Photos That Never Made….

While I haven’t been blogging as much as I’ve wanted the past few weeks, I’m still taking just as many photos! Some were for posts that never happened, others just because, others I forgot to share, some day to day seemed boring to talk about at the time and others taken on my travels.

Just don’t expect any selfies. Even though it’s acceptable now to take them, firstly, I feel conscious taking them, secondly I can’t take them for ****. It’s worse than looking in the mirror! Anyways, enjoy!

New towels of me, new box for the boys!Delivery! Cats eyeing up the box up!

Winter Sunrises. I think the intense colours of winter sunrises and sunsets is compensate the shorter days! Winter Sunrise over the seaWinter Sunrise over the sea

Winter sunsetsSunset Poblenou Barcelona Winter sunset from Barcelona ZooWinter Sunset Barceloneta, BarcelonaBarceloneta, Winter Sunet

Christmas lightsChristmas tree Christmas street lights

The residents of this little alley way I pass on longer runs and bike rides in Masnou, set up their own Christmas lights, leaving a notice asking if people if they would kindly respect them. As in do not steal!Masou Christmas lightsWind, clouds and light. Whenever it’s windy and clear skies in the morning, the wind hangs around for 3 days, yet the clouds come in the afternoon. The light’s different from summer months. It has a colder, sharper, clearer feel to it.Windy day, PoblenouWindy winters day, PoblenouCold day, BarcelonaWinter palm trees Seagulls fishing

Tiger wall decoration, Suyra, an Indian restaurant on Pau ClarisSurya Barcelona Cat stencil, El Borne,Cat stencil, El BorneDucks, Parc Ciutadella. This was to be my entry for Weekly Photos Challenge, Weightless. I never got around to entering it! It’s wonky, but I feel it shows off ducks cheeky personalities! But I think these are geese not ducks. Ducks, Parc CiutadellaLightening storm out to sea. The quality’s bad, but I wanted to see if I could capture something. I have so much respect now for lightening photographers! Lightening storm at sea

Buff Epic Run, Barcelona Olympic Stadium and Magic Fountain

This past Saturday I ran the Buff Epic Run, an 8km untimed obstacle course around Montjuic. The theme every year is fun. Emphasis on fun. Costume’s encouraged! I went as minimalistic Black Widow. Some went all out with their costumes, others like me played it safe. Minimalistic safe so I could run. It’s amazing what you can do with some plastic plates, elastic, velcro and a glue gun. Buff Epic Run. Black Widow Costume

Friday, I picked up the race pack from near the start line on Montjuic, where Barcelona’s old castle, National Palace, Magic Fountain and Olympic Stadium’s located. On Montjuic as it’s the highest outcrop of the city overlooking the sea, (not including the mountains behind) so to say it’s hilly is kinda an understatement. Wanna run or cycle hills in the city, run Montjuic. No way was I cycling those hills again Saturday if I wanted to arrive reasonably on time was running late. Saturday I skipped them, parked my bike near the The Magic Fountain and took the short cut past the Palace and Olympic Stadium. I still got whipped by hills, the most of the obstacles were steep slopes and cycling there up Avinguda del Parallel it’s one long ever increasing slope. A 2km slope that you can’t coast down on the return journey!

Palau National
National Palace Barcelona

I’d watched last years race video and with 3000+ runners leaving at once, there were some  epic bottlenecks. Those that went all out with their costumes were carrying props, dancing, in party mode, I really didn’t want to get stuck behind, so I made my way up through crowd until I found more minimalistic costume runners. I’m glad I made this move as the obstacles I was really looking forward to, climbing over hay bale walls, pyramids and old beer barrels, I didn’t have to wait for. The only bummer was that these were right at the end of the race. I wanted more! The only mud bath obstacle was a foot spa compared to Spartan. Mud after that race doesn’t faze me much now! Most the run I was playing tag with a group of French guys dressed up as nuns minidresses. It’s not fair they looked better in those minidresses than most girls. Just saying (and they sang most of the way!). I think I ran it just under an hour, I forgot to wear a watch and I’m not used to running hills, okay.

Foggy morning that turned in to bright sunshine! Palau National and The Magic Fountain

1992 Olympic Flame Olympic Flame Barcelona

Olympic Stadium Olympic Stadium

Gardens Palau National

Magic Fountain

Magic Fountain, Palau National

Avinguda del Paral-lel UpAvinguda del Paral-lel

DownAvinguda del Paral-lel

Sunday no run. I’d ran Friday, cycling to Montjuic twice in 2 days, I knew I had to take it easy. Instead a short Tone It Up HIIT routine and some much needed Yogaglo later. I haven’t been able to practice as much as I’ve wanted the last few weeks and my shoulders are feeling it. I tend to forget posture cycling and with rucksacks they tense up quite quickly if I don’t practice. I do a lot of TRX shoulder and back work to open them up, but I find yoga’s the best thing for keeping them happy.

Love hills or a love hate thing with them? Have a great week!

