STOCKHOLM HALVMARATHON – 9 SEP 17

So on a whim and with a little nudge from my lovely coworkers, I decided to train for my first-ever HALF MARATHON!!  13.1 miles of pure fun.

Since it would be the longest I’ve ever run (previous PR being ~6 miles on sore knees) I embraced this challenge and prepared my legs and mind for the Stockholm Halvmarathon, on September 9th, 2017.

  1. Here’s the front area of our Airbnb.  The location was incredibly difficult to find (our taxi driver spent 15 minutes just locating the place with the help of dispatch).  When we arrived in the pitch black at 9 pm, we were greeted by a very happy (and thankfully robed) *coughdrunkcough* landlady.  She was an absolute hoot.  Gave one of our other guests a biiig hug and then immediately described how she’s been horribly sick for the past two weeks.  We assume she was mixing special pain-med cocktails :0  Oh yea, after talking to us for about 15 minutes, playing with my hair and telling us all she “loved us” she left, but returned with a special gift for me:

2. The landlady gifted me a VS nightie!  Now I expect a gift from every airbnb host in the future :3

3.  It’s actually a cute shirt 😛  You should’ve seen the poor lady’s face when she saw us all leaving at the end of our trip.  Talk about a walk-of-shame.

4. John’s backpack is flat before we loaded him up!  He was our designated pack-mule.

5.  I liked the train tracks.

6. And the stop light.

7.  Our amazing guides figuring out our next stop!

8. Finally seeing some of Stockholm!

9. The race didn’t start until 4pm so we had a leisurely time wandering the city.

10.  Love the teal roofs.  My favorite color, especially with the copper/gold/shiny lettering.

11.  There were tons of statues on top of the buildings.  I liked that strange hollow spire on the right.

12. LOTS of gold embellishments.

13. European streets have such a warm, inviting ambiance.

14. More gold!  This was a flower on top of a wrought-iron gate.

15.  Giant rustic chain, just hangin’.

16.  I’m so mature.

17.  Beautiful architecture/arches.  I mean even the street lights are classy.  You can tell we’re getting closer to the halfmarathon starting point because of all the neon colored clothes.

18. Pretty building.  The concrete ribbon details are beautiful.

19. John photobombing a photo of a photo.

20.  One of the starting areas!  I think I was in the very last group since I didn’t have any previous race data.

21.  This was several hours before the race.  It’s pretty empty.

22.  I liked this building so much I took another photo.

23. Ah, the random spire building.  I will get a zoom lens soon so next time I can get even cooler shots!

24.  Oh the open urinals.  A mother brought her son (who was way too short for one of these) and picked him up to show him how it would be used.  I think the kids grimace said it all hahaha.

25.  I didn’t read the plaque but I imagine this statue is thinking “come at me, bro”.

26.  Gotta get the Swedish flag.

27.  This type of intricate artwork was everywhere.

28.  Look at that guard, doing his thing.  You go guard!

29.  And here we are, half marathon registration!  Very organized, but lacking in free stuff (from what I’ve heard, you usually get a goodie bag.  Especially when the price tag for this race was ~$70)

30.  The bags had weird handles, maybe they were easy to tie closed or something?

31.  Titan’s cousin!

32.  I signed the wall 🙂

33.  Not my best handwriting, but it is mine!

34.  The runners!

35.  Still had some time to kill, so we started looking for a place to eat.  Oh look, a pretty flower!

36.  We found this amazing little cafe, with a waiter who belonged in a magazine.  I should’ve snuck his photo……but at least I got these desserts instead.

37.  We ate them with our eyes.

38.  Need that zoom lens! This photo is a little blurry.

39. More gold and statues.

40.  I took a photo of that bag/jacket thing just in case it was evil…then we sat next to it waiting for the race to start.  Yea, logic.

41.  There was a stream about 20 feet below.

42.  Too bad there was scaffolding!!

43.  Deep thought.

44.  Smile!

45.  Pre-race wooo!

46.  I was number 20,195.  That’s a lot of people to race with.

47.  Gotta love that face!

48. Father & daughter, awwww!

49.  Freedom for ??????

50.  The whole group with our bibs.

51.  He’s judging you!

52.  John got up high to take photos as we were herded to the starting line.  Where’s Waldo??

53.  I kept looking for my white hat and poof of hair.

54.  There were pacers with backpacks and balloons attached to them.  I tried sticking close to the 2:00 pacers until I finally lost sight of them.

