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I finally adjusted to the heat, chaos, and road conditions on Skyros and hit 20+ miles a week. I’ve never felt so dedicated to something in my entire life… By the end of the day, I am so exhausted that all I want to do is sleep. And eat everything I can get my hands on. But, with the Wine Half Marathon looming at the end of August, I persevere and head out to run 4x each week. My "long run" is scheduled to fall on my day off so I have time to mentally prepare to run ++ miles without the ability to carry food or water.

After my long run, I jump fully clothed (minus shoes) into the Aegean Sea to cool off and slowly stretch out my muscles. The other days of the week? I do lunges across the yard to the house, destroy myself with core and leg exercises, and have recently began doing pull ups and workouts on a conveniently-located tree branch. It’s exhausting. But worth it.

Running has allowed me to see more of the island than I would have otherwise been able to. It has also allowed me time to decompress by myself and process any frustrations I may need to work through. Running here has also pushed me to stop running with music and to really tune into my environment- nights like tonight when I ran in the growing darkness down a gravel road lined with pastures full of sheep. I could hear them calling to each other and their bleats (and several moments of panic) harmonized with the sound of my own breathing. It was magical. Running without music has also allowed me to prevent my own death on numerous occasions. Greek drivers are haphazard and loud (they honk A LOT) and oftentimes they forget to turn on their headlights late at night so innocent runners taking advantage of the 75* temperatures such as myself are at high risk for being run off the road. Without music, I hear them coming and dart onto the shoulder. Proper planning, right?

The two other volunteers here are casual runners so I’m not the only one heading out for the occasional sweat fest but the farmers in Trachi now all know me by name and yell “yasou, Corie!” whenever I run by. They also laugh and mime running motions with their arms when we run into each other off the farm roads. I’m pretty sure they think I’m a crazy person.

I am pleased with myself so far and am happy that although I may be nearly a full minute slower per mile I’m Greece, at least I’m running and am maintaining some semblance of fitness while I’m frolicking around the island (if working 11 hour days can be considered frolicking…).

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