Happy Mother’s Day! (a day late) And here’s a special shoutout to my wonderful, beautiful, hard working mom, and to Daniel’s mom as well. They are both amazing women, and I look up to them, and I’m sad I couldn’t be with them yesterday.
But let’s finally talk about *ICELAND* First of all, I wrote a post right before I left here about all of the people who made this trip possible, so you can go check that out.
I also posted after it was over here on instagram.
Buttttttt…for what it’s worth..thank you so much, AGAIN, to everyone who made this trip possible and supported me along the way.
Here’s a little about what went down…
I landed in Iceland around 7 am on Thursday for the Reykjavik CrossFit Championship. The flight wasn’t too bad, despite being in a middle seat and not having too much leg room, and no food on on the plane. Daniel and everyone else got 2 meals on his flight to Germany, so I am still jealous about that. It was raining pretty hard at the airport when we landed. I hadn’t planned on renting a car until my last couple of days, so I took the bus from the airport to Reykjavik. $50, a lot of confusion later, I was dropped off down the street from our Airbnb. Daniel, Steven, Taylor, Madeline, and Emily were all getting there waayyyy later that night. I was pretty tired and pretty hungry (what’s new?) so I ventured out to find something to eat at this place called kaffe and te.
I walked to the bus station to try and find a bus to take me to Mount Esja – the mountain we would be running the next day. No one was helpful, and I couldn’t figure it out, so I got groceries instead. I went to the local thermal, swimming pool – the largest in the city – which was a 5 min walk from our place. Because there isn’t a lot of chlorine in the pool, they make you strip down, shower naked, then put your bathing suit back on, and go straight outside to the pool. I just kinda went with the flow, acted like I had done this thousands of times before, and walked outside in the 40 degree, rainy weather. The pools felt amaaazing though. There were different hot tubs, and the lap pool was even pretty warm. I felt like a new woman when I left.
I checked in to the competition later that night, finally found some chicken from some gas station grocery store thing, and ended up walking a total of like 10 miles. Daniel and everyone else got there around 1 am, and they rented a car, which ended up being a great idea.
Ok, let’s talk about this mountain! We were bussed like 30 min away to Mount Esja. First of all, I’m going to say again how freaking cool this was that they put this in the competition. I’ll never forget getting to run on the Miami beach while the sun came up at Wodapalooza, and I’ll never forget running up that huge ski hill (twice) at Granite Games. And now I can say that I’ll never forget getting to run up one of Iceland’s most well known mountains. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done to test my fitness. The huge elevation jump made it hard to breathe, and to be honest, my right leg still can’t hang with uphills like that. My left leg gets overworked, and then my back starts hurting, and it’s just a big mental grind. Despite that, I still actually like running up mountains because of the grind. I honestly thought I would have placed a little higher than I did in this, but it turns out that most of these girls like running up mountains too, and they are just a little better than me at it.
Later that night, we had the snatch event. I’ve been working so hard on this since that shoulder issue I had back during Decemeber to during the open. I really wanted to be able to show off that hard work. My warmup lifts felt fine. And my first three lifts on the floor felt great. I saw myself hitting lifts, so I feel like I prepared right. However, I just came up pretty short, and I wasn’t proud of that. What I was proud of though was how I just shook it off. At Granite Games after I messed up in the snatch event, I cried. So, we’ve come a long way.
I loved the workouts on Saturday! There were four of them (with technically five scores).
