Sunday, 30 January 2011

In the sunshine of your love

I couldn't resist a slow 5 km run in the sun after climbing today. Happiness lies within the small pleasures in life. Sunshine and running make me happy.

The next big running adventure in our group is starting to take form. From Varberg to Gothenburg, Saturday 9th of April, 08:00. Almost 90 km. Of course I won't be able to participate, not the whole way, but I might join the runners for a little bit or cycle alongside them and hand out water and food. Bask in second hand glory, so to speak.


How I long to run long. On mountain trails, on forest paths, through small villages and lush pastures - wherever my feet take me. These videos inspire me and frustrate me at the same time:

Will my foot ever get better?

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Long run

Even though I wrote my name on the list of participants for today's long run a week ago, until this morning I wasn't sure my foot was up to it. There is no logic to the pain. Some days it hurts, some days it doesn't, and it has nothing to do - as far as I can tell - with running.

12 eager runners defied the cold wind and cloudy skies and showed up today. Most of us had run with the group before, and it was nice to both see familiar faces and meet new people. The group held together and Therese kept an eye on us, so that no one got left behind. Christian and Nick who ran at the front of the group kept an average of 5:40 min/km, which seemed to be good for everyone today.

I had a strange feeling in my foot sporadically, not so much pain as a gentle tug. There was no explanation for it, such as the conditions on the ground. Like I said, no logic. I had planned on running maybe 14-15 km, so when we got back to the start after 12 km and the others went on to run another round, I looked for the 2,5 km path. Unfortunately, it was an ice rink there. So instead of risking breaking a leg, I got in the car and drove home to give my aching foot an ice bath. I love the tingling sensation as warmth returns to my toes afterwards.

The rest of the day will probably be spent in a horizontal position, enjoying my book and the giant chocolate muffin that J was kind enough to buy for me, to cater for my calorific needs. Hurrah for Saturdays!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

A walk in my VFFs

What a beautiful day it has been today. This morning it was -11 degrees, but now it's only -1. The air felt so warm by comparison when I walked home from work. I soaked up the sunlight and got my daily allowance of vitamin D. With Nordic winters being so dark and gloomy, you have to take the opportunity and enjoy the sun on the few occasions it makes an appearance.

I must have been a bit distracted when I started walking, because I stepped on a stone with my heel with full force. Needless to say, it hurt a bit. Usually, when I walk in my VFFs, I land on the middle of my foot, then lower the heel. That way the whole foot absorbs the impact, and little things like stones on the ground feel more like a gentle massage on the foot and less like someone's stabbing you.

I tried jogging in them too. I increased to 1,5 km jog after last time's 1. It felt natural and easy. Well, apart from the fact that I was jogging in my thick winter jacket, jeans and with a scarf around my neck. What a sight I must have been. I can't wait till I can run the whole way home in my VFFs!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I want to live life in the fast lane

Of the swimming pool, that is.

I made the mistake of going to the swimming pool when they opened this morning at 6.30. Me and about 20 pensioners. One old fellow swam around in a circle in the middle of the lane. An old lady almost planted her elbow in my stomach in a rush to get to the showers before me. It was a jungle in there this morning. A jungle of fierce, elderly predators.

Had I gone half an hour later, the pool would have been almost empty. Most of the early birds leave the lane then to join a water exercise class. Lesson learned.

I envy the real swimmers in the fast lane, splashing about with their goggles on. They can practise their backstroke without worrying that they'll hit someone (like I did).

The dream of joining the fast lane might not be far from becoming a reality. I swam 1,5 km in just over an hour, and I didn't have to take a break as often, which means that I must be getting faster. I suspect I am not ready to join the Olympics team just yet, but in a couple of months I might at least be able to swim the distance without any breaks.

The sun was just coming up when I left the pool

Yesterday I ran commuted both to and from work. My foot gave me trouble on the way home. I was to see the physiotherapist this morning, but there was a mix-up with the bookings so I'll have to wait until next week. As this is the 11th exercise day in a row, I'll take this as a sign to get some rest. Let's see if I can go two days without exercise!

Monday, 24 January 2011

How much is too much?

It was a VFF day today. I walked home from work in my black beauties, as planned, but I thought I'd try jogging too. 3,5 km walk and 1 km easy jog left no impact or ache anywhere on my feet and legs, as far as I can tell. Today. Tomorrow, we'll see.

