After dinner I met Rae at another hostel that had a bit more going on. She knew a bunch of people there since she had stayed there the week before. Everyone was dressed up and celebrating Halloween. Some of the Athenians led a large group of us bar-hopping through
After a good night’s sleep I woke up, checked out of the hostel and found the hotel I had booked for the rest of the weekend with Tim, Mom, and Jenny. Unfortunately, the Novotel was nowhere near as close to the Plaka as my hostel and in a rather run-down area of town, but it worked out. I then took the tram to pick up my marathon registration at the Olympic Fencing Hall at the Hellinikon Complex from the 2004 Olympics. It was conveniently one hour out of the city (sense the sarcasm); however, I did find the beaches that were worth going to. I got my bib number, racing chip, and commemorative shirt and towel – all very exciting! I made it back to our hotel in the “ghetto” and read for longer than I had planned while waiting for the family. Little did I know how difficult driving in
On Saturday we started out in the flea market. Our only purchase was what Jenny is wearing in this picture. Apparently she has always wanted one of these masks. I’m not quite sure what it says about her, but out of everything they have in the markets, this was the ultimate for her. I had saved going up to the Acropolis for when Tim, Mom, and Jenny got into town, so that’s what we did next. We had our own tour with a friendly Greek lady named “Kula.” I think we only understood two-thirds of what she said, if that, but it was still interesting. I was racking my brain to remember all the things we learned from Jacobson and Miller in Humanities, but a lot of that is gone now. Jenny snapped a picture of this dog up on the Acropolis. There is actually an abundance of stray dogs and cats in
Back to our activities . . . we grabbed an earlyish dinner at a taverna on our favorite street in the Plaka. We had a cozy table next to a fire place and live, traditional Greek music played in the background. It was very relaxing. After the filling pre-race dinner we headed back to the hotel where Jenny and I watched TV until I could fall asleep, which was late – – not good. I woke up at to catch the train to the Panathinaiko Stadium for the marathon. Panathinaiko is the pure-marble stadium that was built for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and was used as the finish for the marathon in the 2004 Games, as well as annually for the Athens Classic Marathon. From Panathinaiko, all 4,000 participants were bused 26.2 miles, or 42.2km, out to the city of
Overall the race went amazingly well – much better than I thought it ever would! Knowing that Athens was a difficult course, I had hoped to finish in under 5 hours, and I would have been extremely pleased with anything under 4:20, which is 10-minute-mile pace. In the end I wound up finishing in !!! That’s 8:13-mile pace! I was the 41st woman across the finish line (out of 579). I powered up the hills like they weren’t even there, or I could also say, like Kate Meehan. And I ran negative splits – my second half was 7 minutes faster than my first. So, I’m happy. I had planned on this being the one marathon I ran in my life, but I have since figured out that I qualify for the Boston Marathon. I may be running two marathons in my lifetime now. Exciting though.
I hung out at Panathinaiko after the race as the soreness set in. For anyone who has run a marathon, you know what I am talking about. I managed to get a massage, but can’t tell if it helped at all. By the time I recouped and the massage was over I still hadn’t seen Tim, Mom, or Jenny, nor had I seen them anywhere along the course. I finally met up with them about two hours after I had finished.
We all arrived safely back in Düsseldorf. Jenny is now at a soccer tournament in