Friday, 25 January 2013

Why you should never take me orienteering

I bit my fingernails anxiously. Metaphorically. I don't bite my nails. But I had to make a decision. My training schedule for today said 8 km but I woke up with my sore thigh muscles feeling only slightly better than yesterday. When I started following the schedule I promised myself I wouldn't hesitate to divert from it if I had to, like if I were ill or on the verge of turning soreness into injury.

But sometimes sore muscles feel better if you exercise them gently. Blood circulation helps them to recover. So I made a deal with myself: I would go out and start running, but if it didn't feel good, I'd stop and turn back. Said and done. After a kilometre or two, the soreness was almost gone and I jogged at an easy pace, not wanting to push my luck. The more I ran, the better I felt. The forest where I'd ran last Tuesday tempted me. The day was grey and small snowflakes fell from the sky, but the forest is always pretty, even if it's at its most beautiful in sunshine. I aimed for the horse track, planning on running it the other way around.

After running on the edge of the woods for almost 500 meters and not finding the track, I had to run back the same way. The truth was that I had no idea where that track was. It was only three days ago I ran there and I had already forgotten. Then I saw a snowmobile track that seemed to be going in the right direction and started running on it. And sure enough, after a short while I was on the horse track thinking that I knew where I was going. I came to a crossing, where last Tuesday I chose to run right, and now picked the left path. I was feeling adventurous, ready to explore. Brave even.

That feeling lasted about a hundred meters. Because after a hundred meters I was back outside the woods. I was completely disoriented. My usual point of reference in the sky, the sun, was hidden behind thick clouds. I had no idea where I was. Well, that's a slight exaggeration. I did know I was in Northern Sweden somewhere. Now I had to make a choice, right or left, and since I didn't know where I was, it didn't really matter which way I chose. I had an inkling I had come from the right somewhere, so I ran left and soon found myself on a compacted snow-covered single track which might have been fun to run on but also kind of dangerous because of all the holes in the ground. I was out again as soon as I got in and suddenly I knew where I was. It was nowhere near where I wanted to be, but at least I could find my way home from here and get my 8 km.

My muscles thanked me after this run. It really did them good. So I took them skiing, to spoil them even more for putting up with me. 3 rounds around the ski tracks equalled 9-odd kilometres without a single fall. I even managed to ski past an elderly lady. See, I'm ruthlessly moving up the ski ranks. First I ski past little kids, then I graduate onto pensioners. Next goal: blind skiers.

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