Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Because this is a training blog after all

It's been a bit quiet here the last couple of days. My brain has mostly been busy trying to digest the fact that the move is actually happening. It's one thing to know it and another to really know it. What's been helping me realise it is going public about it to the people around me. Seeing the reactions. Feeling the pangs of sadness at having to part from some of them, and the happiness at getting to see more of others.

I've spent an hour this morning doing strengthening exercises for my whole body, some of them for the first time in weeks. Except for walking, I have been taking it easy with training to give my body a chance to rest. So imagine my surprise when I found I could do the plank for 3 minutes and 20 seconds, which is how long I usually do it for. I do it with certain variations, which I suspect is cheating, in a way: after one minute in the classic plank position, I stretch one arm in front of me for 15 seconds, then the other. Then I do the same with my legs. Finally, I stretch one arm and the opposite leg, and then the other pair. I finish off with the classic position. That way, I can sneak in some balance training and give my shoulders some rest.

The plank is kind of a mystery to me. My abs, invisible though they may be under all that skin and fat that's covering them, are apparently strong enough to keep this position. What fails me is my shoulders. My upper body is just not as strong as the lower part. So while I'd love for my abs to get stronger, the plank is by the looks of it not the way to go about building them, because my shoulders might as well belong to a chicken trying to lift a whale.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish

Life is a labyrinth. You stumble around it blindly without knowing where the exit is, randomly picking which way to go and hitting dead-ends more often than not. But when you hit that dead-end, you have two choices: either you bang your head against the wall until you make a hole in it, or you turn back and choose a different way.

Gothenburg is a great city in more ways than one, and I've had lots of fun during the 8+ years we have lived here. I've met some truly wonderful people, seen some beautiful places and grown as a person. However, the last couple of years J and I have been hitting our heads against a wall. Yet we haven't even managed to make a dent in the wall, let alone a hole, and we started to get a headache. Our lives were standing still. What we did manage to do was to dig a hole in the ground, what with all the walking in place, and this particular hole was getting so deep that it'd bury us whole if we didn't do something about it.

During a run in Skellefteå last summer

So after many buts and what-ifs, despite the losses and sadness it would entail, we did do something about it. J applied for a job in Skellefteå, his home town in northern Sweden, and he got it. We will be moving there some time this autumn. It will mean an enormous readjustment for me, but I believe that the pay-off will be worth it. I am looking forward to the adventure of it, the new experiences, the people I meet and the beautiful places I see.

And, like a true runner, the first thing I considered before making a decision was the places-to-run potential. Turns out there's plenty of it.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Quiet as a ninja

I used to think walking was boring. It was too slow. No matter how beautiful the surroundings, I'd always think ”I wish I were running instead”. But then I started taking my camera with me. Suddenly I started noticing little details that stood out. I stopped often to take photos. My walks weren't that boring any more. They were mini adventures.

When I left home this morning for my now almost-daily walk, the sky was scattered with clouds and some stray drops of rain found their way down to my arms. The only thing I could hear was birds. I picked a little-used trail that cut straight through the woods and followed it. 

Now, I might love summer, but that doesn't mean I love everything about it. As soon as I left the main path and entered the woods, a million mosquitoes attacked me. I tried to avoid stepping on the myriads of ants that covered the trail, yet one pissed off little bugger managed to climb on my foot and bite me. I had my VFF on my feet, and although it meant being quiet as a ninja on the soft trail, it also meant that my ankles were exposed.

Some parts of the trail were really muddy, although it hasn't rained properly in days. I saw some fresh deer tracks in the mud and immediately went on hunter mode. Only I wasn't hoping to shoot to kill. I'm a vegetarian, after all. I was only going to shoot them with my camera. My efforts to be quiet were nulled by the loud hum of the mosquito hordes that were chasing me. I might as well have been an elephant. I saw no deer.

The trail came to an end and I was back on the main path. I followed it down to the lake where joggers and dog walkers were out enjoying the weather. I turned towards the horse riding path. I love it there. It's like a jungle, with ferns, grass and tufts of moss forming a carpet under the canopy of fir and pine. I heard hooves behind me and turned to see a sulky coming towards me. The rider had a cigarette in his mouth. Horse riding might be a sport, but the only one getting some exercise while riding a sulky is the horse.

Tonight, I will be spending time in a very different environment. In town, eating dinner with friends.

