Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Time out

After a hectic couple of days, I'm emigrating to warmer climates for some well-deserved (if I say so myself) rest and relaxation. Back in a week. I might or might not take my legs out for a short jog while I'm there.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Mirror mirror on the wall

Who's the most lop-sided of them all?

Photo by babymellowdee

You, my queen, are the most lop-sided of them all.

So turn your hips forward. Bend your knees. Build those thigh muscles. Stretch that hamstring. Check in the mirror to see if you're doing it right. Tomorrow, you'll do it all over again. Hopefully, this time you'll be a little less lop-sided, a little stronger, a little closer to the ideal. Small steps towards those big goals.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A little is better than nothing

It's hard to describe how I felt when I arrived in Skatås for a running technique course with Markus Stålbom. Upon seeing the familiar clock and football fields, there was a knot in my stomach and an almost unbearable longing. Skatås has been the place where magic has happened on so many occasions. Many a long run with the group started here. Not to mention the Ultra Intervals that we ran here together last November. My legs ached to take me on one of Skatås' many paths. But I couldn't do it this time. And not for many weeks to come.

We gathered up, we who had already done one of Markus' courses before but who needed some extra help. We started by getting filmed while running a few times and then getting our running style and its strengths and weaknesses analysed. Afterwards we headed out for some technique exercises. Markus encouraged us to think about our posture and cadence, and to try to run relaxed. We ran up some hills and down some hills. We ran with our eyes closed (safer than it sounds. Promise). We ran leaning forwards and backwards. And we got our hands muddy by doing some strength exercises.

To say that I had fun would be an understatement. Notice how I used the verb "run" a lot in the paragraph above? I did all the exercises, and maybe ran 1-2 km in total. I didn't hold back, and I worked so hard on the hills that my lungs got themselves a visa and emigrated to Australia to escape me and what I put them through. My knee was quiet until the very end, when it very discreetly ”ahem”-ed. I listened to it. Besides, the course was over. That's not to say that I left immediately. Markus has helped me with my injuries before, and he offered to do so now too. He had a look at my knee, showed me how to stretch it. Then he showed me some strength exercises. That's when a part of the problem was identified: my hips rotate towards the left, probably because my left side is stronger. When I tried to do the strength exercises, I did them wrong, precisely because of this rotation. And my right knee, the one with the problem, falls inwards.

It was truly a learning experience. I couldn't recommend Markus highly enough, if someone wants to have a look at their technique – he's brilliant and knows exactly what he's talking about. Plus he truly wants to help people, even after the course is over. I'm even considering a private lesson with him, to sort out the aforementioned technique problems.

My longing for running has been softened and made manageable. For now. Hope that my knee doesn't hate me for it.

Friday, 20 April 2012

They try to make me go to rehab

Knee strength exercises, stretching, diclofenac. Lather, rinse, repeat. I wouldn't say that this rehab business is in any way satisfying my exercise-addicted body, but if it's what I have to do to get back in my running shoes, I'll do it. Three times per day, no less.

I got a little bit of satisfaction this morning, despite the grey weather. I was going to walk to work (because I don't even dare cycle now, as my physiotherapist warned me against it) but I left home a few minutes late (because I was stretching my knee). I hate being late to things. So I started jogging. I jogged a few hundred metres, maybe half a kilometre in all, but my knee was quiet. Very quiet. Shaman happy.

Of course I am not going to push it and start running again already. But in a week that has been -to put it mildly- shitty, I need all the positive stuff I can get, and a few hundred metres of running put a smile on my face. Let's see how my knee reacts tomorrow after the running technique course with Markus Stålbom.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

There are worse things in the world

You know what they say, that things could be worse? Well, they got worse. I received some really bad news with regards to two different matters these last few days, news that almost knocked me down. I can't tell you what they are. Why? Because then I would have to kill you.

When you're knocked down, it's tempting to just give up. Accept that things are shit. Stop trying. Fall into despair and struggle to look past all the bad stuff and into a future when things have gotten better. You go from being an eagle to being a sparrow. From feeling like a million dollars to feeling like a penny, that people wouldn't even bother to pick up if they found it on the street. From top of the world to the bottom of the ocean.

As I sat in my physiotherapist's waiting room, I thought about how easy it would be to just let go of dreams, goals, ambitions, when facing this tremendous brick wall. I thought about what brought me to where I am today. Mistakes? Choices? A twist of fate? What could I have done differently?

