Monday, 31 October 2011

Zombies! (because it's Halloween)

Sometimes it's really hard to know when to take an extra rest day. Maybe your training schedule says you should, but your body feels light and bursting with energy. Maybe you go for a run anyway. You might even feel great afterwards, and be pleased that you managed a bonus session.

And then, sometimes, it's really easy to know when to take an extra rest day. Say, if you've only had 6 hours of sleep. And then sat in meetings all day, drinking buckets of coffee to keep awake. And felt hungover, although you haven't had a drop of alcohol. When your body might be bursting with energy, but your head is bursting with a junk food induced headache.

Photo by This is Awkward
I don't think it's very healthy to pour caffeine down your throat when what your body really needs is sleep. It's an artificial and unnatural way to keep going, a potent elixir to bring you back from the land of the dead. A spark of electricity to give life to Frankenstein's monster. When all this monster should do is rest.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Run together, die alone

Running with the group is such a fun experience. Every single time. There always seems to be someone new to talk to, and it's always great to catch up with the regulars. We hadn't decided on a route beforehand, so we discussed our alternatives when we met up in Skatås.

- Maybe around 25 km? I said. Preferably flat. I'm saving my legs for (the hilly terrain race) Finalloppet next Saturday.

Several others agreed that flat is good. Someone suggested running to Mölnlycke. Is it flat? I asked. Sure, said someone. Some minor hills but nothing too bad.

What followed were some of the fastest hills I've ever run. Let's just say that some people in the group are really good runners, and 5 min/km is slow for them – even on the million hills that we encountered. After a couple of frenzied kilometres, I breathlessly asked the guys up front to slow down. And they did. I love this group.

Skatås is really beautiful this time of year. Orange, brown, yellow leaves are blended with the evergreen firs and spruces. Some shreds of fog were hanging over the lakes, adding to the surreal atmosphere surrounding this place. 

We left Skatås and ran around Mölnlycke, through industrial areas and expensive villa neighbourhoods. H had the lead and took us past Gunnebo palace, where J and I sometimes spend lazy summer days picnicking with friends or just relaxing. It wasn't any less magical in the autumn.

Pic taken in the summer
Then it was time for me to leave the group. They were going to run back to Skatås, and I was running home. Suddenly, my legs felt heavier. Suddenly, the hills that might otherwise be easy felt like mountains. Suddenly, I found myself taking walking breaks on the worst of them and wishing I hadn't forgotten to take with me both food and water. It's amazing how fast your (imagined?) tiredness gets to you when your running friends aren't there to distract you.

I stopped at Mölndal station and bought a ”kexchoklad” (a sort of chocolate-covered wafer) and some water. I ate it while walking and drank water like I hadn't had water in months. Then I started running again. I took another such break on a slope later, but the chocolate had given me the kick I needed to cover the rest of the distance home running.

Just over 27 sunny kilometres was the distance I ran today. It was neither flat nor ”just” 25 km like I had hoped for, let alone easy, but it was one of the best runs I've done – thanks to the good company that challenged me, distracted me with good conversation and took me to places I hadn't been before.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Glorious, magnificent autumn

On one of those rare sunny autumn days in Gothenburg, I skipped the repetitive run home from work and went for a VFF run in the woods instead. 

Apart from the hordes of pensioners roaming the paths around the lake, causing me to wonder if I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Florida, I was alone with my thoughts and the sound of crunchy leaves beneath my feet. The sun was already quite low on the horizon, although the time was only 3 in the afternoon. It cast a warm light on trees and water, transforming the world into a sphere of comforting serenity.

I didn't really feel like leaving the woods, so I ran an extra round, bringing the total up to 10 km. I was filled to the brim with energy afterwards. I had gotten my dose of vitamin D and endorphins. I loved everything and everyone (even those couples taking up the whole path and talking loudly, disrupting my meditation). Running was followed by some strength exercises, inspired by last night's interesting lecture on the importance of prehab.

Days like this I feel I could take on the world.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


I'm going to a running event tonight, where an expert is going to teach me how to avoid injury, and where I'm going to be joining a few complete strangers for a run. Thus, no long run this morning. No run and no work means a lot of pent-up energy that needs to be channelled into something or else I explode like an overfilled balloon.

