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Folegandros, Greece – Race #2 on the 2015 Greek Islands Adventure Tour

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So the big Greek citizen referendum is Sunday. Many people have been inquiring about the financial situation here. It is simple. It is all cash. I am traveling in the islands and it is very peaceful, but you must have cash in your pocket. I was planning on paying the hotel portion of the tour with my credit card, but with the capital arrears in place this past week, the local businessmen have no idea when they might get the money from the bank on credit card purchases. So put the credit cards away and take out your Euros – at least until Monday. Then we will find out if the Greek banks open or not after Sunday’s vote. Good thing we brought some extra Euros for our travels.

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We had to run race #2 a day earlier due to some local changes. So with only a day rest in between my races, I crossed the finish line in 4:52 a bit fatigued. My first race I was very even as I ran a 2:22 half and then another 2:22. Today was different. I faced an incredible headwind in the first half of the race running a 2:29, then finished with a 2:23. Today reminded me of my speed workouts that I ran every Tuesday and Thursday to prepare for this tour. I broke up the workout into two knowing I would have to find that level of performance with very short rest. I think those workouts helped me run well today in these conditions.

Since we finished the race a day earlier, we had an opportunity to visit some of the island’s best beaches.  Beautiful. The water is so clear and so blue it almost looks artificial. The highlight was Katergo, accessible only by boat, as it is considered by some as one of the world’s best beaches.

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We are now off to Ios on Saturday July the 4th. Hope everyone back in the States has a great holiday weekend!

Santorini, Greece – 1st stop on the 2015 Greek Islands Adventure

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What a time to be in Greece! After a long day of flying from Tampa to Miami, Frankfurt, Vienna, and then Santorini, we made it to Greece on 7/28. The last time we visited Greece was just three years ago. Financial problems and arrears were happening then, but this time it is worse. We have heard amazing stories since we have arrived and it should be an interesting couple of weeks as Greece fights for its financial future.

After the banks and financial markets closed on Monday 6/29. People were saddened, but did not panic. We all waited until late on 6/30 to see if Prime Minister Tsipras was going to arrange a final deal before defaulting on the Greek loan, but it did not happen. Now the focus moves to Sunday as the Greek citizens have the opportunity to vote “yes or no” on a Euro zone referendum. After that vote on Sunday, we will all know if the citizens back their prime minister or not. If a “yes” vote wins, Tsipras will surely step down. If a “no” vote wins, then Tsipras will stay in power. Will the banks open on Monday 7/6? What will happen to the Greek people and their financial future? Stay tuned…

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We raced on the morning of July 1st. It was not the same course I ran here in 2012, but similar. I even ran the same time as in 2012, registering a 4:45 in my first race of the 2015 Greek Islands Adventure. We had a little trouble getting the proper safety established on this bustling Greek road, but fortunately we did not have any problems. I felt a good bounce in my legs as this 5-race tour begins. We take a boat tonight to the nearby Cyclades island of Folegandros for race #2 on America’s Independence Day 7/4.

 

Peak Performance Or Injury?

Athletes walk that tightrope of peak performance on one side and injury on the other. I am two weeks away from Race #1 of the 2015 www.OneMileRunner.com annual event entitled “The Greek Islands Adventure.” I definitely was on that tightrope this week.

After traveling to Maine last weekend for my niece’s high school graduation, we had our usual dress rehearsal prior to each of my mile event tours on Tuesday. The half mile course is nearby my house and is not an easy course to run on with many twists and turns. I have had difficulty in the past years breaking 2:30 on this course. In 2012, I thought my training was right on schedule, but I posted a 2:32 time in our dress rehearsal. I went on to race great solid times in 2012 on “The Isles Mile Challenge.”

I have tweaked a couple of things in my training at 52 years old, but I felt confident that my training has been on schedule leading up to my race season. On Tuesday, I ran 2:28 at about a 90-95% effort, I was shocked and discussed the run with my team. So I decided to go back to the starting line and run it again…how can I run faster than the 2012 dress rehearsal? I ran the course again and posted another 2:28. It freaked me out a bit, but I will share the changes I have made to my training in August when I return from Europe. So that was one side of the tightrope – peak performance. Then came Wednesday…

On Wednesday, I ran an easy 6 miles on the shell trail at Benderson Park. Just after the 5 mile mark, I accidentally stepped on a pine cone and landed on the side of my foot. I yelled at the pain and shock of the errant landing as I have never before missed the bottom of my foot completely. I felt like I “dodged a bullet” as I limped around avoiding serious injury. The next morning my lower left extremity felt worse, so I soaked in the hot tub and took two days off from running. Yesterday I ran 7 miles and did some barefoot sprinting in the Siesta Key white sands. I was back. Repeat 1/4 mile sprints this Sunday morning, followed by a full body weight workout, and then hit the massage table to have my massage therapist, Lori, check my lower leg.

It was a strange week of walking the peak performance/injury tightrope two weeks away from race day. Let’s hope I can avoid other pine cones this week…

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