Weekend Friday Favourites

Fluffy house socks are back en vogue! It’s now too chilly to be running barefoot around the apartment. While they may be warm and feature cute rabbit and bear faces I don’t like them! They’re a reminder the clocks go back next week, the cold, short daylight days are coming. Bring back long hot summer days please! Brr!

I hope you’re having a great weekend! I’m hoping 3rd time lucky recording my Outdoor Fitness Coach assessment works. Both previous tries, the camera stopped filming after 15mins. It has to be all in one shot for assessment. Then there was my voice. Queue Google searches how to make your voice deeper. I know it’s high, but didn’t realise it sounded like that! It sounds completely different in my head!

Anyways, Weekend Friday Favourites, things I’ve been loving this week or have caught my eye!

Salomon Speed Vario Trail TrainersSalomon Speedcross Vario, 2015Salomon Speedcross Vario, 2015

I have these to thank for hardly slipping in the mud running last week. Many Spartan runners wore normal trainers and had trouble getting out the mud pitsponds, baths. Lightweight and comfy, these gripped well and helped on the steep slopes down we had to run or shimmy down crab style, feet first!

Fabletics Salar CaprisFabletics Salar Capris

I love the fit of these in the longer length leggings for everyday running errands, so I had to try out the capri length. I hardly notice them running or working out. The only thing I’m not so keen on is the high waist band, but they’re easy to roll down. They’re the equivalent to Lululemon Wunderunders and a much nicer price! I was drawn to the go fast strips version and when I purchased them, they were one of their Fit Finds. 1/2 VIP price, if you spend over a certain amount.

SunspotsChimps keeping warm in the sunshine

A definite sign it’s not longer warm are a few zoo animals seeking sunspots to warm up! The chimps, monkeys, penguins, banded mongoose, kangeroos and Patagonian mara’s were warming up in the afternoon sun this week!
Banded mongoose Barcelona Zoo Patagonian Mara

Tiger Disposable Cold Compresses Tiger ice packs

I though these were renewable ice packs which is why I got them. Okay, Ice, Ice, Baby may have swung it, however they’re single use and work like the single use hand warmers. Press the inner pouch to activate the cold gel.

Internet Finds. Mostly Nat Geo as usual!

Sky News Report: fighting to save the rhino

People without electricity don’t get 8 hours sleep either

Saving the last Rocket Frogs

Congo’s first female park rangers

Chriselle Lims 11 Tips to Look Expensive Structured bag, white and pull your sleeves out!

What’s been making you smile this week? Have a great weekend!

Spartan Super

I am Spartana!I am Spartana!

Aroo!

If I ever had a thing against mud, it’s gone. Fully submerged in mud making my way under a log, with no option but to dive into the stinky stuff or get out and do 30 mud soaked burpees, I can never be ew, mud again. I faced the obstacle I was least looking forward to. Any mud pit after that, bring it on, it’s just mud. For I am Spartan. Mud is just mud. Just don’t swallow any!

This past Sunday I ran what I have been training for all year, the Barcelona Spartan Race Super! 13km run with 25+ obstacles and loved every minute of it. Even the mud. I looked a sight, but so did everyone else. I’ll try to keep the recap short!

I took the coach set on by the organisers to Les Combs a private event management estate in the Pyrenees and got talking to 2 other girls on the bus who were also running solo. I felt a little more at ease that I wasn’t the only solo runner! Most on the coach it was their first race minus one girl who ran the Sprint the day before (she’s working towards the Trifecta. All 3 Spartan Races). The day before was also the Beast, 21km with 35 + obstacles (the elite winner won it 2h16min! I took about 2.5 hours for my course!) and the Sprint, 5km with 15 + obstacles.

Coach ride inMonserrat bus ride inMonserrat bus ride in

Les Combs. It was the perfect day. Chilly start for this city girl, warm later even with sun cream and mud to tan and burn very slightly on her shoulder. Les CombsLes Combs

After checking in at the cloakroom, walking around the festival area, getting changed, popping to the bathroom numerous times it was showtime! The only way into the start line was a wall climb before warming up to Highway to Hell. Everybody was full of smiles, with Spartanos being told if a Spartana needed help on the course (walls) they were to help (The Elite racers aren’t allowed to help other as they run I believe for prize money. They’re also the first race of the day. Less mud for them.). The truth, everybody helped each other, but it was nice to know the guys had been told as I had to ask for help with the wall into the start area as did a few other girls. I made sure I said thank you to whoever helped me with the walls. I don’t think anyone burpeed for not climbing walls.

Bye bye trainers Bye Bye Trainers Bye Bye Trainers

The course was trail, up and down the mountains/hills, some steep slopes, one you had to shuffle down crab style, some ledges to jump down. I bumped into pre run the instructor who gave the training session 2 weeks earlier who advised to walk up the hills, run down them. I ran up as much as possible, but parts were steep and while I’m fine running trails, I’m no sky runner!

