Kids! Don't do drugs. 13 km under a dark, crispy clear Monday evening sky is better than any drug. Not that I've ever tried drugs, but the endorphin-induced euphoria after a tough fartlek / technique session together with Skellefteå's running club was so overwhelming that I can't imagine many things that are better than that. Not even chocolate.
I guess that means it's official, now that I've outed myself. I've joined a running club. Meaning I can't come up with excuses not to do my interval training any more. The coach will be watching.
Sometimes I enjoy running by myself. Maybe I have things on my mind that I need to process. Maybe I just want to run without pressure, at my own pace. Other times I need to be reminded that I'm not alone, that there are other runners out there who get injured, have dreams and love running, just like me. Oh how I missed the company of my running buddies on a long run.
That is why I ran to meet with Skellefteå AIK just before 7 last night. I started chatting with one of the 12 runners waiting there, and I immediately felt welcome. I had my first invitation to join a lunch-hour run 2 minutes later. There was no ice to be broken here. Not even under our feet.
Coach Kenth explained what we would be doing and we set out on an easy jog to get warmed up. People joked about things, teased each other, seemed to have known each other for years. I felt at home, even though I didn't even know these people. It was the sense of belonging in the great family of runners, having something so simple in common. Then, things got serious. After doing some technique drills, we formed a long queue and jogged on. The last person in the queue then sprinted past the rest of us to become the first person. So we continued for a while, and I gave it my all each time it was my turn. Light on my feet, arms swinging back and forth, eyes focused on the head of this jogging snake. A mix of exhilaration and tiredness settled in my bones, and when coach Kenth announced that we would be running back, I felt relieved and proud of myself. I left the group a couple of kilometres before we got back and ran home instead, as I had already exceeded the 10km-mark that I had planned to run.
And that is the greatest (and only?) danger of joining a group like this. It is so much fun that you might forget yourself and run further than you had planned. Already I am trying to figure out how I can fit even more running into my busy training schedule. I mean, those lunch-hour sessions won't run themselves...