For my second long run in Santorini, I decided to tackle a long standing ambition of mine to run around the airport and back to my house.
Because it was there.
And so I set off.
The route is pretty similar to the route from last week’s run to Monolithos, except that I don’t turn down to the beach but instead continue around the airport.
What I had not realized was the elevation profile of this run.
Notice that long painful climb. Notice that drop in pace. While I was running, I felt like I was stuck in some kind of relentless endless climb. I thought I was insane.
Not for thinking that this was a long relentless climb, but because I was insane enough to do it.
My cousin who is studying Sports Science, when she heard what I did – derisively told me – you shouldn’t combine mileage and climbing… Yeah. Useful feedback, not so much half way through a run.
Because I anticipated an epic disaster, I brought two water bottles and picked my route such that there were plenty of places I could refill if I had cash.
The first refill occurred at a bakery at the turn from the airport to Kamari
I run into the bakery wearing sunglasses, running shoes and go straight to the water cooler and buy myself a powerade wearing my vineman half-ironman t-shirt.
The Albanian (?) woman behind the counter was a little bit taken a-back. This was not her usual customer. This store is somewhat out-of-the way and you need to drive to the store. Not exactly the kind of place that gets foot traffic. And definitely not the kind of place that gets runner traffic.
She looked at me and asked politely: Do I speak Greek? I think this was her way of asking: Are you some kind of insane Xenos? I turned to her, spoke in Greece and then quickly paid for my powerade. She smiled, and wished me luck.
I don’t think I convinced her I wasn’t some kind of insane Xenos. Maybe she decided I was the worst kind of Xenos – an Ellino-Amerikanos!
My next pit stop was a fortuitous coincidence. An old friend of the family has a flower shop. She was across the street at a house pictured below…
She was sitting with some friends eating a snack. She called for me to come by, and I ran up to say hi. There she offered me a variety of snacks to – which before I could say no to – a gentleman told her to be quiet because well she was a woman and didn’t know what athletes required. He then proceeded to give me a tomato drenched in olive oil and garlic.
And before I could say no, this thing was in my mouth. And then I started running fast in the opposite direction.
And the treat was super tasty. But unfortunately tomato is acidic and garlic makes me fart. For the next little while I was farting and experience burning sensations down my throat… This made the run more … interesting I suppose.
As I headed back down into Kamari, I was running short of liquid having drank the two water bottles I started with and the powerade I purchased. Desperate for one more powerade I turned into a Gyros joint – Minas Peinas ..
This is the kind of dive I love to eat at. This place has got good food, that has more fat and grease than is healthy even in our newly found fat is good universe.
I turn into the place, and run straight past the smokers and the serious eaters wearing my vineman jersey and asked for a bottle of water. The lady behind the counter looking like she’s had smoked more cigarettes in her life than she should have, smiles and points me to the cooler. Paying, I start to run out, feeling annoyed that there was no powerade. And then I remember, the juice of champions – Coke! And I turn right around a buy a can of coke and pour it into my water bottle. At that point in time the lady had the: A crazy Xenos has come into my store. This time I decided to not confuse the issue and speak in English.
As I ran out, I saw a foreign couple smile. They knew what I was doing
A little bit more running to make the run a full 2:30. And yes the Coke made everything better. Except for my water bottle that still is stubbornly dirty. Apparently Coke + powerade + Num doesn’t clean that easy.
After 2:21 minutes, I made it home. Safely.
My little run was supposed to be fun a little jaunt, and yet the interaction with the people on the way made it feel a little bit more memorable than it had any right to be.