Since moving to Skellefteå, my knowledge of ice has expanded considerably. Before, I thought there were only two ice modes: ice and no ice. Now, I know that there are a thousand different variations of ice. Ice that is slippery, ice that is porous, grey ice, white ice, slushy ice, treacherous ice with a thin layer of water on top. I'm sure Northern Swedes have 50 different words for ice.
Looking out the window it's difficult to know what the ice is like at that very moment. The ground may look ice-free or just wet, only to turn murderously glass-smooth the minute you've run far away from home to even consider running back to get your spikes. That minute for me is three metres from the front door. I can run 20 km, but walking back a few metres to get the spikes is too much work.
Also, I hate my spikes. They make my knees and feet hurt. Although, knees and feet, you know what else hurts? A BROKEN LEG. So suck it up.
This morning I took a chance and left the house without spikes. The road up to the hockey arena slash meeting place with AIK was fine, with only the occasional easily avoidable ice patch. But our coach had no intention of taking us to any of those boring safe dry roads. After a short warm-up in the neighbourhood, we headed towards the hills of Vitberget. We kept a manageable pace and even my sore calves seemed to slowly give in and enjoy it. It was particularly fun to chat with my running buddies and plan this summer's adventures. Ah, summer and trail running. Two of my favourite things.
The last bit of the road leading up to the top of the mountain was covered in ice (of the slippery variety).
Ice and uphill running don't mix.
For every step I took to move myself forward, I glided two steps back. The ones in the group with spikes on their shoes had better traction and got to the top about four hours before me, but to the top I got. Then it was time to run back down the hill again.
Ice and downhill running don't mix.
For every very careful step I took to move myself forward, I glided three meters in the same direction. If only there was a downhill three-metre long slope leading to my front door, I might even consider turning back to get my spikes. We got halfway down the hill with no casualties, but then our coach had a little surprise for us. We left the road and followed a well-trodden trail/snowmobile track into the woods.
Oh how I've missed trail running. I slipped and slid on the ice, I threw my arms to the side to get some sort of balance, but it was all worth it just to be able to run in the woods again. Where the path was covered in snow and I could pick up the pace a little, I skipped and jumped. I loved every second of it.
When the AIK session was over and I left the group to run home, I once again found dry ground. But it felt kind of boring by comparison. We might have done with a helmet in the woods, but you can't say that it wasn't exciting.