Tuesday, 15 January 2013


A wind instrument quartet of angels burst out in a triumphant fanfare. Cats and dogs and other mortal enemies put their differences aside and enveloped each other in a warm embrace. A snowman walked out of the pits of hell with a big smile on his pale, fluffy face with nary a drop of sweat on his body. It was happening. The moment the whole world was waiting for had come, and for the first time in human history, we dared to hope, nay, we knew that things had changed. Things were great.

And why?

I loved my second ski lesson. After a disastrous first one, which was not so different from some sort of medieval torture (if that sort of torture had been less physical and more mental), I vowed to give it one more chance. Just one more. And, if the second lesson went as badly as the first one, well then I'd either quit the ski lessons and try to learn on my own, or I'd quit skiing altogether.

Luckily, I didn't have to quit anything. I ended up in a small group with a very understanding instructor, who knew that the way to learn how to ski downhill isn't by just shoving someone down a hill while laughing sadistically, but rather by giving them instructions on how to do it and then gently encouraging them to do it. Seeing as they're instructors and all, I would like them to give me instructions. This is how I roll. So up a little slope we went, with a perfect track to ski on. With a perfect little curve at the bottom of the hill. First try went really well, and not only did I manage not to fall, I even managed to brake when the track ended. The next two tries didn't go as well. The tracks were now broken, after my group had skied on them a few times, so we all fell. One by one, we flew out the track and off the curve without meaning to, and then fell. 

I was happy. I wasn't the only one! Everyone fell! Even the instructor was close to falling a couple of times. And I realised that the only way to conquer my fear of hills was to keep falling. Follow a strict diet of climbing up that hill, skiing down and falling, over and over again until it's gone through my thick head that it's really not as big a deal as I've made it up to be. And that, by falling, I would rise.

I was so happy with that life-changing realisation that, when the time came to try a different skiing technique (three-step), which requires great coordination and which thus far had made me look like a newborn deer trying to stand on its legs for the first time whenever I tried it, I did it perfectly. J had come to pick me up and was watching me from inside the car. He said it looked really good. I beamed with pride.

Earlier on that day...

...here be ski tracks. But I was just running past.

Doing well at the ski lesson last night wasn't the only good thing about the day. First, I found out I had passed one of my photography assignments, which I was absolutely certain I'd have to work on some more. Then I did my scheduled 10K under a clear blue sky, with a fierce sun turning the snow yellow. Later on I met up with my gym instructor. I was prepared to break the bad news to her that I found her gym programme mind-numbingly boring. But before I had a chance to say anything, she said: ”How is it going? I bet that every time you come to the gym you're thinking about how you could be running instead”. That lady gets me. When I revealed my plan to run Lapland Ultra, she said I could cut back the gym visits to once per week at the end of February. Yeah, she gets me.

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