After a quick trip to the supermarket I came home with spelt flour and what I thought were ALL the necessary ingredients to make bread. Apart from some things I thought I had at home. And of course I didn't, which I discovered as soon as I got home and opened the cupboard. Going back to the supermarket would have been the wise thing to do, I suppose. But I lack common sense, so I searched the Internet for substitutes to the missing ingredients.

I used to be good at this. Spelt bread from some years ago.
The Bread Thing is now in the oven, slowly gaining in volume and looking completely deformed. And slightly threatening. I think I saw a mouth with sharp teeth in there. But it smells like home.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Fear of the dark

A thriller. Based on a true story.

She met him on a dark, windy morning. Or night, more accurately. The sun was still nowhere near the horizon and the clouds were heavy in the sky, hiding the stars and moon. People were safely at home, asleep.

She had gotten up at 4.30, eaten a quick breakfast and put on reflective running gear. She had planned to run on well-lit pavements, but she took her head lamp with her anyway, in case she had to run on the road.

Her body responded to the early wake-up call reluctantly, but after a few kilometres it had settled into a nice rhythm. She ran past dark houses, abandoned school yards, empty supermarkets. Soon, she left the suburbs for the countryside. Her route would take her past open fields where horses grazed, and past that, a cemetery. She liked running through the cemetery. It was serene.

Her head lamp shed little light on her surroundings, making her feel as if she were in a bubble, in the middle of nowhere, with no one around. Not even the horses were out; they were probably in the stables, sleeping. She wondered what she would do if a car drove past. All her reflective gear was meant to make her visible to cars, but did she want to be visible? Who could possibly be driving out here in the middle of the night? Who, but a psycho killer looking for prey?

A sudden noise from the trees by the side of the road made her jump. The light from her head lamp fell on a white tail and some long, slim legs. A deer, fleeting into the woods. She smiled. She had managed to spook herself over a forest animal. She had obviously read one too many Stephen King novels. Relieved and reassuring herself that the most dangerous creature around was probably a sharp-toothed hare, she ran on past the cemetery. Ghouls and ghosts did not frighten her.

She almost stopped in her tracks. Where the cemetery ended, the street lights ended too. Ahead of her lay a long, pitch-black stretch of road, surrounded by nothing but forest. She briefly considered turning back, but the earlier incident with the deer had made her feel silly and she wanted to prove to herself that she was brave. The weak head lamp could only illuminate ten metres or so in front of her. It also caught the reflection from some traffic cones that were lined up on the road where speed bumps were being built.

Suddenly, she caught a glimpse of something dark in the middle of the road. Another traffic cone? One without the reflective stripes? As she ran on, the cone seemed to grow in height. When she finally noticed that the thing in front of her had legs, it was too late to stop.

She met him on a dark, windy morning. More like night, actually. The only living creature that heard her screams was a fleeting deer, disappearing into the woods.

In a parallel universe, it was just another traffic cone. The rush of adrenaline brought on by my vivid imagination made me sprint a couple of kilometres in the middle of my long run, but once I got back to civilisation, the rest of this 20 km session was uneventful. Thankfully.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Out and about before sunrise

Frost on the ground and broken street lamps turned the pavement into an upside-down sky where a million bright stars were scattered. I was wearing my reflective vest and from my backpack hung a light. Still, I wished I had taken my head lamp with me.

I took the long way into work this morning, leaving home early enough to allow for an easy, slow jog there. No stress. Just floating in the darkness, amazed at how augmented the distant traffic sounds were by the absence of optical references. And at how much traffic there was so early in the morning. Why don't people cycle? Or take the bus? Or, I don't know, run? Then maybe we would get to listen to a different, more natural soundtrack on our way to work in the morning.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto

A tornado hit Gothenburg yesterday morning and, with the exception of a brief interlude last night, the wind has been merciless since then.

I was swept away into the woods by it. The sky was heavy with clouds and the world was sepia coloured. Flags were fluttering violently against their poles, birds were flying backwards and I think I might have caught a glimpse of one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I disregarded the obvious danger of getting a tree on my head and went to see a Wizard about giving me a new pair of legs.

