Greece & Turkey – Winter Update

After the season ended last year I “took it easy” for a few weeks but got back into a good training routine fairly quickly. I’ve done a few masters swim meets this winter, which are pretty low key compared to any sort of triathlon race, but good to get my head into race mode every once in a while and fun to see how my swimming has improved since last year. Other than that I haven’t raced but I can say I’ve watched a lot of On Demand TV at 5am on the trainer, which is great for catching up on shows I like since I’m never awake at the right times to actually watch them. In years past I’ve always done all my winter running outside, no matter the weather, but I gave in this year and had to move it indoors more than I would have liked, a lot more. I don’t do treadmills (if I have a choice) so 10-14 laps a mile pending the track, luckily the hamster running is just about done and I might be outside the rest of the year.

OK so a little non-triathlon related update, I recently returned from a 2.5 week hiatus in Europe, specifically Greece and Turkey. I’ve been going to Europe every spring for a few weeks the past 4 years now, partially solo (i.e. sometimes people choose to travel with me). I’m slightly obsessed and could probably talk about it for hours. A few highlights from my adventure….istanbul.gif

1. Istanbul – amazing, I wanted to buy everything, scarves, jewelry, spices, COFFEE, glass lanterns, rugs, turkish delight, baklava, but I couldn’t fit it all in my bags. The ridiculously low prices for everything didn’t help. The city is by no means flat and it’s surrounded by water, it sits on the Sea of Marmara (part of the Mediterranean) and the city is divided by the Bosphorus River which flows to the Black Sea, so there are amazing views just about anywhere you go. I took a river boat cruise up to the Black Sea and another to the Princes Islands which are in the Sea of Marmara. There are no cars allowed on these islands so transport is by legs, horse and carriage or donkey, basically a bikers dream Island with endless bike parking. I rented a classy bike with a basket and rode the 14K loop around the Island, I may have raced some of the passing horses & carriages just for fun, they weren’t impressed, mind you I was in leggings, a dress and sweater, forgive me they did not have helmets and no I will not be racing in that very aerodynamic attire. Anyway add that adventure to your bucket list.parthenon.gif

2. Athens – I love walking and climbing and seeing a city from every possible view. Unfortunately for Patrick (the BF spent a week with me) we tackled just about every hill you could climb in Athens on day one. Typically the view from the top made it worth it. We climbed the tallest hill in Athens which had the most amazing view of the Acropolis, the Mediterranean, the Olympic Stadium and the Temple of Zeus, my photos unfortunately do it no justice but amazing. I love Greek food…. tzatziki is my favorite…. you can’t beat home made tzatziki in Greece, I think I ate it at every meal. Yep. I also love vegetarian moussaka which I did get to try at a restaurant, it came out in my own personal casserole dish. Yum. Did I mention, Yum.

3. Meteora. This was probably the highlight of the trip. Seriously put it on your bucket list now, unless you don’t like nature and pretty things. A quick and easy 5 hour train ride from Athens. You can read the history here, it’s insane, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora. Monasteries built on these beautifully odd cliff tops. You can hike the trail to the top of the cliffs for some amazing views of the monasteries and the surrounding valley. We hiked it in the afternoon, the sun was out and it was perfectly beautiful. The next day we were able to tour the hill tops and some of the monasteries on a guided tour. Would be unreal to ride your bike here. Go there.

Anyway…. unfortunately back to reality now. With the season less than six weeks away I’m definitely getting nervous, anxious and excited for what’s ahead. I was able to get my bike all tuned up at Gear West last weekend and may have brought home some fun new gear so that’s making me more excited for the season to get rolling. I’m planning on starting the season in Alexandria, I think it will be a fun local race to get back into the swing of things, for example, putting a helmet on before I jump on my bike. I’m planning to race just about every other weekend, although it didn’t work out perfectly. Definitely a big season ahead. Hope everyone’s training is going well, safe riding and running with all those pot holes! See you all so very soon! View more trip photos.

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Selfie riding the car-less roads of Buyukada, one of the Princes Islands.

 

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