Thursday, 13 January 2011

" Smile Like you Mean it!"

Here I am on my last (and one of the first for a while) cycling sessions last Sunday, listening to the Killers song and smiling to my heart's content.

As D is mainly concentrating on running this season, I have to do most of the cycling alone. It was a beautiful January morning, crisp but fairly warm, sunny and with very little wind (no gloves!!). Bliss!

It was, as I mentioned above, one of my first rides this season. I have started to, slowly, get back into training and planning some fun racing for this season. Next race, another 10k this Sunday, though due to a foot injury I have been off for around 3 weeks and just hoping to finish in one piece.

After that my longer term target is, for the second time, the Astroman 1/2 Iron Race. It's a race I did last year (and suffered a lot!) but this time I will hopefully have more than 5 weeks of training behind me and less heat and humidity on the day.

I am excited to be having a second stab at this race and look forward to the training. It is a hilly race - have a look at the photo and note the drop behind me. I better get some good riding in.

Other races I will hopefully do this year: a 20km (in preparation for Astroman) and if all goes well and I feel up to it (ie have not got injured) the Athens Classic Marathon in October/November (I wonder when the organisers will let us know...) Missed the 2,500 anniversary of the race, but will be very happy to race the 2,501st one!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

2011 - The Year of Adventure

I am leaving 2010 behind with little regret - yes, it was a tough year, but I feel that I did everything I had to do. As years go it will stay in my mind forever as one of the toughest. Yet now, in retrospect, my thoughts naturally gravitate to the good moments, the sweet times and it seems like that bad stuff didn't happen to me - like it was just a bad dream.

So, starting the New Year with a rush of hop
e. I don't have resolutions, I rarely do (I tend to make my resolutions mid-year and as they come). But I do have things I want to achieve and
things I want to do, just for fun. D made me this piggy bank to put them all in - I won't be sharing them here (and bore you all to tears.)

And so the year started well, with a hike up Mt Parnitha, which we have now vowed to get to know better. For those of you not familiar with the geography of the peninsula of Attica, it is basically a triangle jutting out into the Aegean. The city of Athens is almost surrounded by mountain - Immitos (where we used to do our Monday night runs), Pendeli (we live on and run on daily with the dogs) and Parnitha. Parnitha is the tallest of the lot (at 1330 m, 14 meters less than Ben Nevis, the highest mountain on the British Isles.)

We headed out there on a foggy and chilly New Year's day, taking along
our three d
ogs and Tami, a young dog we have been looking after during this festive season. We were not
sure where we were going, although we had some GPS guidance, but we decided to walk to the nearest refuge, Bafi, by way of a path that seemed to follow the road (oh yes, this is a mountain refuge you can drive to... another one.)

Here is D leading the way on the path with (from the left, Spencer, Tami, Fifi and little Hardy.)
The refuge towering above. We could see there was a lit fire, so we hurried on up.
Not far to go!

Bread and bean soup in the refuge.

The view (a bit cloudy)

Just before we began the climb down - dogs still with plenty of energy!

Our little adventure was just the thing we needed on New Year's Day. To remind us that we need to get out, to enjoy Greece, for as long as we are here, and discover new places, new mountains and new trails!

Happy New Year to all!