My friend Erin asked me the other day if I wanted to participate in a 10K run around Florence on May 10th called Guarda Firenze. I was happy she invited me to go with her because it inspired me to start running again. I had stopped for a little while because I found it too cold at times for me in the morning. Yesterday was the second time this week that I went out for my morning run and decided to push myself back to my usual distance even though it had been a long time since I went running.
Running is one of my greatest pleasures that allows me to feel free, get in touch with my body, and truly feel alive. It isn't until I start up running again that I really feel how much I missed it.
While I was running down the lungarno to cross Ponte alle Grazie I looked up to Piazzale Michelangiolo and saw the statue of David. I said a quiet hello to it and then quickly looked back down to where I was going. The sun was shining brightly while it was still rising so I focused on the uneven stone sidewalk under my feet. I went over Ponte San Niccolò and noticed for the first time that I could see David from this side too. A tree that was left bare from this past winter no longer hid the statue.
I continued running down the lungarno to Ponte Vecchio. I was a little worried that there might be crowds of people walking on the ponte (bridge), but I still wanted to run across it. When I got there, the pavement was still wet on both sides from the street cleaners that had passed earlier. I ran down the dry strip in the middle and only encountered a few people. When I went past the statue of Cellini, I smiled at it. I was happy to see it without anyone around it or in front of it: just the statue, the Arno, and the Ponte Santa Trinità behind it.
When I got to the end of the Ponte Vecchio, I turned back down the lungarno and didn't stop until I got back to Piazza Mentana where there is the third statue, shown in my picture, that I greeted on my run. I always look out at this monumento (monument) from our apartment, but I also enjoy studying it from different angles.
While I was stretching out on the sidewalk, I was happy with my run and how I was able to salute three significant monumenti. When I looked up, I saw in front of me a small Virgin Mary statue that is set in the wall of my building. I had completely forgotten about it, and was almost shocked when I saw it watching over me. I was already appreciative of the other three statues that this fourth one brought tears to my eyes.
I'm looking forward to the 10K run, but in the meantime I'm so happy to be running in the early morning while my beloved city is waking up. Each step I take along the Arno allows me to see and appreciate my city even more.
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