dai, dai, dai!!")
Since I was unable to walk today, I biked the fifty-five miles from Sienna(ish) to Florence. Thinking that my past 24 hours called for a bed rather than a thermarest, I've decided to stay in a hostel for the first time this summer... no comment.
No more running for the trip. Little biking. Ben and I plan on meeting up in Paris, then traveling on to Spain and maybe Morroco. I've sent in my absentee ballot and will return to the States mid-November.