September 2014 Recap

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Runs: 11
Miles: 42.7
Races: 3 (Suds Run 5K - 38:46; Thunder Bay 5K - 36:27; Circle K 5K - 36:48)
Outdoors: All!
Indoors: None
Longest: 6 miles (twice)
Average Pace: 12:34

September was frustrating. I started out the month with a 6 mile run and hurt my foot. That set me back a few days. The next day I went on vacation to Iceland so I didn’t get much running done there…I went 3 miles one day. I came back from Iceland and got Bronchitis. I ran 2 races with Bronchitis, the Suds Run 5K which was when I was at the worse and Thunder Bay 5K a week later. Thankfully I had an antibiotic in between time and managed to clear most of it up. The Suds Run was especially frustrating because I got stung by wasps at the end of the race. It wasn’t a good weekend…or month! I picked up my running the last week and a half. I did 6 runs in 10 days. All were longer than 3 miles with two 4.5 milers, a 5 miler and another 6 miler. At least after the last 6 miler I don’t think I hurt myself. September was a month of firsts. My first run internationally and my first international race (Iceland and Canada).

Trophies for September


Circle K 5K

Monday, September 29, 2014

Last week was busy and I didn’t write anything about it. Eric had a soccer game on Monday. I did a 4.5 mile run. I was definitely tired from the 5K on Sunday and probably the long ride home too.  Tuesday was our last Twins game of the 2014 season. They won. Yay! I’m glad the season is done. It is really too dang long! Wednesday I took the day off. It was great. I slept in until 9. Took the car in for repair, ran a slow 5 miles and just relaxed on the couch and watched TV. It was great to do nothing. Sure I should have folded some clothes or clean the house but I didn’t feel like.

Insanity Thursday
Thursday morning we discovered that our refrigerator stopped working again. Dang it! Why couldn’t that have happened when I was home on Wednesday?  There was nothing we could do about it Thursday morning so I just hoped the food would stay cold enough until I got home from work. I bought a deep freeze since I had bought a ton of frozen foods the day before. And we really should have one. But there were other issues with Thursday too. Eric’s 6pm soccer game was moved to 4:30pm and he wasn’t informed. He found out at 9pm Wednesday night. There was no way he was going to make a 4:30pm game unless he could use the car pool lane. So I got to go along. I dropped him off at Burnsville HS, picked up some ice, drove home to put the refrigerator stuff in the cooler with ice and pick up the Ford, drop off my band folder with another band member (I missed the first night of band practice!), drove back to Burnsville to pick up Eric, went to Lakeville’s Wal-Mart to pick up my new deep freezer (only store that had one in stock), and eventually made it back home. It was a night of running around.

Another Day Off
I took Friday off so they could come fix the fridge. I didn’t sleep in like Wednesday. I was wide awake early so I started cleaning the house before the repair guy came. He came right at 10am…that never happens that they come at the beginning of the “window.” After he fixed it, which took all of 15 minutes, my fridge was working again. I couldn’t do my typical day off plan of going for a long run because we were doing a 5K that night in Mankato.  I decided to tackle the garage. I spent over 5 hours cleaning the garage. Both the recycling and garbage cans were full, over the top. I donated a couple of chairs and a coffee table that were sitting in there. I crushed a lot of boxes and reorganized the shelves. It looks pretty awesome in there now. I was so proud. Eric’s only comment when he got home was the garbage cans were full!  That man!

5K Women’s Winner
As soon as Eric got home we rushed down to Mankato for the Race to Eliminate for Danielle’s Circle K group. It was a very small race. There were 7 runners.  Danielle managed to get 4 of the 7 runners. The “race” wasn’t my best effort but it is hard to run when you are in front of the slower runners and the fast pack is gone. So it was like a training run except I paid to do it and got a gift card at the finish because I was the first women runner to cross the finish. It was DJ, Brenda and I running it. DJ was leading me at one point but I managed to finish in front. Yay me! We celebrated by eating at Culvers.

Moving Day
Friday night we stayed by DJs because were helping her move Saturday. We did a lot of stuff on Saturday. I climbed a lot of steps! Overall it was a busy day but we got her almost entirely moved over now so that is good. We came home and went to dinner at Greg and Celeste’s new house.