The first one was the little concept2 triathalon. That was way harder than when I practiced. I left it all out there. Literally. Have you seen the video of me power walking, granny style to the finish line? I loved that event. The next one was two parts – the first one was literally just :90 of 100 lb sandbag cleans over the shoulder. So simple, but I loved it! You then had a quick rest before going for time: 50 TTB + about 150 foot (after converting it from meters à feet) handstand walk. Unfortunately, there was only a 3 minute cap for that…ha. Ha. Ha. This event left me feeling all great about myself after the sandbag cleans, and then it brought me back down to earth for the gymnasty part after. And that’s what keeps us all coming back for more in CrossFit! Every time we start to think that we are doing GREAT, we get pulled right back down to earth and realize that there is still so much room for improvement. The next workout was legless rope climbs + box jump overs + yoke carry. We didn’t find out about this one until the night before. I was bummed about this one. Unfortunately, I never got my 4th legless rope climb in the first round, so I didn’t even make it to the yoke. The first three felt fine, and then I just kept coming up just short of getting that fourth one. Legless rope climbs are a big weakness of mine. I don’t use my hips like I should, and I still haven’t figured out how to kip them. And once the biceps go, you’re done! I wanted to run off the floor and cry after that..but only for a minute.. and then I pulled myself together and was all good. It happens. I’ll keep working on it! The last event was the “Dottir” event. We didin’t find out what this event was until right before we did it. It was bar muscle ups and essentially a “DT” complex at 155 lbs on the bar — deadlifts, hang cleans, and shoulders to overhead. I loved this workout. Those 155 lb hang cleans were brutal.
I woke up Sunday a little sad because Daniel and everyone had to go back to the states. But I was ready to finish strong on the last day. We found out the first workout the day before – three 2 minute rounds + one three minute round with one minute of rest in between rounds. Each round had a buy in of 10 deficit handstand pushups + 20 pistols. You then took the remaining time to work towards 75 overhead squats at 105 lb. I rarely do pistols like I should. My ankle mobility sucks after surgery (and before surgery too..haha) and my knees cave in, and they just look horrible. So, I was proud of myself for finishing this workout under the time cap and getting through those pistols. The next workout on Sunday was FAST. 3 rounds of 10 deadlifts at 185 lb + 10 lateral burpees over the bar. The deadlift bar was a fat/axle bar, which made it just that much worse on the grip! It was hard to hang on. In fact, my last couple of reps in the last round were horrible. But I loved it, and I gave it my all, despite knowing it would take a miracle for me to make it into the 10 ten, and go to the finals.
I finished in 13th place. I missed out on the finals. The workout looked like a lot of fun, so I was a little bummed about that. Yeah, I wish I could have placed a little higher. BUT, I’m still really proud of my effort. I got to compete against girls from all over the world – many being fittest in their country. That is an opportunity I’ll be proud of forever. Competing isn’t my life, and I know it won’t be there forever, so I’ll hold on tight to these experiences while I’ve got them.
Thanks, again to the girls I competed with, to the judges and other volunteers, and to everyone who made the event possible. I love how patriotic and proud Icelanders are. I loved walking around and being asked to take pictures with people of all ages, but especially the little girls wearing little soccer jerseys. I felt so cool. I had a hot dog (only because people kept saying I needed to try one) and ice cream two different times after I was done. I rented my car, mapped out where I wanted to go, and got ready to explore all day Monday.
After exploring for a day and a half, the only regret I have for my first trip to Iceland is that I should have listened to what everyone said and tried to spend a couple of extra days there. There’s just a never ending list of glaciers, and waterfalls, and mountains, and thermal pools to see.
After the competition Sunday evening, I explored downtown Reykjavik. I already told you a little about that.
Now, Monday was magical. I woke up early, got a quick macchiato (turns out Iceland’s macchiato is different from Starbucks) from Reyjavik Roasters and went on a little adventure. Now, I’m no travel agent, but THIS is the route I would recommend for anyone who has only a day in Iceland to explore. It took me right at 11 hours, including a stop for lunch, and driving pretty slow at times because I was day dreaming with all the mountains around me.
I started out on Route 1. They call this the Ring Road. It goes all the way around on the outskirts of the country, allowing for some great sights. I only drove a few hundred KM away from Reykjavik though.
