The piste machines got replaced by great yellow tractors carrying big chunks of frozen snow and laying them in a heap, revealing a green plastic football field. The year's Nordic skiing competitions that kept us company every weekend came to an end last Sunday, and with them the skiing season drew its last breath, inhaling skiers and exhaling joggers. A passionate spring sun, eager to wake nature up with a warm kiss and turn barren ground into fertile flowers and naked branches into haute couture, melts the snow. But, when night comes and the cold returns, the water turns into ice, and winter makes a last effort to resist the onslaught of bird song and sunburned cheeks.
And me. I am lost, standing on my one good leg, balancing precariously on the ledge between white and green. My heart is indifferent to the change of season this year. It loves spring, but it loves the white winter of the North, too. But my body wishes that the winter would stick around a couple of weeks longer. My feet want to find their way back to the soft trails of last autumn, but my knee cannot follow. So it tries to ski instead. Skiing is not as demanding for it. Skiing works. Please, let it be winter until the injury heals.
I tried to run with AIK last Saturday, a 23 km run. I couldn't decide until the last minute if I was going to attempt a run or not. What finally made up my mind for me was the wonderful weather. I had to get out, I had to try. It went well for the first 6 kilometres. Then, it went worse. I describe it as a knee problem, but both the backside of my thigh and my calf are involved. They weren't happy with all the uphill running. Downhill, it felt better, and I thought I would make it the rest of the way home without any more pain, but then my runner's knee decided to join us. Despite having the opportunity to stop running and get a lift home a couple of times, I marched on, pig-headedly. In the end, I told the others to go on without me and stopped to stretch. It helped; I could continue running after a while and made it home.
The aftermath was not as great as I had feared. Whatever leg muscle is injured felt inflamed the rest of the day, and I had some difficulty bending it, but the next day it was as pain-free as it had been the day before the run. I went skiing, breaking my distance record and making some progress technique-wise, which gave me hope that I would be able to maintain my level of fitness until my leg got better.
Now, snow is turning into ice. Ice is not as soft as snow. I went skiing yesterday, wisely avoiding the hilly terrain in the forest and sticking to the flat surfaces around the camping area. I had thought I'd practice switching from one track to the other, a balance exercise that, if done right, could do wonders for my confidence and skill level. Then, failing spectacularly at doing the exercise right and while I was trying to place my skis into the tracks, I fell. My knee hit the hard ice. I took a minute to rest right there on the ground, wincing and swearing.
It is probably nothing serious, just a bruised knee. But it is a reminder that spring is coming, and I am not ready for it.