In which I both Cycle 33k, Run 20k, Swim 2.5k and Cycle 190k, Run 24k and Swim 9.9k
The Sleeping Dragon, Plakias (photo: Gertjan Klomp)
All this exercise-mania has stopped me doing the things I like for long enough – I normally take a spring break in Crete but I was worried that without a bicycle I would fall so far behind my target I could never recover. However, the impulse to bask in some sunshine was just too strong – especially when I knew some of my friends would be there – so I booked a last-minute flight and went out for two weeks. After the first few days in a busy hostel a friend was kind enough to loan me his apartment and bike while he made a necessary trip home to Amsterdam. At about the same time the weather improved and became settled, so my exercise regime became much easier. With still air, the running and cycling went well, as long as I avoided the many and punishing hills and the calm and warming water tempted me out to swim more in the second week. As a result I put in the best week of my year so far, with a tenth of my swimming target knocked off in a single week – holiday be damned! If the water had been warmer I could have done even more, but the most I could stand was about 20 minutes – enough time to cover about 500 metres at my stately pace.
Thursday June 4th. Bussed from my overnight hotel in Heraklion to Crete’s south coast and a rather chilly sea-swim of 0.3k.
Friday. Measured out a short run of at least 3k. A typical Cretan wind whipped up the sea enough to keep me in port.
Saturday, 3k morning run. To the beach in the afternoon with a 0.4k swim in spite of a slight chop.
Sunday. A pleasant, lazy day – ran 3k before breakfast and a morning of chess-playing with friends at the hostel. A hot afternoon on the beach saw me swimming 0.7k in two easy sessions.
Monday.Ran 2k each way to a friend’s house for breakfast – he’s lending it to me for a few days while he’s away. Had a swim of 0.3k before clouds came and made the beach unappealing.
Tuesday. 3k morning run but clouds and rain to follow. Moved out of the hostel to my friend’s place – he has a bike, so I totalled up 10k on that in the moving, shopping and a little evening jaunt. Not a day for the beach, however.
Wednesday. Running (4k) and cycling (10k) early. Then breakfast and chess at the hostel, a swim (0.5k) before lunch and another swim (0.3k) and cycle (13k) in the afternoon and more chess in the evening. A productive day marred only by the fact I lost both chess games to chess fanatic Jorgy.
Thursday 11th June. Another fine day on the pattern of Wednesday, but with 21k cycled, 3k run and 1.2k swum. Two losses and a draw in the chess (Jorgy is too strong – my only chance is if he has a hangover).
Friday 12th. Getting into a routine now – the day starts with a 3k run, then breakfast number one, 10k cycling followed by breakfast number two, 2k cycling to the beach and a 500m swim, 2k cycle home, lunch, 6k cycle to the beach, 600m swim, chess with Jorgy, 5k evening cycle home, supper, bed.
Saturday. See Friday – 3k of running, 26 of cycling and a big 1.6k of swimming (water getting warmer, not too much wind).
Sunday. Summer has really arrived, with not a cloud in the sky. My routine of run, eat, cycle, eat, swim, eat, swim, swim, swim, cycle, eat, sleep is becoming a fixed one: 3k running, 31k cycling 1.8k swimming today.
Monday. Will this nightmare never end? 4k run, 27k biked, 1.5k swum.
Tuesday. Another 4k pre-dawn run, 30k on the bike, 1.5k swimming.
Wednesday. 4k run, 30k bike, 1.2k swim on my last full day.