Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Shaman is a happy little pig

After Saturday's less than successful run in the woods, I felt disheartened. The dip in my strength came after just 7 km and every hill was a struggle. I read this as a message that I had neglected my hill and terrain sessions lately, and had ended up in tarmac rut hell. I can run far if the ground is flat and even – but so what? The real test is terrain.

Dare to leave tarmac behind!
So I chose to run a hilly round in the forest this morning. As soon as I left the flat, I was stricken by the contrast between last Sunday and today: Sunday was a sunny and warm late-summer day. Today is a windy, rainy autumn day. The leaves have started turning orange and a lot of trees have dropped a considerable amount of their foliage.

Summer is over. Well, at least the colours are pretty.
When I entered the woods, the already dark sky disappeared behind the pine-and-birch canopy and I found myself in a landscape at dusk, although the sun was up – somewhere behind the clouds. I smiled when I saw that the lamps were on around the path. I dreamed of lazy evening sessions in the dark forest with my headlamp on. 

I left the main path and turned right on a lesser path that doesn't see as much traffic. It was wet, but I could easily avoid the worst puddles by running on the grass on the side. Soon, however, I came to a puddle that can only be described accurately as a minor lake. And it was only a little taste of the waterfall to come.

An appetizer. The main course was lake Loch Ness, monster and all (the monster being the mud that tried to eat up my shoes)
This time I couldn't avoid getting my feet wet. My shoes squished as I ran on, and it wasn't long before I stopped caring. The trail was no trail any longer. It was a river. The last few days' rain had made little streams overflow onto the paths, eroding them and creating little canyons.

Once I let go of my ”fear” of puddles, I had a blast. I ran straight through them, the water sometimes being ankle deep. My feet couldn't possibly get any wetter, my shoes hardly any dirtier. Inhaling the oxygen-rich air only made the experience better. But mother nature had one last surprise in stock. The light drizzle that had accompanied me since I left home suddenly turned into a monsoon downpour that soaked me to the bone within seconds. I burst out laughing then, the only living things around to witness this momentary lapse of sanity being birds, and they weren't likely to spill my secret. It was heaven.

Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go to the woods and get their shoes all dirty.
16 wonderful, wet kilometres later I was home, filthy but happy. The hot shower I took afterwards was the best one I had ever had. The hot tea I drank was the tastiest one ever. My self-esteem was restored. This is happiness. This is life.

(Have a look at the new content I have added under ”why I run”)

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