Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why me?


My belt test is in less than a week, and I have managed to get sore hips (got kicked), a sliced finger tip (stupid knife won't slice an onion but will slice a finger), and a COLD. I think I hit the bone with the sliced finger. I suppose that was better than slicing the skin right off (Too much? Sorry.). I've been keeping it clean, sterilized, and closed with butterfly strips. I need to use my fingers during my test. I also need to breathe, but it's not looking good. I get more and more stopped up each day. I've been taking Echinicea. It's supposed to be a natural way to fight colds.

I can't exactly go to training doped up on Sudafed! Cross your fingers, and send prayers and positive thoughts my way please! I'll need it for my test on Sunday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Greece! - Heraklion, Crete - Resort, Horseback Riding, and Food Tour

I know. I've been MIA for a while. Steve and I went on holiday in Crete, and then I had some serious training in Kung Fu and several AWA start-of-the-year activities when we got back. 

We went to Heraklion, Crete, Greece to soak up some sun for a week!

We stayed at Agapi Beach. For the most part, I enjoyed the resort. We stayed in a bungalow, but I would recommend a deluxe room with a sea view (We showered there on the last day because we had to check out of our room but had a late flight.), because the room seemed nicer. Our room had a bed that was equivalent to sleeping on the floor. Even Steve couldn't sleep, and he can usually sleep anywhere! Also, it was really hot in the room. We could only control the fan speed of the air-con, but not the temperature. The sea view room in the main hotel allowed for control of both, and it was supposedly a step down from our bungalow! Oh, and the toilet NEVER stopped running. Anyway, let's talk about good things.

The beach was really nice. Take a look!

There were olive trees everywhere!

But unfortunately, this (below) was right outside of our room. From our balcony, we stared at the bright, red, lighted sign. I told Steve that I felt like I was sleeping in the red light district. Right, right! No more complaining!
This was the poolside bar and snack area. We spent some time here because we didn't want to sunburn.

But every day after lunch, our favorite thing to do was to have coffee at the beach bar where we could relax while watching the waves... and the people. :o)

This is what I saw while drinking my coffee. So nice. :)

Steve was so sweet. He took me down to the beach before dinner because I wanted to watch the sunset one evening.
It was beautiful! You should always take time to appreciate everyday things. I feel like it's in the normal, that the greatest beauty is often overlooked.

The resort had shows at night. We enjoy the shows, even if it's lip syncing! Steve and I are easily amused and appreciate the efforts of others. One night was traditional dancing. That was fun. I even got up and danced!

Horseback Riding 

For Steve's birthday, we decided to go horseback riding. He's never been on a horse, and he was really looking forward to it. We went to Hersonissos Horseback riding (link). We went with the evening tour that included a ride up and down the mountain, and then a BBQ after.

Steve and I with my horse.

Steve and one of the horses he rode. They had him switch a few times.

I had to wear my pink trainers because I didn't have room to pack many shoes. We didn't check any luggage.
This was the view from the top of the hill where we took a break.
At the BBQ, where we had really good food prepared by the owner and his sister, they brought a cake out for Steve. They sang "Happy Birthday" to him in English, and then they sang in Russian because many of the guests were Russian. It was so fun!

Steve was a good sport!
And I tried to make him feel better. hehe. :o)

Saying goodnight to the horses!

Cretan Paths - Food and City Tour of Heraklion

We took another day to tour Heraklion. We went with a company called Cretan Paths (link). They picked us up at Agapi (just us), and George explained the history of the island on the way to the city. We started with coffee tasting. They heated the espresso in sand, which evenly distributes the temperature.

Then, we went to a bakery. The owner showed us around, explained the different baking processes, and gave us a few things to taste. I didn't get any pictures there because we were busy chatting and enjoying the food! After that, we headed to a small shop for cheese and olive tasting. Everything was SO GOOD.
We walked around the city to see some of the churches.
Below is Lion Square in Heraklion, and it's packed with tourists. The fountain was the first structure to pipe water into the city. They've restored it.

Our last stop before lunch was to the harbor. The street you see below is the 25th of August Street. It was named after the date in 1898 when Turkish fanatics burned homes and massacred many people.

