Buzzing away in a damp bunker and singing Hallelujah

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Did you know that thinking about your death or mortality before a race improves your performance? That’s what I read in an article. There’s something about that thought which puts our brains into hyper-survival mode and improves physical capability. I will give this idea a go at my next racing event.

I didn’t just randomly start with the above in mind. In order to run Paris, I need to provide the organizers a form signed by my doctor which basically says that I won’t die half way through the marathon.

As a perfectly sane and rational male of the 21st century, I’ve been successfully avoiding the doctor for the last six years. Why see a doctor if I I’m invincible and can Google everything, right? And this time has been amazing. However, all good things come to an end.

In late December I surmised all my courage and dialed the local GP (General Practitioner – that’s what they call a doctor here) on my phone. I had to physically go there to fill in a form to register – it couldn’t be done online. I sort of expected to see a doctor once I handed in the application but they said it’ll take about a week to process it. Things aren’t exactly efficient here at the NHS (National Health Service).

Anywho, about two weeks later I found myself being examined by Dr K. That sounds a bit dull, so let’s call her Dr Dre. At first she was a bit puzzled about why I was there and why she had no prior medical data about me on the system. She asked me the same questions from the form I had already filled in – so much for “processing” my form.

I explained that I needed her to sign my paper so I can run in Paris. Dr Dre decided to measure my blood pressure instead. It was high. She did it again. High. And a third time. Still high. I had to come back next week. She didn’t sign anything.

I came back to see the nurse for a new reading. This time the blood pressure was lower but still high. The second and third measurements were slightly lower but not good enough. I had to book another appointment.

Today I went back to get a blood pressure thingy on my arm, which I need to have on me over the next 24 hours. It takes a reading every 20-50 minutes and buzzes and clicks as it does its magic. Each time it registers the reading and then the doctors can get an average over a day. The whole idea is to rule out white coat syndrome where my blood pressure shoots through the roof whenever I see a doctor or nurse. If it’s still high even after the 24 hours they will need to do some further more invasive tests. By the way the device scares the crap out of me every time it starts – I’m rather skeptical about whether this device will do the trick for me.

Obviously, the moment I got my new toy I went off to my acting class. I thought the other kids would never notice… The class started as usual with all of us sitting in a circle sharing ideas of any good or bad acting we’ve seen in movies/plays/theaters to share experiences and make recommendations. Then we had to put the chairs back to the walls. That’s then it started buzzing – I need to sit still and try to relax during the measuring. And the bloody thing doesn’t get its reading on the first go, or the second, or the third. It stopped making noises after the fourth try and by then everybody was staring at me thinking why is this guy ignoring the teacher’s instructions. I explained it quickly and they all now probably think that I’m dying or something. My flu and occasional coughs didn’t exactly do me any favors.

Let me fill you in on the flu as well. I ran a half marathon when it was nice and cold outside – around 2 degrees. I was sick before the race and as a completely reasonable human being I thought that a little run can’t make it any worse. Oh boy was I wrong. First of all it was a fairly crappy finishing time (1 hour 34 minutes and something) which was followed by a week of coughing my lungs out. 10/10 experience, totally worth it. 😀

I know what you’re thinking… acting!!! Where did that come from? Well, boys and girls, it gets better. I didn’t add just acting classes to my repertoire I’m also learning to sing.

The seed was planted when I started my new job as a financial adviser – a job which is quite different from anything I’ve done before. I started singing classes to add vocal variety to my speech – this will hopefully make it more interesting for my clients to listen when I talk and help me have more “presence” with my voice in meetings. The acting classes have a big improvisation component and client meetings have a big element of that – I need to learn to think on my feet, also entertain and make it an enjoyable and memorable experience.

In all fairness I thought that acting and singing would make me very uncomfortable and that it would be a massive move out of my comfort zone – but it’s not as bad as I imagined. Yes, we do things which are uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing but it gets better with practice.

