Thursday, 11 September 2008

Running with the Romans

After a 10-day streak of not running, I finally got off my lazy butt early this morning and went for a run. On the books was the long delayed 6-miler. Since I am currently without easy access to the internet (so no and I’m not a follower of the Church of Garmin, I aimed for a 72 minute run to ensure I ran the entire distance.

Overall, it was a fantastic run. Only two things marred its perfection, so I’ll get those out of the way first. First, the paving in Rome. A lot of this city is paved in cobblestones, both the sidewalks and the roads, so I had to be extra careful where I placed my feet or I was going to snap an ankle. God knows the wear and tear on my knees isn’t good, but with a little time and internet access, I can plan more forgiving routes to take on future runs.

The second issue was the keys. I’m staying in an apartment for the rest of September with my advisor. Awkward? Potentially since she is my boss, but so far everything has been great and having the opportunity to walk around the city with one of the foremost experts in ancient architecture is definitely not a hardship. Anyway, the keys to the flat are ginormous. Check them out.

I used my reading glasses for scale.

My running shorts only have a tiny little pocket and those honking keys didn’t have a chance of fitting in it, so I wore the key ring over my finger and just held them in my hand the whole time. Not bad, except the most comfortable position to carry them had the end of the keys sticking upwards which meant that if I fell, I was probably going to take a key to the head. Not a pleasant thought.

You might be asking yourselves why I bothered to take the key at all if there was someone in the flat anyway. Well, I woke up rather early so my advisor wasn’t awake yet and I didn’t feel right about leaving her snoozing away in an unlocked apartment. Also, she’s a wee bit deaf and kind of blind without her glasses, so it would have been like leaving Mr. Magoo in a very vulnerable position. That’s just not right, so I sucked it up and took the keys.

Anyway, back to the run. We’re staying in the southwest corner of the city, so I headed east past the Aventine hill and came upon the Circus Maximus. There were a half dozen people in the now grass covered venue either walking or running, so I joined them. I did a double loop around the arena and although there was some ten plus feet of earth separating my feet from the ancient ground level, I was still amazed that I was running there. The circus is one of the buildings I study so the whole experience was rather surreal.

Circus Maximus (this picture was taken 2 years ago in December)

Next I made my way further east past the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum and then took a left onto the Via dei Fori Imperiali, the wide street constructed by Mussolini which links the atrociously hideous building, the Vittorio Emanuele monument (nicknamed the Wedding Cake), with the remains of the Roman fora, the political heart of the ancient city. Turning around in the Piazza Venezia, I ran back down the street, around the other side of the Colosseum and back onto the road I was originally on.

Coming upon the Circus Maximus again, I remained on the opposite side of the street and took a left to run around a park which is just to the east of the Baths of Caracalla. This area had the highest concentration of runners, all of whom appeared extremely fit. The male runners were wearing the tightest running gear I’ve ever seen on anyone. This was odd since all the women I saw, though sporting technical running gear, were wearing rather loose clothing. This is the total reverse of the Italian norm for couture so I was completely confused. To spare my poor brain I gave up thinking all together at that point and just kept running.

I did a double loop around the park then made my way back to the flat. In total, I ran for 75 minutes. It was some of the best 75 minutes of my life, even though I arrived home a sopping, sweaty mess. It wasn’t even 9 am yet and the temperature was already in the 80s. I’m melting, but I’m loving my time here all the same.

One more thing before I stop my yacking. Early yesterday evening, we were walking around on the Aventine sightseeing when a runner passed us. Without thinking about it, I took a picture (admittedly not a good one) of him. Later I realized why. He reminded me of Ted.

Roman Ted

Ted, have you come to Rome without telling me or did I just see your Roman twin? ;)

Hope you all are having a great week.

Ci vediamo dopo. (See you later)


Merry said...

Xenia, please feel free to 'yack' away! (Your word for it, definitely not mine.) It's fascinating. Virtual tourism!

Quote du jour:

When in Rome, act romantic.
- James Branch Cabell

Jenn N Butter said...

Thanks for all of the links! Now I feel like I went on that lovely run with you.


RazZDoodle said...

reading glasses? Ha! Ha! You're old.

Running Knitter said...

Those keys look like weapons.

Loved hearing about your run and "seeing" all the sights. :)

Marcy said...

Holy mother! Those look like keys to the clink LMAO!

AHAHAA From the back it DOES look like Ted!

How lucky are you to have run through all those sites *sigh* So awesome!

tfh said...

I wonder if any of the runners there can give you hints on shorts that accommodate massive keys? On the plus side, one of the "safety tips" I always read is to carry one's keys in one's hands so as to more easily gouge out a potential attacker's eyes. Those would certainly do the trick.

Xenia said...

Razz--So that means you're legally blind, right? ;)

MizFit said...



in a good way :)


Non-Runner Nancy said...

HA HA LMAO at those keys.

Did I tell you you were in for some magnificent runs? I've run Circus Maximus too!! I'm so excited that you are there. You totally have to get the runs featured in Runner's World. I'm gonna be loving reading about this! Have a blast!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG! What kind of flippin' door do those keys open! LOL, at least you don't have to worry about losing those things! =D

Roisin said...

It's so cool that you get to run there!

But those keys, man, they old, OLD school.

BeachRunner said...

OMG I am so jealous of your situation, big honking keys, advisor-roomate and all.

Running through Rome sounds like heaven to me. Wow, would I love to return there to run. Thanks for sharing your run and taking me back there virtually.

Please be careful of Ted when running around Rome, he is sneaky.

The Laminator said...

Xenia...way too jealous that you have such nice places to run. Awesome cool!

Nitmos said...

Those are dungeon keys. I surmise you are being held captive in Rome. Hopefully, not sleeping on a rack.

Girl on Top said...

Wow, I want to be an archaeology PhD student too!!! That's fabulous that you're in Rome.

And yes, those keys are super humongous and crazy looking.

Great job on the run!

Steve Stenzel said...

WOW! I'd LOVE to run there!! Nice job!!

And those keys are HUGE!!!

Ted said...

Woooo... I am quite jealous. Shhhh, it was me that ran around in Rome yelling "Rome is burning... Rome is burning." Just kidding. I wish that was me running in Rome. The description you gave was quite surreal. It would be an unique experience to run in Rome.

By the way, the keys are unbelievable. I have an idea where you can put the keys. In the cleavage area of you know where. Me me me bad!!! Don't take my advice. At least, I was trying to help.

Frayed Laces said...

Those are some serious keys! I wish I had a suggestion for ya... Are your boobs big enough to stuff em in your cleavage?

FLYERS26 said...

What a great place to run!

And that pic sure does look like Ted! Too funny!

Marci said...

Thanks for sharing. I went to Rome for my honeymoon (well as part of a 12 day cruise), and I cried when I had to leave (corny but true).

Marci said...

Thanks for sharing. I went to Rome for my honeymoon (well as part of a 12 day cruise), and I cried when I had to leave (corny but true).

Theresa said...

I dunno. Keys stashed in cleavage for a run? Talk about chafing.

Rome does sound like a way cool place to go running! Lucky you!

Merry said...

Just so long as it doesn't cause Jingly Bra Syndrome, which causes people to stop and stare when they hear you coming... :)

Hey, go check out Cranky Fitness if you get a chance. Crabby's giving away a free pair of running shoes. (I figure you could always have them sent to your mother until you get back ;)

Meg said...

You are so lucky. I'm really excited to hear about your runs in Rome!
Yeah I'd imagine living with your advisor would be awkward, if only because they'd know exactly when you were working and when you weren't!