55.  Near the end of the race it started raining.  There was also a tricky blow-up Garmin arch that made you think you were at the end, when you really had another kilometer to go.

56.  Everyone made it!  My time was around 2:09.  I probably would have been slower, but the tricky Garmin arch got me to sprint early…Also, during my training, I always used miles.  So when race day came up and everything was in kilometers, I didn’t know exactly how far I had to run.  I estimated about 20km, but learned that it’s actually 21…

57.  After the race we changed at a far-away (like 2 miles) stadium and then took the train.  One of the escalators was off and about a million miles long…we took breaks every now and then.  Once we got to the top, the escalator started up…..*shakes fist at sky*

58.  These statues were IN the train station.

59.  Another photo of the train station stop lights!

60.  The colors were vibrant and dry, I liked it.

61.  Rusty rail road.

62.  Our final day (Sunday) we had enough time to wander to old town for lunch.

63.  We stopped by a touristy looking building.

64.  With whatever this flag represents???  A prince?

65.  Pointy and gold.

66.  Cute statue.

67.  I couldn’t quite get a photo of the flag stretched out, but the contrast of the lighting still came out nicely.

68.  A fish-eye lens might be cool here.  I’m going to get one of those too and will have fish eye photos til I get sick of them!

69.  Everything was so elegant.

70.  The blue and red really complemented each other.

71.  With the flag this time.

72.  Tall building…have no clue what it was for.  You can tell I’m all about the history 😉

73. Ride that lion!

74.  Look at that adorable round building.  I want one!

75. 😀

76.  I like the background of this one the most.

77.  Green and yellow, green and yellow.

78.  I love this one.  It looks unreal.

79.  Oh creepy snake eating its own tail.  This is eerie considering I just finished watching Hemlock Grove.

80.  Latin.

81.  So refreshing.

82.  I want to live here!

*Looks at cost of living*

Nevermind!

83.  This reminds me of James Bond.

84.  The wagon wheel chandelier was pretty inside the burger restaurant we went to.

85.  Can you tell I like desserts? I take more photos of them than I actually eat, I swear…

Well we had an amazing trip and I’m really glad that I did it.  Training for this half-marathon taught me a lot about my own personal limits and how not to push myself too hard.  It’s true when they say that running races like this is 90% mental.  My only goal was to finish, and every time I felt like I was pushing too hard, I would tell myself,

“Slow down. It’s okay to slow down.  You’re doing this for yourself.  No one else cares what time you finish, only you.  So why stress?  It literally doesn’t matter.  The whole point to this race is to do it.  So might as well enjoy it!”

And that’s what I did!  🙂

Camping in Rowy

August 12, 2017

John, the dogs and I went on a trip to a friend’s camp-site in Rowy for a couple of nights.  It’s a city similar to Ustka that’s near the sea.  This campsite was nestled right next to a river.  Unfortunately, it was raining a lot so I didn’t get the chance for a ton of photos :O but here are the ones I did get!

Signs for our campsite, Oaza Sun!

I really love our tent, it’s so easy to set up and the perfect size for the whole family.

Walking along the riverside to get to the main part of Rowy.

I should’ve got some video of these grassy plants because the wind made them look like waves.

I love rustic looking things.

Another angle.

Eh, this one’s okay.  But I like it.

The burgundy is niiiiice

I wish the sun was out – would’ve been an even better picture!

Even in Poland they have the same weather guide 😛

Barnacle boat!

Up close of the barnacles.

Front view of the ship.

Dahlia made a boyfriend!  He followed us for a little while.

John absolutely loves it when I take photos of him.

We received a wine bottle as a gift from our neighbors (probably for the hassle of parking during all their home renovations.) On the bottle was this adorable charm.  So the perfect place for it was on Dahlia’s collar!

I wrote the details on the back of it.  Maybe I’ll wood burn it in next time?

Happy dogs 🙂

😮

:3

We sat in the car for a while when it was raining heavily.  I had Dahlia sit up front with me.

Here’s her new modeling portfolio.

Look at those eyes!

We walked to a nearby restaurant with the doggies.  Dahlia was giving kisses.  She was scared of the wind O_O

Oh man this was too funny, Titan peeking his little face through the tent.

Well, that was our short camping trip.  We really enjoy getting the dogs out with us (and they ABSOLUTELY are nuts for it).  It’s gotten to the point that every time John and I start any kind of packing, they automatically think they’re going on a trip.  That just means we need to go camping again soon!

