The best way to torture me is not by causing me physical pain. No. The best way to torture me is to give me options that are equally good or bad. I will spend hours swaying from one of them to the other, and, when I finally think I have made up my mind, two words will pop into my head and get the ball rolling again:
What if J and I drive all the way to Luleå for the half marathon, and it's too warm.
What if we drive all the way there and my knee, that has been bothering me for days, prevents me from running.
What if it's boring running around the industrial part of town - twice.
And so on, and so forth, until I make up my mind again.
(Yes, this is a first world problem. I live in a first world country. This is a problem I have. Hence, it is a first world problem. What's your point?)
Friday afternoon I made up my mind not to run Luleå half marathon. Instead, I made a vague plan to put a long run together by running to Lidingöloppet on tour (which was going to be held here in town), then run the 5 km race, then jog home. Saturday morning, I woke up, felt the heat, then changed my mind again. I didn't want to race on such a warm day. I would go running with AIK in the morning, and then maybe, maybe do the race at an easy pace in the afternoon (as if I could enter a race and just jog around it – who was I fooling?).
This plan was quickly abandoned as well. As we zigzagged our way up the ski slope, the sun deep-frying us like scampi, I could almost see my body moisture evaporating drop by drop. I tried to breathe, but the air was tar-thick.
”I can't breathe”, I told my teammates.
”Don't worry, your lips aren't blue yet”, answered the one with the medical expertise.
”I feel like you're not taking me seriously”. I couldn't believe I had the strength to move my mouth in this heat.
”Oh, I am. I am hypochondriac too”
We left the exposed parts of the hill and entered the woods. In the shade of the trees, I started feeling better, but my knee wasn't happy. If my knee and I were married, I would ask for a divorce for irreconcilable differences. You see, I like running trail and my knee doesn't. I've tried to make it work, chosen road over trail, but I can't help it. My heart belongs to single track.
After about an hour, the others turned back towards the hockey arena and I ran up the hill again to meet up with J. The wind had picked up and cooled me down effectively, so that I could do another 10 km of hilly terrain. There were no trails here, just paths, and my knee started to accept its fate begrudgingly. By the time we were back at the car, it had gone quiet. So I skipped the car ride home and ran there instead.
It was a strange 23 km. And the day continued along the same lines, with hardly a second to spare, between visits from relatives, visits to relatives, volunteering as a photographer for Lidingöloppet on tour (no, I didn't run the 5 km but guess if I regretted that decision when I stood there watching the others run) and then spending a few hours at the local pub with J and a couple of AIK-buddies. It was a strange day, but I loved all of it.
Except the not being able to breathe part. That kind of sucked.