Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekly Review

I've been away from online stuff for about a week because I was struggling a bit last week.  Work was really busy and the horrible events in Orlando were hitting me hard. So I spent a lot of last week working and trying to surround myself with friends.

I also was resting my foot so I didn't work out at all last week.  I'm hoping that the week of complete rest (except for walking) will get my foot back to normal.  But here is what I did do last week.

Monday - rest

Tuesday - I decided to book 30 minutes on one of the treadmill desks at work and did that for every day this week except Monday.

Wednesday - 30 minutes on the treadmill desk plus walking to meet old friends downtown after work, approximately a mile from the metro to the restaurant and back.

Friends for 20 years

Thursday - 30 minutes on the treadmill desk plus a 30 minute walk after work and meeting friends for dinner and some dancing.

Dupont Circle still decked out for Pride

Friday - 30 minutes on the treadmill desk and 20 minute walk around the town center after work.

Saturday - volunteering at a wine festival with a friend.  This was a lot of fun as we talked to a lot of people about wine and poured for tastings.  Plus, we got a couple bottles of wine in return for our time.

Sunday - complete rest day since my foot was a bit sore again from spending 4 hours on my feet while volunteering Saturday

So that was my week. I may not be online much this week either since I have a conference at the beginning of the week and then am leaving to go camping with friends during the later part of the week.  But I'd still love to hear from all of you and how you're doing!

I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Weekly Review

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  It was a busy one here but fun.  Here's a quick recap of how my week went.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - a bit more than 35 minutes at the gym

Friday - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred

Saturday - Lawyer's Have Heart (I was signed up for the 10k but ended up doing the 5k since I was not handling the heat well.  More on this in a later post).  We also went out with friends Saturday night to celebrate their anniversary.

Post race selfie time!

Sunday- Jillian Michael's 30 day shred and we had friends over in the evening to watch the Tony Awards.  I made a lot of yummy food themed to the best musical nominees but sadly forgot to take photos.  #bloggerfail

Living room full of Hamilton fans

But we had a great time catching up with friends over the weekend.  Sadly, my foot pain is back.  I didn't notice it after Saturday's race but the first time I noticed it hurting was during the 30 day shred jumping jacks on Sunday.  I don't think the jumping jacks caused it though.  I'm going to ice and rest this week and we'll see how it goes.

I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Iceland trip review - Part 1

Here is my trip review of Iceland!  I think I'm going to split it up into 2 parts, the first a summary of things we did away from the capital city of Reykjavik and the second a summary of things we did in the city.  In case you missed it, I also have a general post on some tips for Iceland.

Several people have asked why we decided to go to Iceland.  In my case, it's because I had a couple friends that went there and raved about it.  From Baltimore, it was only a five and half hour flight so it wouldn't take too long to get there.  And last of all, we ended up finding a decent deal for a hotel/flight combo on Expedia.  So the decision was made!

And we were by no means the only people visiting.  Peak touring season is June to August and we were there in late May so things were already crowded.  Here's a chart from Wikipedia that illustrates the growth in tourism in Iceland and there are already more tourists per year than the population of the country!


We stayed in the capital city of Reykjavik for 4 nights at the Centerhotel Thingholt.  We planned 2 days of day trips to see a bit of the country outside the capital and 2 days of staying in the city to see stuff there.  So here is the information on the day trips we took.

Golden Circle - If you only had one day in Iceland, the Golden Circle is what I would recommend that you see.  It is very tourist-y and the thing most people go to see.  But here's the thing.  I feel like popular sites are popular for a reason.  The golden circle consists of a national park where 2 tectonic plates meet, a waterfall and a geyser.  It's a good overview of the things that Iceland has to offer and close enough to the city that it's an easy day trip.  We took an organized tour with a small group but the roads looked good and it seemed like it would be fairly easy to drive if you rented a car.

In addition to the main Golden Circle sites, we also saw another waterfall, a spa where they bake their bread under ground using the geothermal heat, and then finished the day relaxing at the Secret Lagoon, which is a natural hot spring.  It clearly wasn't a secret anymore as there were plenty of tourists there but it was still beautiful.  It felt amazing to be able to relax in the warm water while feeling the cool air on your face and looking out over the beautiful view.
Photo from Secret Lagoon website as we didn't have anything with us to take photos in the water

If you're interested in specifics, we took the Hot Golden Circle tour with Gateway to Iceland.

