Day Thirty Seven (trigesimo-setimo dia)
Saturday morning. Usually I do a three mile shake-out in preparation for long-run-Sunday. However, John has an away game on Sunday and Ernes’ said he was going, so I get to go, too. We didn’t have anything else planned for today (except dinner @ Toronto Nights) and the sun was shining. I laced-up and decided to do about 9.0 miles.
As-per-usual, I took Romeo for the first loop. I doubled back a little after I dropped him off so I would have 3.0 in the bag before I headed for the lombas. I have learned that the hardest part is getting to where Lina & Ernes’ house is, and then after that it gets pretty flat. I still cut-out and do lomba de pos, because the ascent on lomba do alcaide gets crazy there and I need the respite. And the ocean view is incredible. I didn’t have my phone so I have no pictures. One day, John and I will walk up there and I will take a bunch.
I finally made it past Lina and Ernes’ house and was feeling awesome. My plan was to do exactly what I had done the week before: keep running until the end of lomba do alcaide and then turn around and come back down lomba de loucao. Once I made it to that long stretch that eventually leads to Nordeste (township north of Povoacao….way north), I decided to go as far as it was flat, which is further than I went before. Last time, as soon as I figured out I was exiting Povoacao, I turned out. More confident in my surroundings this week, I trudged forth. Plus, the terrain was flat and the altitude high, I can see everything and the running has become easier. I decided I would turn around once I hit 1:06:00. I saw a sign in the distance, and I could see that to the right it said Nordeste. To the left, I could see it said “lomba” but I couldn’t see which one. Once I got closer, I saw that it was lomba de loucao. Perfect, because that’s where I was headed. This road looked like it looped around a lot more, and that’s better than doubling back or having to do a lap once I got back to the vila (I am so done lapping the vila).
Naively, I turned to the left and immediately the path began a steep descent and turned to dirt and gravel. It was a tunnel of trees, and there were cows and flowers, and lush greens as far as I could see. “This is so pretty! This is so nice! A real running path!” I thought to myself; I was giddy. I had gone maybe three or four minutes before I went flying through the air and landed flat on my stomach. Hard. I swore loudly, jumped up, and paused my stop watch: 1:08. I looked down to see the damage: My right knee was a bloody, dirty, mess, as were my hands. I tried to brush off what I could while screaming expletives. It really effing hurt and I was really in the middle of effing nowhere. After about a minute of that pity-party, I decided to cowboy-up and start running. What else was there to do, really? I wasn’t too far from Lina’s house (but I knew they weren’t home), Marco’s house (also, probably not home), or Carla’s house (at work). Pedro’s sister lives pretty near, but she doesn’t drive, so I knew after a few minutes of Alia fawning over my lesions, I would still have to walk to the vila. I un-paused my stop watch and kept running. Initially, I kept running the way I was going, knowing that, at some point, it would bring me back to lomba de loucao and then back down to the vila. After about two minutes, I decided that was stupid: I had no idea how far it would be before I knew where I was, so I turned around. The adrenaline was still pumping so I flew up the hill I had just descended without a thought. I tried to conjure up the thoughts I had before my blow “It’s so pretty! This is so nice!” but my knee was throbbing. Partially from the fall but mostly because it was full of dirt. My hands were throbbing from where I had cut them open, and I clenched my fingers together trying to ignore the pain.
About 10 minutes after I fell, my shorts started to chafe my left thigh, I looked down: road rash! On my thigh!! I hadn’t even realized I was hurt there. The adrenaline was slowly losing its power. I was dreading that giant V-shaped downhill-uphill road that takes you from lomba do alcaide to lomba de loucao but it was either that, or stay on lomba do alcaide which takes way longer. I got to the bottom of the V, paused my watch, and started walking up. When I was almost at the top, I started my watch again and began to run. There was a small street dog who began following me. He followed me from there all the way back to my apartment. I appreciated the company given my current state, but he kept running in the middle of the road, and I kept having to wave off cars so he wouldn’t get hit. It took me about 27 minutes of running to get back to our apartment. I stopped my watch at 1:34:30 and decided I ran 9.0 miles. Mission accomplished.
