I stepped out into a white world yesterday after work. Snow on the ground and fog closing in around me made me feel like I was crawling inside a cotton ball. It was almost otherworldly, the backdrop to a tense scene in an old-school horror movie, escalating towards a particularly gruesome murder or the revelation of a horribly deformed villain. I ran with my stomach trying to climb up my throat, a sensation I always get when I go running directly after work, as if the day's worries are a physical entity that I can just expel out my mouth like spoiled food. It went well, despite all that. I covered 10 km and could relax after an extraordinarily long week.
This morning, I stepped out into a completely different world. A pale sun struggling to rise above the horizon turned blue snow into orange, and you could almost feel the heat bouncing off the few scattered clouds above. A mean feat when the temperature was as low as -10 degrees. I tried to listen to a podcast on my way to meet AIK and managed instead to push play on one of my most favourite songs, Sad Captains by Elbow. Poetry. Magic. Love. Also, sadness. I've been thinking about a dear friend of mine a lot lately who seems to be struggling, and about how sometimes it's hard to help those that refuse to open up and choose to create their own personal hell and live in it alone. I sang along quietly, letting the words reach my heart and letting my heart mourn what feels lost.
Our coach had asked me to pace the group today, as he had a little surprise for us later on. We were 20 strong, plus two dogs. My sadness took a back step to leave room for other things, discussions about everything under the sun and even a lovely 15 minutes or so of singing Christmas songs while we ran. Well, it was lovely for the three of us who actually sang. Some of the others suddenly seemed to have trouble keeping up with us and lagged behind.
Halfway through the run, we were stopped by Santa and his little helpers. Our coach had warmed glögg (mulled wine), which he served together with gingerbread cookies and candy. The glögg tasted like the sweetest nectar and felt like the warmest blanket.
We didn't stay long, as the cold was a mighty adversary even for the glögg and found its way into our very bones. We ran back to the hockey arena where we had started and parted ways.
I ran home, my spirits high once again. 23 km will do that for you.