Relaxing Day
Sunday we pretty much relaxed all day. We did a bit of shopping and I went for a run. It was a good run. I did 4.5 miles and I felt like I could have gone 2 more so I think I’m fine for the 10K in a few weeks.

Thunder Bay Marathon - 5K - Miles with the Giant

Monday, September 22, 2014



My first international race is in the bag. :) The run itself wasn’t anything special but it was my first outside the U.S. so it is special to me.

The Start
There were only about 80 of us doing the 5k (the marathon had around 100) so it was really small. But it is a relatively new race so give it time. We started in Marina Park and we had to run up and over the overpass.  We started with a hill. Ugh! I was feeling good that first mile and thought this was going to be a good race. I was smiling and the volunteers were great. Some of them I saw 4 times. This race was strange because it had 3 turnarounds. And we had to run the same part 4 times. You know how much I love out-and-back (not!). This race required me to do it twice. Not a fan! My first mile was around 11:27.

The Middle
So the middle was a lot of back and forth on a street mixed with 10K runners, half marathoners and the leader of the full marathon. He ran past me like I was standing still and he had done 24 miles already and he wasn’t even huffing and puffing like I was. It must be pretty amazing to be able to run like that. I’d like to just finish my insignificant 3 miles without huffing and puffing. LOL! At one of the second turnaround Mary Linda past me. My middle mile was just bad but I couldn’t blow my nose and run at the same time so I every time I walked.

The Finish
Mary Linda was in my sight the whole way and I really pushed that last mile to catch up to her. The overpass I complained about running up in the beginning was coming up soon which meant I could sprint down to the finish. I ran really fast (for me) down that hill with 10K runner. It was fantastic but when I realized that we didn’t get to run straight to the finish and had to loop around the park I got discouraged and slowed down. My time was 36:27. But the course was longer than a 5K so my average pace per mile was 11:18 which isn’t too far off of my Women Rock pace (when I was completely healthy) so I call that a good run even if my time was over 35. Again my last mile was my fastest!


No medal which makes me sad but Alice got me a clapper thing so I’m hanging that with pride! 

Here are pictures, splits and maps:





Thunder Bay and the Sleeping Giant

This past weekend I went with my friends Mary Linda and Alice to Thunder Bay. It was a girls’ weekend up north. We left Friday after lunch and drove the long road up to Canada. We got to our hotel pretty late, especially since Thunder Bay is in Eastern Time…oops…forgot that. LOL!  We had a really late dinner at the hotel restaurant and then retired for the evening.

Kit Pick Up!
Since this is Canada, it is called a “kit” not a packet so we headed over to the Mall to get our kit for the race. Mary Linda missed signing up online and tried to register in person but they only accepted cash…Canadian cash! So she wasn’t going to do it. One of the race volunteers, Tom, came up to us and we talked a while about the race, Thunder Bay, the states, Costco among other things and eventually Mary Linda took out some money and registered. I also took out some money for a long sleeve running shirt. When I went to pay, the girl said we except cards…Doh!  I didn’t have to take out money, I could have just used my card. LOL! We eventually got out of there and headed to the Harley dealer so Alice could stock up on Thunder Bay Harley gear.

Bum Numbing Road
Finally we made our way to the Sleeping Giant. It is a bit of a drive from Thunder Bay but worth it. The first thing we did was drive the 9km gravel road to the Thunder Bay Lookout...it reminded me of the road we took to the glacier in Iceland. Except this time I was driving! It was pretty scary drive out to the point:


 but the view was worth it:




The drive back didn’t seem as horrible. Maybe I was used to the road by then. Who knows!?

Sea Lion
The next stop, after a detour to Silver Islet at the end of the peninsula, we made our way to the Sea Lion. It wasn’t quite a mile hike to the point, it was fun with some challenges. We got some great pictures of the arch. So the name Sea Lion refers to a lion in the sea not the sea lion animal…I was confused. The arch used to have a lion’s head and looked like a lion but it fell off in the early 1900s. So now it looks like this:




We did some more hiking around the beach area before heading back to Thunder Bay.


