A simple pleasure of mine is running up a hill that used to make me breathless just to walk up, and find out that it's suddenly easy. Gothenburg is not exactly San Francisco, but it can be quite hilly at places, and one of those places is around where I live. So, without really noticing, I've been hill training every time I've been out running. It's a good thing I didn't notice, too, because I really dislike going out to run a specific session. Too much work, too little fun.
So here I was, taking short steps up a long hill in my VFF, dreaming away as I tend to do when I run, when suddenly I realised I had reached the top. And my pulse was pretty low. Well, that was nice, especially after yesterday's humbling experience at Änggårdsbergen. It bodes well for my future training plans on Kungsleden.
A lot of things went through my head as I ran. Our holiday in the mountains. Our plans for the next few days. How it sucks that I have to work tomorrow. And how inspired I had felt the entire morning. Just before I headed out, I had watched a trailer for a film about Western States 100, an ultra that gathers some of the top names in the fields. Scott Jurek and Anton Krupicka, among others. Watching these supermen and superwomen conquering such an unbelievable distance, in such an awesome environment was truly inspirational.
I also thought about the achievements of amateur runners. I've written about it before, how I admire people who have jobs and families and still manage to run fast, but they are not the only ones who inspire me. Maria's race recap from Stockholm Marathon, which I read last night, almost brought me to tears. What a feat to run 42 kilometres. To fight exhaustion and pain, to think of distractions in order to carry on, and to cross that finish line triumphant. It shows how strong the human spirit can be.
Such stories put everything into perspective for me. Sure, 100 miles' worth of trail running is really, REALLY tough. But it is also very abstract, not a distance that I am ever going to run, no matter how much I admire the athletes that complete it. But a marathon distance, or even a shorter ultra, is within reach. It really inspires me to get out there and do it.