I ran to our apartment but John was at Pic-Nic with Ken. I sent him a cryptic iMessage: “Can you come home for a few minutes?” and when we asked what was up, I wrote: “I fell :(“ Not two minutes later he was unlocking our door: he said he had paid for his galao and ran home. After I texted John, I took pictures. For my readers, of course.
Skin hanging off my right hand
Worse than the fall, I knew, was going to be cleaning out my cuts. I had to cut off the skin hanging from my right hand. John ran a bath for me, and I hoped that I wouldn’t have to scrub the dirt out. Optimistic-Liza was thinking the dirt would just fall out. Pessimistic-Liza was yelling about staff infections and possible amputations. Unfortunately, because of the impact I had actually shoved dirt into the cuts, and then sweat into them for half an hour before I could clean them. After I soaked out what I could, I drained the tub and showered. I used up what little antibiotic cream we had from the travel first aid kit I bought before we left the states. After John helped me put some bandages on, which included gauze and pre-wrap on my knee (#ghettosoccerstyle) I sent him back to Pic-Nic and said I would meet him there. I walked over to the pharmacy hoping they were open so I could buy whatever the Portuguese equivalent of Neosporin was, but they close at 1:00pm on Saturdays. It was 2:00pm.
I stopped into Antonio’s, but the only first aid items they carry are bandaids.
After I had my galao and we all had Pic-Nic burgers, the boys finished watching whatever important game was on, we walked back to give Ken his donuts. Before we left, Marco showed up and had two Pic-Nic burgers, fries, ice cream, and a cerveja. Again. We followed Ken home because he thought he had some antibiotic cream. When we walked in Majid was playing Playstation 3 on someone’s borrowed console and TV. I lost John to Grand Theft Auto (Four? Five?) for the next few hours. HA.
I left John and Romeo and went home to clean my knee again and read. I asked Carla if she had any antibiotic cream, and she got some from her mom’s for me. A few minutes after I talked to her there were several aggressive knocks at the front door. I used the intercom: “Sim?” I asked, thinking it was John being funny. I heard Serenela’s nervous voice “Romeo is alone!! Romeo is alone!!” I sent John an iMessage and Serenela and I set off to find him. Serenela had seen Romeo down by the Chinese store. We walked around most of the vila with no sign of Romeo. We didn’t see John, Ken, or Majid either, which made me wonder if they even knew he was gone. I walked by Pic-Nic to get wifi but had no message from John, we walked back to the apartment, no sign of John or Romeo, and still no messages. We started walking up the street and there was John! And Romeo.
Serenela must’ve seen another dog that looked like Romeo, because John said Romeo had been with him the whole time. I changed my bandages, we got dressed, Ken came over, and we waited for Carla to head over to Toronto Nights. I had a skirt on earlier because of my legs, and John was trying to convince me to keep it on, but I wanted to wear my skin-tight white jeans and I couldn’t be convinced. I rolled them over my pre-wrap-and-gauze-covered-knee. A few weeks ago at the Pizza Rodizio, we were the first people there, and the only ones there for probably close to an hour. We decided this week not to arrive on time. We walked over around 8:00pm and Joe had gone home to finish watching the Benfica vs. Sporting game (a huge deal). He showed up around 8:30pm, but the game wasn’t over and he listened on the radio. We sat with the same people that we did the last time, and vowed not to discuss race. Except for a few lame Japanese jokes Marco told to Ken, we steered clear of the topic. At our table were Xana, Marco, Ken, Carla, and Joe. We had one extra seat. Who could Lina have been thinking of? It was saved for Bobby. #sadderface
Dinner consisted of frango com castanhas (chicken with chestnuts), fish with rice and tarter sauce, bean salad, garden salad, and the most incredible macaroni salad. Oh, and garlic bread of course. We ate our faces off and then finished with what Lina calls pumpkin pie but is made from her homegrown squash. #idontcare #itwasphenomenal
John will love this: he was right. I should’ve worn the stupid skirt. Halfway through dinner I realized the antibiotic cream was leaking through my jeans. The gauze was also sticking to my leg. There was castanhas and red wine in the square and Toronto was staying open for “Nights” when they have a DJ and dance party. But I can’t hang. John, Ken, and I left around 11:00pm. I peeled my jeans off, put pre-wrap over my hands to keep the cheap-Target-bandaids on and told John I felt like Rocky Balboa. I hobbled into bed.