South Coast - The next day tour we had planned was the South Coast of Iceland.  Again, we did it with a small group tour but the roads looked like they would have been easy to drive if you had a car.  This is another pretty popular area to see and the sites were relatively crowded.  But everything was still magical to see.  The only downside was that this tour made for a really long day.  We were picked up at our hotel around 9:30 in the morning and we didn't get off the bus until after 9pm.  The tour we took was the Sensational Iceland tour with Extreme Iceland.

The South Coast tours generally consist of Waterfalls (one was in a cave and you could walk behind the other one, so cool!).  We were really happy of our water resistant shoes and clothing while at the waterfalls.

After the waterfalls, we went to see a glacier.  Our tour included actual glacier hiking and required a fair level of being in good health and active.  We were all sweating by the end.  We strapped crampons into our shoes, had a harness, helmet, and ice pick (which was mostly just for cool photos).  We spent about an hour walking on the glacier.  It was amazing and the definite highlight of the day.  I felt like every time I turned around, the view was even more breathtaking than the last time.

The trip ended with a stop at a black sand beach.  It was a beautiful area and after some walking along the beach, Mike and I found a nice spot on a hillside to just sit and contemplate the beautiful scenery around us.

Blue Lagoon - The Blue Lagoon is another very tourist-y experience.  It is something that you see on many lists as a must-do in Iceland.  It was nice, but expensive.  And I think both Mike and I liked the other hot springs we did in Iceland more than the Blue Lagoon.  But, it is very close to the airport.  And it is a convenient stop either on your way into the city or on your way back out to the airport.

We ended up stopping at the Blue Lagoon on our way out.  We booked an airport transfer which picked us up at our hotel and dropped us off at the Blue Lagoon in the morning.  I was glad we got there early because it was already crowded and there was already a bit of a line.  They did have an easy process for luggage storage since they know most people visit on their way to or from the airport.  We spent a couple hours in the hot springs and then hopped a bus to the airport.  The Blue Lagoon also provided plastic bags for wet swimsuits, which was handy.  There are minerals in the water that seems to be great for your skin.  There were silica masks you could put on your face but it did not treat my hair well.  My hair felt like straw afterward.  I was told their putting conditioner in your hair first would protect it but I apparently did not use enough.

I will say we didn't take advantage of all the Blue Lagoon has to offer.  They also have spa services, massages and a restaurant, which we didn't try.  I would say give it a try if it's convenient for you on the way to or from the airport but otherwise, I'd recommend finding other hot spring experiences in Iceland.

So that's it for the first part of my trip review.  I will say that I was very glad we did the day trips and got out of the city a bit, even if we stuck to heavily touristy areas.  They were still beautiful and unique experiences, and I felt like we did manage to find moments of peace and contemplation amongst the crowds.  There was a moment when we were sitting on a hill overlooking the black beach when Mike turned to me and said "We really are renting our space on this earth."  And I knew exactly what he meant.  There is no way to bask in all this natural beauty and see the power of the glaciers, volcanoes and geysers without contemplating the role we play in the larger scheme of the planet.  And I think that is what I appreciated most about our trip to Iceland.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Weekly Review

We had a great week but not much to report on the work out front, unfortunately.  A lot of the week was spent catching up on things at work and catching up on sleep after our Iceland trip.  I am happy to say that I was finally able to get a full night of sleep last night and feel fully rested.

Monday- I included this in last week's review since we were still in Iceland.  It was a lot of hiking to the tune of 19,217 steps.

Tuesday -  This was a travel day back to the US so not a lot of activity.  We went to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland before our flight.  We got home late in the evening due to some flight delays and were exhausted.

Wednesday - Back to work and rest day.

Thursday - about 40 minutes on the elliptical at the gym

Friday - rest day

Saturday - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred plus a lot of walking at a local science fiction convention.

Sunday - I slept poorly Saturday night (our thermostat was accidentally set too high) so I elected to get some extra sleep instead of wake up for a work out.  But we did go back to the convention and got in lots of steps there.

