It's a good thing I hadn't looked out the window before putting on my Kinvara and heading out in the dark to run intervals with AIK. Because then the pull of our warm apartment would have been too strong and I would have stayed indoors. As I stepped outside and saw just how much it had snowed and how much it was still snowing, I started wondering if there even was going to be interval training that evening.
With snowflakes swirling all around me and dancing in the yellow street lamp light, I ran by the river with a frozen smile on my lips. A smile that would soon have turned into a frown if it weren't, you know, frozen. An ice cold headwind formed a crystal chandelier on each of my eyebrows and I think I may have grown a white moustache. It was uphill all the way to our meeting place and the pavements hadn't been cleared of snow.
So when I met up with the other ten brave, weather-defying runners, I had already warmed up for 3 kilometres and my stubbornness would have put a mule to shame. After jogging together for a couple more kilometres and working on our running technique, our coach found a nice little slope to run hill intervals on. It was neither steep or long, but the fact that the plough hadn't been through there yet turned this into a mighty workout for the thighs and bum. What I didn't know then, as I pushed myself up that slope, was that the real torture was yet to come. A hundred metres away lay a field covered in snow that came up to our knees. We crossed that field in the dark, lifting our knees high, a mental exercise as much as a physical one. At the end of it awaited a steep slope. I tried running up it but my thighs, full of lactic acid, were screaming for mercy. As I saw the others disappear over the crown of the slope, I gave up and walked instead.
”I'm never coming back”, I said to the coach when I reached the top. Well, it may have sounded more like ”I e'er co'ig ack”. My lips were frozen and couldn't form certain consonants.
When we got back, we gathered up in a circle and coach explained the benefits of such tough sessions. ”So I hope you had a good time”, he said, ” and that you're coming back next week”. I think he was looking at me when he said that. Not sure why?
This here is one of the reasons I joined AIK. I would never have trained like that on my own. I would be happy to trudge along in my usual pace, year in and year out, never getting better, never getting stronger, only getting injured again and again because of using the exact same muscles all the time. It was a very hard session, but as much as I like to joke about never coming back, I will come back, because it's fun in a weird way, but also because it's really, really good for me.