Friday, 25 May 2012

This indecision's bugging me

You'd think that such an adventurous runner as myself would be the same kind of person when not running. You'd be wrong. Give me new paths to explore while running, give me forests to get lost in, give me the decision to choose between left, right or straight ahead at a crossroads, and it's pretty easy. No matter which way I choose, it's the right way, because it's a new discovery. 

Give me a decision to make about life and the future, and I can stand there paralysed for months. I realise it's like comparing apples and oranges (or apples and Saucony shoes – trying to keep this blog running related even in these difficult times of injury) but I've often found similarities between my running and my life in general. Take the way I lean backwards and unconsciously brake when I run. That's how I am in other situations too. I need to be in control of the situation, not let it go too fast.

And then there's the Voices.

You think you don't hear Voices? Oh, they're there, but maybe they whisper to you, while mine SCREAM. Before you call the men in the white coats, let me explain. Every time we have a decision to make in life, we go through a process. Some people are pretty fast in that decision making process (oh how I envy them). They follow their hearts, because their hearts speak loud and clear. Others (like me) can spend days or weeks considering and reconsidering, making lists of pros and cons, consulting others and so on. But no matter what your style is, there are people in your life whose Voices have influenced you in one way or another. Your parents. Your friends. Your significant others. A very special teacher, perhaps. How is a decision you make truly yours? Why do you pick strawberry ice cream and not vanilla? Why pick ice cream at all? Who taught you (or inspired you, or whatever you want to call it) to like strawberry ice cream? How much of you is you? Is an individual just a collection of their loved ones' Voices?

Showing you the way or making your decisions for you? And why isn't there a sign when you need one?

So I go for weeks without making a decision, because I wish that my own voice would be loud enough to drown out all others. But indecision is also a decision. It's resistance to change. And the world cannot wait forever. Maybe it is like running in a way; no matter which way I choose, it will be the right way, because it will be a new discovery. As long as I don't go backwards.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Cannonball Read #18: 11.22.63 by Stephen King

Oh, Stephen, Stephen. I've been a faithful reader of yours for years, loving your relaxed way of writing, the way your characters were everyday Joes finding themselves in unusual circumstances, the uneasy sense of evil lurking under their metaphorical beds. Then you decide to venture into new territory, and why not? Artists need to reinvent themselves to keep being relevant. Still, there was something not quite right about your latest offering.

The titular date is the date of the assassination of president Kennedy that took place in Dallas almost 50 years ago. Jake, our hero, wasn't even born back then. He's a teacher in his thirties, recently divorced, living in 2011. Until one day, his good friend Al shows him the portal to the past he's found in his hamburger joint's storage room.

Everyone's favourite teacher will go back to the past to change the world. But everyone knows what happens if you meddle with the past, right? Big no-no.

It's a bit slow in the beginning. Then it picks up speed when Jake travels back to 1958, and King is back to his usual, much-loved depictions of small-town Maine life. Then it sags. Big time. But by then you're two-thirds into this gigantic novel and you just have to see how it ends.

This book could have been shorter by 200 pages or so. A large part of it is dedicated to following Lee Oswald's life the years prior to the assassination. I am not American, so maybe that's why this whole part of the Kennedy assassination mythology left me yawning? There was something unlikeable about Jake, too. It's one thing to drop your main character into a situation where he has no choice but to save himself and the others that are in it. It's yet another thing to create a character that willingly takes it upon himself to save the world. It tastes hubris.

Not really a book I would recommend to anyone except die-hard King fans and Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists. But I will keep buying his books, because when he produces a good novel, he's a lot of fun to read.

After work

I left work while the sun was still high in the sky. I had taken my Nikon with me, hoping to find some interesting things to capture on it on my walk home. The sun was coal-hot, turning both people and animals lethargic, lazy, unwilling to move. And I was going to the beach, for an hour-long mini holiday.

Children threw themselves in the water, belly first. A couple of giggling pre-teen girls were sitting on a picnic blanket under a tree, sipping juice, their magazines open before them. Beautiful suntanned bodies glistening with sun lotion were sensuously splayed out on the scorching sand, trying to absorb every available photon that came falling from the sky. I took off my shoes and walked on the shallows, my feet getting sucked in by the mud-like surface.

Something very inquisitive in nature nibbled on my toe. Squinting at the bright sun light, I left the tepid shallows and walked barefoot on the dry sand, among the myriad broken shells. After a whole morning at work, with moments of annoyance that threatened to accumulate until they exploded into full-blown fury, this was just what I needed. I treated myself to an ice-cream. After all, I have A Big Fat Arse to Grow.