Well, I am a masochist when it comes to training: if I don't get tired exercising, it doesn't feel like I've gained anything by doing it. Unless it's running, because then the actual run is a reward in itself. So after I came home, I put my yoga DVD in the player and did an hour of yoga. Now I'm tired and satisfied.

Later, however, as I was registering this training on my online log, I saw the awful truth right in front of my eyes: today was the 9th day in a row that I've done some form of exercise. In other words, not a single day of rest since Sunday last week. The exercise was varied: I've gone climbing, I've done strength exercises, I walked in my VFFs, I did yoga, and of course I ran. I feel like I am supposed to have a bad conscience because of this lack of rest, but I don't. Somehow the variation in training makes up for it. Or does it? If I go running one day, and climb the next one, do I not train different muscles? Do I wear my body out, even with alternative training?

I had planned on running to and from work tomorrow, a total distance of 9 km if I take the shortest route. Then swimming on Wednesday, and running / climbing on Thursday. It sounds like a lot, but it doesn't feel like it. Rather it feels like just about enough. Will a rest day on Friday leave me in good enough shape for a "long" run on Saturday, together with our running group? Or should I take an extra rest day? How much training is too much? Is any training too much, when it's so much fun?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Busy Sunday

Today, as we do every Sunday, we went climbing. The place was empty when we got there, but it was soon filled by other climbers, first-timers and...children. A family of 4 was there; the dad and the older girl climbed. The mom and the 2-year old did not. The 2-year old, however, spent the best part of one hour crying, screaming and making her mom chase her around the gym. What was the point of this family outing? Why didn't the mom take the toddler to a playground instead? Why irritate and distract everyone else in the gym?

Climbing went well. No new routes were conquered, but I did have a bit of fun on a 6b+. I would have managed to climb the whole way, if only I'd had wings. Towards the end of the session I felt weak, as if yesterday's tiredness was catching up with me. On our drive home, though, the sun was shining and I couldn't resist dragging along J for a short, easy jog to lap up some vitamin D.

While I was stretching afterwards, I suddenly realised that it was the third day in a row I'd been out running. Foot feels ok, still sore to the touch but I can walk and run without a problem. But wasn't I supposed to be smart about this? Within the past week I've run 37 km, about 30 more than my average has been for the last month. Way to go. So my plan to run commute from work tomorrow will have to be postponed. Instead I'll walk home in my VFFs.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Strength in numbers

I couldn't stay indoors on a day like this, with a pale sun breaking through the mist. I drove to Skatås to join our running group, planning on stopping after 10 km. I had missed the camaraderie that is naturally created when people with a common interest meet. Camaraderie in this case means nerding out on run talk. But we like it.

We met at 10. It was chilly but the beauty of the frost-decorated trees and the warmth of sunlight more than made up for it. We knew that more people would join us than ever before, but we never expected that we'd end up being a group of 17.

A few seconds after I took this photo, a small group of roe deer ran across the path. Once again I was reminded of how lucky I am to live in a city that's alive with wildlife, so close to nature that moose find their way down town. Although that is maybe not to the moose's best interest...

Karin and Alex, among others.

After some small talk while waiting for everyone to show up, we headed out on the 8 km path. The speed was maybe a bit higher than I had anticipated (around 5:30 min/km) but it didn't feel impossible. Not at first in any case. I talked to a few people while running, among others Therese and Karin, which always makes the kilometres pass by unnoticed.

We ran around the lake while the mist slowly lifted from it, gracing us with a beautiful view. It was a typical winter morning; a couple of degrees below zero, a struggling sun, something in the air reminding us that spring is on its way.

I was a bit too slow for the group towards the end of the run,
but I did get to take this lovely photo of their backs!

After 12 km the group had come back to where we started from, and was to continue running. I left them to head back to the car, satisfied with my "long" run. It was ages ago I ran this far. When I got home, I gave my feet an ice bath and applied Voltaren on my left foot's sore area. Thanks to running with the group, I ran faster than I otherwise would have done. No speed record for me, but still nice to push the limits a bit!

Thursday, 20 January 2011


I toyed with the idea of taking the bus into work today and then running home in the evening. I did some strength exercises earlier, which left me out of breath, weak, tired. Could be that I ran 10 km yesterday for the first time in over a month. Or that I'm getting a cold. Or that I slept too little. Whatever the reason, I am not run commuting today. I am trying to listen to my body nowadays. Maybe I'll run commute tomorrow, if I feel better.