Trying to solve all of life's great mysteries and to find the meaning of it all while you're waiting to be called in by your physiotherapist doesn't leave you much room for philosophical breakthroughs though. I got nowhere, and my mood only got worse. When he finally came outside and introduced himself, I couldn't even find it in me to care about my runner's knee. There are worse things in the world.

Taping my knee is just one of many ways to tackle this problem

But as we discussed my runner's knee, as he made everything so concrete, as he told me exactly what I needed to do to get well, I found something to focus on, in the midst of all this chaos that my life is currently in. There are things in life that I can't control, that I can't do anything about. But this? This problem here? I will kick its ass. I wanted to give my physiotherapist a big sloppy kiss on the cheek when we were done. Two weeks of rest instead of the three the doctor prescribed. Stretching. Strengthening exercises. Another week of diclofenac and then I can power walk. Göteborgsvarvet is not out of the question, if I alternate jogging with walking. Intervals, trail running, variation are all great preventative measures against repetitive injuries like mine. He even won some bonus points with me when he said that barefoot running, if you build up carefully, is good for your knees. Unfortunately, he didn't think cycling is particularly good for my knee, but I can't say I'm going to miss it that much.

A ray of hope just broke through the clouds.

Monday, 16 April 2012


Talk about strong will. There's this guy called Simon Wheatcroft who's training for a 100-miles ultra. Running ultras is pretty amazing and inspiring, right?

But you know what's even more amazing and inspiring? Wheatcroft is blind.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

What's cookin' doc?

Sunday is drawing to an end and it has been just the way I like it: filled to the brim with activity (if a bit lacking in, say, speedier training, on my own two feet, in the woods). I've gone grocery shopping, vacuum-cleaned, baked bread, baked a chocolate cake and done two loads of laundry. Oh, and I've done an hour of strength exercises.
"Use-whatever-flour-you-have-in-the-pantry" bread

Chocolate cake with bitter chocolate icing- yep, I improvised here too

I'm going to be vigilant when it comes to building up strength around my knees. I've been doing some leg and core exercises at least once a week since last summer, but I think I need to step it up and add some weights where it's possible. I also need to think about how I actually perform these exercises. I asked J to have a look at my posture while I did the exercises, and sure enough, my knees were collapsing inwards when I did squats and lunges. Whether my knees collapse because they are weak or they are weak because they collapse is anyone's guess. One thing's for sure: I need to get better at keeping proper posture while exercising.

This coming week I'm going to be getting some professional help with this problem. On Wednesday I'm meeting my new physiotherapist, who I hope is nice and takes my problem seriously, so that we can get to the root of it. On Saturday I'm meeting Marcus Stålbom, whom I've had a couple of running technique sessions with before and who's helped me a lot in the past. I'm hoping that these two gentlemen will tell me what kinesiological and biomechanical sins I'm being punished for.

Crutches (metaphorically speaking)

One side effect of diclofenac is that it can make you feel sick. Thankfully it's not so bad, and I can distract myself easily. But it still makes me wonder how much good these little brown pills do.

I don't like taking medicine if I absolutely don't have to. I want my body to try and fix things on its own, because I believe that this makes it stronger. On the other hand, I'd like my knee to get well as soon as possible, so that I can start running again. But does diclofenac really help in this case? 2 weeks seems like an awful long time to be taking it, especially if you consider that my knee is not swollen (I suppose it is inflamed, although I can't feel it).

Wouldn't my body have managed to deal with the inflammation by itself if I'd given it two weeks without running? Is it worth risking getting a stomach ulcer? Doesn't diclofenac only mask the problem?

It's kind of the same issue for me when it comes to running shoes. All the support that modern shoes offer often mask the problems people have with their running technique and tricks them into thinking they can do more than they actually can. And by ”people” I mean me. That's what happened when I neglected working on my running technique. I kept running long distances with bad technique in my super supportive Kayanos, wearing out my joints, kilometre after kilometre. My VFF haven't seen half as much action as I would have liked. 

So there is an upside to this injury. When I do start running again, I will have to do it almost from scratch. I can't go out there on my first run after almost two months' break and run a marathon. I'll have to slowly build up to it. So what better opportunity to transition to minimalistic footwear than this?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The long haul

(First of all, a HUGE thanks to all of you that left comments with tips and encouraging words. It means a lot to me!)