Swiss Chalet
If you ever visit Canada, eat at Swiss Chalet. Their chicken is the best. Eric and I ate at one in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada many years ago on our Great Lakes Road Trip. It was so delicious, we think about it every so often and wished there was one here. Anyways, I was so excited that Thunder Bay has since got one (it was new in 2012).  We had to go there, I had to show Mary Linda and Alice what good chicken taste like. It didn’t disappoint!

Sunday
We started off the morning packing up the room and heading to Starbucks for our pre-race drink. Next we headed to the Thunder Bay Marathon area…my report on that race will be in a separate post…The race went well. Mary Linda beat me by 28 seconds. My time was pretty good considering I’m still recovering from Bronchitis!

After the race we did a little shopping at the mall before heading south. We stopped for a late lunch in Grand Marais, MN. A very good little restaurant called A Piece of Pie Café. We eventually made our way to Alice’s house. Here is Duluth:

It was a great, fun-filled weekend.

Swirl "Chew 'em Up' Williams

Suds Run 5K+

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This was an overall very frustrating race. Firstly I felt terrible before the race but Eric insisted I was fine and that he ran cross country when he was sicker. Thanks honey but you were also half my age at the time. Argh! It was a very brisk morning and normally I’d welcome the cold but when your chest feels terrible the last thing you should probably do is breathe a lot of cold air into it right?

The Start
The Start was across the Stone Arch Bridge. Races in Minneapolis LOVE the Stone Arch Bridge. I have run across it in so many different races. Because this was the start they started us in waves of 500 so it took us a while to get started. Nothing too exciting about the start, my pace was really good. The first mile was under 11 minutes. But after mile 1 I started getting the pain in my chest.

The Middle
I don’t remember much about the middle. There was a water stop I walked through and there was the bridge I had issues with at the Get Lucky 7K but this time I actually ran it so that is progress. Somewhere around there was the “beer stop” at the beer garden. I ran past it because I don’t like beer, especially not at 10am but there were a lot of people hang out there so I guess it is the thing to do.

The Finish
The last mile was the worse. I was having a hard time breathing. I walked so much because I just couldn’t run. Eric kept telling me I was fine and to keep going. He isn’t a very good coach. He eventually took off on me. It felt like the finish was never coming. The run was 3.33 miles way over a 5K. So that is one reason for the horrible time the other is the fact I could breathe for 1.33 miles of it. Eric tried getting a picture of me but I wasn’t happy so I didn’t want that. 

After
We got water and bananas and just walked around. I pointed out all the bees wasps swarming around a tree. So what does he do? He walks right past them! I’m stupid and followed. They were attracted to me. I had them on my socks and stuck to my pants. I got stung at least 3 times around my ankle and twice in my upper thigh, front and back. I was so panicked I kicked off my shoe and tore off my sock. There were so many of them stuck to my sock. I know it was a scene but I hate bees and they were continuously stinging me. They never stung Eric. We got our pork sandwich which I couldn’t eat and we eventually made our way home. I was miserable. I spent the rest of the day at home doing nothing. I felt sick. Sunday wasn’t any better and yesterday I called in sick to work. I have bronchitis. Geez, I wonder if running when I didn’t feel good in cold weather had anything to do with it.
   




Reykjavik in Panorama

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Have I mentioned that I love my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone? These amazing pictures are from my phone's camera. Amazing! Click on the images for bigger picture.




The Blue Lagoon

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Blue Lagoon…the must do Iceland activity. I’m not sure I completely agree with that statement. But it seems like everybody does it.

Am I glad I did it? Sure. Was it worth? Probably not. 

The cost of admission was about $95 for Eric and I. The most expensive thing we did on the trip (besides Greenland, but that involved round trip airfare and a guide for 5 hours). For that $95 we only got admission into the place. If we wanted a drink and towel that would have been an additional $90. It is way too expensive. If somebody is traveling to Iceland on a budget, forget the Blue Lagoon and rent a car and tour the South Coast. It will cost you the same but the experience would be way more enjoyable! 

So back the lagoon. It isn’t as big as I was expecting. The water felt nice and warm but some places were too hot. It isn’t a natural wonder. It is actually “produced” by the plant that steams in the background. It doesn’t really smell, I was anticipating that rotten egg smell. It really messes with your hair and dries it out and I didn’t even put my head under water! The bottom is very uneven so I would not suggest somebody with bad footing to even try it. I also didn't like all the naked ladies walking around in the shower room. Lets just say they were not afraid to expose everything in the wide open. I'm more conservative and don't really care to see it in front of me like that.

