Monday, September 17, 2012

Everything In Moderation

So I've been procrastinating on posting an update for two reasons:

1.  Our pictures from Greece are still on Paul's camera - I'll try to update with pictures this evening
2.  I've been slacking off pretty seriously.

While I enjoy eating healthy things and still get more excited about spinach and feta than I do about yogurt lamb, I thought it would be important to not worry so much about my diet while I was on vacation, and I have no regrets.  They have rich, delicious food that is very different from any Greek food I've had in Belgium or back in the states.  So I ate some Moussaka (which is just ridiculously heavy) and also ordered some more vegetarian meals.  The best was when I ordered a vegetarian gyro and was served pita bread with fries inside of it.  Excellent nutrition win, right there. 

Paul and I were able to spend four days in Athens and four in Santorini.  In Athens we saw the Acropolis, the Agora and all the other must-see Greek archaelogical monuments.  We even got to see a play in the theatre built within the Acropolis in 160 AD by the Romans.  The play was in Greek and was a musical.  Paul was not pleased.  BUT, it was fun anyway and there was a lot of very low humor we were able to catch.  According to what I got from it, Aristophanes was a big fan of crossdressing and penis jokes.  I'm not sure how true they were to the original script....

We went to the ruins at Delphi and got to see the Temple of Apollo (what's left of it) and all the ruins that went with it.  So apparently the oracle would prophecy nine months out of the year during which time the people at the temple worshipped Apollo.  Three months of the year for whatever reason there was no prophesying, so they switched over worship to Dionysus.  During that three months they would drink, sing and skip their way to a cave about 11 miles away called the Korykian Cave where they would have orgies and other debauchery.  Paul and I hiked to the cave with the aid of a Greek caterer who threw us in the back of his pitch black van to give us a ride the last couple of miles down the road.  Never been thrown in the back of a black van before, it was a slightly nerve-wracking experience, especially on a dirt road.  But we made it, and the cave was beautiful. 

In Santorini we stayed in Perissa, our hotel was just a five minute walk from this gorgeous black sand beach.  Also, it was 25 USD a night with breakfast included.  I loved that Greece was so cheap.  You can eat and drink like a king in most places for 20 Euro/person.  We rented a car one day and visited the Doric ruins from about 400 BC, and then checked out the Akrotiri ruins from 1500 BC.  There's speculation that Santorini and Crete were part of an empire centered around the Atlantis myth in about 1700 BC.  Unfortunately, the island got constantly rocked by earthquakes and erupting volcanos.  Which was bad for them, but nice for the preservation of their ruins.  They built two story houses (seriously, one of them has an entire wall in tact) and had indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water.  These are things that the rest of Greece didn't get their hands on about 2000 years later, if I'm not mistaken. 

Speaking of the volcano, it is conveniently located in the middle of the sort of archipelagic circle that comprises Santorini and some smaller isles.  We took a boat trip out to it and hiked up it (it's active, but dormant), you can see pockets of steam and sulfur coming out of the ground or hillside at various locations.  We also swam in the nearby hot springs and caked ourselves with sulfur mud.  I then proceeded to hide behind a rock, fully caked in mud and tried to scare people.  According to our tour guide the eruption of Santorini is one of the largest in human history and may have been what caused the 10 plagues in the bible.  The first born sons would have died because they slept on the lowest levels of the houses and were the only ones close enough to the CO2 or something along those lines.  The red sea parted because of an impending tsunami and I can't remember the rest, but it's pretty cool to think about. 

We also spent some time hardcore relaxing on the beach.  Especially the last day there which was super windy which led to Paul's smoothie completely covering most of my body.  I then had to run into the Mediterranean (which is notoriously freezy for most of the year) and unstickify myself as best I could.  I smelled like chocolate for the whole eight hour ferry ride back where we couldn't find a place to sit.  I was super-gross. 

I had visions of getting up and doing a fifteen miler through Athens around 6AM on our first Saturday there.  I didn't get to bed until 3AM with our traveling to the hotel.  I realized that that was probably a terrible way to start a vacation.  I figured I would run in Santorini as well, but we did a lot of hiking and I enjoyed sleeping in with Paul and eating lazy breakfasts.  And despite all of that not running and taking it easy I still got sick after I got back.  I  had a cold all last week and didn't work out as well as I didn't want to prolong it. 

This weekend we had a nice, relaxing weekend.  I set aside some clothes to donate after reading most of Tammy Strobel's book: You Can Buy Happiness (And it's cheap).  She lives in a Tiny House in Portland, and the book has made me re-evaluate how I look at objects.  It's also at least temporarily killed my desire for things I don't need.  We were lazy all day Saturday. 

On Sunday, I woke up at 9 and did an hour or so of Yoga, followed by a few minutes of meditation.  I made myself a soy chai with cinnamon and laid out on my Yoga mat in the sun inside.  Paul made us a delicious veggie omelette and I cooked us up some chocolate chip pancakes.  I spent the next few hours reading my new book on the back balcony sunning myself.  It was so warm I was able to strip down to swimsuit level.  We went on a run in the woods nearby after a while, and I didn't even bring my Garmin. 

There's really no way I will be able to make mileage goals for the Koln marathon, for which if I was on a real plan I would be currently tapering down for, so I've decided to just do free running for the next few weeks.  I felt a bit guilty taking two weeks off, but my shins did enjoy the recovery time.  I want to realign my priorities and shift into a healthier mindset about food and exercise, one with more wiggle room and maybe one that will be more sustainable for the long-term. 

Now to figure out how to run 100 miles with a hippie attitude... Challenge Accepted.

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