Yesterday, J and I talked about the prospect of going for a long bike ride this morning. The weather wasn't looking too promising; the sky was grey and heavy. But I was still itching to get out. The doctor had said it was OK to cycle, and cycle I would. Anything to try and maintain the level of fitness I have.

After checking the forecast and finding out that the weather was supposed to get better, we took our bikes and headed towards Särö. I started off easy but after a few kilometres I put my weight into it and picked up some speed. I'm about as fast a cyclist as I am a runner. That is to say, really slow. J decided to challenge me at some point and started cycling fast. I kept up with him for about five seconds and then I ate his dust. He disappeared into the distance. And I'm supposed to be the fit one?

Then I remembered I am on diclofenac and shouldn't really push myself (it can cause heart and kidney complications), so I slowed down again. I was getting bored already, just 10 km into the ride. The sky wasn't the only thing that was grey. So was the sea, and the cycle path we rode on, and everything around that's usually green in the summer was bare and miserable looking.

There was apparently a cloud that hung over our heads and followed us around, because we had a light shower slowly soaking us to the bone the whole way, even when the sun finally broke through the clouds. Refreshing, right? Not so much. My fingers finally got warm after 20 km, around the same time my wet toes started displaying the first signs of frostbite.

I considered cutting the ride short. It wasn't that exciting to cycle the same old route I've cycled or run a million times before, especially not in this weather, and besides, did the doctor really think I'd almost be cycling a marathon when he said it was OK to cycle? Maybe I was doing more harm to my knee than good? But before I had time to make a decision, we were almost in Särö, our original destination, and I thought we might as well continue.

As soon as we turned around and started cycling back home, both J and I ran out of energy. Just like that, the fuel tank was empty. The two slices of crisp-bread I'd eaten before we left had obviously not been enough. My speed dropped even more, and an old man cycled past me. The shame! I tried picking up speed again, struggled, but then thought it wasn't worth it and settled into an easy rhythm.

When we finally got home, we had covered 37 km in just over two hours. And all I could think of was what a great long run 37 km would have made, even with grey skies and light showers. Yet, even though I didn't manage to still my running lust, I'm satisfied. I got my pulse going, I got sweaty, I had the first real workout in weeks. I spent some quality time with J, making plans about the future. I feel great.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Things can always get worse

-Please don't tell me it's runner's knee, were the first words out of my mouth when I walked into the doctor's office.
Ten minutes later, he looked at me and smiled.
-It's runner's knee, he said.

He had twisted my leg this way and that, pressed his thumb all over my knee and observed my legs while I stood before him. It hadn't hurt anywhere, no matter how he twisted my leg, so the diagnosis (lacking, I suppose, a better one, since it didn't hurt) was runner's knee.

A prescription of diclofenac for two weeks, insoles for my over-pronation, no running for a month and a visit to the physiotherapist is the course of action now. I know what you're about to say, and lemme stop you right there. Yeah, it could be worse. It could have been six months. I could be sitting in a wheelchair. But I wonder if people say the same to the guy in the wheelchair? It could be worse? You could be tetraplegic? Or to the cancer patient with three months to live: hey! Cheer up! It could be worse. It could just be ONE month! And how about if you had burned your toast this morning! JUST THINK HOW MUCH WORSE IT COULD BE. Don't you feel guilty about whining now, my little bald friend?

It could be that my brain put everything the doctor said through the ”I hate you for bringing me bad news” filter, but he seemed to be enjoying this. He said ”Well, when you run as much as you do, you're bound to get injured” and I swear. That smug bastard gloated. Like, serves you right you stupid cow for having ambitions. And I hadn't even told him how much I'd run in Skövde, or how much I'd like to be able to run in the future. I think I'll save that information for people who are

I went for a walk in the woods afterwards. Walking is too slow but at least you get to see more.

Hey, you know what's exactly a month from now? That is to say, on the first day I'm supposed to be able to run again? Göteborgsvarvet! I'm going to walk it if I have to.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Like an old, wrinkled lady, sitting alone on a porch at the dawn of her lifetime, I'm looking back at the highlights of my running career. Amusing myself with those golden moments, because I can't see any new ones forming in the foreseeable future.

