Holiday to Kefalonia: sun, sea, sand…and hills!

Over the last few weeks, I have been up to quite a lot – a very busy start to my long-awaited summer holidays (only I could possibly make the summer holidays even busier than school) meaning that I have lacked energy and motivation to write blog posts…aka, my usual excuse! However, as usual, I am going to try and make an effort to actually commit to my blog/ instagram again as I do have a lot I want to write about and with 6 whole weeks more of the holidays ahead, I have no excuses. In fact, I’m going to challenge myself to write at least one post a week for the whole summer so please let me know if there is anything you particular want me to discuss! Anyways, I’m going to start this blogging streak with a very exciting post about my family’s holiday to Kefalonia! I apologise in advance that this will probably be very long (even longer than usual) because I have a lot to talk about combined with my attendance to ramble – which is already being demonstrated by this unnecessary introduction!

Note: There will also be a brief (we’ll see how that goes) explanation of my recent races and my racing plans coming up! And now I will finally get into the post…

If you have been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know that last year, my family visited the Corfu (see Corfu 2016: Hot & Hilly) and it was brilliant so we were undoubtedly very excited to explore another one of the Greek Islands. After a ram-packed last few months of school, we were all very ready to go.  Thee journey to Kefalonia airport went off without a hitch! I had a very pleasant journey due to actually managing to sleep on the plane for the first time ever (I am the lightest sleeper I know so this is a huge victory). Our villa was really lovely, only a stones throw away from two beaches and lots of tavernas. It also had a pool which made me determined to start swimming. However, although 10m is a perfectly good size for a recreational pool, it is pretty darn tedious for swimming distances and by length 50, I decided that perhaps swimming wasn’t worth it.

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Because it was definitely necessary to buy a unicorn and gecko inflatable…

Most days usually went like this: run first thing in the morning (I’ll go into the details in a bit), activity in the morning, chilled out i.e. pool or beach afternoon. As for the activities, I of course made sure we had a lot planned. We visited under-water caves (saving a drowning baby pigeon in the process), attempted beach volley ball (my excuse for being terrible was the hot sand), saw lots of sea turtles really close up (definitely a highlight), rented a boat for the day (another amazing experience) and even climbed up a mountain (at first this was pretty demoralising as we walked through a boiling hot, deserted village convinced we were taking the wrong path but eventually we reached the mountain road and it was really lovely).

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I only nearly capsized the boat once whilst steering…pretty good eh?
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Turtles!!!
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When a hundreds of goats decided to flood the roads!

We were also lucky enough to dine out in some really lovely restaurants/ tavernas. I found myself pretty reliant on stuffed peppers and tomatoes, courgette based things, giant beans, bread and hummus but that was fine by me! This leads me on perhaps the biggest bonus of Kefalonia compared to Corfu…there were almost no annoying insects! The only major problem with Corfu was the fact the wasps swarmed every single meal and the mosquitoes were vicious (I received no less than forty bites) but this holiday, the wasps were seemingly incredibly sedated and barely bothered us at all and I somehow survived with 0 bites!! This was an incredibly large positive for me as I have an ongoing war against mosquitoes and believe they should be terminated from this earth (and that is coming from an animal lover and ethical vegetarian).

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Hanging out in Sami with Sam really sporting the tourist look…

Now on to the part we’ve all been waiting for, the training! After last years experience in Corfu, I knew that I wanted to get in some solid hill training that I had been neglecting over the past few months due to prioritising speed work. Unfortunately, we were lower down this year so didn’t have such an obvious climb…but that didn’t stop us! On the first morning, my dad and I ran a steady route which turned out to be about 5.2k due to getting lost multiple times. All though it didn’t seem particularly challenging, there was a non-stop ascent back to our villa. This, of course, wasn’t quite often hill for me and, thanks to my brother, we discovered that there was an incredibly steep incline right by the side of the beach. It was just over 100m upwards and on a challenging terrain. Perfect. Tuesday and Friday we jogged down and through the beach and completed a hill repeats session – which are actually my favourite sessions- made even better by a brilliant view of the beach and sea.

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The hill!

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My dad and I ran every single day of the holiday. This included the first steady run, hill session 1, recovery run, longish hilly run, hill repeats and recovery run. By the end of Thursday’s session, I was pretty darn exhausted but felt accomplished. As for the long hilly run…that was something else. We ran over 2km straight up a merciless hill. Every-time we turned a corner, we were convinced it would flatten out and provide a brief bit of respite but no. This did, however, mean that the run back down was very enjoyable. We then finished with the usual circuit and I somehow managed a very strong last 2km up the hill. It felt really good. All the runs were followed with an immediately dip in the plunge pool – still in my nike pros (which could easily double up as swimwear in my opinion)- and a lovely poolside breakfast.

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My new everactiv gear was great! (delighted to be an ambassador again, use my code “everellie” for a discount!)

All in all, our holiday was pretty amazing and I am very sad that it is over. After a horrible journey back (flight was delayed, landing was delayed, sitting on a train for 30 mins plus to find out that all the trains from Gatwick were cancelled, waiting an hour for our brilliant lifesaver of a Grandad to pick us up and another hour journey home) and England greeting us with a storm, it almost feels as though we never went away! But I am so grateful for the experience and I am lucky enough to still have the rest of the holiday to look forward to!

I hope you enjoyed my little holiday re-cap, I tried to keep it as concise as possible which meant I had to use a lot of self-restraint to avoid writing an essay. Anyway, now, as promised, a little explanation of my recent and up-coming races:

On the Monday before we broke up for Summer, I went to my first ever open meeting. It was a Blackheath and Bromley meeting held at Norman park which was really convenient for us. It was a brilliant experience and has made me obsessed with searching for more open meetings I can do. There was only one major problem…my race was at 9:10pm!! The latest I had ever ran was probably about 7:30 and the latest I had ever raced was merely 4:30 (which at the time seemed very late)!! This meant that I had to rethink my whole fuelling and preparation. As for the race itself, it was pretty mediocre. I had a good first three laps and managed to sustain a pretty decent last lap but I never really kicked off with my sprint until the last 50m to overtake a boy. I was very disappointed to equal my PB as, after my parkrun and recent training, expected a bit more from myself. I also realised that I really didn’t feel that tired afterwards and was thus able to complete a hard and wet training session the night after and a mile relay fun-run after that!

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Dream team!

Not completely satisfied with my first open meeting, I decided that we would finally fulfil one of my running dreams and schedule a Watford Open Meeting for this Wednesday. The Watford meets are notorious for lots of PBs and I have wanted to go to one ever since I discovered them. I am therefore not running anymore until Wednesday to allow my body to recover completely from the hard holiday training and hopefully set myself up for a good run…I seriously hope so as it one heck of a long journey!

Anyway, that’s all from me today! Thanks for baring with me and making to the end of the post! Keep a look out for more blog posts coming your way soon and don’t forget to message me via email or instagram if you have any ideas or suggestions!

Hope you are all having a great start to the summer,

Ellie 🙂

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