The mud they introduced gradually. Baby mud pit to swimming through stinky stuff before over a log, under a log, over a log. Then crawling under barbwire and nets though mud, wading through mud, climbing up mud banks, more rolling in mud! In-between the mud pits were walking logs balance beams, slip 30 burpees, walking logs over mud pits, dragging weights, if they loose contact with ground 30 burpees, log, atlas, sandbag carries, monkey bars, Herculean hoists (thank you to the couple who helped me until the rope was mud free for me to continue. I never got to say it or to those who helped me with the 8ft+ wall. I shouted it, but I don’t think they heard), spear throws, sled dragging, rope climbs, net climbs, wall climbs, tyre pulls, wall traverses and jumping fire or for me embers. Failure to do any, fall, 30 burpees. 65 burpees for me, spear throw and rope climb in a mud bog which 95% of runners burpeed. The 5 were for the atlas carry: carry to a set distance, 5 burpees, return. I would have liked less mud and more net climbs, monkey bars, log carries etc, but it was fun all the same. I don’t think if I hadn’t have worn trial running trainers I wouldn’t have found the mud so easy. Mud and barbed wire obstacles

A: Crawl through mud under barbed wire. Climb out, run up into the mountains.

B: Commando roll under barbed wire into mud pit. Repeat X 2, smile for the camera, run to next obstacle.

Home straight and the infamous fire jump!Home straight Last obstacles

Crossing the finish line, period dressed Spartans placed my medal around my neck. The greatest feeling! I did it! Before moving to get my finisher t-shirt and first part of the trifecta medal, then final photo (I tried to clean the mud off my headband so my number could be seen, but I got it all over my nose and eyebrows instead. Double sight! Plus I didn’t place the band over the tops of my ears, so they stuck out and the mud isn’t good for crows feet. Lines everywhere! Next time! (I’m still waiting for official photos)), then onto the showers. Open mixed showers, rows of hand held cold water showers or the option to be hosed down! I think I spent about 20 minuets getting the mud out. My hair was like a helmet, my bra a mud catcher. I really wanted to take it off, but it was mixed showers so it stayed put and did my best. Some girls did, but nearly everyone kept underwear on and everybody was to busy concentrating getting mud out to look. I didn’t think to take flip flops, I forgot to wash the mud from my ears, but I did take cleansing wipes which removed the mud from my ears 5 mins later.Spartan Super finisher Spartan Super Finisher medal

Only war wounds a few scratches and one swollen ankle. My foot slipped between 2 hay bales scaling down 1 wall which I knew would hurt later. Which it did on the Metro home. Apart from that and an achy right shoulder from the log and sandbag carries, I’m not really sore much. I hurt more after the training session Spartan Race held! I’ve had to scarfice the top I wore. I can’t get the mud smell out. It took about 1 tank of hot water to get the clothes in state for hand washing and their already on their 2nd hand wash soaking before the washing machine. I can’t believe how stubborn the mud is!

Would I do more obstacle races? Definitely! Would I go for the trifecta? Yes! In shorts and sports bra. The top I sacrificed, I really wanted to sacrifice it 1/2 way round. It kept being dragged down for me to keep having to tuck it in, only for it to untuck and drag down with the next mud pit. But I know for next time!

Have you ever participate in a Spartan Race or obstacle race? What was your favourite and least favourite obstacle? Have a great week!

Cap d’Antibes

The 68th Festival de Cannes 2015 is in full swing and with the Monaco Grand Prix coming up, May on the French Riveria’s filled with glitz and glamour. But you don’t have to be a millionaire billionaire to appreciate its beauty or taste those yacht views.

Cap d’Antibes not far from Cannes, after Cap d’Ail is France’s 2nd most expensive real estate. Millionaires villa garden paths lead to gates opening up to spectacular Mediterranean Sea views. My one biggest regret leaving France was we’d only just discovered you could walk its coastal path, Chemin des Contrebandiers or Smugglers Path where these gates open up to. Previously I’d just ran on the main road through the Cap. We’d walked part of the path, but not its entirety. When I was in France a few weeks ago for my friends wedding, I had a spare few hours before my flight back. I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Cap d’Antibes and Parc Vaugrenier!

The path’s open to the public except in bad weather. Starting behind the Restaurant le Cesar and Plages/beaches Keller and Garoup, it snakes along rocks, up and down steps over looking the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) until you it takes you inland for the return. I skipped the inland bit and walked back along the sea. Trainers and jeans are fine to walk it in. It’s also a great trail path for runners. Don’t expect thanks for letting people pass by when the path narrows. Few did and few let me have right of way and those who did got thanks. That’s just how it works there. That aside, it’ll take 1-2hrs depending on how many photos you’ll take. I highly recommend walking it if you’re ever on the Côte Azur. Enjoy!  Cap d'Antibes

Villa gates leading to the seaCap d'Antibes

Cap d'Antibes

Cap d'AntibesI swear this is the tree Monet painted in Cap d’Antibes! On a clear day you can see the Alps in the distance as on the notice below. The day I went was hazy. During a Mistral or bad storms, the path maybe closed, but the water is an amazing shade of turquoise. Cap d'Antibes

Parking is free, busy at the weekends so arrive early especially on Sundays when the restaurants are in high demand. There’s a public WC on the beach, but I couldn’t find it. If you need to go and can’t find the toilette publique you have to buy a drink in one of the restaurants. That’s how it works in France!