I think about Risveden Terräng, the 18km-long mud-fest through a fairytale forest. My -relatively speaking- short solo run on Kungsleden, and the awe-inspiring mountain views it offered. The craziness of the Ultra Intervals last November, going out for a 10K run at midnight, and then repeating that once every three hours until I'd reached 80 km the following night. Countless long runs in the sun with my friends, on road and on trail. And my absolute top personal triumph, the 6-hour race in Skövde that gave me a place among the top ten women in the country. The feeling that I can. I had trained for it, and I did it, and I had strength left at the end. I could.

Ah, the Swedish mountains...

I can't any more. I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow to get a diagnosis and prognosis on my knee, but I know that if it's a runner's knee then the way back is a long one.

That's not to say that I won't be able to again in the future. It will take time and patience, but I'll get there. If I believed in that kind of thing, I'd say that obstacles are put there to teach us something. I don't believe in that kind of thing, but I can still let obstacles teach me.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Living with animals

Animals are good for you, they say. People who own animals live longer, happier, healthier lives. Animals know when you're down and curl up beside you to comfort you. They give you unconditional love and affection. They help you relax.

Too bad no one told these two. It started with cat no 1 throwing up on our bedroom floor and in the hallway at 02:30 in the morning. After I cleaned up the disgusting mess and went back to bed, he went to the litter box and started digging. I tried to ignore it. A few minutes later he was at his food bowl and dug on the floor around it, thinking he could cover the leftovers. With linoleum. After a while, he was back on the litter box, probably for more serious business, and again, he dug. Only when he digs, he misses the litter box completely and digs everywhere else around him except there: on the floor, on the toilet, on the wall, on the ceiling.

Now that cat no 1 was (presumably) done, it was cat no 2's turn. He started by munching on some delicious dried food, the sound of which (crunch, crunch) echoed across our apartment and all the way to our neighbours across the street. Then, with a full belly, he started digging around the food bowl. He learned this technique from his big brother I suppose. Now it was time for him to visit the litter box. Dig. Get outside and into the bedroom, shake paws, send bits of silica litter flying all over the bedroom floor. Jump on the bed a couple of times. As soon as I manage to ignore this and fall asleep again, he's back on the box. Digging. Digging so deep that I'm sure he's half way to Australia by now.

The third time he visited the litter box (don't ask what he was doing. I don't know and I don't want to know), the time was just before 6 and I gave up trying to sleep. And I wondered. How is my life getting longer, happier, healthier if I never get any sleep? How have my two caring (or so they say) cats missed that their nocturnal behaviour is turning me into a miserable, sleep-deprived mess and why haven't they tried to comfort me? And in which way is night-time poo evidence of my cats' unconditional love and affection? I am most definitely not relaxed.

Monday, 9 April 2012

I tried, I really tried...

No matter how much I try, I can't get myself to like yoga. Today was one of approximately three times per year when I force myself to give it a try again. I changed into more comfortable clothes, spread my yoga mat on the living room floor and popped the Power Yoga dvd into the player. Time for alternative training.

The first ten minutes were spent in the lotus position, breathing. Then it was really hard for about fifteen minutes, because I have no upper body strength. Then I kept falling over for the next ten minutes, because apparently my balance has gotten much worse since the last time I did yoga (although I've been practising on the balance board every time I do strength exercises). And then I spent another ten minutes lying on my back, breathing.

I got off the mat dizzy. Yoga has that effect on me too. How can I find something so intense and difficult (well, at least when I'm not just lying on my back, breathing) boring? I dreamt of punching and kicking a bag instead. Maybe there's my answer. I need to do things that are That's not the right word. Powerful? Kick-ass? My thoughts have a tendency to wander when I do yoga. I realise that one of the purposes of yoga is to help you focus, but I'm too attention-deficient for that. I need action!

My knee has been off diclofenac since the last application Saturday night. I can't say that I can feel a difference, but then again I have been resting. I'm booking an appointment with a doctor tomorrow. I realised that I might have to miss Göteborgsvarvet.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

How I cope with running abstinence

Apparently it takes a while for me to relax into my time off, when I can't start it with a bang by going running. After spending Friday trying to speed-learn Photoshop in one day, I pulled myself together and decided to make the best of this long weekend. Catch up with all the things I've been neglecting while I've been out running or recovering from it. Things I usually love doing but not as much as running.