My favorite part about the acting classes is watching the other kids perform an impromptu sketch. They always mess it up and it’s hilarious. The course ends with us performing a small scene where two of us are in a bunker and the world has ended due to a nuclear war.

Singing is weird. It’s not something I normally do but I quite enjoy it. I even made a YouTube playlist of videos which have lyrics on them so I can sing along. My current favorite is the Hallelujah song from the movie Shrek. A close second is Let It Go from Frozen (although it’s quite a tongue-twister). I sing when I’m sad and then I’m a little less sad. It’s amazing how that works.

The Protein Deficient Vegan

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Touch here for POWER! – The Virgin Money London Marathon

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Benn said I better wear warm clothing today as the morning was very cold and it was raining. I was still in bed and thought today is gonna suck. He wasn’t joking – it was 5 degrees Celsius outside and quite windy.

I got to Greenwich park and continued to debate with myself whether I should keep my long sleeved running jacket on or not. The sun came out and the jacket came off. It felt like making a life and death decision back then.

10 AM and the marathon started. Previously I’ve always obsessed about pacing and running in specific heart rate zones. However, this time was different. I made the conscious choice to look around and take in the scenery, the people and the atmosphere. There was so much cheering around, many smiles and great effort by so many runners – man it was competitive. I though the runners would spread out after 5-10 km or so but no, there were always many runners around me.

A bit more than 39,000 people registered (however it’s not yet certain how many actually ran and finished).

My new pet peeve is high-fiveing kids’ little hands as I pass ‘em. I can’t do that every day you know.
All in all I think the crowd was amazing and they helped me heaps.

Some people made signs to encourage the runners. My favorite one read “Touch here for POWER!”  It made me smile.

It was roughly half way through the race when I reached my favorite stretch of the race –  the Tower Bridge and crossing the river. It was beautiful. And I didn’t even notice that approximately 20 km were already behind me. It all just happened effortlessly.

At the risk of sounding like a pussy I must admit I had a tear coming out of my eye at one point. But only one! I was thinking about everything that had happened in the last year and how I got to this point.  And here I was… running one of the world’s largest footraces. Nothing was hurting and I was enjoying myself. I was on fire!

My goal was ideally to finish around 3H 45 minutes but I greatly underestimated myself. That sign must have given me lots of power.

Half split was in around 1H 35 MIN and 20 miles in 2H 25 MIN. Not too shabby I thought. Then my pace dropped dramatically. I hit the wall between 20-23 mile – I should’ve timed the consumption of my energy gels better. I was so low on energy after 20 miles I took everything I could get my hands on – Lucozade energy drinks, Lucozade gels – even though I didn’t train with the stuff. My stomach is now a chemical soup of various isotonic gels and energydrinks. But that stuff worked wonders. I was able to pick up some speed again. Soon I passed the Buckingham palace and finished like a pro.

My time was 3H 21MIN 38 SEC, overall I was the 4939th, I was the 4384th man who crossed the finish line and I was the 2126th person in my 18-39 age category. I am very pleased with my performance as I didn’t train at all in March (I was sick) and April wasn’t that great either because of my exam. Anywho, below is the data from the marathon:

Category                     18-39

Runner no                   7932

Place (Men)                 4384

Place (Age Category)  2126

Place (overall)             4939

Finish time                  03:21:38

Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h Place
5K 10:22:34 00:22:02 22:02 04:25 13.62
10K 10:44:40 00:44:09 22:07 04:26 13.57
15K 11:07:27 01:06:56 22:47 04:34 13.17
20K 11:30:20 01:29:48 22:52 04:35 13.12
HALF 11:35:14 01:34:42 04:54 04:28 13.44
25K 11:53:03 01:52:31 17:49 04:34 13.15
30K 12:16:13 02:15:42 23:11 04:39 12.94
35K 12:42:03 02:41:31 25:49 05:10 11.61
40K 13:10:11 03:09:40 28:09 05:38 10.66
FINISH 13:22:10 03:21:38 11:58 05:28 11.00 4384

Even though this morning was really cold I’d still give the marathon a 10/10. Or maybe I’m just high on endorphins.

