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Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

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Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Rachel August on Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:24 pm

Nate and I had an amazing time in Iceland and we had a blast with the Thayers (so much so that I almost forgot that we were running the half on Monday night)! - There's a link to our pictures at the bottom of this LOOOOOONG writing thing -

A little about Iceland – it’s like no other place I’ve ever been – Nate and I rented a car and drove around the island the day after the race. We were on the island for 9 days – two days in Reykjavik (population 200,000) and the remaining days travelling to different spots (population 100,000 – the rest of the island). It was unbelievable how much the terrain would change in just a few short kilometers. We’d be driving through green farm lands with soft rolling hills for a while then the landscape would dramatically change and we’d find ourselves driving through a vast barren wasteland of dust and huge boulders that made us feel as if we had just stepped onto the surface of the moon. When we weren’t “driving on the surface of the moon” we would see waterfalls…..everywhere – BIG ones. They cascaded down the mountains behind farm houses, they thundered down steep rocky cliffs, they barreled and sprayed their magnificent forces into wild rocky rivers below. They were EVERYWHERE and they were beautiful!!!

The weather was okay – mostly good but we had one day of freezing cold and windy rain – the kind that stings your eyes and makes you want to crawl back into bed. We saw cyclists loaded down with packs pedaling their bikes uphill in this weather. Travelers carrying huge backpacks were hitchhiking in this weather – locals painted their houses in this weather…..life went on – people in Iceland don’t sit around waiting for the weather to clear – they live their lives in the moment regardless. One of the many lessons I take away from this island.

Driving the coast we were mostly near the shore, experiencing the drive along fjords of Eastern Iceland with no guard rails on these roads – cliffs straight down into the ocean kept us awake and alert! Hey, we’re not in the US – no baby handholding here – we became well aware that we needed to think for ourselves which was a very refreshing change from our normal American existence. During our stay we ate mostly fish – the freshest fish I’ve ever had which was always caught that very day (I’m from Michigan remember….so all you on the US coast bear with me) – I’ve never had fish this good!

We walked on the biggest Glacier in Europe Vatnajökull and we drank water directly from the stream of water that flowed on that glacier – no filter – just straight-up dip your hand in the ice-stream and drink! Purest water I’ve ever had!!! We also drank beer of the same name – it was the best beer in Iceland and we paid $4,000.00 Kronas for it (which is about $40.00 for four 12 oz. beers) – Yes, Iceland is expensive!

We also went whale watching on an oak boat up in Húsavík with about 50 other foreigners from all over the globe where we saw four whales, two of them were feeding together at the same time!

In addition, we visited Þingvellir which means "Parliament Plains" which was established around 930AD. This is also the place where you can clearly see the continental drift between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. Along this route (called the golden circle) we also visited geysers and the waterfall Gullfoss (golden falls).

Our favorite waterfalls though were located in the “diamond circle” area of Lake Mývatn - Dettifoss (the most powerful waterfall in Europe) and Goðafoss (waterfall of the Gods……because during the time of Iceland’s conversion to Christianity, the guy in charge threw the pagan Norse Gods into this waterfall) Dettifoss is located in one of those “I’m on the moon” topography – people literally stumble upon it, seeing the spray raising up through the wasteland of dust and rock is the only indication that something other than dirt and stone is close by. Goðafoss was simply beautiful, it was also a really nice day and so Nate and I got a chance to sit on the rocky cliffs to contemplate and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

Lake Mývatn was pretty special for me and my favorite place in all of Iceland – don’t know why – just got a feeling there of peace, it was personal and tranquil – ‘nuff said.

Akureyri gave us a chance to spend our hard earned American USD….. it’s the “capital of the North” in Iceland and it is charming! We spent our last day on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the town of Stykkishólmur (my VERY favorite Icelandic word) – by the time we got there we really understood the lava fields and had a deep appreciation for the power of the volcanoes on Iceland.

Oh – and the race????