Our running group will meet on Saturday for a long run and I'm thinking about joining them. I know that my foot is not ready yet for the whole distance, but it will be nice to see them again and run together for a few kilometres. Weather forecast promises -3 and overcast. Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A second blog post in a day? Shaman, you're spoiling us.

I'll start this post with a public service announcement:

"Spikes are not 100% effective"

After a couple of near-death experiences on my morning run, I can share this knowledge with the Internet. Spikes don't work that well on smooth ice. Unfortunately for me, pretty much the whole path around the lake was covered in smooth ice.

But wait! Do you see what I see, in between the ice patches? My friends, that brown stuff is not another shade of ice. It's not dog poo either, resurfacing after the snow melted. It is, in fact, the ground. Earth. Dirt. Pineneedles. Twigs.

This, and the bird song (oh, the beautiful bird song), and the fact that it's still light at 4 in the afternoon are good signs. Signs that we are, in fact, heading towards spring. We might still have 2 months of icy rain, slippery pavements and freezing wind ahead of us, but the birds have spoken. Sooner or later, spring shall come, and it shall be glorious! Rejoice!

So how did my morning run go, other than that I unwittingly auditioned for Disney on Ice, the part of Bambi?

I ran 10 amazing kilometres. That used to be my usual distance session, nothing to write home about, but I am ecstatic. The last time I ran 10 km was over a month ago. Granted, I only ran at a spectacular 6,30 min/km. I know, I should tattoo a hare on my forehead. But I enjoyed it immensely, scary as it was. I let my thoughts drift (even though they never drifted too far. Rather, they focused on which kind of ice was the most slippery. The grey kind? The yellow kind? The brown kind?).

Once I got home, I attacked my foot with ice, massage, stretching and Voltaren. It doesn't seem to like my spikes. I don't blame it, I hate the spikes too. But they do give me the freedom to run in the woods on an icy winter day. Ineffective as they are.

I love pleasant surprises

It was supposed to be a rest day yesterday, and I was going to drive to work, but J needed the car. Which forced me, FORCED ME I tell you, to run commute home. What a happy turn of events.

Ice covered the pavements but I had spikes on my shoes. After some initial awkward moments of trying to figure out how good a grip my spikes had on the ice, I found a very easy pace I was comfortable with. I even tried to implement the right technique, though it was hard to do that and try not to fall on my butt at the same time. You could definitely hear me coming, in any case, what with my spikes clicking and clacking. It was a discrete way to let others know of my presence, but still sounded like a jet plane in comparison to my ninja-stealth VFFs.

As a result of my super slow pace, my pulse was relatively low. I let myself observe my surroundings. I was running in the dark, with the full moon lighting my way. It was by far the easiest session in months, and a very enjoyable at that. A hundred metres from my door I had passed the 5 km mark, so I stopped and did some running drills instead.

It left me longing for more, so I'm heading out for a run in the woods in a while. Tonight, climbing. It will also be very interesting to see if the latest issue of Runner's World arrives in my mailbox today, seeing as everyone else seems to have gotten theirs by now...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Interesting times

Yesterday I was going to take the bus into work, and then run home after work. The bus never showed up, forcing me to go back home and get the car instead, messing up my plans. I was disappointed, but also - I admit it!- kind of relieved. I saw the ice rinks that masqueraded as pavements and the Olympic-sized swimming pools of melted snow. The wind had picked up, and even though the temperature was over 0 degrees, it felt colder than it had done when it was -15. It also felt darker than it had done in months. Snow has a way of making the world seem filled with light, and when it's gone, everything just turns to grey.

The day was not exercise free. I did some strength exercises in the morning: abs, legs and feet, balance, arms. Sunday's walk in my VFFs had left my feet and legs pleasantly tired. Today, however, is going to be a rest day, as I have a 10-hour work shift.

Energy is at an all-time low. There are too many things in my life right now that are very demanding energy-wise, and not good things either. I am living in interesting times. My go-to medicine for that, my way to find balance, is running. But all I want to do is crawl back to bed and stay there for a few days. Good thing I'm off work tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sunday climbing

After a day's rest, I desperately wanted to get some exercise. Like almost every Sunday, we went wall climbing.

Lately both J (my husband) and I have felt that we haven't been making any progress at climbing. He was stuck on 6A level and I on 6B. Today, however, something happened. J flew up a 6B and I made considerable progress on an overhang 6A that I've been failing at for months. I didn't climb it in one go - in fact I had to take a break about 15 times - but I did climb it.