So I guess my overall experience was ok. The water felt nice but after an hour I was so pruned that I had to get out. So for $95 I could have seen a lot more but like I said before it was an “experience.”


Here are some pictures:




Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the Rain

Today was disappointing. I had very HIGH expectations for the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the rain really dampened it. It was a long day and long drive. The drive up wasn’t so bad, it wasn’t raining too hard. Here are some of the pictures from the drive up:



Kirkjufell mountain in Grundarfjörður 
This is Kirkjufell which means church mountain. It is in the town of Grundarfjörður on the north side of the peninsula. It is over 1,500 feet tall and stands by itself on its own peninsula. In the sun it is amazing…it was of course raining when we got there and my camera started action up…another bad thing about this day. There is also the Kirkfoss waterfall nearby. I wanted to take this awesome picture with the waterfall and mountain but it was pouring so hard it was impossible.


Djúpalónssandur Beach
Next stop was Djúpalónssandur Beach on the west side of the peninsula. This was really a highlight of the trip. Even in the rain is was nice to go down to the beach. The rain was coming right at us and the winds were amazing but I still managed to get some nice shots. At this beach there are four lifting stones, used by fishermen to test their strength. They are Fullsterkur ("full strength") weighing 154 kg, Hálfsterkur ("half strength") at 100 kg, hálfdrættingur ("weakling") at 54 kg and Amlóði ("useless") 23 kg. They were traditionally used to qualify men for work on fishing boats, with the Hálfdrættingur being the minimum weight a man would have to lift onto a ledge at hip-height to qualify. Also on the beach there are remains of a fishing trawler that was wrecked there on March 13, 1948.







Hellnar and Arnarstapi
There is an amazing hike between these two towns but because of the heavy rain, winds and cold we just went to both ends of the hike and took pictures…sadly missing all that is between them.



Long Road back to Reykjavik
Finally we made our way back to Reykjavik through the tunnel that wouldn’t be allowed in the US.
The Hvalfjörður Tunnel received a bad rating in the 2010 European tunnel test. The problems with it include weak lighting, absence of an automatic fire alarm system, too weak ventilation in case of a fire and a far distance to the next fire station. We survived!


And finally a night picture of Hallgrímskirkja.

We got back too late for church so decided to drive down to the Blue Lagoon for the evening…I talk about that in another post.

The South Coast

Sunday, September 7, 2014

We started our trip to the south coast a little late because we had to stop at a sports store to get Eric’s Iceland National Team jersey. The store didn’t open until 10am. Nothing in Iceland opens before 10am. It is hard to schedule a day when you have to wait until 10am.

On the Road to Vik
The first stop on the south coast was over 2 hours away near the town of Vik. Along the way we had to stop for this little fella…just like deer…takes his time.

And we also had this:

Reynisdrangur
Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall near the village Vík í Mýrdal, southern Iceland. Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock. Iceland loves folklore (I guess we do too…with Paul and Babe, the Blue Ox.) Here are some pictures:



We walked around the beach before heading to our next stop.

Sólheimajökull Glacier
The next stop wasn’t on the schedule but we decided on a whim to check it out. It is the easiest glacier to get too…”easiest” is a loose term as it was a bumpy, rocky road to the end. I was a bit nervous in out tiny car but we made it there. Here is the road and close up of the glacier.


Skogarfoss
This is one powerful waterfall. The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 82 feet and a drop of 200 ft.  The spray was amazing. We couldn’t get too close to the bottom.


Seljalandsfoss & Gljufurafoss
This waterfall is also 200 feet tall but not nearly as powerful. The best feature of this waterfall is you can walk behind it. Very cool and very wet!

  

Gljufurafoss isn’t as well known, probably because it is hidden from view of Seljalandsfoss. Also it falls in to a canyon so you have walk through a narrow rock slot to get to it but it was very impressive. I really liked this one mostly because we were all alone.

Seljalandsfoss & other small waterfalls 
After all that we headed back to town for some dinner and called it a night.