While every other runner in the country seemed to be in Gothenburg to run Göteborgsvarvet (a.k.a. the biggest half marathon in the world), I and some 25 other runners from AIK gathered outside a school in the southern part of Skellefteå to run to Flocktjärn and back. The sun heated the air to a comfortable 15 degrees (which would later rise to 20), while a lukewarm breeze (which would later turn into what could almost be described as a hurricane) kept the air cool enough to breathe.
I was worried. Three days ago, I ran the Wednesday terrain round for the first time this year. As much as I enjoyed running in the forest again, on merciless, dusty hills and spruce-shaded trails, I couldn't help but notice a nagging feeling in my left knee. One I was very familiar with. My runner's knee seemed to be making a comeback.
Then I went for a tempo run last Thursday, and the faster pace seemed to be doing my knee good. I didn't feel any irritation in it until after the run, and even then it was negligible.
I have a vague plan to run Luleå half marathon next Saturday. A runner's knee right now would put a spectacular spanner in the works. And that's without taking into consideration my real plans for later this summer. Plans which, if they come into fruition, are going to become memories for life. VIP: Very Important Plans.
So, I was worried. Would my knee withstand the pressure of 25 hilly kilometres? Or would I have to give up half way into the run?
When you're running with 25 other runners, you tend to drift in and out of conversations. Most of them revolve around running, and even if you suddenly do something completely crazy and, say, try to talk about something else, the conversation is going to turn back to running almost organically.
- Yes, I was there 5 years ago.
(Here, a normal person asks questions about the itinerary, sightseeing, means of travel and so on. And I did. But then:)
There was another conversation regarding toenails and the state they get in if you're in the habit of running a few marathons per year, but I will spare you the visual image. Let's just say that the whole discussion started with an innocent comment about the cool nail polish on this runner's fingernails.
Seriously. It's an art. Give me any subject and I'll manage to change it back to running. You won't even know what happened. I won't even be doing it on purpose.
These conversations helped me keep my mind off my knee, and it seemed to do the trick. Whatever complaints it had, it kept its voice low. I ran the whole thing without any major niggles.
All's well that ends well? Well. Maybe I should avoid the Wednesday terrain run for a while. Unfortunately. But I can't risk it. My future plans are VIP.