Before going to the climbing gym we also got ourselves a balance board, which will hopefully not only help with balance, but also with foot strength. I also bought some toesocks, to go into my VFFs so that my feet don't freeze so much. I'm planning on putting them to good use later, when we go for a walk in the woods. That is to say, if we can go for a walk. Last night's rain has turned snow into ice and I suspect that putting spikes on my VFFs might be missing the point.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Blog changes its title, not its spots

I have now changed the title of the blog to one that better represents where my training is heading. I am no longer training for Stockholm Marathon, or at least not for this year's event.

This blog started off as a way for me to keep track of my training, and document the journey towards Stockholm Marathon. Since then it's grown to encompass other training because of my foot injury, hopefully without losing its focus on running. Because that is an accurate description of how my training is in real life: my focus is still on running, but I do do other activities.

So now the title of this blog is ”Running for life”. It's a title that I've toyed with before, in the days before I entered Stockholm Marathon and it became the main goal with my training. I like this title, because of its double meaning: that I want to keep running all my life, and that running gives this life better quality in so, so many ways. It's a broader title, because running for me is a lifestyle and not the means to a single goal.

A little late in the day to be formulating New Year's goals perhaps, seeing as the first month of the year is already half gone, but a few running-related things that I would like to accomplish in 2011:

  • Be healthy and injury free
  • Improve my running technique
  • Eventually start running in my Five Fingers
  • Increase the training amount back to 200 km per month, but be smarter about it and not rush into it
  • Run a couple of races for kicks, one of which Prinsens Minne half-marathon (loved it last year)
  • Keep up the alternative training, build an all-around stronger body. I'm more than just my legs.
  • Do some ”adventure” runs with my running buddies. Alingsås – Gothenburg in the summer, for instance.

Long-term goals:

  • Do a triathlon (ahoy!)
  • Run a marathon
  • Keep running!

Friday, 14 January 2011


What a strange week it's been. First I get sick with stomach flu and have to rest for several days, then Wednesday to Friday have been packed with activities. Like I'm compensating. As I wrote before, I went swimming Wednesday morning. In the evening, I went climbing. Then yesterday I went for a walk in my VFFs and later did an hour of yoga. And then today, I ran home from work.

Wait, back up. I should be using capital letters: I RAN home from work. Last time I used my legs to get home from work was over a week ago, when I struggled through new, unploughed snow - but I wouldn't call that running. Today, not only did I get a sense of getting in a nice flow, not only did I work on my technique (though not all the time - it's still too hard), but I ENJOYED IT. And I ran 7,5 km. I haven't run this far in over a month.

It's very possible that I'm getting a bit careless and cocky now that I know I don't have plantar fasciitis. It's also possible that I'll end up regretting this. But today was the first time in a long while that my joy of running was back. Breathing felt easier. Legs felt lighter. And my foot did not complain a single time.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Full circle

So, that's that.

A visit to the physiotherapist left me pretty pleased. In fact, I'm doing somersaults. I don't have plantar fasciitis. The problem is an overstrained tendon. I will run again. Predictably, the prescription was Voltaren, ice, massage, stretching, strength exercises. Oh, and orthopaedic inserts. And she was doing so well, up until she mentioned those.

Don't get me wrong. Anything that will help my foot get better soon is great. It's just that I'd rather build up my strength and not need things like that. I'm a barefoot enthusiast in the making.

I asked carefully
when she thought I could go running again, and she dodged the question by saying "Swimming is a great form of exercise", and then "Talk to the orthopaedic specialists that sell those inserts, and they'll let you know". In other words, if I don't buy those inserts, I can forget about running for a long time. We booked another appointment for two weeks from now, to see how my foot is doing.

It comes as a surprise to no one that I dropped out of the marathon. I had about a snowball's chance in hell of running it. My mind is already spinning in all directions trying to find new goals to set my sights on. There's Gothenburg Marathon / Halfmarathon in October, for instance. No need to apply 9 months in advance for that one. Depending on my form, I could show up on the same day and run it if I wanted to. Then I have the running seminar to attend in March, that will hopefully improve my technique. And then I have some very vague, very long term plans about a sport that includes running, swimming and cycling. And saying "ahoy" a lot. All on the same day. And I do plan on running long distances again, once my foot lets me.