So J and I went climbing yesterday, where I failed miserably at achieving anything harder than a 5+. No matter. It was fun and hard work too. Some strengthening exercises for the stomach and back muscles afterwards completed the workout. It was then time to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus in the most traditional of ways: by eating fajitas (for Hay-Sus) and watching hockey. I also celebrated by finishing my book. I skipped the Easter candy, because I didn't want to get too traditional. Also, there wasn't any left.

This morning I woke up with a purpose. I was a woman on a mission. I was going to make bread. Out came ye ole recipe book. Out came my big IKEA mixing bowl. Out came an assortment of flour, oil, sugar, salt and eggs. I rolled up my sleeves and got started. This is a favourite recipe, mainly because it's so easy and fun to make. Only I replaced the white flour with spelt, which threw off the proportions a bit and had me kneading the dough for 20 minutes.

By the time I was done, I was sweaty and aching in my upper body. Kneading dough is excellent therapy if you're feeling angry and want to punch things. However, I wasn't angry at all this morning, so I kneaded with tender loving care instead. I suspect that I got a good workout from this anyway, so I might have to go and lie down for a bit.

Ghost town

A tumbleweed just rolled past the living room. A layer of dust has covered my shoes. Objects that are so meaningful to me in my everyday life now lie still, waiting for the day to come when they can be useful again, the day when they can fulfil their purpose again.

It's kind of sad, really. They've been abandoned, like a favourite doll that a child has outgrown, or a favourite book that has been unwittingly left behind during a move. 

Things. Just things. With no feelings, no thoughts, no sense of purpose. No value other than that we attribute to them. No usefulness without a person. Just lying there, waiting for the day to come when I can run again.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Cannonball read #13: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was surprised to find out that this was Morgenstern's début book. The stuff dreams are made of indeed. So I guess that all the glowing reviews I'd read were right.

The Night Circus is about, well, a circus that you can only visit at night. It is a mysterious world, the board on which a game between two magicians is played. The main pieces in this game are Celia and Marco. Illusionists. As the circus travels through time and place, we find out more and more about this game, sometimes amazed at all the wonders the circus contains, sometimes with a knot in our stomach because of the potential for horror it carries.

The more observant of you might have noticed a common theme in my reviews: I often wonder how much my state of mind, mood and general well-being affects how much I enjoy a book. I started reading the Night Circus more than two weeks ago, and it's been slow going, because I have been ill and/or preoccupied with other things. A few pages before I went to sleep, a few pages on my break at work, progress has been halting.

That of course has had its consequences. The jumping back and forth in time lost me on several occasions. I failed to establish a relationship with the characters in the book. I failed to lose myself in what is, essentially, a reverie, and when the book was over I wondered if I had truly read it or if I had dreamt it. Maybe that was the point? The distance I felt towards the characters, the confusion I felt almost every time I started a new chapter, it all created the illusion of a dream for me. I now wish I could have read all of it in one sitting, because it's the only way to do the book justice. I loved it, but it was more on an intellectual level: I loved the writing, the characters, the world Morgenstern created. But if I'd read all of it in one go, I would have LOVED it. I would have FELT it all.

As it was, I reached the end of the book kind of disappointed in the resolution. I can of course not reveal too much without spoiling the book for those who haven't read it, but it felt hasty, and because I hadn't established a relationship with the characters, in the end I just didn't care too much whatever happened. So, whose fault was it that the ending was disappointing for me? The author's, who didn't make it more to my liking, or my own, who didn't invest more in the characters? Would I have LOVED it if I'd been more focused, less distracted by other things? I think so.

This is a book I would definitely recommend to others. On the condition that they read all of it in one sitting, or at least within a couple of days. Lose themselves in it. That's the only way to truly appreciate this carefully woven, magical dream of a fairytale.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Resolution FAIL

Right before I went to sleep last night, I made a resolution: I'd stay away from any electronic devices for two days. Or one anyway. J bought an Ipad the other day and I've been playing games on it, games where you have to put letters together to form words or where you try to make your friends guess what you're drawing. You know the type.

