I chose to run on tarmac this morning. The soles of my feet were still sore after I walked barefoot on the gravel roads of Brännö last Thursday, and, besides, I wanted to try a less hilly route. My knee (not so much my runner's knee, as the other knee, the tendon on the side of the calf) has been unhappy lately, painting its eyes black and moping in a corner, writing poems and feeling terribly misunderstood, so I tried to give it some rest from the ups and downs of the local forest paths.
Easier said than done, though, when you live near the coast in Gothenburg. The hills might be gentler, rolling softly towards the sea, but they're still hills. I was fighting my way up one of them, sounding like a coal-driven locomotive, when I jogged past a lady pushing a pram.
”Bom-BOM-bom-BOM-bom-BOM” said the one-year old in the pram, echoing my VFF-shod feet on the pavement. Which I up to that point thought were not making any sound at all, light and elegant as they were.
I tried not to take that flippant comment as a slight. Not to think of it as an observation on my running style. To breathe in deeply and let each negative thought leave my head with every exhalation. I failed. I was more elephant than elegant. It was plain for all, even the young, to see.
Fighting back a sob, and the urge to flip the insolent little s*!t the finger, I stomped past like a herd of angry cows. I then calmed down and focused more on my technique. Tried to imagine I was running on hot coals. Minimum contact time on the ground, leaning forward with my whole body, bouncing as little as possible. I ran swiftly past the beach and camping site, which was more crowded than a shopping mall on pay day. My knee was happy, and with every metre I covered I felt how the metaphorical weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was no elephant; I was a beautiful butterfly.
Ok, maybe not a butterfly. A bumblebee then?