Around Iceland in 8 days

This time last year we were getting ready to go to Iceland. Preparing for our trip felt a little overwhelming… in one way, it was half the fun of it… but on the other hand, it was time consuming and really hard to judge if we prioritized the right areas or if we were rushing through too fast.

Iceland’s Ring Road (Route 1) is iconic. Planning a trip around the Ring Road in 8 Days, means you don’t stay in one place for more than one day. So to make sure you don’t miss something, you need to have the research done before hand… At least your accommodation sorted (your start and end points for the days ahead), a driving route mapped out, and a rough idea of what you want to see.

We were in Iceland for the last week of March/first week of April – March 28th – April 4th. It was an AMAZING trip. We got the chance to see the South in Summer and the North still very much in the middle of Winter.  I would love to do it again in Spring/Autumn and see how different the landscape is.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Packing/ planning checklist
  • Downloadable Google Sheet with links of our Google Maps driving route, accommodation recommendations and suggested activities. We prepared this Google Sheet ahead of the trip and followed it almost to a T. It was our Icelandic Bible and it treated us well.
  • Photos of our favourite adventures

Bear in mind all of these recommendations are geared for people who value being outdoors, enjoy hiking off piste, and are use to long drives.

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Ironman Mont-Tremblant

The Ironman. A triathlon of ridiculous proportions. Swim 3.8km, Bike 180km and Run 42.2km.

Leading up to the race I knew I had to take training seriously. I worked towards those distances without really taking a step back to appreciate how far it really is. It’s been over three months since the race, and I have been SO LAZY lately. If I had to race an Ironman in my current condition – I don’t think I’d be able to finish it.

So now, I look back and I am amazed that I did it. 226km in total… Just me, my goggles, my bike, and my runners.

To summarize my experience, I would say it was a long day out and an emotional roller coaster.

The high’s are so high: you see your family cheering you on and you have these realizations that you’re going to do it.

But the low’s are really low: you’re out there on your own with a long stretch of road ahead of you and you think to yourself “why did I sign up for this?”

I cried twice and I barfed once… But to cross the finish line…. well that was the best feeling ever.

RACE SUMMARY

Total time:  12:46:02
Age group rank:  36
Gender rank:  182
Overall rank:  978

More on the highs, the lows and the barfing below…

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A family trip to Sicilia

I would go back to Sicily in a heartbeat. Great food… Friendly people… Amazing weather… Beautiful and diverse scenery… History all over the place… Not overpriced… It’s got it all. Our travel itinerary focused more on the great food and amazing weather side of things.

It was the first time Dan, Tayl and I have been to Sicily, and it was my Dad and Jan’s first time in Italy all together. The rough plan was spend time in Cefalu, Taormina, and Mount Etna. Big shout out to Dan’s Dad, Tony, for the recommendations!

Highlights of the trip:

  • Sicilian Cooking Class in Cefalu
  • Boat tour in Taormina
  • Hiking Mount Etna

Must Try:

  • Granita for breakfast
  • Arancini for lunch
  • Pasta alla Norma for dinner
  • Etna wine all the time

More below on our day-to-day itinerary …

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Outlaw Half – Middle Distance Triathlon

The Outlaw Half, is a middle distance triathlon/ half Ironman distance in Nottingham. For me, the Outlaw Half is a race in preparation for a race – later this Summer I’m racing the full Ironman distance in Mont Tremblant.

A few years ago, a Half Ironman was a terrifying thought… Approaching it for only the second time in my life, and as a “training race” rather than “focus race”, felt strange. When I trained for the Zell em See Half, it was my sole focus for the year… I put all my effort into training and being as ready as I’d ever be to get through the race and perform to my best ability.

This year, I don’t necessarily feel like I put that same amount of focus into my training. I’ve been training don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been doing so with a stressful job that involves a lot of travel and overtime, and with social plans not always taking the backseat. So training isn’t my sole focus… and when training isn’t my sole focus, I don’t feel as confident in myself ahead of a race.

I wasn’t nervous, but I wasn’t confident either… I knew I could get around the course, but I didn’t know how fast… or if I’d be faster than my race in Zell am See. It didn’t help that I was ill for about three weeks leading up to the race either, so though I knew I wanted to approach the race as a fighter, I was also just happy to treat it as a solid block of training and just saying to myself “let’s see what happens”. My mind was all over the place ahead of it all. I figured either way, my competitive self would take over day-of, and that’s pretty much exactly what happened.

Overall, super happy with my race… I felt smarter than the last time I raced this distance, I was comfortable on the TT bike, I learned A LOT in almost every stage of the race, and it was a good kick in the butt to make training a focus for the next 12 weeks so that when Ironman Mont Tremblant comes around, I am excited to race and ready to see what happens!

It was also amazing being able to share this with someone. Jodie and I signed up together, started together and cheered each other on when we crossed paths on the course. It helps a lot seeing a familiar face on the course! I’m glad that Mont Tremblant will be similar as I’ll be racing with Brenna, Alistar and Dan.

RACE SUMMARY

Total time:  5:47:03
Age group rank:  12/35
Gender rank:  53/332

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Semi de Paris 2018

My first race in over 10 months! Such a relief to see that my fitness is coming back after only a few months of training. Since December I’ve been focusing on getting back into shape in preparation for Ironman training this year. This race was either going to be a reality check on how unfit I’ve gotten, or an encouraging “pat on the back”. I’m much better with positive reinforcement, so I’m thankful it was the latter!

The Summary

  • Fastest 5k, 1-5km: 23m 23s
  • Slowest 5k, 10-15k: 24m 13s
Total Time: 1h 39m 52s
Average Speed: 4:44 m/km
Gender Position: 414 of 12,498

I totally thought this result was a personal best but my post on the 2016 Kingston Half Marathon has reminded me otherwise… Either way, I’m within seconds of my PB and I’m pretty stoked about it!

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India – Take me back!

My final stop in Asia – visiting our team in Hyderabad. It was the best! We video conference together all the time so it was amazing being able to meet everyone in person.

The team were incredible hosts and gave me a great experience – a ride in a rickshaw, delicious Indian food, and ridiculously sized dosa’s! 

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