Yassas (Hello!) from the north shore of Korinthos Bay in the Gulf of Corinth, just east of the Ionian Sea!
More broadly: Greece.
The family and I are here for two weeks of racing, exploration, touristing, and extreme Greek-food-indulging.
The main race we came for took place last weekend in the delightful town and surrounding hills of Sparta.
It was the Spartan Racing World Championships, in which my wife Heather had qualified to participate.
If you’re not familiar with Spartan Racing, just think off-road half-marathon running intermixed with two or three dozen obstacles like:
- Belly crawling in a river under a mesh of barbed wire
- Carrying a 60-pound concrete sphere up a mud hill
- Navigating fifty feet of rope-ladder monkey bars
- Sticking a spear from 30 feet into a straw bale
- Shouldering a log up a scree hillside
- Those sorts of things…
- Any of which you’re allowed to fail — you just then head to the penalty box and do a set of 30 burpees while the competition races on.
More details on that below.
Also, a few pics from our non-race adventures exploring Acrocorinth, an acropolis (an elevated stronghold) dating back as far as the 7th century BC.
And a few photos from our day-to-day wanderings in this warm, wonderful, welcoming playground.
Heather THROWS DOWN in Sparta!
If you’ve ever checked out Heather’s Facebook or Instagram account, you know she trains consistently in the sport of Ninja obstacle racing, trail running, and other sports like that.
Her favorite, though, is Spartan Racing.
While all types of muscle-powered racing require exertion and athleticism, Spartan also ensures you will get head-to-toe muddy, chafed, scraped, and bruised, also humbled and in general you will flat-out suffer.
These qualities are what make it Heather’s passion, and what make her uniquely competitive in this cult-forming sport.
The opportunity to race in the Spartan World Championships was very much a bucket-list item, and so we arrived here along with 2000 other athletes from 78 different countries for a “Trifecta weekend.”
The event would consist of three days of increasingly long and challenging courses:
- Day 1, The Sprint: 4.7 trail miles + obstacles
- Day 2, The Super: 8.4 trail miles + obstacles
- Day 3, The Beast: 16.3 trail miles + obstacles
Heather would start each day’s race in a group of +-75 other gritty, fiercely strong women.
Her specific category was that of 50 to 55-year-old women.
Each day the kids and I cheered at the starting line, then made our way to watch the final 3/4 mile and 8 obstacles that lined the main strip through downtown Sparta.
The event had taken over the entire town, much like Ski to Sea does to Fairhaven every Memorial Day weekend.
Stadium speakers blasted music non-stop and created an incredibly high-level, infectious energy there was no hiding from.
Hayden, Jazzy and I cheered for all the racers, and went totally nuts every time Heather came into view.
This was Heather’s world, and she did well.
On the short course day, Day 1, Heather finished a solid 4th place.
On Day 2, she repeated, and held onto her 4th place ranking, just one spot out of the medals.
Then on Day 3, the longest by almost 2X, with two days of racing to get her warmed up, Heather left it all out on the race course and crossed the finish line exhausted and elated…
She had raced for a solid 3 hours 44 minutes…
And had secured her place on the World Championships podium with a 3rd place, bronze medal finish!
We couldn’t be more proud.
After so much excitement and spent energy, we indulged in many thousands of delicious Greek calories at multiple of the local eateries.
Although we all stick to pretty specific food groups back home, all bets were off in this land of otherworldly stuffed pastries, kebabs, tender meats, pizza, and mind-blowing desserts.
Our visit to an ancient citadel
On Monday we drove from Sparta north, aiming for our 2nd and current accommodation on Korinthos Bay.
On the way, we stopped at what has to be a historic fortress lovers dream: Acrocorinth.
This multi-phase masonry project-gone-wild saw continuous use as a key defensive outpost through many (often hostile) changes of ownership over +-23 centuries.
Among many other remodels and additions, in its relative youth of only several hundred years it was restored by Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.
Walking around this compound, even trying to grasp the stories one would hear if the walls could talk was overwhelming.
A few days on the coast
No trip to Greece (for our family, at least) would be complete without a few days of beach combing, swimming, and re-charging by the sea.
Miles of one-lane road through pine and olive-tree-covered hills led us to the seaside refuge of Loutraki.
We’ll spend 3 days here, soaking up every possible ray of Grecian sun and drop of Corinthian saltwater we can get before continuing our journey.
Tomorrow, we head to Athens
Our final few days will be in the capital city of Athens.
Among other activities, Hayden will race a 5K and Heather a marathon, both of which finish with a lap inside the Olympic Stadium.
How we got here
It is not lost on me that this sort of travel and adventure would not be possible without those who work with and refer BNP Realtors to buy and sell property.
Endless gratitude, as well, to the crew who have all made their careers at BNP and facilitate hundreds of successful sales each year with our beloved clients.
In the spirit of all things real estate, let me share one final batch of photos that include several Greek “fixer-uppers” and some of the architectural elements that caught my eye.
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