We got to our first week of "real" training last week. This means we started getting after it a bit in the weight room, beach and on the court. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning we started at 9am (which means 8:30 departure from home) with stretching, jogging and a core workout before heading into the weight room. I haven't been real serious over the last few months with my workouts because I had just finished in Dubai and was playing beach as a hobby all summer. It was more fun than anything. I don't think that the morning workouts were very grueling but they sure made it hard to walk the days after. Anytime I do squats, leg press and leg extensions the next day I feel like someone punched me in the ass. It hurt to sit down and get up out of bed. Monday through Friday we have a 2 1/2 hour practice that is really hard to get ready for due to soreness. This quickly passes after the first few laps around the court as your mind is stronger than the body...cliché I know.
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings we meet at 7am near the gym to drive about 40 minutes away to Epanomi Beach. At first I still had jet lag and waking up that early didn't bother me. As my body adjusted to the time change it has been more of a challenge to get out of bed. I'm sure everyone has had this feeling but I really hate waking early more than anything. I usually cuss to myself and at the decision of working out so early. But after a nice cup of coffee I'm usually in a chipper mood...is that bad? Addicted to coffee maybe? Anyhow, these beach workouts consist of our usually stretching routine followed by a 30 minute continues jog with the occasional pause to check our pulse. The beach is not all that big nor is the sand very smooth so we go back and forth along the area that we can run in trying to dodge rocks, plastic forks, sticks and whatever other objects might puncture our feet. After our workout session everyone strips down to their speedo's, except for me and Serju (the Romanian player), and get in the ocean...which is about 68 degrees and pretty clear. Then we proceed to make two single file lines and do some jumping exercises that is supposed to decrease the amount of pressure on your knees. Its a pretty good workout and its something new to me so I've been enjoying it...minus the speedo part.
Brett and I have been invited by the coach over to his house for dinner with his family a couple times. He lives right down the street from our new apartment which by the way is much nicer. The toilet works, we can stand in the shower properly, and everything is much more modern. Its a little smaller but it has a view of the Agean Sea off of our living room balcony. We went to Ikea the day after we moved in and spiffed it up the best we could as well. So dinner at coaches house....Alekos, his wife and daughter have been extremely kind to Brett and I. The first night they had us over they ordered Greek food from a restaurant down the street which was so freaking good! I've never seen Brett eat so much...ever! Even coaches wife said "you are so small but you eat more than all of us" in a good way of course. Coaches daughter is studying to be a English teacher so she did a lot of the translating even though coach and his wife can speak English but are a little afraid to. They both understand everything though. Dinner consisted of a Greek Salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese and olives), Gyros (sliced pieces of lamb off of one of those big rotisserie things), Sujukiki (spicy meatballs but long ways...not round like in spaghetti) and lots of dips for bread. We ate out on their balcony in perfect weather with candles everywhere and a large view of the Sea and lights of the city. It was a really nice experience and very welcoming.
On my day off Brett and I got in the car and explored. Our car is manuel which makes it difficult for Brett. She has never driven one but more than a few times. This is going to be our goal for the next month...to teach her how to drive so she won't be stuck at home while I am gone at training. We have been driving around the parking lot so she can get the feel of getting out of first gear. She can get it most of the time now but we are just a little afraid about getting into traffic with the anxiety factor. But who really cares? We are in Greece right :)? So our exploring took us to a random beach about 40 minutes down the other side of the coast. We found a small beach where there were a lot of kids jumping off a cement pier and old people hanging in their speedos. Along the beach we found a nice cafe to eat lunch and have some Frappe (iced coffee which everyone drinks here). I guess this was actually the weekend after my first few days here. This past weekend we tried to find Halkidiki beach where everyone says is like Hawaii and really nice. We wanted to go alone so we winged it and followed the signs along the freeway. I'm sure we ended up in the right area as we came up to Sani Beach Resort and parked there. The beach was crystal clear with nice sand and a ton of people playing paddle tennis. It made for a really nice and relaxing day. On Saturday after our morning training a friend of ours invited us to his house for a BBQ. They grilled up a bunch of meat, made some salad and kept our stomachs full with beer and sangria. We ate out on their porch while watching the sunset. Panos, our friend, lives with his father who produces his own wine and has 8 dogs, does all the computer work for our team. He is the kind of guy that is always smiling and will go out of his way to help you. Really good guy.
Ok, off to another training and more to come...Hope you enjoyed this weeks adventures!