First stop was about 90 min from Reykjavik. Seljaladsfoss waterfall. I walked around, and got as close as I could to under the waterfall without getting soaked. I unfortunately left my jacket at the airbnb (classic Alison style) so all I had was a long sleeve top and a light patagonia vest. I didn’t want to get soaked and be miserable the rest of the day in the 40 degree + windy weather. BUT I will be prepared next time. I walked the trail and made my way to Gljúfrabúi. I bought some coffee, and made my way to the next site…
About 20 minutes down the road is Skógafoss. It is one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls. My favorite part was walking up all the stairs (praying my barely functioning legs from competing didn’t give out) to the very top of the waterfall. There was a lot of room to walk up there, check out the moss, and see different views of the huge waterfall. I also enjoyed being at the base of the falls. There was a legit photo shoot going on down there. Poor girl was getting soaked, but she had a team of about 20 people making her look fab. I was here for the longest out of any place I stopped that day.
Before I left, I stopped by the restaurant – mostly because I wanted a burger and they had them there. And also to use the internet because I had unfortunately reached my .5 GB limit for the day that Verizon allows. I should have calmed down on the spotify streaming as I drove. Turns out they didn’t have wireless in there, but the burger was great, and the water didn’t smell like eggs, so I was happy.
I continued driving about 30- 45 more minutes to the town of Vík. It’s the southernmost part of Iceland, I believe. The first stop was Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. This place is a phenom. There’s a huge cave and the most beautiful rocks lay over the black sand. I put some in my pockets and brought back a few for my friends. It was windy, and the sun was a litte MIA this day, but that didn’t stop a whole lot of people from hanging out there. I met people throughout the day – especially people who were at the competition – but I saw the most people here. From the beach, I drove to the cliffs of Dyrhólaey. It wasn’t far. I was hoping to see some puffins, but apparently it was just a little too cold. The views were unforgettable though. I drove around the actual town of Vík, but I don’t feel like it was worthwhile or worth the extra 10 min it took to get there.
Ok, well, it was around 3 pm, so I figured I needed to start making my way back to Reyjavik. I had a few other stops in mind, but they weren’t on the Ring Road. My plan was to make a cut through and get on the Golden Circle, which is another HUGE touristy route in Iceland. There was a waterfall I wanted to see, a national forrest I figured would be cool to drive through, and mostly I was stoked about this little farm that serves homemade ICE CREAM. Thanks Dr. Garrett McGrane for the suggestion, because I would have never known about this place.
It was a good drive, but the views just never stopped. The cliffs, snow topped mountains, mini waterfalls, and open farmland kept me entertained. Unfortunately, no spotify by this point, and I was so far out there that there was only really one radio channel with signal. But that’s ok.
My next stop was Gullfoss. It is one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls I’ve ever seen. Absolutely stunning. It was raining a good bit my this time, and my hands were cold, but I tried to brave it as much as I could. Once again, I didn’t get as close as I would have liked because I didn’t want to be soaked for my ice cream (true story).
Next was ice cream. I stopped at Efstidalur to see the cows..and eat some homemade ice cream. Ok, if you know me, you know that ya girl loves ice cream. More specifically, I love Jeni’s ice cream. This was better than Jeni’s. Hands down. I got to meet the owner, the cows, and an obnoxious couple from Oregon.
The last stop for the day before heading back to Reyjavik was Þingvellir National Park. Unfortunately I was going to be cutting it close to running out of gas, and there were some detours that took me an alternate route through the forrest. I would have loved to spend more time here. I didn’t get to see the tectonic plates, or where the vikings used to hang out, but the moss, and mountain views, and sunset were all pretty.
I made my way back to Reykjavik – right before almost running out of gas (true Alison style). This route was right under a full tank of gas in a little hyundai rental car. And just a heads up, the gas in Iceland is expensive, as it was about $75 to fill up that little car (gas there is about 3 x’s as much as in the states). Totally worth it though.
