A.k.a my living room.
I have been tasting the alcohol I brought from Iceland. With some excellent company I might add, Ellen, Kelsey and Sumit.
One phrase reviews:
Birkir Snaps (Birch schnapps) – unique but inviting flavor
Reyka (vodka) – vodka-ish
Lava Icelandic Bitter – awesome smooth pleasant surprise
Brennivin Sidan (schnapps – considered Iceland’s signature drink) – no
Por Viking schnapps – close your eyes, bottoms up
Isafold gin – gin
Freyja Viking schnapps – once is enough for a lifetime
Brennivin Aquavit – nice
Brennivin Blueberry Liqueur – the champion taste
Floki whiskey young single malt – with great difficulty comes great taste
What happened in Iceland, does not stay in Iceland.
What I mean is, 10 days later, I’m still limping around, haven’t gone out on a run etc. BUT, I’m limping around on cloud 9, you know, that one. Every time I retell my race story, it feels like I’m making it up! Even in the worst possible moments, I was able to come up with something that helped me go on! Whenever I thought I couldn’t dig any deeper, I did! It was only my physiological limitations that stopped me. I’ve cherished even the darkest moments.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
I was screaming (more like rawr-ing, very primal) at the top of the my pitch, in the middle of the nowhere, for no one to hear, many times, many days. It is liberating, I totally recommend it.
When I landed in Iceland, I was very scared, struggling to focus on the upcoming (humongous)task, I failed to notice anything and everything. After getting back to civilization, post race, I noticed that Icelandic women are just gorgeous! And soooo friendly! I wanna go back to Iceland to explore more of …. you know… the scenery! 😉
What happened in Iceland is slowly sinking In and I am beginning to believe it actually happened! I wrote up about the race based on what I remember. I regret not taking more, strategic pictures.
Day 1 – Monday August 29, 2016
Bright and shiny outside, totally freaking out inside! Completed the day which included a humongous hill but mostly OK terrain. Lake, lots of volcanic ash and lava. My pack was too heavy, over 32 lbs and my left shoulder took the brunt of it. Get patched by the med team in the evening. The same camp as last night, by Askja the volcano.
Miles and miles of lava rock terrain. Was it a mistake, or did they mean it be the course! There were some beautiful mountains along the way. The highlight of the day being seeing Herðubreið, the “queen” of Icelandic mountains. A lil bit of rain towards the end of the day didn’t hurt much. But it was cold.
Hypothermia. DNF. 35 degree, rain all day, 2 glacier river crossings (about 50ft wide each, about knee deep water). That was the day. The camp was at the most expensive camp site in the world, inside a broken volcano! Saw some Northern lights. The whiskey flask I was carrying with me with some 15 yr old Glenfiddich made my tent mates happy!
Sunny and beautiful day. Severe shin issues as a result of walking through some super unfriendly terrains, limped my way to the camp for about 15 miles off the total of 30 miles. Walking on volcanic ash is like walking on a beach! There was this beautiful waterfall (it is the most powerful one in the northern hemisphere) with a rainbow framing it where I spent some time just admiring it. Saw more, brighter, bigger Northern Lights!
Toughest terrain, the first (almost)12 miles were through Heathland vegetation. My already injured left leg was completely mad at em for doign this! At the first checkpoint, I decided enough is enough, time to stop for the day. Not an easy decision but I had to. The truck drove me straight to the natural hot bath thigies, right next to the camp! Dipping in that spring was one of the best experience ever! After that, where I was sitting, the wind kept bringing steam out of the springs.
The race director would not allow me to race today, citing my injury. So I went on a limping run / walk for 10+ miles on my own, without the pack, just a bottle of water and a bag of roasted chick peas (I regretted not taking my phone with me when I walked past “boiling mud” pits!). It was fun, why couldn’t I do that the whole time! 🙂
Coming up, more Iceland shit, with pictures. Stay tuned…..
Fire & Ice Ultra, Iceland’s toughest foot race, is done! In the end, I ran / walked 130ish miles in 5 days. Came short of my goal but the amazing memories that I will cherish, forever… This race, and the preparation leading up to it, which started in January 2016, changed me as a man, forever. I don’t even know where to start, to talk about all of it. All the amazing people that came into my life because of this is a huge plus. In the next few days, I will try to breakdown the little details of the whole trip to Iceland. And more heartfelt thank you notes to follow. Can’t wait to get home and be with my boys, Tango and Foxtrot!
Queen of the mountain or Iceland. That’s what it means.
Got here this morning. From DC melting pot to 8°C, instant frozen nuts. So far…
. Had the most delicious coffee
. Ate vegan pizza
. Drank the delicious local brew Thule
. Met a few awesome athletes
. Race kit got approved
. Got the race bib
. Almost everyone I came across was staring at me. Is there a bat in the cave?
What does Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson(who?) have in common?
There was a Caturday night party at my place with me and the boys. We watched the movie “The Intern”. Twice. (this is a clue to the answer)
As it gets closer to my race, more and more of my body is being converted to just nerves. What is the best way to remain calm? Yoga? No. Meditation? May be. Whiskey? YES! (but i can’t) Anne Hathaway? Perfectly.
I used to watch Devil Wears Prada over and over and over… to feel better when I am anxious. Now it’s “The Intern”. Why these movies, you ask? They have Anne Hathaway practically in every frame in the movie! (Now you know the answer to my original question) There were some waterworks during the show (mostly my kitties, they are weak) but feel good movies always make me happy. This movie has plenty of such moments. It is the lil things!
I am the guy who can’t get a good night’s sleep even if it just 10 mile race the next morning. So you can imagine how a 250 KM race can keep me up the whole week leading up to it. PSA: Find something that works and easy to do, to stay focused, eliminate freak-outs.
Yes, it is happening in just 7 days!
Am I ready?
Had enough training? NOOO. Packed? Somewhat. Food schedule? Thanks to my awesome dietitian, Cat, its almost there.
How do I feel? Nervous and excited. In related news, I have never felt stronger ever before (I think).
And watching The Bangles live last night was amazing. They haven’t skipped a beat. Spirits lifted, good distraction on the nervous energy. Good company that was Amy (from OK).
I wanna marry Susanna Hoffs.
Upon closer look, the base camp is a VOLCANO!
Now that the running part of this training is done, let me see how much I can bitch about what was not accomplished.
My training started on the second week of January this year ~ 32 weeks
No of races planned (20+ miles) 17
No of races registered 14
No of races completed 8
longest distance planned 40 miles
longest distance raced 26.2 miles
Major injuries 2
Time lost due to major injuries 9 weeks
Minor injuries ~1.2 million
time lost due to minor injuries 0 seconds
Did I get enough?
There is no such thing, training is like cowbell, you always need more.
I think I can do this. Not going to care whether I am losing weight or my fatness has changed.
I need to do this.
Why do I need to do this?
I have not always been vegan. In my “pregan” days, I have run 3 marathons and a couple of duathalons and a few long distance bike races and one RAGBRAI and countless other races. I was part of an elite group of athletes. We did awesome shit together. All of us, except me, were BIG meat eaters, some even
paleo. When I became fully plant based, there were skeptics. I was warned by some well wishers how I will drop my performance and even become a non-athlete.
Oh, the horror.
And then there is always the lack of … ugh… protein.
Vegan. I had to do it. If I never race again, that’s ok. But animals rights is first in my life. I took more than a year off from “athleting”, also due to a diagnosis as being diabetic (lovely, thanks mom for this gift that keeps on giving).
Diabetic athlete – an endurance athlete that is – does not exist. More on that story later.