Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Welcome to America.

Oh, hello Land That I Love,
I have missed you.

Leaving Italy was, as expected, bittersweet.

The bitter:
Saying goodbye to my friends and Bible Study fam.
Leaving my job - I actually really l liked it, and the people I worked with. That's hard to find and hard to leave. I hope I have good luck as the next one!
Leaving free housing.
Leaving great weather (75% of the time anyway).
Leaving the Military life.
The return to the fast pace life of America, and join the over-working, always competing world.
No more regular travels to a random country on a random weekend for cheap.
Simply leaving Italy (Gelato, pizza, pasta, cappuccino's, Italians, Rome, TREVI FOUNTAIN, Amalfi, Neapolitan driving with little to no driving law penalties, etc, etc).
Oh, and returning to DC, where everyone was too busy on their phones that this girl without a phone couldn't borrow one! Rude Washingtonians. Ok, so I realize this was my problem, not theirs, but it would have been convenient for me if people got off their phones and  I could ask them to borrow theirs. Though one guy told me his phone was only for his personal use  - Thanks guy,  do you think I'm going to take off out of the airport pick up zone with two suitcases and with your phone. Sigh. Good thing for pay phones!
Being welcomed back to DC traffic in full force...

The Sweet:
Seeing my family! My nephew, Ethan, said he didn't remember my name. No worries though, because a little tickling sparked his memory. Then, after frowning for a few minutes while I held him, my little nephew, Logan, who doesn't really know me, decided I was his friend when I played with him and his Nerf gun - or let him shoot me with his Nerf gun is more like it. Either way, I was so happy to see those little cuties!
hanging out with my bff, Sarah, who came to my parents as soon as I called her to let her know I was in.
Chik-fil-a for dinner!
Milk that doesn't expire in a week (it's the little things people).
Saying "Goodbye" to the Euro, yucky Naples air, Neapolitan driving (it's a love/hate thing), etc.

Those are the "sweet" things that happened yesterday - I know there are plenty more to come and it is only day two.  For  example, we cannot wait to go to church - that will be super sweet!

Also, I have a date with Giant. That's right. It is going to have to be a "date," because I do not want to put anyone else through the torture of this grocery shopping experience. I cannot wait to see all the options and all the new finds to be had on this adventure. This is sure to be a long expensive date!

Chipotle, Marshalls, MALLS, DC, Starbucks, food options (both fast and slow, healthy and unhealthy), FroYo, CVS... Oh America, I think I am in Love!

Blog complete. And it's only 6:15am.

Bitter: Jetlag.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rejoice, We Conquer!

The time has finally come. Time to run the original Marathon. I feel like it's kind of a Mecca for runners. Can you really call yourself a runner if you haven't experienced where it all began?

Nervous about the answer? Don't worry, I will get to that...

I knew it all started in Greece, and as people (non-runner people that is) like to remind us, the guy died at the end... But that was about all I knew of the marathoning roots, so I decided before the run, I needed to know the deal. So here it is compliments of wikipedia:
The name Marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (in which he had just fought), which took place in August or September, 490 BC. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming "νενικηκαμεν’ (nenikekamen)", ("We wοn"), before collapsing and dying.

Outside of this blurb from wikipedia, I heard it as "Rejoice, We Conquer!" I feel like it sounds more 490BC than "we won," so that's what I'm going with until proven otherwise.

As convenience would have it, we were about three blocks away from the American Embassy, so we got to pass a piece of the land-that-I-love daily.

Our first authentic Greek food experience. It did not disappoint.
It might actually be my favorite in all my travels.


Of course we had to check out the stadium where our marathon from Marathon would end.
(had to...)

Random ruins. They were in a large dug out hold that was covered. 
Random, but awesome.

Mt Olympus from afar.

The Acropolis from afar... and by night...

As their economy was struggling there have often been 
riots - we had no idea there was a rather large
one going on while we were there! Crazy!

Oh, and it rained the whole first day!
This is T with a cardboard box balanced on her head because we did not come prepared!

A little Gangham Style action.

A day at the Acropolis!

Never turn your back on Juan...
No one is safe...

Probably my favorite pic of the whole trip!

The lovely ladies!


Fried feta. A-maz-ing!

Authentic Tzatziki! How I miss you!!!

Juan and James moments:

Greece knew Juan was coming...
Haters gonna hate!

How sad.

I, on the other hand, was quite happy.
I will take all of these, thank you!

Race prep:

Building where the Expo was held:

Taking in the finish. Mental race prep.

Chips are working!

For Tristian's birthday we went to Athen's Zoo.
(Navy brats! :-p)

The day hippos became our least favorite animal.
As we're watching, we see one poo, and another lick it up! <hurls>

Can I keep him?!


More Ruins.
Mt Olympus:

Club dinner at Hard Rock.
Quality pre-race meal... esp in Greece. Hmm.

Race day!
The start line:

People dancing in support of the runners.

Many people were dressed like Ancient Greek soldiers.

Drummers providing motivation!

"Fast as a Cheetah!"


More Gangham Style

So, can you call yourself a runner if you haven't experienced where it all began?

In my opinion YES, for this dissappointing discovery:

The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards or 26-7/32 miles), that is usually run as a road race... The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921... The International Olympic Committee agreed in 1907 that the distance for the 1908 London Olympic marathon would be about 25 miles or 40 kilometres. The organisers decided on a course of 26 miles from the start at Windsor Castle to the royal entrance to the White City Stadium, followed by a lap (586 yards, 2 feet; 536 m) of the track, finishing in front of the Royal Box. The course was later altered to use a different entrance to the stadium, followed by a partial lap of 385 yards to the same finish. The modern 42.195 km standard distance for the marathon was set by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) in May 1921 directly from the length used at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. (Wikipedia)

So, not only is the marathon distance not that of Pheidippides, but no one truely knows his real path, he could have gone one of two ways. They assume it was the approximately 42.195 km route because it would have been the smarter choice at the time - longer, but safer. The IAAF set the official distance of the marathon. LAme.

Did I ruin the Athen's Marathon for you?

Maybe this will make you feel better:

His hugs always work for me!
It was a GREAT run and while you don't have to run the Athen's marathon to be a runner, it made me feel legit. I worked through a lot of the issues I dealt with on my first marathon, and I cut an hour of my time! I would recommend it. Mostly for the Tatziki...

Wish you were here!