Friday, 9 January 2015

Growing pains

Growing older and growing up are not the same thing. Everyone grows older, but not everyone grows up. Some people have to be dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood, others embrace it (I guess they really love paying bills?). Me? If I could cherry pick some aspects of growing up and never have to deal with the others, I'd be happy. Money? Yes please. Being the master of your own destiny? Yep! Eating peanut butter straight out of the jar without having to answer to anyone except your future, slightly fatter self? You bet! Having to sit in meetings and pretend you understand what everyone else is talking about? Not so much.

So after an intense first few days at my new job, when I was left with a head full of numbers, names, rules and, most of all, questions, I was ready to crawl into the fetal position and let someone else do the cooking, cleaning etc. Unfortunately, J was out of town on business, so I had no one to feel sorry for me except myself.

Now, feeling sorry for myself is an activity I try not to engage in that often. I save it for real crappy situations, like when I have a cold or if I've ordered some books online and one of the covers is creased in one corner or when I've made myself a grilled sandwich and one of the cats has jumped on the counter while I wasn't looking and stolen it. So, when I got home after work last night, I had a quick bite to eat, spent all of 30 minutes trying to will-power my stomach into digesting the food faster and then I went out for an eagerly awaited run. 

It had snowed quite a lot during the day and the snow plow had not yet been everywhere. Scratch that: they hadn't plowed anywhere. For my snow-deprived readers, here's an interesting Northern Sweden fact: fresh snow is very nice to look at but it's also soft and unstable and good luck trying to run up a hill in it. You get twice as tired running in fresh snow than on tarmac, having to lift your legs high so that you can get through it. It's true. Scientists have done research on it. And by scientists, I mean me.

To further establish my street cred as the Hulk of running, my legs weren't some spry, gazelle-like things, and not only because gazelles have four legs and I only have two (an unfair advantage that is only accentuated by the fact that gazelles rarely have to run in snow), but because I had been to the gym two days prior and the soreness was really starting to kick in. Still, I picked the hilliest route I could find, because I thought of the 2200-odd metres' worth of elevation gain at High Coast Ultra and that it'd be nice to train for it and avoid dying of lactic acid overdose on the day.

The highest point of this particular route is also the most beautiful one, and I was rewarded by the coziest little snow-laden spruce tree tunnel at the top. My stress started to finally melt away and I could enjoy the tickling sensation of snowflakes landing on my nose.

What goes up must come down, and a long downward slope awaited me now. At the bottom of the hill I looked back and briefly considered running up it once again, to get more hill training in. Then I remembered J was coming home soon and how much I had missed him. A thousand excuses later, I was sitting at home looking at the total elevation gain of this route.

70 metres. One thirtieth of the HCU. Wow. Well, it's a start. And today it's Friday. So, let the weekend begin. And may it bring with it a lot of cumulative elevation gain.

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