Virgin Money London Marathon certificate 20160424_220127 20160424_220037

I had a nap at home and then decided to celebrate at ZoukOff – the best zouk event London has to offer. I was a bit sore but it was a great finish to a magnificent day!

More power,

Ivar

So close but yet so far

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I believe I need to correct one thing from my previous post. I wrote that everybody in the office has a Hollywood smile. Not the case. People, this is England. It’s a dentist’s nightmare. I really needed to clear this up. It’s been bothering me for so long and I apologize for painting a wrong picture.
So! I went to Caroline’s (France) birthday party yesterday. She was the only person I knew at the party and the same thing happened as the other night at my work function. I got to the bowling venue and wasn’t able to find the group. This is a recurring theme. Eventually, I did find them.
Oh and it took me ages to get there. The venue was exactly 3.2 km from my place. It would’ve taken me about 30-40 minutes to get there had I just walked. However, I thought the tube would be quicker. Nope! I had to change train lines 3 times and it took almost an hour (this includes walking as well). I’ll be smarter in the future.
It was the best birthday party I’ve been to all year. It was also the only birthday party I’ve been to this year. As you can see, I’m a social butterfly.
I left a bit early because I had plans for Sunday (today). One guy joined me because we were heading in the same direction. It turns out he lives in the same building as me. What are the odds of that? Small world!

Let’s move on…
I had a marathon run planned for today. I was quite dehydrated when I woke up – the drinks from the party were showing their dark side. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad. Mother Nature was playing ball as well – it was beautiful outside. I knew I’d get a good result.
I was off to a slow start but things got better. I guess I should warm up or something, when I attempt new personal bests. Food for thought!
Just to be clear it wasn’t a race, just a training run, which happened to be a full marathon i.e. 26.2 miles / 42.2 km.
I’m sure you can all guess by now that I got a new personal best. My time was 3:09:50. It’s an improvement of 28 minutes from my last record, which I ran in July a year ago.
I was so tired when I finished – I sort of limped to find some shade under a tree and starfished like a boss. I was in

So.

Much.

Pain.

I stayed there for a good 30-50 minutes and all my sweat dried up – I’m sure I had white salty stripes all over my face. I limped to the pond in Hyde Park and cleaned myself up whilst trying to pet some swans and ducks. There’s so many of them out there.
I was too tired to limp back home but I was prepared – I had my Oyster card with me. Master’s degree after all… Yesterday I cursed the tube but today it was a gift from heaven.
so close
A long time ago I wrote that the goal is to run a marathon faster than my aunt. She did it in 3 hours 8 minutes and some seconds – she was only 2 minutes faster. I think my next attempt might just do the trick and maybe I’ll even break 3 hours. I’m very optimistic about the future!
Oh and. Um, today the most British of all things happened to me. I was at the supermarket and sort of backed into something and said “sorry”. Wait for it………………………… to a shelf! 😀 I’m apologizing to inanimate objects. Oh London, what have you done to me?

With love,
Ivar

White water

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One of the things I wanted to get off my bucket list was going white water rafting. That’s what I did yesterday on the Kaituna river near Rotorua, NZ.

I was picked up from my hostel. Then we picked up about 10-15 Chinese from a hotel. They were traveling with a bunch of little kids and most of them didn’t speak English. They were very loud and excited. It was quite chaotic in the bus towards the river.

The driver was a cool guy. I liked the way he messed with the Chinese woman  who sat next to him and kept asking questions. He said ‘The river is very safe. We have a very high survival rate of 60%.’ And to every safety related question the answer was “Very dangerous” with a big smile. It was funny as hell.

After our short bus trip we put on our gear – a helmet, safety shoes and life jackets. The Asians took lots of pics. I was the only one who didn’t fit in with them. I went rafting alone with 5 Chinese men but they had their fanclub of women and kids with them. We got a bit of training and after a Karakia (Maori prayer) we got into the boat. Since I was the only one who understood English I was lucky enough to be in the front of the boat. Sweet!!!

