I apologize in advance for the shitty photos I am going to inflict upon your eyes. I only had my old crappy mobile phone with me and a strong will to capture the beauty all around me, and you won't get far on that. And Photoshop is a great programme but miracle worker it ain't. Not in my hands, anyway.
Faced though I was with the same conundrum as I am every Saturday (to take the car up to the hockey arena to meet up with AIK, or to run up?), today it wasn't as simple as it usually is to decide. I am on a training schedule, and today I was only supposed to run 19 km. Doing some quick maths in my head I decided to run up, but perhaps leave the rest of the group a bit earlier so that I wouldn't exceed the allotted amount of fun my schedule allowed for.
Easier said than done. We ran westwards, through beautiful residential areas and on quiet roads, until we came to the start of a snowmobile track. That's where our coach said we would run to get back. At this point, I'd already run 10 km, and anyone who's made it past 3rd grade could tell you that there was little chance for me to keep to my planned 19 km. About half of our 15 runner-strong group decided to turn back the same way (that's seven and a half runners. It might just have been seven). So the choice for me now was to either run back with them, or follow the other half of the group on the snowmobile tracks. It sounded tough. We'd leave the lovely, mindless monotony of paved roads for soft snow and terrain, but on the other hand, we'd get to run in the woods.
My hesitation lasted for about a tenth of a second. Into the woods I'd go. While we ran, we listened carefully for the sound of oncoming snowmobiles, and had to stop a few times to let said vehicles pass. Snow-heavy tree branches hang over our heads, and our feet often disappeared in deep snow. The sky was almost completely concealed by clouds, but a wonderful orange-pink light broke through near the horizon. It was magical, a fairytale world. I felt so close to nature at that point, with an intensity almost as strong as the time I ran on Kungsleden in the shadow of majestic mountains. It was hard work at times, like when we had to run up hills and only soft snow under our feet, and lactic acid threatened to turn my thigh muscles into two obstinate children who stood there with their arms crossed and refused to budge, but I was having so much fun that I never once regretted my decision to follow this group.
When I got home, I had run almost 22 kilometres. Forgive me, Bryon Powell, for I have sinned. You commanded that I would only run 19 kilometres today, but I didn't listen. And I'm not sorry.