Amorgos, Greece – Final Race (#5) of the 2015 Greek Islands Adventure Tour

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Today we completed the 2015 Greek Islands Adventure tour in Amorgos, Greece. Amorgos is one of the smaller Cyclades islands and is the easternmost island in this group. Amorgos is home to one of the most amazing monasteries in Greece, Panagia Hozoviotissa. It is a cliff side monastery northeast of Chora. It is breathtaking to see this structure overlooking the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

Today I finished in 4:42. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel that I could complete this tour at 52 years of age. Every tour has begun with inner doubts and fears, which leads to finding trust, which then forms into a faith that we can accomplish our aspirations. My body held up to the pounding, after racing the mile 5 times in 12 days in 2015. Since 2008, injury-free racing has been our theme. To have the ability and belief that I can put my toe on the starting line and feel I have an opportunity to break 5 minutes again and again. Thanks to my beautiful wife, Sekyen, and the www.OneMileRunner.com team members who help me stay physically healthy and spiritually inspired to break personal goals year after year.

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This was my final multiple-race tour. I will participate in a couple of road mile races that I have not attended before in the US and Canada in 2016. We have done an incredible amount of mile racing since 2008. Now after six months of training, we will travel to Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany for a little rest before heading back to the States. Thank you all for your support and encouragement during all our races throughout the years.

Naxos, Greece – Race #4 on the 2015 Greek Islands Adventure Tour

 

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As we await to hear what is going to happen with the Greek bailout, banks will remain closed all week and we will know by Sunday if the EU accepts the Greek proposal. Our time on the islands still remains peaceful and “business as usual” as I have even seen my first credit card transactions since we have been here on the island of Naxos.

Naxos is one of the bigger islands in Cyclades with a deep ancient history. We have enjoyed our time here taking in some of the ruins and archaeological digs on the island. This was the first race I ran without a “Meltemi” – the dry, northern wind I spoke about in my last post. We all had our best day this morning as our team ran the event seamlessly. I felt strong and safe on the road and ran a 4:41. Please take a quick look at the short video below highlighting the last quarter-mile of the race. Check out how we had to go around the man on his donkey… a great memory of our Greek runs.

Thanks to people like Petros (below), www.OneMileRunner.com has been able to execute these mile races around the world. Thanks for all your care and expertise Petros.

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We now travel to Amorgos on the slow boat tomorrow afternoon. We are planning to race on Sunday morning. That would be 5 races in 12 days. Now it is time to recover for a day and finish well in my last race.

Ios, Greece – Race #3 on the 2015 Greek Islands Adventure Tour

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Beautiful Mylopotas beach is one of the best beaches in the Cyclades Islands as it continues to receive “Blue Flag” recognition with its golden sand and super clean waters. We had the opportunity to race in the area and it did not disappoint. This was the first race where I could actually warm-up on and train on beforehand. I think that helped with my visualization as I ran a 4:45 for Race #3. We have been dealing with extremely windy conditions this past week on the Greek islands. We have learned a new word since we have arrived, “Meltemi”, meaning a strong, dry north wind of the Aegean Sea. It has kept temperatures cooler, but the seas have been rough.

Last night was a huge vote for Greece. As the Greeks overwhelmingly rejected the demands for more austerity in a landslide NO vote 61% to 39%. This was the first Greek referendum in 41 years. It was a huge victory for Prime Minister Tsipras and his party. The banks will still be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday as the Eurozone negotiations begin with a new finance minister for Greece, Euclid Tsakalotos as Yaris Varoutakis stepped down after the voting results. It should be an interesting couple of days of meetings now with the European leaders.

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We travel to Naxos tomorrow. The weather forecast calls for hotter weather without the windy conditions of the meltemi. We will see what this does to not only our boat ride, but also our race conditions next week.

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.