The first drops were nice and small and we practiced paddling and positioning in the boat during big waterfall drops. All of this was quite entertaining. In fact it was the most fun I’ve had in quite a while.

Then the river went silent. The ‘driver’ of the boat said that place was called the quiet before the storm. We went ashore with the boat and the guy said this is the last place on the river where you can turn around. There was a trail going up the riverbank for people who chickened out. Another Karakia later and we were in the river again going down the 7 m waterfall drop (the biggest one on this river). Before the drop the instructor said three scenarios can happen after that drop:

1) The boat will stay nicely afloat with everybody in it. (Boooooooooooooring)

2) The boat will stay afloat but some of you guys will fall into the water and will need to do some swimming to safety (still boring)

AND.

NUMBER.

THREE.

3) The boat will flip over and everybody falls into the water. And when he did the rock-n-roll horns with his hands… saying that this is the coolest of our options.

I was secretly hoping for option #3 but thought that one wasn’t very likely.

We started paddling towards the waterfall, got into position for the drop and off we went all screaming like little schoolgirls AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We slammed headfirst into the water. I think the whole boat submerged for a couple of seconds and then as it bounced out of the water it flipped over. It was so cool! Just look at the horror on our faces in the pictures below. I loved it. This is living kids! I felt alive!!!

One guy was floating around the boat with his face in the water. I thought he lost consciousness or something and reached out to get his head out of the water (see pics). Luckily he snapped out of it and was OK. That guy scared the crap out of me.

Alrighty, we helped eachother into the boat and continued down the river and other waterfalls. The journey was finished by some ‘surfing’. We got the nose of the boat close to a small waterfall and if positioned correctly the boat would just stay near the waterfall and  would move from side to side (surfing).  Sometimes a lot of water would come into the boat and the nose would get heavy and lift the back end of the boat – that created some cool bumpy action. It was very entertaining. I loved it!

I’m glad I did such an awesome thing on the last day of 2013. It was an amazing experience!

Happy New Year everybody!!!

Ivar the greatest white water rafter in the Big White Cloud

What happens in Paihia, stays in Paihia

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My first orgy! All the details are a bit hazy but here’s how I remember it. I walked back to my hostel and heard laughter and giggles coming from my room. I opened the door and saw eleven hot naked girls on the bunk beds. They were saying things like “I’ve been waiting for you. Come! Take me…. Take me now!”. And of course I couldn’t say no to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Everybody knows it’s a Christmas tradition in Argentina – it’s called the traditional Christmas  Eve orgy. It’s considered extremely rude to decline such an offer.

It.

Was.

Awesome!

Honestly, that’s how I remember that night.

A merry merry Christmas! I was supposed to go on a road trip with Vera and Tim (from Germany and USA respectively) but Vera’s car started to make a noise and we decided to take the bus instead. We need to take the car to a mechanic. Not a good time for that during the Christmas holidays…

I spent my last night in Auckland at that Latin dancing venue. They had a Christmas party which was a great success. Lots of people showed up and I had a good time dancing with those hot Russian girls. It seemed that almost every second person I danced with was Russian. That was lovely. I had a good time, plus the performances were quite epic.

I did a bit of zouk with one girl – Phoebe – and she was really good to dance with. She followed my lead perfectly. I told her that she’s great to dance with and she just smiled. It turned out she’s a dance instructor at that dancing school. 😀 That’s what happens when you don’t know anybody.

The next day I packed my stuff and took the bus to Paihia. It’s one of those little towns near a nice beach at the Bay of Islands. My plan was to go kayaking and parasailing.

Urupukapuka. I met up with Tim and Vera and we spent one day on Urupukapuka island (the largest island in the Bay of Islands). It was a nice place with lots of beautiful scenery, lookouts and nature. The only crappy thing was that sometimes the track was covered with sheep shit. Literally. We were walking on shit. A bunch of sheep lived on the island and that’s just what sheep do.