A side effect of owning an Ipad is the feeling that you're always connected. You can't just switch it off and walk away like you'd do with a stationary PC. Well, you could I suppose, but it's so easy to carry it around, that you can never get away from the damned thing. And while the Internet is great for bringing people closer together, it's also responsible for ditto. It makes it harder to have a quiet moment by yourself. You-just-have-to-check-if-they've-played. Especially if you're under house arrest with a damaged knee. I think it's healthy to take a longer break from the online world sometimes.

So in order to get a quiet moment and maybe do something productive for a change, like, I don't know, bake? Tidy the flat? Read a book? I thought I'd keep away from technology for a day or two. Switch all electronic devices off. Switch myself off. A few hours later I got out of bed, ate some breakfast and turned my computer on. So much for resolutions.

Since then I've been playing with Photoshop. I applied for a course in photo editing in the autumn, just because I like learning new things and I'd love to be better at photography. I also applied for a photography course and a course in Sports psychology. More about the latter some other time. Exciting stuff.

I haven't baked. I haven't read my book. I have tidied the flat, even did some laundry and went shopping for some things we needed, but still: the largest part of the day has been spent in front of the computer. And, guys? Photoshop is hard. Good thing there's a course for it. You can see one of the products from this morning's frenetic activity above. A new banner for the blog. Hey, don't bash me. I'm a beginner.

As to my knee, I'm taking a week off running and contacting a doctor after the weekend. It got much worse yesterday after my feeble attempt at run-walking. Climbing on the other hand went well, although I did wear a knee support and mostly climbed easy routes. But at least I don't feel half-paralysed from the waist down any more.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Back to basics

When life gives you lemons, make yourself a stiff drink.

Since I'm not a big drinker, I'm at loss as to what to do with my lemons. I have 5 glorious work-free days ahead of me, which I had planned on spending (you guessed it) running. Maybe with some lazy back-to-back long runs. In the forest. I was looking forward to that.

But then I was given the aforementioned lemons. First I thought I'd go cycling, but I doubt it's good for my knee. Then I thought I'd do some yoga, but I *yawn*. Then I thought I'd go swimming, and, well, see comment above about yoga. I was also given a kilo of Easter sweets. Eating them all in one sitting might be enjoyable momentarily, but it might be counter-productive to my training and overall well-being. Plus then they'd all be gone in five minutes and then what would I do?

Not wanting to start my long weekend feeling defeated, I left the flat disguised as a jogger: soft, comfortable cotton pants, cotton T, fleece and a jacket. No Garmin. The only thing that could reveal my true identity as a runner was the Kayano on my feet. I walked to the woods, and once my shoes touched dirt, I carefully started jogging.


You know the old running adage ”As long as it doesn't hurt, you can keep running”? I wonder if that still holds true if, prior to your running, you've applied some painkilling diclofenac on the aching area. I suspect that's cheating.

Anyway, I kept jogging until the first signs of irritation came. I switched to walking for a few meters immediately, then started jogging again. I walked up and down the worst hills and jogged the flatter parts. This way I remained pain-free for over 5 km. Then the irritation started coming sooner and sooner after I'd started jogging. When I left the woods to get back home, I could hardly jog without my knee complaining. Please note that it didn't hurt; but had I gone on, it would probably have done.

The last kilometre or so I invented a new way of running. For the rebellious ones among you that like to go against the grain and common sense, this might appeal to you. The principle is that you do the exact opposite of what they've been telling you is correct running technique. Bend your knees as little as possible. Bounce. Land on your heels. Be stiff as a board. This innovative way of moving forward kept my knee happy and quiet on the downhill slope home.

I covered a total of approximately 9,8 km in an hour and twenty minutes. I realise that with those less-than-impressive statistics they won't be inviting me to join Sweden's national ultra running team any time soon, but I am satisfied. Ok, maybe satisfied is too strong a word. It was...ok. Especially the first half of the round before my knee started accusing me of abuse and calling its lawyers for a cease and desist order. But I am waiting with the official verdict until diclofenac is out of my system and I've tried walking down the stairs.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A love-hate relationship

I've been having an affair for the past 4 years. My lover seduces me, fills me with joy, makes me feel beautiful, strong, alive. Makes me feel better when I'm down. We go on trips, see new places, meet new people. My heart bursts with happiness when we're together, and I miss our rendezvous when we're apart. I spent my days thinking about my lover and dreaming about all the things we can do together.