Ok, whew… that was a lot for one day. Here is a breakdown of Tuesday pretty quickly.. Tuesday wasn’t as exciting, as I had to be at the airport by 2:30 pm, but that’s ok. I checked out of our little airbnb…ya know, turned the keys in and everything, loaded the car, and I noticed this weird beeping sound coming from the car. Well, said car wouldn’t crank, and everything made me think that the battery died. I called the rental people, and they said it was going to be $100 if they had to come rescue me (although their office was about 3 km from where I was..but fair enough). I walked down the street, and met a nice citizen of Iceland who didn’t have jumpers cables, but he got me in touch with a taxi driver who said he would jump me off for 3000 kronas (not to be confused with coronas). This is about $25, so fair enough. Unfortunately when he got there, I wasn’t able to even unlock the door (even manually). It was so weird. But after about 3 minutes of some struggle from all 3 of us, the door opened. He jumped me off, and I was good to go.
I started off at CrossFit Reyjavik – mostly to just see it and maybe buy a shirt or something. It was beautiful. They had so many air runners and wallballs. They were so kind to let me just walk around.
Next, I went to this adorable place downtown called Emile and the Cool Kids. I had a latte, and I’m not ashamed to say.. a cinnamon roll. IDK who I am, but I like it. I walked to Hallgrímskirkja church since I wasn’t able to get in there Sunday night. Unfortunately, they were having a children’s program until 12:30, so I left, walked all over downtown (again), talked to other people who were at the competition. And I’m not gonna lie, all of the people who came up to me and said they recognized me from the competition and how they enjoyed watching me meant to much to me. I’ll take what I can get. No, really. It was cool how in to that competition everyone was… even the people who watched it on national TV from home. I bought a few souvenirs. And when I say that, I mean two stickers, a patch, and a magnet. I was almost out of money, and I needed to save some for lunch. I went back to the church, and it was breathtaking. I knew it would be. They are currently fixing the stairs/elevator, so I wasn’t able to go to the roof and see the overview of Reykjavík.
I drove to this cute little viking village called Fjörukráin for lunch. My plan was to eat at this viking hotel/guesthouse. I even skipped out on eating at Gló to come here. However, turns out, they only serve dinner. So, I walked down the street to some bakery that isn’t even worth remembering…except they had cauliflower soup, and that was great.
I drove to the airport, turned my rental car in, and unfortunately their shuttle was “out and about” for a little while, so I made my flight just on time. It all worked out though because I got to board the plane with my new bffl Katrin Davidsdottir. JK. She was focused and didn’t say much. But neither did I. We just talked about shooting guns for the Rogue Invitational. I told her I almost made it, but I quit doing the qualifier halfway through because two of my videos cut off, and I didn’t feel like redoing them. (I prob wouldn’t have made it anyway, so that’s ok). In all reality, it was truly an honor to meet her, and she is just as beautiful in person. Meanwhile, I hadn’t had a shower in a few days, and my body most likely smelled of eggs still.
Need to Know’s
- Rent a car. This was totally worth it! I’m glad Daniel and everyone rented one when they got to the airport. Their car was a little large for me, and I was able to snag one for a discount with our airbnb. I think it was $130 for Sunday afternoon – Tuesday afternoon (so 48 hours, but technically 3 days)…not bad and totally worth it to be able to see some sights. Driving in Iceland is much easier than in the states. Less people. Open roads. Not a lot of road rage. Just be careful to not drive off a cliff.
- Bring EVEN MORE money than you think you need for food. I feel like I didn’t get to take full advantage of that because I was stressing how much everything was priced the whole time. Just bring more money and get over it.
- Bring a good, WATERPROOF jacket
- Stay longer than you think. I only got to see about 10% of what I would have liked to have seen. Also, each of those places had hikes that would have been fun, but there wasn’t a lot of time to explore in depth.
- Buy a pocket guide book. This is way cooler than looking at your phone, and internet was a little spotty for me. Taylor had one I could borrow before we left, and then the airbnb had one. I took it with me on Monday.
- Go to a thermal pool or river.
- Ok, the water. It smells like sulpher. It’s because of the thermal region they live in. I still feel like I smelled like it the whole time I was there. The colder the water, the less it smelled.
- Iceland ice cream is amazing.
- In the summertime (technically now) it’s daylight A LOT there. I personally loved it, but it was hard for me to wind down and go to sleep. Maybe bring a sleeping mask…or whatever those things are called that go over your eyes.