I found it funny that the sheep had a fence around them. What’s the fence for? Are kiwis afraid that the sheep will escape and swim to the main land?

We had a good time walking the tracks on the island, had a picnic on a cliff and saw beautiful pohutukawa trees (the trees with the red flowers).

Parasailing. The next day I went parasailing with Tim. Vera was a bit scared or didn’t feel like spending $90 on that. Parasailing was a very nice and relaxing thing to do – you just hang up there in the air from a parachute. I was worried that I’d freeze in the air but it was quite pleasant. Generally a very positive experience – the view was nice and I highly recommend doing it. After all parasailing was the reason why I came to the Bay of Islands in the first place.

Kayaking. The second thing I wanted to do was kayaking. I’ve never kayaked before and this here was going to be my first time. Tim and Vera were staying in a different hostel than me. They had kayaks which were available for free. After my parasailing trip Tim and I walked to his hostel and we saw Vera. She was about to go kayaking with some other German – Jeremy or something was his name. Since I didn’t have any other plans I asked them if I could join them. Vera was ok with that but Jeremy didn’t seem too happy about it. I guess he wanted to spend some private time with Vera 😀

Mwahahahaa !

I’m such a cock-block. 😀

I guess we’re even now Germany. That’s for starting the Second World War.

Anywho, once we got the kayaks to the water Vera became very cautious. We had two kayaks: one single for Jeremy and one double for me and Vera. The wind was a bit strong and Vera was afraid I’d flip over in the kayak since it’s my first time kayaking. She didn’t want to get wet. It took a ridiculous amount of convincing until both of us got into the water. Once I was in the kayak I didn’t really understand what she was so worried about. It seemed like a very safe flotation device and at no time was there any danger of flipping over. I must admit it was quite entertaining in the waves but I imagined it would be more of an adrenaline thrill.

The funniest part was when we got out of the water. We had to carry the kayak onto the trailer but Vera wasn’t able to lift her end of the kayak. It was too heavy. Then one whitehaired elderly lady – at least 60 years old – walked by and offered to help. You should’ve seen Vera’s face. She was all like “No no no no no, I can do it, it’s alright” but she didn’t even budge the thing. It was so funny then the old woman lifted that end of the kayak and helped us get it onto the trailer.

Tim couldn’t join us at the water because he sort of found a job at a restaurant and needed to get to his trial day. We decided to go visit Tim and check out his restaurant but ended up singing carols in front of that restaurant. The local church was offering free cakes, coffee and tea over there. We couldn’t say no to free food. Ok that’s not entirely true – I couldn’t eat any of the cakes because they all had butter and milk in them. So I enjoyed my cup of coffee.

Once all the singing was done we went for drinks at Tim’s restaurant. It was busy and he didn’t seem to like it that much. But I think he got the gig and will probably stay in Paihia. So I won’t be traveling with Tim. 😦 blah blah blah…

Back to the orgy. Uhm… there were 14 people in my room, 11 were girls – 9 from Argentina (it seemed like they all traveled together), one French girl and one Estonian girl. Yes, three men as well (me and two Italians), just to please all the statisticians/mathematicians who might read this and wonder about my math skills. All the lot was a little tipsy. 😀 We had some additional drinks and I was able to practice my Estonian with Taimi because Argentina formed its own Spanish speaking group.

Taimi said that I speak with a weird accent – that’s what happens when I don’t practice my Estonian. The last Estonian I saw in flesh and blood was about a year ago. Tervitused Peeter!

After the traditional orgy I had to change accommodation. I moved into a new hostel and two Finnish girls stayed in my room, so I liked it there as well!

I also saw the Haruru waterfalls and went kayaking again with Vera since there was nothing else to do in Paihia. Later took the bus back to Auckland and now I’m couchsurfing again.

That’s pretty much it!

Merry Christmas boys and girls! I hope you weren’t naughty and got lots of presents from Santa Claus!

Hohohohohohohoho!!!

PS: Lot’s of love to my sister who gave birth to a little princess yesterday.