Summertime, and the living's easy, as Ella put it:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Being childish

I gave myself a photo assignment today, to take photos within a certain theme, and then went out for a walk. I was going to follow a 5 km path that would take me to the seaside and the villas by Askimsbadet. On my feet were my VFF; I figured, there's no reason not to train my feet, just because my knee is injured.

It proved to be a lot harder than I thought to take these photos. The things that usually get my attention can be found in more natural environments than the suburbs. Of course, this was kind of the point of the exercise, to step outside my comfort zone and notice things that I'd otherwise pass by. It worked, but the result was in most cases very...forbidding. Boring.

Can you guess what the theme was?

Of course I took other photos, too. I walked on the beach, on sand the ebb had revealed. I sat on a wooden jetty for a while, with Pearl Jam and Bon Iver in my ears, thinking about life and staring out at the wide expanse of the sea. It was still early in the morning, the sun was still low and I was alone. It was easy to feel the numinous under the circumstances.

I didn't want to go home. I didn't have to go home. I didn't want to think about what time it was, or what I had to do when I got back. I didn't even want to listen to my stomach's objections, already hungry a couple of hours after breakfast. I wished I had packed some food to take with me. I ignored my stomach and decided to prolong my walk.

Sometimes this enormous sense of wanderlust and playfulness takes over me. I long for adventure, for discovering new places, for getting lost. The child in me is unfortunately quiet more often than not, smothered in musts, have-tos and what-ifs, but when it speaks up, I listen gladly. I didn't know how far it would be, or even if it would be possible, but I was going to walk to Näset too. 

Lazy Highland cattle were sunbathing in the tall grass and most of the dandelions were shedding their last petals, giving way to small white clouds that the wind would later carry on its wings. I walked with no real destination or idea of where I was. The rural setting appealed to me, but it didn't last. Soon I was back on the road, and to my (temporarily forgotten) assignment.

I walked past a kindergarten and snapped a photo of a building that fit into my theme. A middle-aged man saw me and asked me if I was ok. Baffled, I replied that I was. I wondered if he was nuts or just being nice. Could he help me with something? he asked. No, I was alright. I was just looking for objects for my theme, I explained feebly, with an uncertain smile on my face. I felt like I had got caught red-handed, until I realised why he was asking. Even if you're a woman, you might set people's alarm bells ringing if you walk around a kindergarten taking photographs. 

"Don't be offended if you get asked what you're doing in this area"

On my way back, I took yet another detour to discover a tiny nature reserve right among the villas of Askim. I was out of it 5 minutes after I'd walked in, but I did manage to document the existence of some legendary forest creatures.

3 hours later, my 5 km walk had turned into a 13,5 km walk. Drunk on the scent of lilac and full on sunshine, it was nevertheless time to listen to my growling stomach and head home.

Monday, 21 May 2012


Walking to the woods, raindrops the size of a cat's head and heavy like watermelons started pounding down from the sky. The clouds gathering above our heads were quickly turning tar-black. We kept going, figuring we'd find some shelter among the trees.

Then thunder boomed. A couple of beautiful bikini-clad girls giggled and ran to the water. They weren't alone; many people had spent the warm, humid afternoon by the lake, and most of them were in swimwear. The rain did nothing to cool the air down, but it did make the earth release its wonderful scent and turned the blueberry bushes a neon-like shade of green.

My T-shirt was wet, and I was afraid that it would be my Nikon's turn next. I tried to take a photo; battery dead. I couldn't take any photos. But that didn't spoil my mood. This was paradise, happy people enjoying the summer thunderstorm, the forest alive with colour and bird song, the smells of dirt and barbecue and sunscreen, the raindrops clinging on my bare arms.

Move to the country!

Mondays have a reputation for being the worst day of the week. Back to work after the weekend and all. This particular Monday certainly did its best to live up to this reputation, although I'm sure Tuesday has some surprises up its sleeves. And Thursday, too.


It all started when my alarm rang at 5.30 this morning, while I was lying on the guest bed in the spare room, exiled from our bedroom yet another night, due to our neighbour thinking its OK to start doing laundry at 10.30 pm. Tossing and turning, fuming and fantasising about the scathing things I'd say to him / her (I don't know who this person is, he / she lives in the building next to ours), I couldn't go to sleep before around midnight. And the more I stressed about how few hours of sleep I had to look forward to, the more elusive sleep was and the more the aforementioned hours of sleep shrank from ”enough to get through the day” to ”enough to be able to hear the alarm ring in the morning” to ”enough to not be mistaken for a drooling, comatose junkie”.