 

Baltic Fishing Trip

July 15, 2017

Since we’re so close to the Baltic, it was time to take a fishing trip!  One of my coworkers arranged this with a local fisherman.

  1. Here’s the boat we took fishing out on the Baltic Sea, the Amelia Max!

2. I love taking side shots like this.

3. Pretty red paint ^_^

4. There’s the famous pirate ship.  What a cool shot!

5. More pirate ship photos…

6. I actually had a lot more pics of this ship, but these were all my favorites.

7. Now, with the sunset.

8. I’m starting to save up for a bigger camera lens so I can take some clearer close-ups (since this one is blurry).  Still pretty though.

9. This ship is pretty cool.

10. All of this before 6 am…I think we actually started around 4:30…….

11. Leaving the no-wake zone.

12. Another shot of our beloved boat.

13. Already some fishermen out!

14. The sunrise was really beautiful.

15. Having a good time!

16. Oh just me playing around with the camera again…

17. I really like all the reds and blues in this one.  Some nice contrasts.

18. This one is okay.  I edited out some bird poop.  Can you figure out where it was??

19. Love this one!  Can’t get enough sunrise photos.

20. Here’s the interior of the boat – it had ample seating and even bunk beds in the floor below.

21. Ready to catch some fish!

22. We’re told that it would be mostly cod.

23. Here’s one of our Polish fisherman guides.  He was very helpful especially if you haven’t been deep-sea fishing before.

24. Cute little lure.

25. We had about an hour and a half before we would get to the “good” fishing area.

26. Hello other boat!

27. Deep in thought…

28. Here’s the chain for the anchor at the bow.

29. John was probably laughing at me 😛

30. Our first catch!!!

31. I don’t think we were even at the “fishing spot” yet, but he caught one!

32. Cod, yes?

33. I know this is a blurry one, but I thought it was still really good!  Maybe for a background of some fish marketing ad, ha!

34. Having fun, trying not to stab ourselves with the lures!

35. It was pretty cold out too.  We all had jackets (I’m really glad I brought two jackets, gloves and a blanket – they were all used!)

36. Although it was  cold, the sun was shining!

37. John and his beard having a good time.

38. Still lookin’ for the fish.

39. I like the red jacket.

40. The anchor!

41. Better luck at the bow??

42. All the fishing lines 🙂  It was a pretty long boat.

43. We really did get lucky with the clear weather (not so much with the fish!)

44.  Maybe if I concentrate harder, the fish will come…

45. Love the hat!

46. Too many good sea/sky photos.

47. Another one, with the boat this time.

48. Experimenting with the focus

49. Poor tattered Polish flag 🙁 but it looks cool!

50. Can you tell I like his hat??

51. The fishing line was so bright and colorful!

52. The water was a deep green/blue.

53.  The captain let me see the cockpit.

54. The compass was pretty awesome.

55. This was view from the side window – it looks like a framed painting!

56. Say hi!

57. Peekin!

58. Wish I could’ve got a better angle, but that room was so tiny.

59. So shiny!

60.  This is a good one for a desktop wallpaper.

61. Walkin back to the mess hall.

62. Cute fishing lure.

63. I guess fish really love neon shiny bait!

64. Finally, another one!  I think it’s a flounder.  Poor thing, caught by the tail :O

65.  Woohoo!

66. Tigerfish?  The fisherman threw that one back.

67. The largest catch of the day – another fishing pole!

68. Everything was all crusty.

69. Nap time!

70. I’m gonna have to set a bunch of these as desktop backgrounds!

71. Got lucky and caught one on the way back!

72. So photogenic 😀

73. I was messing with the shutter speed – looks cool!

74.  The birds followed us on the way back.

75. They were getting pretty close.

76. As they were filleting the fish, they’d throw the organs into the sea.  So it was a feast for the birds.

77. View of Ustka on the way back in.

78. Closer shot of the pier as we’re getting in.

79. The beach is so colorful.

80. The mermaid of Ustka!

81. More shots of the pirate ship, in the daylight.

82. Ship with the flags blowing.

83. Plushies!

84. And lastly, the funky ball people statues as we were walking back to the car 😛

This trip was a lot of fun!  I think overall we caught around 10-15 fish, so not much but we all still had a good time.  We found out that September would be much better since that’s actually fishing season 😀