Follow the yellow brick road
The trees provided shelter from the wind, and at times I even forgot that there was a storm outside the forest. It was very muddy; my new Kayanos were christened in several water puddles. They shall hereafter be called Dorothies. The illusion that the storm had moved on was shattered as soon as I ran on exposed ground. At one point, while running on the narrow path between a lake and a swamp, the wind hit me from two directions. AT THE SAME TIME.

When I emerged from the woods, the sun broke through the clouds and the world exploded with colour. I didn't get to see the Wizard, but I did get an invigorating hilly run.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Moonlighting as a poet

Monday morning
Oh how I'm yawning
The sky's on fire
Hope I don't tire
on my way home tonight
my legs are so light
It's not a drag,
it's in the bag.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


I blame the full moon. I mean, look what it does to werewolves.

I've been tired pretty much all week. Despite this fact, I optimistically planned for a traditional Saturday long run. However, both J and I woke up early this morning, took a look at the frozen world outside the window and decided to go for a walk. I figured I could run afterwards so I put my running clothes on and we headed out to the lake.

The air was so crispy that every intake of breath was a joy. The first light had just illuminated the horizon. Autumn can be so beautiful when the sky is clear and there is no wind. The sun had just appeared behind the trees when we reached the lake, starting to warm up the forest. A thin layer of mist hung above the calm lake water.

After we rounded the lake, I was reluctant to leave the forest. Although my muscle seems to prefer even surfaces that only tarmac and city environment can offer, I still chose to run in the woods. I paid for it with exhaustion. The first 3-4 kilometres after I left J went well, but then my strength seemed to leave my body, my legs felt heavy and I ran awkwardly. Stubborn as I am, I still managed to plod all the way home, adding a total of 10 km in the cookie jar.

Tomorrow will be a rest day. Promise.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Let them eat cake

Yesterday's fiasco is but a faint memory. Today's run was a triumph. 10 mostly easy kilometres, taking detours, picking new streets to run in, flying up long, steep hills. Ok, that last one might be an exaggeration. But I did get to witness this sight:

Only speck of dirt on this perfect picture was my thigh muscle, which still hates my guts. I can assure you that the feeling is mutual. Speck of dirt is maybe the wrong description. Giant cow patty might be more like it.

And, because these 10 km put me at a calorie deficit, J surprised me with the most delicious looking chocolate cake, as a belated celebration of last Saturday's marathon. Drool.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Tough going

My head was the size of a small planet when I woke up this morning. My eyes felt swollen and ached. A cup of coffee fixed most of that, but a feeling that something is wrong persisted all through the day. Add to that the thousand knives that have been stabbing me in the stomach for over a week, and you probably have the reason why today's run home from work went as bad as it did.

I couldn't get any semblance of flow in my running. Breathing felt forced, as if I were running a lot faster than I actually was. The whole half hour it took to get home I kept wishing it felt easier, because it was such a gorgeous autumn day and my brain wanted me to keep running forever. Or at least until sundown.

I long for the day my thigh muscle shuts up and running feels easy again.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Good thing I didn't go into astrophysics

One important survival strategy during the marathon last Saturday was counting down. After the first half of the race, I started calculating how many kilometres I had left. It was very rewarding psychologically, because with each kilometre I ran, the less I had left. Compare that with counting upwards, that is how many kilometres I had accumulated in my tired legs. Had I done that, the (imagined) weight of 34, 35, 40 km would have crushed me.

I was also very optimistic. I've never been that good at maths, despite my fond, most likely false, memories of kicking ass at solving algebra equations when I was in high school. When I subtracted how many kilometres I had run from the total, I was left with a slightly wrong answer. Example: 29 km run meant I had 12 left. Was my miscalculation an unconscious effort to make the distance seem shorter, or was I too tired to count properly? Or do I simply suck at maths?

You can imagine my disappointment when I redid the calculation at 30 km and came up with the same – this time correct - answer.

Undeterred, I continued using my terrible maths skills. I tried to calculate my finishing time, a task even more complicated than subtraction. I had to take my average speed and multiply that with the amount of kilometres left, and then add that to my time so far. Advanced mathematics, suitable only for the likes of Einstein. The results were as encouraging as with my subtraction calculations. I could finish the marathon in under 4 hours 15 minutes! Then I would count again and suddenly it was hopeless to even try and get a sub 4.30. My adrenaline fuelled mind was spinning so fast, its neurons were short fusing. Then I picked up speed and managed to finish in under 4 hours and 15 minutes anyway.