So I was really tired when the alarm rang. Tossing and turning is pretty exhausting. I didn't know where I was, what that sound was or for that matter what day it was. I stumbled into work a bit later to find I had a minor crisis to resolve before I even had time to take off my jacket. And the day continued along the same lines. Irritation, lack of focus, apathy. Throw into the mix that the atmosphere at work has been very negative lately, and that yours truly is counting the weeks until she can leave and never look back, and you'll realise that it was a feat of mental strength to survive this particular Monday and come home without having committed a felony.


But the good news is (because I'm being all positive and trying to concentrate on the good things in life – even if I'm having trouble spotting them right now) that I have another walk in the woods to look forward to. Yesterday we strolled around the 8,5 km path in Bunketorp, Lindome, and at times we felt that we were alone in the world, with only the birds and the murmur of little streams to listen to. Bliss.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Time to play

I might not be able to run, or cycle, or do the plank for three minutes right now. But just think about the things that I never could and never will be able to do! Climb Mt Everest! Go deep sea diving! Wrestle with lions! Eat cockroaches! Jump off a plane without a parachute!

Ok, those might be things that I don't want to do.

But one thing that I both can and want to do is go for long walks in the woods with my Nikon. That's what we did yesterday, J and I. We hit a path that is very familiar to me due to the fact that I've run there about a million times. It's well-trodden, which is a mystery to me because you almost never see any people there. And, before you ask, no, it's not because I've run there a million times that it's well-trodden.

Our walk took two hours, including the stops to take pictures. It was really enjoyable, because nature is truly at its best right now. Everything is in bloom. The green parts are impossible to photograph though, because it's such an unbelievably vibrant shade of green and it's everywhere. It would be like taking a macro photo of Kermit's arse. 

That's one too many arse references in my blog lately. Have to stop. Might attract the wrong kind of traffic. 

Overexposed because the bumblebee flew away before I had time to change the settings, but dreamy-like. So you get to see it anyway.

But the point is that the details get lost. What the eye sees – and appreciates – is not always easy to photograph. The eye sees in 3D, sees shadows and shapes that become flat in pictures. Bushes and trees and grass all become one big green mess. That's why I've been focusing on the details, which hopefully convey a sense of the lushness of the whole.

With a big fat sun promising to bake the West Coast later today, we'll be heading out again for another long walk, and even more photographs. J made me promise not to trip any of the bypassing runners in sheer envy this time.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Poor substitutes

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes this morning was a black hole. In the second it took before I realised what I was really looking at, I thought: the end of the world is coming. Humankind is going to be sucked into this black hole so fast that not even our screams will have time to escape its gravitational force.

Thankfully, it wasn't a cosmic event that was unfolding before my eyes. It wasn't my Big Fat Arse that had grown so Big during the night that it was collapsing under its own weight. It was only our youngest cat's black hole (sorry) that was lying there by my face. A centimetre away from the tip of my nose. Close enough to sniff, if you're so inclined. Which I most definitely am not.

Some people wake up to the smell of coffee. Others wake up to the smell of...well, you know.

I thought I'd built so many defences against the enormous longing to go running, nothing could ever phase me. Not even when the latest issue of Trail Runner magazine, with its glorious photos of lush forests and barren canyons, landed on my floor did I give in to the longing. Then I looked at the beautiful weather outside this morning and thought about BUM. You see, in my most ambitious, dare-to-dream moments (that is to say, 10 minutes after I completed Skövde 6-hours with a top-ten place), I was planning to be standing at the starting line today, to run the 80 km-trail race from Skatås to Borås. An adventure that was going to take all day, a risky bet that I'd make it all the way, a venture into the unknown territory of trail ultras, where the stakes were high but the promised enjoyment even higher.

And, just like that, my defences collapsed and an arrow of pain found its way to my heart. My body is aching to run. It's longing to hit the dirt and carry me far. But not yet. I'm not ready yet. Instead, I'm going for a walk with my Nikon. Yes, I have other hobbies! Also known as ”poor substitutes”.

Can you ever get used to not running?

Friday, 18 May 2012

New exciting project

Since I'm taking a few weeks off running to regroup and recuperate, I was thinking about what to do about this blog. I mean, it's called Running for Life, but if I don't run, it might get existential angst and turn into a Gothic blog, get a black header and blood-like splotches of red on the sides, and start being all about Magick and the Twilight movies. It would be called "Waiting for Death" instead. Urk.