Perry exploring the TARDIS box we got at the convention

So that was a quick little summary of my week.  I hope everyone else had a good week too!  I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday five - Iceland tips

It's time for the Friday Five link up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney.  I haven't been able to participate in a couple weeks so I'm glad to be linking up with them again! I'm going to take the opportunity to talk about 5 tips I have for anyone else that plans a trip to Iceland.

1. Save up!  I knew it was going to be expensive.  I have heard that from everyone.  And I was still shocked at the prices for pretty much everything.  Even coming from DC, an expensive area of the country, the prices in Iceland seemed really high to me.  I was glad that we saved up money in advance so that we could still do the things we wanted to do and not have to drastically alter our plans.  We also had paid for the hotel and many of our tours in advance, so that helped to spread the cost out.

Beautiful drink, but expensive!

2. Waterproof everything - We were so happy that we invested in good, waterproof hiking boots, water resistant pants, and a 3 in 1 jacket with a water resistant shell.  It seemed like there was at least a little bit of rain every day.  And even when it wasn't raining, there were waterfalls that kicked up amazing amounts of water.  One thing I regret is that we didn't have water-proof cameras with us.  There were amazing moments we weren't able to capture when we were whale watching, at the water falls, or in a hot spring. Oh, and take swim suits!  I know one doesn't expect to need swim suits in a place called Iceland but relaxing in the natural hot springs while the cold wind blew around us was amazing.

Trying to take a photo through a ziploc bag, not so successful

3. Venture off the beaten path a bit - We stayed in Reykjavik (the capital city) and ventured out for day trips.  For the most part, we went to see mainly the heavily recommended tourist sites.  But we did venture out on our days when we were in Reykjavik itself to see some places that were meant more for locals.  And we talked to some locals for recommendations on places to go, restaurants, bars, etc.  Everyone was really nice,and most people spoke flawless English.  If we go back again, I would definitely venture further afield to see more of the country and some less crowded areas.  I'm glad we saw the things we did but there were a lot of tourists everywhere we went and things began to feel a bit crowded

A geothermal beach on the North Atlantic where everyone else was a local

4. Have enough time to enjoy quiet moments - It can be so tempting to rush through a vacation, especially one in a place with so many beautiful things to see and far enough away that you're not sure you can go back.  But the moments that I remember the most from Iceland are the quiet ones we had to just sit and contemplate everything around us.  I'm glad that there was space for that in our schedule instead of constantly rushing from one thing to the other (though there was definitely some of that as well).

5. Race shirts - I packed a lot of race shirts to wear because I felt like the moisture wicking tech fabric would be a good option.  And it was.  But another benefit is that they sparked conversations with fellow travelers :)  I met a couple from Virginia when I was wearing my Richmond half marathon shirt and I met a group of girls who had just graduated from my alma mater when I was wearing my RnR DC shirt. I had never though about the fact that they were good ice breakers :)

So those are my tips if you're planning a trip to Iceland!  I'd love to hear any other tips for traveling that you have as well.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Weekly review

I'm back from Iceland!  It was an absolutely amazing trip and I promise I'll be writing more about it in the next couple weeks.  In the meantime, Here is a quick little review focusing on my work outs  for the week.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred

Wednesday - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred.  I was a little worried that I would be really sore after doing it 2 days in a row but it wasn't too bad.  Just that pleasant sort of soreness that lets you know you've worked hard.

Thursday- Travel day so it was a rest day

Friday- Walking around Reykjavik in the rain for 15,516 steps

Saturday - Hiking during a day tour to see the Golden Triangle sites (18,216 steps)

Sunday - More walking around the city including a mile hike down to a geothermal beach and back (17,539 steps)

Monday - Another day trip including walking around waterfalls and a glacier hike (19,217 steps)

Tuesday was our flight back home.  I'm happy to be home but definitely miss Iceland and our time there.  I usually go on vacation, love everywhere I go, but rarely want to go back just because there are so many other amazing places to see out there.  However, I'm already thinking about how I can get back to Iceland.

I hope all of you had a great week!  I wasn't able to keep up with reading blogs while I was gone but I'm hoping to be able to catch up soon.