Speaking of swimming, my first Wednesday at the pool went really well. I had to find the car in the parking lot and dig it out of all the snow that had fallen over night, and finally made it to the pool at just after 6.30. The pool was reasonably quiet, half-dark, warm. I swam one kilometre in just under 50 minutes. I beat almost all the pensioners who were there. I'm on fire.

Now, what to do about the title of this blog. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Marathon musings and difficult decisions

I was wrong about the deadline for withdrawing from Stockholm Marathon. I thought it was last Saturday, but it is tomorrow. Tomorrow is also the day I'm seeing my physiotherapist. A fortunate coincidence?

I've written about having mixed feelings about this before: disappointment because I wouldn't get to run this, relief because the pressure would be off. My foot has also been giving me mixed signals, from hardly making a fuss to making it impossible to even walk. Rest doesn't seem to be a factor in this; I haven't been out running (or walking, for that matter) for almost a week now, but my foot hurts more than ever.

Dropping out
is now rapidly becoming an unavoidable reality. The clock is ticking, counting down the days to the marathon. I'm back at square one, struggling through 5 km. I mean, realistically, how can I ever manage 42 km with only 4 months of training left (and that is, if my foot magically gets better)? If I had years of training behind me, it might be possible to overcome a short break. But I don't.

, even if I managed to run the distance, what price would I pay? How much higher would the risk for further injury be?

My disappointment right now is not because I'll have to drop out. It's because I can't bloody run.

It's time to lick my wounds
and admit defeat, to see this as a valuable lesson learned. Yes, I still LOVE running far, but I can't go from half-marathon to ultra over night. I need to be wise about this from now on. Take inspiration from others, but also know my own limitations. Take the time my body needs to adapt to longer distances. Listen to any signals it might be sending. Focus on technique, improve it. Run less on tarmac (even if I love how I get into a nice flow there). Do other sports.

I'm waiting to see what my physiotherapist thinks about this injury before I send the withdrawal email, in case she's able to wave a magic wand and fix my foot, but everything points to 2011 not being my year to run a marathon.

And what direction will this blog take then? What purpose will it serve?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Stomach flu

I can think of better ways to spend a Saturday night than trying to keep the contents of my stomach inside it.

I started feeling funny an hour after I got home from the swimming pool, but I didn't really realise that I had the stomach flu until we sat to watch a film last night. It felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife all over my torso. Then I finally threw up. It was the beginning of a hellish night. Lying in bed was ok and didn't make me queasy, but I felt parched. As soon as I got up to get some water, the nausea came back with a vengeance. This went on all night; I drifted in and out of sleep, not really able to get comfortable. I must have had a fever too. Then this morning I moved from the bed to the sofa and got some real sleep, with my cats curled up at my feet.

Thankfully (and knock on wood now, because I'm not healthy yet), I'm now able to get up without throwing up. I've already called in sick at work. I'll probably be spending the day tomorrow watching films.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Oh, there's my motivation!

After my friend Cath virtually twisted my arm on Facebook last night by promising that a swimming session would bring on a torrent of endorphins to get me out of my funk, I thought I'd risk facing the Saturday crowds and go swimming. Ok, I might have made up the part about Cath twisting my arm. But she did give me a firm nudge in the right direction.

I was there a few minutes before opening time, only to see a long queue consisting of small children (and their parents) waiting to get inside. Horror scenarios of screaming, splashing, peeing small trolls in the 50-metre long pool went through my head. I mean, some of these children were in diapers. When I got to the counter, however, the clerk assured me that most of them would be going to the adventure swimming pool next door.

She was right
. The swimming pool was almost deserted and a smile finally found its' way to my face. I started slowly and increased the intensity after a couple hundred metres, switching between badly executed swimming strokes. Regrettably, more and more people (and their children) started dropping in. I kept bumping into other swimmers and getting water into my eyes from the cannon balling kids at the shallow end of the pool. When there were so many people in the pool that I couldn't move without giving someone a black eye, I decided to call it a day.

Problem was that I'd lost count of how many lengths I had swum. I figured it was between 800 and 900 metres. They took me approximately 45 minutes. New swimming distance record for me! That's going to hurt tomorrow...

Friday, 7 January 2011

Lacking motivation

Has anyone seen my motivation? Because I want it back.

The day didn't start out so well. We drove my parents to the airport at 5 in the morning. Our goodbyes are always sad. Then I went home intending to spend the hour I had before work doing some strength exercises - abs, back, that kind of thing. I ended up doing nothing. In addition to this, my foot hurt enough to make my vague plan to run home from work evaporate. That put me in a funk.