So I came up with this brilliant idea for keeping the blog alive in the absence of training. While I'm anxiously waiting for my running schedule to resume, I'm embarking on...

Wait for it....

Wait for it....

The Grow A Big Fat Arse Project (G.A.B.F.A.P. – a somewhat unfortunate acronym).

Let me present the concept to you. First of all, the advantage with such a project is that it's already under way. Has been since I got injured. My backside has been growing in reverse proportion to my shrinking training hours. I used to run and climb and do strength exercises and cycle, and now I can do none of that. I used to eat in accordance with how many calories I'd been burning, in order to keep my body working properly for the amount of abuse I put it through. But I eat just as much now when I don't burn so many calories. My stomach hasn't caught up with the lack of exercise yet and demands food as if I were still running 60 km per week. Maybe it will some day, maybe it won't.


Simple, really: calories in > calories out = Big Fat Arse.

Another advantage with Growing A Big Fat Arse is the added weight I'll have to carry around when I start exercising again. Think about how much harder my heart will have to work with a few extra kilos! How much stronger my muscles will get if I have some more junk in my trunk! Aaand my joints will love it!

I hate diets, I hate putting limits on what I can and can't eat. I believe that exercising and eating a little bit of everything is the secret to keeping a healthy weight. Not so easy when you suddenly find yourself with a surplus of a few thousand calories per week. Oh well, I'll drop the extra weight when I start exercising again. Right? Right?

Hello? Anyone still reading? Mom? Dad?

(crickets chirping)

(tumbleweeds rolling)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The morning after

I don't understand how I managed the seemingly impossible, namely of not getting caught on any of the cameras around Göteborgsvarvet. There are thousands of photos from Saturday. Other runners have 8-10 photos of themselves to choose from, I don't have a single one. I was obviously too fast for the camera shutters. Or a VAMPIRE.

So yeah, about that elephant.

I was asleep before my head hit the pillow last night. Yesterday was exhausting, a real test of mental strength, patience and perseverance. Fighting nerves for hours while waiting. Not unlike an ultra, only, you know, less fun and without the blisters. Sadly, no one gives you a medal for your efforts at the end, either. Hopefully, this was a chapter in my life that is now closed for good and will never have to be reopened. Good riddance. Now there are good things to look forward to. My knee's recovery. My plans to take time off work and study next semester. Maybe an ultra this autumn, if all goes well.

Today is a holiday here in Sweden. I'm planning to spend it mostly horizontally, with the latest Stephen King in my hands. Resting. Dog knows I need it. Because (like one of my running buddies put it) I'm not likely to get a lot of rest later this year. He's right. If I can help it, there won't be much of that at all.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Where is the fast forward button?

I haven't been at home much the last couple of days. Work was mostly to blame for my absence, but I also had an appointment with an osteopath Monday evening.

I almost missed my appointment because of problems with the tram traffic. I had to jump off the tram when it changed its route and ran down to my connecting bus, a kilometre or so away. As I was approaching my bus stop, I saw the bus coming from a distance and ran as fast as I could, knowing that, if I missed it, I'd be late for my appointment. I made it just in time, with a knee that didn't like the slow-ish pace I'd started running in, but preferred the run-like-hell one I finished with. I myself was pretty happy that it wasn't worse than that, after the torture I put it through last Saturday. I also couldn't help remembering that it was just when I went running to catch the bus that I was inflicted with this runner's knee.

10 minutes later, I walked into the osteopath clinic and into an oasis of calm, a sharp contrast to the rain and traffic chaos outside. Celine's heart was going on and on, and the room was candlelit. I collapsed into an armchair with 5 minutes to spare. It was as if I'd been holding my breath, and now I could finally breathe out. I hadn't had such a treatment before, so I was curious to see what was coming. I was in for a shock. My body was twisted in all sorts of ways, my bones groaning and creaking like an old ship, but I was ultimately relieved to get rid of any lingering stiffness. The verdict was that I'm not as flexible on the right hip (same side as the Bad Knee) as I am on the left. The pain I have in my lower back probably plays into it, too. Stretching, massage and icing is what I need to work with. No magic recipes; just hard work.

