With about two weeks to go before race day I found myself pulling on my running shorts and lacing up my shoes in an unfamiliar city. I say unfamiliar only in the sense of never having hit the pavement for a run in Rome but I have walked the eternal streets before.
As I stepped out the door of the quaintly named ‘The Sweets’ of the Beehive hostel and took in the pastel blue shades of the Roman morning I was hit immediately by the heavy, wet blanket of the morning air. The humidity promised a test of endurance. Whereas I have been training in the cool dry climes of Finland the uneven city streets and oppressive atmosphere of Rome provided a strangely welcoming change-up for training.
The route I made took in the Forum, Capitoline hill, Palatine hill and the Circus Maximus and two things immediately struck me: firstly every runner I passed flashed me a co-conspiratorial smile and a ‘ciao’ for good measure, secondly, there was no traffic: no defeating car horns, incessant buzzing of Vespas or angry shouts from fuming motorists. This is Rome! Something must be wrong. I know it’s 6:30 on a Saturday but still. I let the thought pass and continued back to the hostel thankful for the relatively clean air and quiet streets.
The rest of the day was spent wandering the city between one plate of pasta and another with occasional stops for a glass of wine or some gelato; the latter case a combo of black garlic and white chocolate from Fatamorgana.
It wasn’t until the following morning when my alarm sounded beckoning us to Termini for our train to Florence that the mystery of Rome’s missing traffic was solved. It seems that in all the excitement of the trip I neglected to change my phone’s time to Rome and as a result my alarm, instead of waking me at the appropriate 6am, had me scrambling from my bed an hour early. Therefore, my 6:30 am run through Rome’s streets was actually 5:30 am. Oh la dolce vita.