Not following a training programme means that one day you suddenly wake up and feel like going for a long run, and there's no one or nothing there to stop you. Take today, for instance. I woke up after way too little sleep, but I was so eager to go for a run that I didn't let that little detail get in my way. I filled my new Camelbak with two litres of water (of the possible 3) and jogged to the bus stop.
2 extra kilos on my back made my knees ache during this 1,5 km jog and I was worried about how far I'd get before they became too much. Good thing about carrying a water reservoir on your back though is that, as you run further and further, the reservoir gets lighter and lighter. By the end of my run I couldn't even feel the backpack.
The bus ride to Kungsbacka took 50 minutes. I looked through the window at all the beautiful places I would revisit on foot on my way back: eccentric villas, flowers, the seaside, cows and sheep lazily eating grass. I was so excited to be heading out on this little adventure and I couldn't wait till I started running. The trip took forever.
Once I got there, I found my bearings, got a satellite signal on my phone, started my Garmin and began my journey back home. I kept a low pace, trying to save my strength. The first few kilometres after Kungsbacka are mainly uphill. I kept my eyes on my shadow in front of me and lowered my cap so that the view of the long hill ahead was blocked. I didn't want to know. I let my thoughts wander and, before I knew it, I was running downhill.
Leaving the busy motorway behind, I ran on a quieter road. It was surrounded by magnificent fields of green. It is here Sandsjöbackaleden begins, and it did cross my mind to run the trail through Sandsjöbacka again, instead of heading towards the sea and running on the cycle path. It was a very brief thought, though; the memory of how tough it was last week kept me running towards Särö.
I was amazed by how quiet it was. There weren't many cars around, and even fewer people. The few people that I met only smiled, hardly saying a word. I ran past an older gentleman carrying a hydration backpack, heading towards Kungsbacka. The smiles we exchanged were slightly bigger than the ones reserved for others. We were two like-minded people on a similar adventure. I had no idea who he was, yet I couldn't help but feel connected to him somehow.
After a detour in Särö, I was on the old rail road tracks that, many years ago, went from Särö to Gothenburg. Because of its previous status as a rail road, the cycle path is flat. Almost too flat. Muscles tire more easily when there is no variation. When variation finally comes in the form of, say, an obstacle that you have to run around, it's almost as if your muscles have been caught sleeping and wake up guiltily with a start.
I took frequent, yet short pauses to walk and drink water. I think this interrupts my flow, although I'm sure that my muscles are thankful that I let them rest for a few seconds. I had planned a longer pause since the bus drove past Nordgården. Nordgården is a cosy restaurant and bakery. I popped in and marvelled at how many different sorts of breads and buns they had managed to fit in such a small place. I decided on a raspberry and rhubarb muffin, and bought a brownie and cinnamon bun to share with J later. The girl at the counter was also kind enough to give me some water. I sat on a bench outside the bakery and enjoyed the delicious muffin, while the sun caressed my face.
With renewed energy I was ready to face the last 10 kilometres of my run. I was back on familiar grounds, running by the sea. I stopped to splash some sea water on my face and arms. With a little help from a light breeze, the water cooled me down and gave me strength. I wasn't far from home now. Garmin showed 30 kilometres but I kept running. Just after 3 hours, I stopped my watch at 31 km.
As I walked home the rest of the way, I saw a guy who sold strawberries. I had to buy some. ”Have you been out for a jog?” he asked. ”Yes” I said, ”I've run from Kungsbacka”. ”That's far! I run around Delsjön sometimes, it's really beautiful” he replied. I told him I agreed. It's all very beautiful. Running takes something that already is beautiful and turns it into a masterpiece.
6 km after I left Kungsbacka, I heard a braying sound. I knew immediately what it was, and, despite what it sounded like, it wasn't a dog burping; I had heard J's stories from when he had been out camping in the woods. Roe deer! I looked in the bushes by the cycle path. Sure enough, there she was: a gorgeous roe deer mum with her two fawns. They disappeared almost as soon as I saw them, but it made me smile. Even though I once more had failed to capture the deer with my camera.
But then, a couple of hundred metres later, there it was.
Standing among the tall grass blades, looking at me running past.
I stopped, took out my phone, turned around and avoided making eye contact as I aimed the camera towards it.
It stood there paralysed. I cautiously walked closer, still not looking at it directly, still taking pictures.
One good(-ish) picture. Then it was gone.