Miles of Milano
We reached Milan after five hours on the train from Geneva, Switzerland. The nasty chest cold I had in France lingered, and I was concerned about Milan’s poor air quality until we arrived. Fortunately, it rained several times, improving the air significantly.
The street art in the neighborhood was striking, with the murals covering every square inch of the wall near our building. One of the paintings caught my attention because it reminded me of my niece, Lyndsay, an artist in her own right.
Nearly everything hurt as I started to run (read jog). My right knee was painfully bothering me. I’m sure spending more time warming up and stretching would help. 🙄 My IT band had been bugging me before we left Reno, and now it had my full attention. As I gingerly trotted down the street, I saw a demonstration form. It appeared to be a human rights protest, but I couldn’t make out the language on the banner at the front of the group.
The sidewalk was unevenly paved asphalt. Every so often, I’d kick a high spot and decided stepping into the bike lane to keep my footing was a good idea. It was, until the bike lane disappeared at the first bridge, and the sidewalk became a super narrow path of loose cement mixed with asphalt. I opted to take the stairs down to the street below.
It was a good choice, as I ended up on a wide, straight road that led back toward our apartment — one minor problem. I was on the other side of the train tracks, and the nearest cross street was further away than my knee felt like running. Fortunately, a tunnel near the transit station allowed me to cut back to where I had started. I also enjoyed the murals in the tunnel. Watch the video.
Complaining about a light rain for readers in the Western US is tone-deaf. So here goes nothin’. The friggin rain and wind made it much colder than I anticipated.
Me: “I’m uncomfortable.”
My knee: “Hold my beer.”
The Milano Greco Pirelli train station was across the street. The station was a busy hub, as the University of Milan’s Bicocca campus was less than a five-minute walk away. It also added complexity to my outing. Several trains arrived shortly before I started, and I zig-zagged through a large group of students headed to class.
I encountered a few unexpected hills — but, hey, I ran leg 4 of the Reno Tahoe Odyssey twice, so these were nothing (I said out loud to convince myself) 😏 I was proud of myself for grinding out four miles before retreating to the warmth of our apartment.
Run #3 Duomo
Running in the city center of Milan was tricky, as the Duomo di Milano is a major tourist attraction. When I started, the area was packed with locals and mesmerized tourists who could care less about the guy lumbering in their direction. More zig-zagging ensued.
Once I was clear of the tourists, I found the nearby sidewalks too narrow to stay on for long. The payoff of my anxious running was clocking sub-nine-minute miles for the two-mile jaunt. I fully acknowledge running 394 feet above sea level is much easier than training at the 5,000 feet elevation of my old neighborhood.
Here comes the sun! (And it was alright 🌞)
I decided to take fewer pictures on my final run in our neighborhood. I was interested in how long I could maintain a quicker pace before needing to walk. It didn’t take long to realize I still have some work to do. #winded
The weather was sunny and clear (sorry, Reno peeps). I planned to run north to the large public park I’d run through earlier. That plan changed when I found a street with flat, even sidewalks. My goal is to run 8 miles per week and I still needed 2-½ miles to make it. All my joints were cooperating, so I picked up my pace and finished with an average of 9:34 per mile. I was happy with the total time and how well I felt overall. The turmeric and glucosamine chondroitin concoction I finally remembered to start taking seemed to be doing the trick. I found a skate park along the way that doubled as a street art canvas.
Run #5 – Polizia
It was a beautiful morning for my final run. Unfortunately, Jackie’s phone was stolen earlier in the week, so we decided I should go run while she waited to file a report at the police station in the city center.
My knee was less twitchy as I set out, and I decided to stay clear of the Duomo di Milano and ran down a street near the police station that looked vaguely familiar. As I rounded the corner, the Castello Sforzesco came into view. I remembered seeing a dirt path from our walking tour earlier in the week so I followed it around the Castello and nearby Arena Civica with several others out for a morning run.
The smooth DG trails and paths in the area were terrific. I didn’t have to deal with cars or bikes, but other runners humbled me a few times as they effortlessly cruised by me. It also helps explain my 9:48 average pace for the four miles I covered. Nothing like a little competition to quicken your pace. 🐢