Unlike the final day on Gobi, which was 16km and a pretty flat and enjoyable course, the final 10km in Iceland was much less enjoyable for me. It was 7km of some of the hilliest terrain across “soft” green moss, underpinned by mid sized rocks and boulders. George from our tent graciously let me borrow his polls for the day and it served two purposes. Being a big help getting me through the day and giving me experience on what polls can offer in these types of races. Both positive. I was moving very slowly and each step was painful, I knew it would be a slow slog, just like the long day and better when I got to the flat black gravel. In Gobi the final stage was very emotional as I was not sure I would finish until I got through that final day. I had woken unable to walk well in China as well, however I found a way to run as it was flat. If I compare the two, I had those magic moments on the long day, a day earlier. I was well past this point in Iceland and even when I hit the flats I was not able to run much. I think I had psyched and geared the body up to the max for the long stage and it did not have much to give.
The finish was beautiful, weaving through black lava gravel and pure green moss and rock en route to the Blue Lagoon. It felt great to finish and even though I was in the back of the bus, there were a number of competitors welcoming everyone in. I was happy to be done, grab my medal and start the healing process. That started with a traditional cup of meat soup at the finish line and into the Blue Lagoon to relax the body. I had a beer (first in months) and celebrated with some friends.
Back to check into the hotel, grab some ice packs for my legs, elevate and catch a quick 90 min nap before the awards banquet. It was a fun evening, sitting with our table, sharing war stories, eating an enormous amount of food from a great buffet, including a huge bowl of icecream and chocolate brownie cake and watching the picture slide show from the week that was. It ended a little later than usual, which some speeches from award winners and by that time I was exhausted. No late night partying for me in Reykjavik unfortunately. I basically elevated my feet for a well deserved sleep, followed by a HUGE breakfast (that included pancakes and bacon) and an undesirable but necessary ice bath to reduce swelling in the legs. However, I have a week in the city to relax and repair and will get my fair share of food, drink and culture. It starts Sunday night at one of the best restaurants in the city with some racing friends. Good food will be sampled, good wine will be consumed and dessert on order to start filling back up my hollow legs and put some weight back on. This morning I changed hotels to the Icelandic Marina in town and it has an awesome library bar and lounge, with amazing food and unique local drinks. I have been sitting here on wifi enjoying hot chocolate and bailey’s and sampling local bark snaps. ha. I will be taking a couple days to just chill and heal up before taking on some sight seeing adventures. Thinking some fishing and out to see the Puffins and Whales. Hiking…not so much.
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