Today is going to be a difficult day for me, and I'll be glad when it's over. I know I've hinted at other things going on in my life right now than just my knee, things that aren't fun to think about, and I'm sorry that I can't go into details. I'm not trying to be mysterious or dramatic; they're too personal to write about, yet they have a huge impact on the things I do write about. So there is this huge elephant in the room, but I can only talk about the peanut shells on the floor. But it's kind of why I was so overjoyed that Göteborgsvarvet went as well as it did: a happy thought to hang onto when things get shitty. Some proof that this old body of mine is not out for the count just yet. A mini triumph in the face of adversity.

I appreciate all the comments you have left on this blog and on Facebook with regards to Göteborgsvarvet, they mean a lot to me. I will get back to all of you as soon as possible, hopefully sometime this evening. Thank you!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Why, hello there, runner's knee!

Long time no see! For a moment there yesterday (up until the 10 km mark), I dared to hope that you were gone for good, but then you were back with a big grin on your face, as if you'd pulled the funniest prank in the history of bad jokes. You fooled me!

And now you're here to keep me company a little while longer. That's OK. I sort of knew you'd be back. Don't make yourself too comfortable though – you're not as strong as you were the first time I met you, and this time I will kick your ass. That's a promise.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Göteborgsvarvet 2012

The weather during Göteborgsvarvet couldn't have made for a better metaphor for my inner turmoil today. First the skies were grey and heavy, then the clouds scattered and the sun shone brightly.

I was nervous the whole morning. I couldn't concentrate and complained to J about the late starting time of the race. What am I to do while I'm waiting? I tried reading but my mind kept wandering off. I had a bad feeling about this. I considered staying at home with my book instead.

I tried to visualise myself running here at the end of the race. Didn't help.

As the time drew nearer, I got ready and took the bus to Slottsskogsvallen. I went there a bit earlier thinking I'd catch the winners (who had started about an hour earlier) crossing the finish line. There were people everywhere, and everyone seemed to be walking towards me. It was like trying to wade through honey. I snapped some photos on my phone and then went to the bag drop-off. I looked at the dark skies and wondered if I'd need to take my bag, with some extra clothes in, with me. Decided against it.

The queues to the toilets were long.

Did someone say this was like a party?

My stomach was filled with butterflies. No, scratch that. It was filled with Hitchcock's Birds, all furiously throwing themselves against my stomach's walls, screaming shrilly and taking bites out of my innards. I knew I was going to fail, I just knew it. What was I thinking, trying to run a race with a runner's knee? Then I ran into some people I know and got distracted. My inner balance was restored. When I went to my start group, I even ran into AKA. Not only is she as lovely in reality as she seems on her blog, but she did a great job keeping my mind off the Herculean task ahead.

The sky had cleared now and I had to take off my jacket and tie it around my waist. We were off. My nerves had given way to adrenaline and my legs desperately wanted to run. And run they did. Through Slottsskogen, past Majorna and over the Älvsborg bridge, they ran. Zigzagging through walkers that didn't keep to the right. I ran up hills, which felt only marginally harder than they used to when I trained a lot. And my legs never got tired; they just asked for more. Though I was hungry as hell.

My knee was calm and enjoying the race so far. Then around Lindholmen, after 11-12 km, it started protesting for no apparent reason other than that I hadn't put it through anything like this for 1,5 months. I stopped to get some water and walked while I drank, then started running again. When I got to the Götaälv bridge, the protests went away. Just like that. Uphill was better for my knee, and it was going to be uphill for several kilometres now.

There was a large crowd in the main road of Gothenburg, Avenyn, but most of them didn't make a sound. Or maybe I was too focused on not colliding with other runners while zigzagging that I missed the cheers. But once we got to Götaplatsen, the end of Avenyn and the point where we turned back to run down a part of it, the cheering resumed. I grabbed some water and ran while I drank, then a wet sponge that I squeezed over my head. So glad I was running in my T-shirt.

This was it. The final couple of kilometres. I glanced at my watch and realised I'd make this in under 2 hours if I kept the same pace. I pushed on, but now my knee was getting pretty loud in its complaints. It never hurt, but it wasn't happy. But I wasn't going to start walking now, when it had gone well so far and there were only 3 km left.

I was strong. I had stamina and strength reserves which I didn't know I had, or why, after missing so much training. I sprinted past the finish line. 1:56:xx (official result pending), my best time in Göteborgsvarvet and (I think) my second best ever. Not bad for someone who's had a terrible first half of the year, training wise. I met up with some other runners at a nearby bar for a quick recovery drink.

After the finish line, the line for the medals

Recovery drink

Now I will have to take a few weeks off running, to let my knee heal properly. I needed this so much, for reasons I won't get into here. I am so happy right now I could burst.