Pretty in Pink

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Flashing. I know it’s been almost two months since my last post. I didn’t write because quite frankly not much was happening in my life. I was unemployed for most of that time. Having no money closes many doors.

My financial situation didn’t allow me to continue taking Latin dancing lessons. So I took a break until a friend of mine mentioned a really cool thing to me. H said there was going to be a flash mob in Brisbane and it’s only $40 to participate. I signed up immediately – I’ve been wanting to do a flash mob for a long time.

We practiced our choreography at least once a week and I did extra practice sessions with my awesome dancing partner Bunny. It was a very entertaining process.

Here’s a video of all the people worldwide practicing the same choreography:

I think it’s so cool that over 160 cities worldwide took part in the flash mob. To my knowledge the biggest group of flashers was right here in Brisbane – about 100 people.

FYI Bunny is a bit weird… you know like all women. She suggested that I should wear pink on the big day. I wasn’t very excited about her idea but decided to go through with it just because. I ended up wearing more pink than she did.

Here’s the video of us flashing in Brisbane. The clumsy tall guy wearing pink in the front row is me. 😀 Enjoy!

It was a thrill and I loved the experience. Just 30 minutes after our first performance we did the flash mob again at TEDxBrisbane during their lunch break. We spent the rest of the day having a picnic/BBQ in a park with some dancing. Thank you James (our instructor) for making this happen. You were fantastic!

Volunteering. This is another thing I wanted to do and several weeks ago I ticked this item off my bucket list. I went to a spring festival and volunteered in the ticket booth. It was super easy work but not very fulfilling. It wasn’t meaningful. Maybe if I had volunteered in a soup kitchen or something I would’ve felt better about myself… I might try that one day.

 

Work. About two weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to become a delivery driver. After all I had a car and I should use my resources in the most efficient way… said the homo economicus voice inside of me. “Luckily” I found a job. The interview was a very short one and they were happy to have me even though I’m driving a small hatchback Ford Festiva. They said that in the upcoming months before Christmas the number of small parcels will increase and they’re a bit bad for vans but perfect for small cars.

Anyway a day later I started my deliveries and discovered very quickly how stressful this job really was. For starters constant traffic noise, getting lost and dealing with upset customers were just some of my hurdles. Parking was a nightmare in the CBD and rush hour was never pleasant especially under time pressure – I had to deliver things before the shop/business closes. I wasn’t very happy about the pay either… to make decent money I’d need a van/ute. Deliveries with a van would double my income compared to the hatchback.

I did the courier driver gig for 6 days until I found a new job. This time I got a call from a plywood manufacturing company. I had applied for a job back there months ago and I didn’t even remember what the role was. I met the manager, had a quick talk and now I’m a process worker in that factory.

I’ve been there one week. It’s not a fancy job, but it pays the bills. I’m doing a bit of everything at the moment – working on the lathe, drier, gluer and press – all the production steps of plywood.

Until next time,

The Flasher in Pink

Experiencing the Outback and getting cultured

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Getting a free ride in Sydney

My hostel was a total dump. I expected little but no toilet paper in the restrooms and no light bulbs in the lamps were a bit too much. The place was filthy.
I had trouble finding my room. Well that’s all my fault because I didn’t realize second floor meant THIRD floor.
Among other things a blanket was actually just a second bed sheet. The showers were awful and I didn’t dare to find out whether they had hot water. I just took off. Yes, I’m a bit of a princess.

They also took a $50 key deposit. Bastards! The reception was closed when I tried to check out at 7 AM to get to the airport. So I kept the keys and hope I’ll get my deposit back this Sunday when I’m back from Ayers Rock.

My back was still hurting when I walked and getting to Bondi Junction to meet Canada was a pain. I started walking towards Bondi hoping that I’ll find a bus stop along the road. I covered about half the distance until I managed to hop on a bus but the driver said “only prepaid tickets are allowed on this bus”…. I used my highly developed skills of persuasion and said “OK, sorry” and stepped off the bus. It worked like a charm! He waved me back in and gave me a lift for free. That’s how it’s done bitches!

