Winter in Skellefteå lasted exactly two days this year. At least if by ”winter” you mean snow and temperatures well below freezing. The rest of the time the weather has been playing a sadistic game whereupon it has teased us with a little snow only for the temperature to rise again the next day, so the only thing left on the ground is slush and ice. This sequence of events has been repeating itself every few days since December and it has been enough to drive most of the local population crazy. The three of them not driven to drinking by the weather are obviously not skiers.
Now, on the last day of February, it's 4 degrees warm and the sun is shining with a warm glow. Green grass is emerging from the melting snow triumphantly, birds sing every morning and hearts soar. As the days get longer, do we dare believe that this awful so-called winter is coming to an end? Do we dare dream of lazy summer evenings bathed in orange light? Or will our hopes be crushed by new snowfall?
These were the thoughts that went through my head as I walked home from work. It had been an intense week, but I finished early and was looking forward to going outside in the sunshine. J got off work early too, so we set out for a run. My calves were completely beat. I try to train with AIK on Thursdays whenever I can, when they run hard intervals on the indoors track by the hockey arena. Last night we started with some technique training and then ran fast 4 x 4 minutes with 1,5 minutes slow jogging after each interval. I had my New Balance Minimus Zero shoes on, which – as the name suggests- have zero drop and which my legs haven't had a chance to get used to yet. This kind of training is tough but doable (at least if you're not purposefully trying to induce vomiting) and afterwards I ran home feeling light and elated.
This morning I woke up with two very sore calves.
As J and I jogged on the slush-covered pavements, I felt how my calves slowly softened. We ran the last kilometre down by the river to avoid the worst of the Friday rush-hour traffic and marvelled at how little ice there was on the water. A fisherman was actually fishing from the shore, something you don't usually see here at the end of February. As we approached home, we were met with full-on, blinding sunlight. Despite the ice, despite the slush, this was a perfect moment. Spring is here. Even if it's only here to give us a sneak preview of things to come.