How to summarize a year? A year that seemed to drag on when stress at work and health problems filled my days? A year that nevertheless now feels like it just flew by? Where to begin?
January might be a good place, what with being the first month of the year and all. Despite walking around feeling half-ill all month long, I managed to log 246 km, including a 43 km -long training run. During a trip to Skellefteå, I even managed to log some skiing kilometres. A great start to the year. I had great plans. This was going to be my year.
February was an easier month. I tried to drag myself to the swimming pool. Got bored with it immediately. Had a couple more sick days. Kept my long runs relatively short. I was looking ahead, hoping to make it to Skövde 6-hour race this year.
March came along and hypochondria came along with it. Skövde was on the 10th and, right on cue, my throat started feeling funny a couple of days before. I didn't run a single kilometre the preceding 4 days, stuffed myself with fruit and vegetables, gurgled salt water and prayed to any deity that might be listening that I'd stay healthy for the race. One of them listened, I was healthy enough to start and made top ten among women, breaking my previous distance record by 7 km, despite spending the first 30 km trying to ignore the unbearable pain in my left knee. Before I had time to celebrate, I got sick. Really sick. I had to take antibiotics to fight the virus that had gotten cosy inside my body. I took a very long break from running. 18 days is what I then considered a very long break. If only I had known what April had in store.
The very last day of March I went on a long trail run with a friend and ended it by getting runner's knee. This time it was the right knee that was injured. I only logged 6 km in April but tried to work with building up strength instead. Rehab was my mantra.
In May I started testing my knee and even ran Vår Ruset and Göteborgsvarvet. It went much better than I expected, but some other health problems ”forced” me to abstain from running for a few weeks. It was just as well, because I really wanted to give my knee a chance to heal. I went on walks and worked on rehab exercises instead to keep myself from going crazy. May was also the month we decided we would leave Gothenburg and move to Skellefteå. A lot of emotional turbulence surrounded that decision to move all the way across the country. Mixed feelings. Looking forward to the adventure and starting a new life, feeling sorry to leave friends and colleagues behind.
In June I continued working hard on my rehab but started running short distances again, taking walking breaks when I needed to. I also participated in a plank challenge and felt my stomach muscles growing stronger.
July was a pretty good month. I was slowly building up a base for my running, and I was doing all of it in my Five Fingers. Having time off work didn't mean I had so much time off, as such, as there was a lot of packing and planning to do before the move. I also tried to meet up with friends as much as possible.
In August, my training started looking like it used to again. I ran Torrekullaleden with some friends and got covered in mud. I also did my first duathlon, even if it was more of a fun family activity than a real race. Still, hard work to switch from swimming to running. Great memories. We left Gothenburg at the end of the month in a car packed with things and two scared cats. The journey to Skellefteå took us 16 hours.
September was a month of discoveries. New places to explore, new races to run (Kraftjoggen), new things to learn on my net-based courses. I tried to enjoy the freedom of it, although I didn't always know what to do with myself in a new city where I knew very few people.
In October I was injured once again. I had put in some great long runs in my VFF, but at the cost of getting a strange foot injury that even made it hard to walk. I realised I had to find other ways to get my training dose and joined the gym. It was fun – at first.
In November my foot felt fine and I joined a running club, SAIK. I fell in love with it immediately and never hesitated to join them for a 30 km run to Varuträsk Christmas market and back. My reasons for joining were partly to meet like-minded people in my new city and partly to introduce some more variation to my training with one quality session per week. To my great surprise I found myself enjoying speed work. Well, maybe not while I was doing it, but afterwards. Yes, definitely afterwards.
December brought the year full circle. Another heavy month, kilometre-wise, and the first one in a very, VERY long time when I could honestly say I wasn't injured. I think the last time I could say that was November 2010. As a farewell to 2012, I went on a 10 km -run, heading west this morning, discovering new stomping grounds.
Despite the fact that I ran 800 km less this year than I did last year, I feel like I'm ending it on a high note. Healthy, injury-free and incredibly thankful that, no matter what crap this year threw at me, I still had the chance to experience some amazing things. Our running doesn't take place in a vacuum, and the events in our lives affect our training (and vice versa). Sometimes we run to forget, sometimes we run to process our thoughts, sometimes we run because we are so filled with energy we just have to get out, and sometimes – thankfully, most of the time – we run because it is so much fun.
There is no way to predict what 2013 has in store. I just hope that we all are lucky enough to have running in our lives, to help us cope with whatever other obstacles we come across. Injury-free. Happy new year everyone!