I’d say it was truly the most spiritual race I’ve ever run. I didn’t do so good – but I immensely enjoyed and savored every step along the incredible scenery running under the midnight sun (the sun does not set and it was pretty light out when I finished at 11:30pm….I still had my sunglasses on). But it was tough for me running against some bad ass wind for the first six miles – and I was super cold towards the end when it started to rain. Still it was the best 13.1 miles (or excuse me, the best 21 km’s) I’ve ever run so far……and I don’t even have any pictures to show for it – but I guess it wasn’t about the “normal” races I’ve come accustomed to (you know, the bands playing – the cheerleaders cheering – someone dressing up in some silly mascot type outfit – hell, the Icelandic road-block volunteers didn’t even smile on the course…..they mostly sort of clapped in an “I’m so bored” manner never even making eye contact as we ran by them through the intersections). For me, this race was about something different – it was about gaining more confidence – it was about stepping outside of myself and not only seeing but truly experiencing my ability to do something different – something more natural – something more basic and intrinsically closer to my heart.

Here's our pictures - http://s807.photobucket.com/user/Rachel_August/slideshow/Iceland

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by echoguy on Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:29 am

Crampons and ice axes!!! Wow what is next.

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Dave Tuttle on Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:15 pm

Great pictures Rachel... We want to go to Iceland now!

Sounds like you all had a great time and a great race. Very cool that you and Marc could run together in such a beautiful place.

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by BA on Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:22 am

What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by RoadKillBill on Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:51 am

Wow a bucket list run for sure. Great trip and pics. What's next?

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Marc Thayer on Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:12 pm

Good on ya guys..captured the essence quite well. Ali's bacon huh? Probably about the same total Krona as Ms. L's coat

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by twal on Sat Jul 05, 2014 3:40 pm

Great story and pictures.

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Guest on Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:30 pm

Great race report. Loved the pics.

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Rachel August on Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:43 am

Thanks for your comments everyone! This was a big deal for me since I've not flown on a commercial airline in over 13 years prior to this trip. I've also not been to Europe.

Now that I've overcome my travelling fears, my better half wants to go to Ireland next....(he's even looked up races for me that I can run while over there) then he'd like to go to Sweden, Norway, Denmark......his list is endless....but we'll see what actually happens!



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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by trishb on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:20 pm

Great trip and love the pictures!!

So glad you got to do this!

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by russwyd on Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:46 pm

"Now that I've overcome my travelling fears, my better half wants to go to Ireland next....(he's even looked up races for me that I can run while over there) then he'd like to go to Sweden, Norway, Denmark......his list is endless....but we'll see what actually happens!"

Well, that sounds great and we'd love to meet up if you're over around our continent... and if we can get the HEART guys out to Iceland! Norway is lovely - Sarah works there regularly, I ran the Bergen marathon this year and it's a lovely city, and Sarah recommends Trondheim and Stravanga. If you thought Iceland was expensive though, be prepared to be shocked in Norway!
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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Rachel August on Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:52 am

russwyd wrote: Well, that sounds great and we'd love to meet up if you're over around our continent... and if we can get the HEART guys out to Iceland! Norway is lovely - Sarah works there regularly, I ran the Bergen marathon this year and it's a lovely city, and Sarah recommends Trondheim and Stravanga. If you thought Iceland was expensive though, be prepared to be shocked in Norway!

Thanks Russ - We'd love to meet up with you too.......I'm thinking next year is a real possibility!

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Marc Thayer on Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:25 am

In keeping with my theme of bridges and islands, England/Ireland is next on the list...followed by Hawaii. Then NZ & Australia. Japan is in there too. Gotta run the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges. Is there a Mackinaw run?

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Rachel August on Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:05 am

BONUS from our Iceland trip –

My husband and I got bumped off our flight on our return home from Iceland – Anyway Icelandair ended up sending us to the Saga Lounge at the Keflavik Airport while they re-routed us on FIRST CLASS to Boston – FIRST CLASS! We were three rows behind the pilots – ALL the wine we could drink – REALLY GOOD food on REAL china…..dessert…...free use of the headphones…..I’d never flown first class – it was AMAZING – plus (and this is the best part) – they just wired us $1,000.00 USD for causing us this inconvenience! (We did lose our luggage when we landed in Canada….AirCanada’s fault….but they flew the bags to Detroit and some nice man drove across the state a day later to deliver them to our house)

Anyone flying to Iceland should fly Icelandair!!!

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Re: Iceland Half – Iceland Pictures

Post by Dave Tuttle on Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:59 am

Wow!! Now that is the way to treat customers... Diane and I would love to go to Iceland someday. It looks fantastic!

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