But my lover can be cruel. My lover demands my full attention, fills my head with empty promises and then hurts me if I get too close, try too hard or get too careless. I get angry then. I get sad, I get desperate. I want to leave, I want to say goodbye for good.

These are nothing but fleeting moments. I am committed to my lover. Through thick and thin, no matter how many doubts enter my head, no matter how hurt I feel sometimes, we'll always be together. Others might try to break us up, promise they'll never hurt me, swear they'll make me happy. But none of them complete me like my lover. Not climbing, not swimming, not cycling. I only have eyes for my lover, my muse, my friend. My running.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Back on the bench

If you're looking for little miss sunshine, you're in the wrong blog. It's Monday today, and what better way to kick off the week than with a slap in the face?

I slept terribly last night. Strange dreams mixed with some stress over the amount of work I need to do this month kept me tossing and turning. I gave up around 5 and got up. My knee felt fine, so I thought I'd take it for a spin. Just a short jog to see how it reacts.

Almost as soon as I started running, it stiffened up. Most of the time, sensations like that go away once I'm properly warmed up, but this time they didn't. I ran up the hill towards the lake, and the sensation in my knee slowly got more and more intense. I picked a pine needle covered trail that cut through the woods instead of the harder gravel path, and the soft surface gave me some relief. But once I was back on tarmac, the feeling that my knee was inflamed was back. No pain, just inflammation.

Bending the knee is what seems to cause the problem, so I tried running with a slightly less bent knee. I had to get home somehow, and walking would mean freezing in the morning sub zero temperatures. Apart from the fact that it looks silly, running with one straight-ish leg is not very comfortable, but since it was now downhill, my knee didn't complain as much.

5 km later I was home. I showered my knee in ice cold water and I will apply some Diclofenac gel on it later. I've lost count of how many injuries I've had in just one year. Time to take up stamp collecting instead?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

I get knocked down but I get up again

Sometimes you have to roll with the punches. And then you have to fight back. I could have spent the whole day feeling sorry for myself, but after briefly indulging in self pity this morning, I went climbing with J instead. Or rather, J went climbing and I belayed. I didn't want to put any weight on to my knee. But I was really proud of J. He climbed one difficult route after another, almost with no rest in between.

Walking to the climbing gym and back proved to be no issue for the knee, despite the road there being hilly. When we got back home, it felt ok, so I decided to do some strength exercises, and risked doing the ones for my legs too. No pain followed, not even the shadow of an injury. It's certainly getting better already.

I've said it before on this blog. When I'm not running, I get an energy surplus that pushes me to do other things. So today I made pizza. I hadn't made dough of any kind in ages, and I've been wanting to eat some home-made pizza for weeks. I followed a recipe for pizza dough I found on (in Swedish). It was such an easy and accurate recipe. I really enjoyed making that dough.

J's pizza and baby spinach salad
We made two different pizzas, one with reindeer meat for J and a veggie quattro formaggi for me. Only I used three sorts of cheese instead of four. So I guess that makes it a tre formaggi. That's like the discounted version of a quattro formaggi. The pizzas were good, although I think J liked his more than I liked mine. Turns out that fourth sort of cheese is pretty important.

Something's missing...

April 1st is not funny in any way

Yesterday's initial mild irritation at not being able to complete my run developed into full-blown resignation and a rotten mood. I failed to mention a little detail about how my run ended. After I took the bus home and got off, I saw a connecting bus coming that would take me even closer to where I live, so I ran for it. As soon as I started running, the whole mechanism that makes my legs move seemed to fall apart and I felt something in my right knee.

Soon after I first started running four years ago, I had to take a very long leave of absence from it because of runner's knee. I now recognised the symptoms immediately. No pain, but rather a stiffness of the ITB when I bend the knee, that was probably caused by not stretching directly after my run and running relatively fast to catch the bus on very tired legs.

Add a few more days' rest to what has been a month-long streak of involuntary rest days and you can see why I'm so fed up, so disappointed. Running means freedom for me. If I can't run...well, you can figure the rest out.

In other news, it's a sad day for the running community. Caballo Blanco, aka Micah True, an ultrarunner that was prominently featured in Christopher McDougall's book ”Born to run”, was found dead in New Mexico. He was out on a run and went missing four days ago. People, make sure to always tell someone where you're running if you're heading out alone, especially if you run in deserted places. Stay safe out there.