Kids, always do your maths homework. You never know when you might need it.

In other news, I went for a morning run that was just delicious. No ache anywhere in my body, except for my thigh muscle. It was almost dawn when I left home, and a full moon was creeping down towards the horizon. Magic.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Alternative training. Well, not really.

What a beautiful morning it was. The air was so chilly that you just wanted to take really deep breaths and fill your lungs with oxygen till they burst. The sky was clear and rose-tinted near the horizon. Just beautiful.

Would it be superfluous to say that I wanted to go running? Like, duh?

But I was a good girl and rested. That's not to say I stayed indoors and ate chips all day, when the weather was so nice; first, I drove a colleague to the stable where she goes riding, because she's had an operation on her foot and can't drive. Once there I got to spend some time with horses, cats, dogs and rabbits, while my colleague caught up with her stable friends. I love animals. Except when they wake me up at 3 in the morning. Call it a selective kind of love. And I love this kind of life, in a rural environment, away from traffic and pollution and noise, surrounded by little creatures. Autumn is so much more vivid there, you just can't miss it. The smell of burning wood, the frost on the grass, the moss on the walls, the horse dung. Love it.

On our way back we saw a moose casually grazing on a field. Naturally we had to stop and take a photo.

When I dropped off my colleague, I went home and baked a Västerbottenpaj (matured cheese pie) with chanterelles. I was starving by this point. Yesterday I had to literally force myself to eat after the marathon, but today I had to force myself to stop eating my weight in food. Oh, and the pie was good, so that didn't help matters.

I'm feeling a bit peckish
So I haven't spend the morning on the sofa, like I thought I would have to do. My legs feel great, surprisingly. My thigh muscle is a bit grumpy but I don't think it's going to hold a grudge. My mood? Pretty good, thank you for asking. Still no elation, no pride. It's almost like a dream now. Did it really happen? Was it real?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Göteborg Marathon 2011

I went, I saw, I conquered. And, even though my thigh muscle never for a minute let me forget that I kept abusing it, it went so smoothly, so -do I dare say it without getting slapped by someone?- easy.

My somewhat realistic goal was just to get around. My hope was to do it in less than 4 hours 30 minutes. I didn't have a dream goal, because I didn't think anything else was realistic. I was wrong.

I started off easy, but realised immediately that the pace of 6.30 min/km that was necessary to get a 4.30 finish was just not going to happen. I never run at that pace, which makes it awkward to even try. I settled for a 6 min/km, my little-slower-than-usual long run pace. I fell behind people I thought were keeping the same speed as I did for a while, then ran past them if they slowed down. This strategy took me through the first half of the marathon. Then a lot of participants disappeared, as they were only doing half the distance.

The first half went by quickly, thanks to running into (pun not intended) several people I knew. Karin and Alexander, there as spectators, whooped and applauded enthusiastically. Hans accompanied me on his bike for a few kilometres keeping me entertained and distracted with some easy conversation. J cycled back and forth taking photos and helping me bear the weight on my shoulders. He just had to smile and I knew he was there with me.

I had now left the stadium for the second time and the stretch I'd dreaded the most was lying ahead of me. I put my earphones on. I had both fast and slow songs on my mp3 player, to help me along depending on my mood. Some real heart breakers were on first, and I was overwhelmed by emotion. I was doing it! It felt great! I was counting down kilometres and surprising myself with how few the remaining ones seemed. 15 kilometres? No problem. 13? 10? 6?? Why did I ever think that the other half would be more of a struggle than the first one?

I kept munching on my "runekakor" and washing the sticky bars down with water and coke from the stations. Which were the only places I had to walk, because I didn't want to spill coke all over my jacket. This steady intake of sugar seemed to do the trick and I never hit the infamous wall. I wasn't even close.

With a few kilometres left, an older gentleman came out of nowhere and whooshed past me. What the...?! How is this possible? This is a marathon! You're supposed to be knackered at the end of it, not pick up speed! So I did the only reasonable thing: I picked up speed too. The last three kilometres were run at 5.32, 5.20 and 5.07 respectively. Not lightning fast exactly, but fast for me.