Last time I saw Canada was in December on our road trip from Brisbane to Cairns. A lot has happened since. We had a pleasant polite conversation, drank lots of maple syrup and made fun of each other. Aaaaahhhh! We’re so mature! It was great to see her again.

A walk in a park

It was a Friday. I landed in Ayers Rock/Uluru – right in the middle of Australia. A bus took all the Australian Outback marathon runners to their hotels. Looking out the bus windows we could see Ayers Rock in the distance.

Some of my friends worried I’d end up in a wheelchair after the race. One of them sent me an email with information about back injuries. My symptoms were closest to sciatica – something was pressing on the sciatic nerve when I was walking which was causing my pain. I felt that I could do the 11 km walk and changed my race. Hey, I wasn’t able to run, even walking was painful. Sure, I’m stupid but not suicidal. There will be other marathons.

The best part of the day was the carbo loading dinner – mmmmm lots of all you can eat food. Nom-nom-nom-nom!!!

The next day was race day. It was pretty cold in the morning – around 2 or 3 degrees but about 1 hour into the race and it warmed up. I walked barefoot and was very very slow. I shared parts of my route with the half and full marathon runners. As the runners passed me they kept asking me whether I was OK. I understand why they did that – after all I was walking at the pace of a turtle. For a while I kept telling them I was alright but it got old really quickly. Then I opted for a different tactic.

Every time I heard a runner approaching from behind I turned over and clapped and gave them some encouragement e.g. “Go, go, go!” or “Have a good run!” or “Only 26 km to go!!!”. Most of them smiled then I did that so I continued with this until the very end of my 2h 47 min walk.

Several runners actually stopped and walked with me. Some of them just needed a break form running, others wanted to enjoy the scenery and some were just curious why I was walking barefoot in the desert.

FYI walking on “red earth” was really quite pleasant. It was very similar to walking on a beach – on nice and soft sand. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies and a 20-25 C temperature. You can’t wish for better conditions for a walk!

My finish was awesome! I had to do a 100 m semi-circle around the crowd before crossing the finish line and everybody kept cheering me on the whole time. What can I say… you get what you give! 😀

Even the commentator walked up to me with his microphone and asked me a question or two about the race! I felt speeeeecial! 😛

The Australian Outback marathon was a great experience!  I highly recommend it!

After the race I did some touristy stuff. I booked a helicopter tour around Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta. This was my first ever helicopter flight. I was more excited about being in a helicopter than seeing the rocks in the desert.

I thought the helicopter would have a lot of turbulence since it was such a small aircraft, but no. To my surprise the flight was very smooth.

Luck was also on my side – I got to sit next to the pilot and had a much better view compared to the people in the back. The tour was pretty cool!


Next day I thought my back would be killing me but I discovered I was virtually pain free instead. Good way to start a day! I didn’t do much until my flight back to Sydney.

Fat women screaming

After checking in to my second hostel I went back to the first one to give them the keys back and to collect my key deposit. Didn’t have any trouble doing that. Success!

One of the things I’ve been wanting to tick off my bucket list was seeing an opera at the Sydney Opera House. Several weeks ago I bought two tickets to La Traviata ($155 a pop) and got Canada to join me.

Fast forward to the opera, I picked up the tickets and waited for Rachel to arrive. She was late. The problem with that was that you can’t get in once the fat lady starts singing. I had to leave her ticket to the “doorwoman” so that she’d give it to Rachel. Usually they’d put the latecomers into a restricted viewing area where they could only hear the opera but couldn’t see anything. They’d have to stay there until the break. Canada was lucky to get in and see the opera from somewhere above me.

She found me during the break and we continued enjoying the show. OK, we didn’t really like the opera that much. Not exactly my thing but we had a good time commenting on the bloody thing.

