I woke up to find that a white blanket had covered the world outside overnight. First of December and, right on cue, winter is here. For real this time. Temperature crawled slowly down to -10, but the icy wind made it feel like -20. Destination: Vitberget.
I looked like an onion, dressed in warm clothes from head to toe when we stepped onto the confectioner's sugar-like snow at the beginning of the 10 km path. J was ecstatic. He loves snow. So do I, but whereas he likes to actually be in it, I prefer to look at it from inside the house cradling a cup of hot chocolate in my hands. I knew from experience that running in fresh snow is taxing for both thigh muscles and lungs, so I looked at the ground, understandably sceptical.
One kilometre later, my cheeks were purple and about to fall off. I pinched them to get the blood circulation going and avoid frostbite. It helped, but what helped even more was to run with the wind on our backs instead of on our faces. I suggested we take the short path that would bring us back to the car after only 2 more kilometres. But J wouldn't budge. We were here to run the 10 km path and that's what we would do. It was going to go well, as long as we took it slow.
|Photo by J.|
And slow it was indeed. We didn't have a choice. The ground was uneven, partly because the mud beneath had frozen in weird shapes, partly because of the stones and roots everywhere, so we had to be careful not to twist an ankle. It was close, several times. To make things worse, I had my glasses on, and they had fogged over, so I couldn't see a thing. Snow had found its way to the inside of my shoes, where it had formed ice cubes. These ice cubes pressed against my feet, making it uncomfortable to run. Gaiters would probably be a good investment.
Still. No matter how tough it was to find a steady pace, how hard it was to trudge through snow, how difficult it was for our shoes to get some traction on the uphill slopes, we had fun. We were out running in a snowstorm, icicles had formed on our eyebrows, but we were having a great time. No hurrying, no stress, just wading through snow, one step at a time, feeling alive.
And then, suddenly, I saw J slip and fall forwards on the tiniest of slopes. I tried to stop and help him get up, but then I was falling. Under the snow, an ice patch lay hidden.
(At this point, I have to inform the Internet that I have a chronic injury in my right wrist. It gets inflamed once or twice per year so that I can't bend it backwards, then it goes away after a couple of days. It's been inflamed the whole week)
I think you can guess what happened next. I fell on my butt (which didn't hurt, because of all the fluffy snow) and used my right hand to support my weight (which hurt a lot). Panic-ridden birds flew off, horrified hares jumped into their holes and sleepy-eyed bears awoke from their slumber as my grunts of pain echoed across the forest. An unscathed but concerned J asked if we should go to the hospital. I could hardly form words to answer him. I took off my glove and buried my wrist in the snow. The cold from the snow hurt just as bad as the injury itself. Rock, meet hard place. Hard place, meet rock. I tried to put my glove back on but couldn't manage it without help from J.
One minute later we were running again. Either icing the injury or shock had sent my wrist into a numb coma. It just didn't hurt any more. In fact, I could bend it more now than I could before I fell. Homoeopathic cure? Endorphins masking the pain? We will never know. But as I sit here after a really hot shower sipping my nougat-spiked coffee, all I feel is satisfaction at a morning well-spent.