I crossed the finish line strong, if a bit tired, with a big smile on my face. J was waiting for me, and I think he might have been even happier than I was. As soon as I stopped running, I stopped being able to move altogether. My feet hurt, my thigh hurt, my knees hurt, new previously unknown muscles hurt, but they were nothing in comparison with my shoulder that was screaming in pain. That was all fixed with a good stretch and cold shower afterwards.

So, first marathon race completed and I have the medal to prove it. But the eagerly awaited elation somehow failed to make an appearance. I wondered if it was post race numbness that was blocking my emotions, but no. Firstly because I was as lucid and present as I ever am, and secondly because, as several people have told me since the end of the race, I have done this before, just not in a race. So it wasn't a first.

Oh well. I'll just have to find a new challenge now.


This is really happening, then. 4 hours left. My nostrils are snot-free, my stomach is calm (apart from the obligatory pre-race butterflies) and my thigh muscle is...hey, look, a Dodo!

I can do it. I can't do it. If I just concentrate on my music, I'll make it. Oh crap, I haven't done any long runs since the beginning of September. But if I just want it bad enough, I can make it happen. But what if I have to drop out? Yes I can. No I can't. Yes-I-CAN.

Allowing doubt to enter my head is the worst possible thing to do right now. Objectively speaking, my preparations could have been better. It's too late for that now, though. What I do have now is my brain. The brain that has got me through much tougher challenges, and in much tougher conditions. The brain that has helped me to keep my cool, the one that has spotted out curse words in my face, military style, to keep me going. The brain that needs this medal and the disillusionment it brings so badly, in order to move my limits a bit further.

I'm spreading my wings, but will I fly?
My mental strategy is to ignore the first half marathon. I've done the distance a million times before, I know I can do it. The race starts afterwards. Seeing as I have to run up and down the same stretch of cycle path 4 times, it will be the third time around that's going to pose the biggest problems, I believe. Leaving the stadium while a lot of half-marathoners are crossing the finish line, and probably being, if not the last, then among the last people to turn away is going to be emotionally taxing. Knowing that I have 2 more hours of running ahead of me, alone. So, I will try to draw my strength from the fact that I feel safe even with kilometres 20 to 30. Try to pretend that I haven't just run a half marathon.

After about 30 km, I will hopefully be on my way back. The notorious wall will be looming. Now I will have to focus on the fact that I'm running the last part. Eat, drink. Try to trick myself into believing that 10 km – I can do that in my sleep. Even though I don't usually do it after I've run 30 km. Remember that I've done the marathon distance twice before, in training. Ultra-style, but still.

And, throughout the race, my most powerful weapon will be visualisation. Seeing the moment I cross the finish line in my mind, the moment I throw my arms around J with the medal around my neck, my happiness, my relief, the big smile on my face. The day after, when I can call myself a marathoner.

Yes, I think I can.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Mind games

It's starting to get nerve wrecking. Is my throat sore? Is my thigh muscle playing up again? And what was that sharp pain in my stomach?

I've got my mind made up about that little event on Saturday. Whether it's the long or short version is less important (although I'm trying to convince myself that, yes, I can do the whole distance, despite that little detail that I haven't trained for it). It's happening – IF I'm healthy, IF my thigh muscle is ok, IF a meteorite doesn't strike the earth...

Need a new medal
So I'm carbo-loading. And resting. And trying to get as much sleep as I can (and failing – I'M LOOKING AT YOU, TERRIBLE LITTLE CAT MONSTERS WAKING ME UP AT 3.30 THIS MORNING – anyone wants to adopt two adorable little kitties?). And making sure my mp3 player is charged and full of motivating songs to keep me going for hours, while I'm running back and forth the same boring stretch of cycle path I've cycled and ran a million times before. And bribing people to come and cheer me on, because, Internet, even if the body is able, I don't think the mind will be. I've never run more than 31 km solo. I might start having conversations with myself, just to keep myself entertained. Alas, I'm really not that interesting to talk to. And I've heard all the jokes I know before.