Later I had to say goodbye to Rachel – this time probably for a very very long time, if not forever. I will remember her as the most captivating, ravishing, lovely, incredible, overwhelming, adorable, alluring, enticing and radiant girl I’ve ever met. I’ll remember her eyes which constantly shine with joy. And most of all I’ll cherish the memories of her unique ability to make me laugh like this:

laughing

I will miss you Rachel!

Ivar McDicks

Power of Cake

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It was a summer evening, nothing special about the day. She bought all the ingredients and said that she’ll make the lemon tart. So I told Emily that she better get on it because I expect to have some cake for breakfast. I went to dreamland with a happy smile on my face.

The morning dawned and I went looking for some cake but there was none to be found. She didn’t make it. Damn her and her empty promises! I will never trust Australians. All they do is raise your hopes and expectations but when push comes to shove they never deliver.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I don’t need her! I can make my own bloody cake.

That’s how it started. I made my first lemon tart from a cookbook and it was a great success.

Soon afterwards I decided that I will make every recipe from that book. It’s another item on my bucket list. I’ve tried other cookbooks but some recipes ended up costing me about $50 each and were too fancy for my taste. This book was different.

Fast forward about 5 months… today I made the last recipe from Merle’s Kitchen by Merle Parrish. I’ve made cakes, puddings, slices, desserts, sponges, cupcakes, scones, bread loafs, biscuits and cookies – a total of 103 recipes. Most of them turned out really well but I had several epic failures too.

Every time I call my mom she asks me about my diet. I always tell her that I eat cakes and such. It’s also the food which has fueled my marathon training.

Mmm… carbs!!!

About a week ago I ran 42.2 km on one of my training runs and added another 80 km in the next 7 days. That’s the power of cake!

Ivar the MasterChef

Here are the photos:

 

It almost happened today

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I was really worried for a sec because I wasn’t prepared.  When the police car behind me started its siren I didn’t know what to do. Should I pull over or let him pass or what was I supposed to do? A moment later I realized that I didn’t have the goods with me. Damn it! Stupid, stupid, stupid… I was kicking myself.

I’ve been fantasizing about this moment for several months… well, since I saw Gabriel Iglesias’ video “Making Cops Laugh”.

That dark night, pulling over and looking into the mirror, watching the policeman approach. Then scrolling down the window and hearing the classic words “Do you know why I pulled you over?”  With a huge smile I’d say “Yes of course, officer. It’s because you can smell the donuts!!!” and I’d hand him the box of donuts I’ve been keeping in my car for just this occasion. 😀 I bet this trick would get me out of a ticket!

donuts

Sadly none of that happened because the police car passed me and went to save a frightened kitten from a tree. First thing tomorrow, I’m going to buy some donuts and keep them in an air-tight container somewhere in my car. I need to be prepared. Hmm… I wonder how long will the donuts stay edible?

I think Australia is getting the best of me… I’m backwards – I actually want to be pulled over. 

Better luck next time,

Ivar

The big one

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Some of you might not know why I’m running this much. It’s because I plan to run the Australian Outback Marathon around Ayres Rock (that big rock in the center of Australia).

Ayers Rock

It’s a rather expensive race. In fact it’s the most expensive stunt I’ve done in my life. I’ve booked my flights and accommodation and it cost me a bit more than $2000. Totally worth it! Hey, you can’t run a marathon in the desert every day. I’m looking forward to the experience. I’ve got 8 more weeks to train (and recover) for it.

You know what I like about the marathon? I like that it’s such a big commitment. All the other stuff I’ve done is just something I can do in exchange for money. Take skydiving for example – all you need to do is pay for the thing and you can do it the very next day.

The marathon is a completely different beast. You can’t pay your way to the finish line. It takes a lot of work: about 1400 km of running, stretching, lots of yoga and eating. The last part is surprisingly difficult because I keep losing weight even though I’ve never eaten this much in my life as I do right now. It’s also tough to sit on your butt all day when you’re injured. The mental side of running is the hardest – the Lizard can be a real bitch sometimes.

Something tells me it’s going to be the best feeling ever to cross that finish line. That’s what motivates me. That’s what keeps me going.

Ivar