Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Latabæjarhlaup and My Trip to Iceland

Over the past 10 days I traversed Iceland with Mum and Dad and six of our friends (Jen, Keith, Catherine, Ken, Sharvari, and Noah).  We started the trip off by traveling up to Akureyri in the North and then spent the second half of the trip in and around Reykjavik.  I capped off my first trip outside the country with my first official race, the 550 meter Latabæjarhlaup (Lazy Town Run).  All and all great trip and glad to be home and back in my own bed.

Akureyri and The Jardbodin Lagoon

Our first stop was Akureyri, a small city on a fjord in North Iceland.  The first thing we did after arriving was head to one of their thermally heated pools.  Just imagine a full-size outdoor pool, a good size kiddy pool, and water slides all as warm as the bath.  It was pretty cool ... I mean warm. 

After a sleepless night (somehow we ended up staying next to a club that had dance party in the street from 1-4 am) we headed out to Lake Myvatn for a hike on a volcano and to see the Goðafoss waterfall. 

The second full day up north was one of my favorite days of the trip.  First we got to see some thermal vents which came complete with boiling mud.  Mum and Dad wouldn't let me play in it.  Something about being to hot.  Second we saw Dettifoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in all of Europe.  Third we hit up the Jabodin lagoon, a thermally heated pond.  They even had swimmies for me to use.  I think I can really get use to this warm water swimming thing.   

Finally we stopped at a local cafe for some rye bread that they bake right in the steam coming from the ground.  We learned quickly that even though it is a little chilly in Iceland, they sure don't have shortage on heat. 

The following morning we flew back to Reykjavik where we would spend the rest of our trip. 

My First Whale Watch

After arriving in Reykjavik and checking into our flat, we decided to go out on a whale watch since it was a beautiful sunny day.  First we saw some dolphins. They love to come right up to the boat and say hello. Then we saw some Minke whales, but they stay under water too long for my attention span.  

After we took a hot chocolate break below deck we stopped over at Puffin Island to see some of the funny little birds.  Man can they fly once they get going and they have nice bright beaks so you can pick them out easily.  Mum and Dad got me a little stuffed one to take home.   

The Golden Circle

Next up was a day trip known as the Golden Circle.  This was a loop from Reykjavik with stops to see a lake, some geysers, a waterfall, and stop in a little town named Hveragerði, where got some earth cooked chocolate cake.

My favorite part was the Strokkur Geyser which erupts every five minutes or so.  There were a few other geysers including the original "Geysir" and "Litli Geysir", which I think they setup just for me, but those don't erupt very often.  It is awesome watching water shoot 30 feet in to the air. 

Mt Esja

The following day we did a short hike just outside of Reykjavik at Mount Esja, where Dad let me ride in the pack on his back.  We got most of the way up it, but It was a little too cold and windy for me, so I insisted we head back down.  Once out of the wind, I felt much better and took Mum and Dad on a grand tour of the picnic area and parking lot.  We also stopped over at a Cafe for a cappuccino and used the free wifi to check Facebook and see what was going on in the outside world.  

Latabæjarhlaup and Watching Dad Run the Marathon

Saturday was the big day.  Dad was taking on his second road marathon and I was taking on my first running race.  After a quick breakfast, we left the flat and wondered down to the race start.  It was chilly and rainy, something that seems to keep happening at races I attend (for the record the 4 marathon distance races or longer that I have been around for have been in the rain). 

Dad's race started at 8:40 and he and Keith were out of sight within a minute.  Mum, Jen, and I headed off to a Cafe to warm up and get something to eat.  We didn't see Dad again for a few hours until we caught up to him around mile 21. He looked a little warn out, but seemed to be in good spirits.  I cheered as loud as I could for him, hoping to give him that extra boost that he needed. 

He finished the race in 3:09:01, just 4 minutes off Boston qualifying time.  I told him that he should look at it as though he is 2 years too young, not 4 minutes too slow.  Anyways, that was a personal best for him by over 10 minutes, which I take full credit for of course. 

A couple of hours later, we regrouped down town for my race.  The name of the race was Latabæjarhlaup, which translates to Lazy Town Run and is led by two characters from the TV show Lazy Town.  Before we started, they made us all take a pledge to drink our milk, which I found quite silly as a I really like milk anyways.

It got a little hectic once the race began with people running wildly in all directions.  I did pretty well for the first third of the race, but then I caught sight of a pretty cool fountain in the pond off to the right.  I tried to get too it, but Dad kept picking me up and putting me back in the road.  I started to get a little tired, by the half way point, so Dad picked me up and carried me most of the rest of the way.

I finished the race in 10:42, just a mere, 2 hours and 58 minutes faster then Dad did his race.  After I finished they gave me a medal, which I promptly bit, to make sure it was real. 

After a long afternoon nap, we hit up one of the thermal pools one more time before relaxing for the evening.  We flew out early the next morning after making a quick pit stop at the duty free shop for chocolate.

I can't wait for my next adventure.

- The Little Maniac

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