I'm also trying to envision a future where I've done it. I've run 42 km and I got the medal and I'm proudly wearing it everywhere – to work, in the shower, on the beach – and I'm moving past it and towards new goals. Because that's what this is about. It's not about running the marathon in itself. I've done it before, in training. But if I really do it, and I have the medal to prove it (mostly to myself, mind you), then I might just believe I'm ready for greater things.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Yesterday was such a crazy day that the only thing I could think about was running. Preferably far away. I don't usually believe in the pseudo-psychological theory that people run because they are trying to get away from something. I'm sure some people do, but there are so many other reasons to go for a run that have nothing to do with escaping reality.

But yesterday I wanted to run away from it all. The stress. The negativity. The sense that I'm wasting my life on something that's not me. That I could be doing so much more.

Instead, J and I went climbing and my mood improved, if only for a short while. And then, when we got home, I started planning my next run.

I got up at 5 this morning, had a quick breakfast and put on my running clothes. I fished my headlamp out of the closet, checked that the batteries were still working and off I went into the woods. When I got out the door, I saw the first light on the horizon, but in the woods it'd be dark.

It was completely quiet, but for the wind in the trees and the sound of the lake water against the shore. I wondered if there were any angry elks or wild boars around. My senses were heightened by the fact that I could only see a couple of meters ahead, and that I was wearing my VFF, feeling every little stone on the soles of my feet. I was lost in an unreal landscape, familiar yet distorted, dangerous yet comforting.

I trod as lightly as I could, taking care to avoid any obstacles. My memory helped me a lot more than the light from my headlamp; somehow everything on ground level is flattened by the light, and subtle height distances disappear, making it easy to trip on stones and roots. Good thing I had run around the lake a thousand times before, knowing exactly where to step and what to avoid.

On the way back, I switched my headlamp off. It wasn't necessary. The first rays of the sun had chased the last night shadows away, turning the world orange and unfamiliar shapes into the branches and rocks I'd seen so many times. It was time to go home. Back to reality.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Gorillas in the mist

Gothenburg has been covered in a thin layer of fog for days now. It's uncanny. It makes the city seem like it is isolated from the rest of the world, an island in a sea of floating raindrops, the last shelter in a post-apocalyptic world. 

J and I set out to run Torrekullaleden, expecting the fog to be our constant companion. As soon as we got to the start of the trail, though, the fog faded away and a glorious autumn day revealed itself. It was awe inspiring; the sun warmed our skin but everything else around us (the flame-kissed trees, the silence, the absence of weekend warriors) told a different tale: It's the 1st of October, sucker! Don't get used to this warmth, because it's not staying! 

The trail was soaked in many places, forming thick, black mud patches. Sometimes we could run around them, other times we had to balance on stones to get across them. My new Inov-8 trail shoes turned out to be unreliable on wet stones and planks, but luckily I only almost died once. But hey! Their grip was excellent on asphalt, so that's ok! Otherwise they were very comfortable to run in, and the chafing problem I'd had the first time I tested them was resolved by taping my feet.

Yep, that's the trail.
The trail crosses a ”canyon” of sorts, a stream that has carved the landscape in such a way that it is now surrounded by two slopes. It's wet. It's very wet. It's been wet every time I've run Torrekullaleden, no matter if the conditions on the rest of the trail would make the Sahara desert look like a rainforest by comparison. My foot sank in the grey goo and it was soon followed by the rest of my leg up to my knee. Oh how I laughed, finding this extremely funny and thinking that this must be no less than a ten on the coolness scale. At least until I tried to pull my foot out and found that I was stuck, the goo holding on to my leg. There was nothing around to help me pull myself up except grass and thorny bushes. I was doomed. I would have to stay there, eating mud and catching stray ants and chewing on fallen leaves to sustain myself, until the goo dried up enough in the summer to let me break through it with a stone that I will have patiently honed into a sharp instrument over the long, cold, lonely months of winter.

Then I remembered that J was there with me and asked him to give me a hand.

Here is photographic evidence of how I almost got eaten alive by a pool of goo:

This is how my shoes looked before the Incident:

From then on it was child's play. Trail gave way to forest path, taking us past familiar places and back to more civilised surroundings. The weekend warriors were there now, carefully avoiding the mud pools. I, on the other hand, would have to get hosed down before I even could go into our flat again.