In my post about Skógafoss, I mentioned that I spent a few tedious hours in Photoshop cloning out tourists. This led to some questions from my friend Duncan about the time I put in to remove the tourists, which in turn put it into my head to upload this. There really were a million of us tourists all over the place. :p
I don’t have too much to report about Skógafoss as our group only stopped for 20 minutes on our way back to Reykjavik from Sólheimajökull. My impressions were dominated by the impressive scale of the scenery, desolate landscape and million-odd other tourists. I spent two hours between these three photographs cloning out other visitors to the waterfall.
While I know it’ll take a bit of planning, I hope to visit again next summer when I hike the Laugavegur trail.
What’s a mountain for except a quick selfie? Taken on Croagh Patrick in Mayo, October 27 2018.
Taken at Keem Beach, Achill Co. Mayo
103/496 (21/100 normalised)
Previous race: Hjartadagshlaupið 2018 10k, Reykjavik
And this a whole different kettle of fish. Gaelforce runs are off the road, over the hill and somewhere far off by the sea in a league of their own. Where I enjoyed a flat and even course in Iceland, the Howth Summit had me duck under trees and wade through bogs. And wet. Wettttt. The day was wet, okay? We enjoyed thematically-appropriate weather.
Yeah, so Gaelforce hold their runs on rough outdoor trails. The course at Howth went straight from Deerpark into the forest above. Then through the beautiful temperate rain forest and out onto the bogs on top of the Head. After that the course completed its first third with a drop down by road to the Summit pub.
On the way down I fell in with a group of other runners (hey o/) and we chatted for a bit about the tough course. That was a great boost, a lovely bit of community on the road.
The second leg of of the course brought me back up to the antenna mast at the summit for a second time before it dove hard into brush and bog again.
The final leg of the run was a sharp descent through town to the main road and to the finish at the Deerpark club house. On Saturday, far more than any other recent run, I had to push myself to finish. By the end I kept my eyes down at my feet. I didn’t want to know how much farther I had to run, or who was about me. All I wanted was for my feet to move as fast as they could. Right after I crossed the line my legs gave out. It took a bit hug from my companion (and a runner pinking up) to get me back on my feet.
I found the going to be brutal in parts, and that before a day where the wind blew and rain fell. It was bad enough that I had slow down and walk twice for the sake of my injured knee. We all had to work hard on the day. When I look at the results I get that I finished halfway down my wave (wave 1), but finished in the top 20%. That feels brilliant to me. I’m happy that I competed and proud that I did so well by my own standard.
57/188 (30/100 normalised)
Previous race: SSE Airtricity Dublin Half Marathon
The Hjartadagshlaupið (Heart Day) run seems to be an annual community in Reykjavik. This year’s route, a there-and-back loop by the sea around the Kársnes peninsula, was shared by the 5k and 10k races.
The Icelandic language barrier intimidated me, because I’m an anxious traveller. The lovely locals made me welcome and at ease. Even in a local crowd I could pick out snippets of English. So, Reykjavik in October is fucking cold, as the city sits on the ocean. The wind off the water cut right through my leggings and top before I warmed up.
The course was on a pedestrian track around the shore, so the worst I had to watch out for were morning walkers. I enjoyed flat, fast run to and back from the turnaround. The worst I have to say is that I sprained my ankle in a bad way, which had a knock-on effect later in the week. It wound up so bad that I had to cancel a planned hike on Wednesday. I could hardly walk down the street, let alone up a bloody mountain!
Super awesome, fun run, one I’m going do again next October. Iceland. 💖