Running long can simply be defined as spending many miles and hours on your feet. It’s the same wherever you go: you run slowly, and get rather tired.
But a long run in the Italian Alps is not quite like a long training run in Central Park. Instead of asphalt, monotony and crowds I chose to spend 2.5 hours last week on narrow, rocky, sleek and steep trails. After getting up at 6 a.m. and heading out from the town of Airole at 7 I climbed hundreds of meters, worryingly short of breath. During the solitary run I didn’t see another soul. I marveled at the amazing vistas. I jumped over rocks and roots and streams, grabbed tree branches for support, climbed up on hands and feet, flew down mountain sides. My shoes got soaked in a grassy area where the rain water had collected. I slipped and fell twice. Did I scream in pain, like my Dad asked? I’m not even sure, but I don’t think so; yelling seems pointless when no one can hear. However, the wounds on my knee and elbow are still hurting a bit.
It was hard. My Achilles ached when I stopped for a drink. Whatever, Achilles. I was breathing. Sweating. Living. I felt strong and lucky, and that’s not a bad way to start a Thursday.