Monday, 13 October 2008

How many ways can you say 'wrong'?

Before I dissect my weekend long run for your reading pleasure, let me recount a conversation I had with my friend Canadia the other day. It does have some relevance later on in this post. Barely, but it’s there.

Canadia: Remember a few days ago when we were sitting on the tram across from those two old nuns?
Me: Yeah.
C: The only thing I could think about while sitting there was that they've never had sex before.
Me: Sitting across from two old nuns set off your virgin alarm?
C: Yeah.
Me: Thanks for feeling the need to share that with me.
C: No problem.

My long run went to hell well before it started on Sunday morning. Saturday, after weighing myself at a pharmacy for Viv’s weight loss challenge, I decided I needed to get cracking on strength training again. Restarting the push up challenge (third time’s the charm, right?), I cranked out 43 girly push ups and then added in a total of 120 various crunches and some reps of a pilates back extension exercise. What did that result in?

Sore chest and abdominal muscles for Sunday morning’s run. Joy.

My next major screw-up was not waking up early enough on Sunday morning. I headed out at 8 am for the run as opposed to an hour earlier like I’d planned. At my pace, running 18 miles should take me a little over 3.5 hours, so I was going to be running amongst tourists for the majority of the time. Again, joy.

Having started late, I ended up running near St. Peter’s right before Sunday services were about to begin. It was like seeing a sporting event as various groups of people were carrying banners and signs. One group had the image and name of Gaetano Errico plastered all over everything. Seems that this Sunday was the day he was finally being canonized and parishioners from the Naples area came to Rome to celebrate. Cool.

As I turned around and made my way back towards the river I passed two young priests. My first thought was ‘Damn, they’re hot.’ This was immediately followed by, ‘Holy shit, they’re virgins.’ (See, I told you it was relevant.) I’m pretty sure if I were actually catholic my thoughts at that moment would have been considered a triple whammy once the swearing was factored in.

The LSD was rather uneventful until I crossed to the other side of the river and started on my loop around the Capitoline and Palatine hills. I made an on-the-spot decision to take the route in the opposite direction, starting at the Colosseum, in order to use the toilets there which I knew opened at 9 am. I reached the Colosseum a little before 10 am but found to my horror that the opening hours had changed since it’s no longer peak tourist season. The sign now read 10 am, but that means shit-all to Italians who take their time with everything. I decided to wait it out anyways and kept walking around to prevent my leg muscles from seizing. Five minutes later the doors were still locked and about twenty people, mostly women, were crowded around the doors. This no longer looked like a good bet, so I said to hell with it and started running again, hoping to use the facilities at a bar next to the Theater of Marcellus. [Editor’s note: FYI, bars in Italy are not bars in the North American sense. Instead they're a combination of cafes and bars.]

Entering the bar fifteen minutes later, I was immediately engulfed in a sea of midget senior citizens. It’s pretty sad when I’m the tallest person in the room as I’m only average in height. It seems I landed myself in the middle of an Italian tour group who were taking a breakfast/loo stop. The queue for the toilets was very Italian—no one line, just a mass of people all trying to funnel towards the bathroom doors. Sweaty and with my bladder near to bursting, I knew that waiting there would take forever (old people g.i. and diaper issues being a major factor) and only increase my irritation levels not to mention put me in danger of just saying to hell with it and peeing on the retiree next to me. So, I soldiered on, bladder still achingly full.

On my way back towards the river, I ran into the first bar I could find with a toilet. Not even bothering to ask if it was all right if I could use their facilities, I flew into the tiny loo and did my business, all the while gripping the door handle tightly since the lock appeared to be busted and I didn’t feel like having company right then.

Bladder emptied, I continued along my planned route. The weather was fantastic but the joy was being sucked out of my day as I had to keep weaving in and around tourists for the rest of the run. Bleh. What is it with people when they’re in groups? It’s like all sense of common courtesy gets thrown out the window and they deliberately block the entire path just to see if you’re desperate enough to play Frogger with traffic. Assholes.

My legs were feeling rather heavy two thirds of the way through the run, but I tried to pick up the pace a bit towards the end for a good finish. I completed the run seventeen minutes earlier than I had anticipated and was super confused for most of the day as I tried to figure out where this increase in speed had come from. Had eating cereal bars instead of gummy bears been the key? Maybe it was because I listened to Tears for Fears quite a few times that morning? Was the presence of tourists enough for me to pick up my speed for most of the run?

Nope, nope and nope. The real answer? I didn’t run 18 miles. I ran 16.6. I crossed the wrong freaking bridge and accidentally shaved a mile and a half off my run. Crapola. If I had found this out soon enough after the run, I would have gone back out to make up the distance, but I didn’t figure it out until several hours later. My shower and nap took precedence over my confusion.

The yellow arrow points to the bridge I should have crossed, the red arrow to the one I did. Boo.

This week is a back off week, so my LSD this weekend is only going to be 6 miles. The following weekend I have my first 20 miler. Should be super fun after short-changing this weekend’s long run. Junk.

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Congrats to Marcy on a great finish in her marathon yesterday! I look forward to reading more successful race reports this week.

Catch you later.


joyRuN said...

So sorry about the not great running - no sinks along the way? (You must've known that was going to come from someone!)

Lily on the Road said...

Truly you ran the full distance just by dodging sweaty, diaper laden tourists....

feel good about it, you really deserve one of Marcy's cupcakes!!!

Xenia said...

JoyRun--Damn it! I knew I forgot to put in something. My hat is off to you. :)

Marcy said...

Is it wrong to say (if I wasn't married or had kids) that I would find the greatest pleasure in trying to corrupt a hot priest. There is something hot about that. Yeah, I'm disturbed and am SO SO SO on Satan's list.

A most excellent job on the 16/18 miler! You're really moving along with the training chica! ;D

And thanks for the congrats :-*

Laura said...

I used to make bridge mistakes like that ALL the time in Boston! It seems like bridges are never labeled very clearly, especially for pedestrians.

Also, I'll be posting a report yesterday of nearly bursting my bladder (not literally/medically) in a race yesterday because I didn't want to stop and wait for the line of people :)

Marci said...

Great job on your long run! You are well under way prepping for your marathon.

Frayed Laces said...

I know how much it sucks when we don't have our epic long runs like we envision, but maybe this thought will make you feel better:

Think back one (two, three, etc) years ago. Could you ever have imagined being upset by running 16.6 miles instead of 18? Could you even fathom running half that distance?

Now, think of how bad-ass you are. Does that make you feel better?

Xenia said...

Frayed Laces--Thanks for the perspective. You are, as always, right. :)

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

16.6 miles, 18miles, it's all good.

Best wishes with your upcoming 20miler.

Nitmos said...

You'll just be that much fresher for your 20 miler. Sometimes it's a blessing in disguise. If only the marathon race directors would make a similar mistake.

tfh said...

I'm not great at math, but I'm pretty sure 16.6 rounds up to 17. AND if you were dodging tourists, that definitely adds extra distance.

Oh, and by the way, you missed a quadruple whammy with the priest thoughts by not adding in an internal musing on altar boys.

Roisin said...

Nothing wrong with thinking priests are hot! Trust me ;)

Brooke said...

I am so jealous! I've recently come across your blog and I definitely wish I was you! I was in Italy for about 10 days in 2001, and I would do anything to go back! We stayed in Florence and only hit up Rome, Venice, Milan for one day each. How long are you there? Enjoy it!