Why did Shaman shuffle down the road like a cripple? Why, because she lacks self discipline, of course!
But can you blame me? I spent a pretty big chunk of my time last Monday fantasizing about running 30 km on Wednesday. I felt strong. I felt ready. I felt that it had gone so well the previous week that nothing could stop me now.
Something almost did. Because on Tuesday the temperature soared up to a sweltering 7 degrees, women all over the city started digging in their closets for their summer dresses and barbeques got fired up.
And the snow started thawing. Covering the roads, pavements, lawns in baby-smooth ice. The kind that is really hard to run on.
Tuesday involved a lot of swearing on my part. Because, although spikes are an effective way to run without slipping and breaking a leg, they are also a very effective way to get sore feet and a fresh injury in your knees. I did not want to run 30 km in spikes. Tuesday was not a good day to ask me how I am doing, because then you would get a diatribe on all the injustices weather had inflicted upon me.
A calmer, resigned Shaman joined AIK yesterday. I would run with the dreaded, hated spikes, but I would only run the usual 11 km and then run my 30 km session another day, when I didn't have to wear them. I took nothing with me, no water, no food. I just grabbed a sandwich before I left, because hey, I would only be running 11 km and I could easily do that on an almost empty stomach.
|Like this, only darker and icier|
It was just as miserable as I knew it would be. It was alternately slippery and slushy, or sometimes both, drenching our feet in ice-cold water before sending us skating into the bushes. But, as any long-time reader of this blog surely must know by now, there is a screw loose in my head. Not only was it loose last night, it practically fell out my ear and disappeared into the slush. Because, when we were almost at the end of our 11 km, instead of doing the smart, disciplined thing and going home, I turned to some of my fellow mental hospital candidates and asked if they would join me on a longer run to the Bergsby dam.
I wasn't surprised when they answered yes. After all, birds of a feather flock together and we are all a little cuckoo. In fact, these guys would have run a long run anyway (they may be crazier than me. At least I considered skipping the long run). Some of us started singing to lift each others spirits. Some of us probably managed to have the opposite effect on the others, so I went silent after a while. My legs were already beat after 14-15km, way too soon. I had aches in all new places because of the spikes, and my energy seeped out of me much more quickly than I had hoped it would. When we crossed the dam and turned back towards town, we were met with a strong headwind. Things got worse and worse. I tried talking with the others to distract myself from the self imposed torture I was currently undergoing, but it proved to be too much of an effort.
People dropped out one by one to run home, and each time I envied them. My feet were soaked and hurt. Our little warrior group was 7 strong to begin with, but by the end there were only four of us left taking a detour to add even more kilometres to our total. Then three. Then two. I looked at my GPS: 26,2 km and we were almost back where we had left our cars.
The saying goes: Misery loves company. So I turned to the only running companion I had left and said, ”We can't give up now, we've almost run 30 km!”. Because, if I should suffer, so should he, and he followed me willingly enough. Told you my team mates are a little cuckoo. I fit right in.
We were running against the wind again, on icy pavements by a busy, grey, dark road, around deep pools of thawed snow, then up a long hill, then back towards the parking lot. Another detour to make sure we didn't end up with too short a run, and now I was ready to throw in the towel. Our thoughts and conversation wandered to warm summer evenings, on soft forest paths and how wonderful it would feel to run unhindered by spikes. I could almost see it in front of me, through the grey winter fog of this February evening run.
31 km later I was back at the car, wanting to throw my spikes as far away from my feet as possible but only managing to throw them two centimetres to the right. I was dead, or dying, possibly from starvation and/or dehydration, but I am sure that there was a lonely brain cell somewhere in my head that was cheering for my achievement.