Monday, August 18, 2008

Greece 2008

If I have been “missing in action” for the past 4 weeks it is because I was in Greece, enjoying a 2 week vacation… (and I was busy before and after)

<- Group shot from our July 28 run, courtesy of Nick B. I am the 3rd from the right.

The week after the Buckeye 50K was mostly recovery week. I went for short runs (1-3 miles) on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday I was feeling better and did 5 miles, and 8 miles on Thursday. I joined the VR group on Saturday for a 12 mile run. Here is a group picture taken by Nick B.

We left for Greece on Thursday July 31. We took Delta to NY and then switched planes for a direct flight to Athens. The flight was uneventful (everything was OK). We stayed in Athens for 3 days and on Sunday we flew to Santorini, a popular Greek island. We stayed in Santorini for a week (with my family and our 3 older nieces), enjoying the sea, sun and good food. We then returned (by boat) to Athens and stayed for 4 more days. We returned back to the USA on Thursday August 14.

<- Santorini (also known as Thira) is a very popular Greek island, famous for its volcano and beautiful scenery. We stayed in Perissa in the south end (green mark). Shown here is my running route along a stretch of 2 miles by the beach that I did almost every day (4 miles back and forth).

While I was in Greece, I ran every day (except for one) but shorter runs, from 3 to 5 miles. In Santorini there was a long stretch by the beach from our house to the end of town. This was 2 miles. I would usually run it once back and forth (4 miles) early in the morning (around sunrise). One time I ran it twice (8 miles) and one time I took side roads for an extra mile. The weather in Santorini was beautiful, sunny with not a single cloud in the sky. Temperatures were in the 70s (hotter in the sun) with a nice breeze. Definitely ideal vacation weather. In addition to running we did a bit of hiking (two times, several hours each time), enjoying the beautiful scenery and taking plenty of stereo pictures (I returned with 42 rolls of film).

In Athens I found a loop, starting from our house, up to Acropolis and down by Thesion. Then back to the bottom of the street near Acropolis, and back. (You can "play" my route by going ito this link: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/player/6540217) This was a total of 3 miles. Athens is a big city with narrow streets and lots of traffic, but this route was on pedestrian only streets so I did not have to deal with traffic. Overall, it was a fine family vacation.

<- My running loop in Athens (click to enlarge). Starting from our apartment, by Acropolis, I headed to the left through Thesion, ending with a small loop by a park and back, running in front of Acropolis, followed by a small loop (right) by Plaka and then back home. An enjoyable route.

I was afraid I had lost some running fitness, definitely speed (I had not run fast for weeks now, due to the 50K training) and possibly some endurance since I did not do any long runs in Greece. So I decided to join the VR group last Saturday for a 15 mile training run, even though I had signed up for the “Perfect 10 miler” race on Sunday. I figured that a long run was more important for me than a good race.

For the 15 mile run we did this popular route: From Peninsula to Boston Store via the Towpath, then up Boston Mills Road (difficult uphills) then on the Bike and Hike trail, all the way to the road connecting to the Carriage Trail, then back to the Towpath and from there to Boston and finally to Peninsula. A total of 15.6 miles. At first I was afraid that the group was too slow for me, but I hooked up with two new guys, both faster than me and had a good run. My mile splits: 9:04 8:37 8:34 8:30 8:20 7:56 7:53 7:52 7:48 7:49 8:21 8:23 8:29 8:26 8:28 8:06. This run gave me the confidence that I needed. I have not lost any endurance, thanks to my daily runs in Greece.

1 comment:

Sensationally Red said...

Welcome Home--sounds like a wonderful vacation. The tempered down running probably did you good. See how well you did in the Perfect 10 Mile?