At the end of the 25th of August street is the old harbor.
You can see parts of the wall that was built around Heraklion to protect them from invasions (below), and the arches you see to the left are where the ships were built.
We also visited a nut shop and an herb shop! Both were really neat and informative. Then, we had lunch at a small place where the head chef explained each of the dishes to us. The food was very, very good! To conclude a great trip, here are the goodies I came home with from our tour!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spying on my dogs - Angel's Deceit

We don't let our dogs on the furniture unless they are invited. We made this rule because a dog we had previously jumped into our plates of food and our popcorn a few times during movies. For a while now, we've noticed that we could hear Angel jumping onto the floor when we came downstairs or came in the house from shopping. I decided to set up a camera to see exactly what she was doing.
And she stayed that way for 45 minutes until we got home. At the end of the video (sorry I clipped it) you can hear us opening the door and see her jump off the couch! LOL. I filmed this by running the iMovie app on my laptop with it plugged in while I was gone. If you have dogs, maybe you should see what they've been up to while you're away from home. I'd love to hear your stories. You can set the iMovie to run for a certain amount of time before turning off, so don't worry about it running all day while you are at work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My first Thai massage

Kung Fu has gotten the best of me. My back is sore. My quads are burning and feel solid like rocks (not in a good way). My calves never seem to stop aching. I've tried stretching every day and night. I use the foam roller. I take vitamins and protein. I guess my body just isn't equipped to handle this without some extra outside help.

I decided to go in for a 90 minute Thai massage. It was one of the most painful massages and also the best massage I've had. She pressed and pulled. She dug fingers and elbows into my muscles and joints (got the hips really well!). She stepped on me. Twisted, popped, and arched me. Some parts were painful but felt really good at the same time. A lot of the pain was because I was sore, but now I'm feeling so much better! She said she could tell that my muscles were tight and really sore. I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight. I'm feeling good! If you haven't had one, I recommend trying a Thai massage. She said she works on lots of runners, so I guess it's good for recovery. I feel like all the kinks have been worked out.

Here is where I went in Aberdeen:

Bangkok Palace
Image from Bangkok Palace website

Monday, August 25, 2014

My first 5k race

This weekend I ran my first 5k race. It was a trail run up and down a hill, which I thought was pretty steep! I didn't have the chance to train on a trail because it has rained every day for the past 2-3 weeks, and I was not training on hills that steep during my runs in the city. There are some tough hills in the city. I should have been running up them.

It was rough ascent during the race! However, I did manage to finish with only a brief 10-second walk near the peak to catch my breath. My time was 31:42, and I feel pretty good about that for four reasons:

1. It was my first 5k.
2. That was a really big hill.
3. That was my first trail run.
4. I have brittle bones and was trying to be cautious.

 Here we are pre-race! Let's do this!
 No Scottish event would be complete without bagpipers. They "piped us to the starting line."
 Julia getting pumped!
 Here we are at the beginning. How cool is it to start a race near some castle ruins?? Fun! The pipers played The Flower of Scotland, there was a countdown, and then we ran! Of course, I hobbled because my phone chose that moment to close my app, and I couldn't see the screen in the sunlight. I had to take it out of my band and keep running while trying to shade my phone and start my app! LAME. I blame my phone for an excess of at least 20 seconds of my time.
 Here is Julia crossing the finish line! Go Julia!!
 Now I have a medal to prove that I ran the race! Today is a rest day. My hip is so sore! It's probably due to the beating it took as I pounded down that hill!
I will never do anything more than a 5k. I feel like that's enough for my body. I would like to do another race and just work on my time. I've never been a fast runner though. I was that kid in high school that the couches made run track even though I tried to tell them that I was a turtle. They finally let me quit after they watched me at the first competition. I was the scrawny girl WAY behind the rest of the racers who got the pity claps and the "YOU CAN DO IT" yells from the stands as I ran, alone and about 40 seconds behind everybody, across the line. I don't think I could ever be in the top 3, but if I could make it to the top 10 someday for a 5k, that would be amazing! :)  If not, hey, I'm also happy to say that I ran the race and finished.