This injury is making me schizophrenic. It has been causing my attitude towards running to fluctuate between apathy and a strong sense of longing. When it's the first, I suffer, because I don't recognise myself. I am a runner. Apathy isn't like me. When it's the latter, I'm hopeful about the future and see my injury as something temporary. I feel then that I only need to be patient and do other activities until I'm better. I dream about long runs on summer days.

Unfortunately I am currently in a state of apathy. Maybe it's self preservation, because I know that if I go running with my foot feeling like this, it will only get worse. I know I'll only get disappointed. But somehow I have to get my motivation back, if not for running, then for other sports. I have to get out of this funk.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Rest day

On today's schedule, rest. Yesterday's run through the snow left me a bit tired, and the walk to the stores today was no better. Running is strenuous for the body, and I need to let it heal at least once a week - even though it makes me restless.

I found two bathing suits that I couldn't choose between, and they were both on sale. So I bought them both. A sporty one by Adidas...

...and a slightly more elegant one by Warp.
I also signed up for a running technique seminar by Markus Stålbom in March, that's been recommended to me. 2011 brings new activities, new things to look forward to. Bring it on!

But first
, I'm spending my parents' last day here by curling up on the sofa with them and watching a film or two.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Bad snow!

It isn't fun to stumble in fresh, unploughed snow, while icy snowflakes carried by strong headwind whip you mercilessly in the face. I almost started this post by writing that I hated running from work today, but the thing is: I wasn't running. I was jumping, I was stumbling, I was slipping, I was swearing, but I wasn't running.

I certainly wasn't thinking about posture, or technique, or any of those things that are supposed to do my foot good. I was just concentrating on staying upright.

I managed to get home after 5 km and just over half an hour, and even did some technique drills. My pulse was surprisingly lower than last time, especially considering how often I had to jump in order to be able to move forward. Then again, speed was much lower as well.

They say that the only bad training is the one that you miss. So I suppose this session gave me something. It gave me strength, physical and -mainly- mental. I did go out for a run in this miserable weather, after all. Next time it'll be easier.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

VFF premiere

I started my day with an hour of home yoga. I knew that I was going to be sitting in a meeting the whole day, so I had to get in my exercise in advance. It takes a couple of hours for my body to soften up in the morning, so some poses felt more difficult than last time.

I walked to my meeting in my old Sauconys, but with my new Five Fingers in my backpack. I had planned on sneaking out unnoticed after my meeting and walking home in them. I thought it would have gotten dark by the time the meeting was over. As cool as I think they look, I am aware that most people think they look silly and might throw rotten vegetables at me if they saw me. Or at least point and laugh.

My calculations were wrong. It was still daylight when we wrapped up. I couldn't sneak out either; my colleague saw me putting on my VFFs, then my boss walked past and saw them on my feet, then proceeded to point them out to someone else, who then called out to her colleagues to come and have a look at the spectacle.

My plan to sneak out unnoticed had been thwarted.

I stood there
in front of 6 amused people, answering questions about my choice of footwear. A couple of people were laughing, possibly at my feet. I laughed along with them; after all, the VFFs are not exactly beautiful. Ape-feet (COOL ape-feet) is how I think of them.

I finally managed to slip away, the sound of laughter still ringing in my ears. I walked home in the snow. My feet did not make a sound. What's even better, they did not hurt. It was a bit too cold for them, though. Not frostbite-cold, but tingly-cold. I felt like a child, walking barefoot. I could feel every little pebble, every unevenness in the snow-covered ground. I walked for a total for 1,5 km. I didn't feel any strain in my feet, but it might come tomorrow.

Some good news I got today was that my Wednesdays off start next week, hence my swimming does too. I just need to get a one-piece swimsuit. I'm really looking forward to it!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Back to run commuting, back to training for the Marathon

After a week off doing fun stuff, it was back to work this morning. I really enjoyed having the time to be more active. In a way, having a foot injury gave me the nudge I needed to try out other activities. Nothing beats running for me. Still, it was nice with a change of scenery. Not to mention beneficial.

I ran home from work trying to think about technique. My pulse was not as high today, which gave me hope that I'll soon get back to the stamina level I had before my injury. I finally spoke to my physiotherapist and booked an appointment for next Wednesday.

This means, of course, that I won't be able to get an answer regarding how long recovery is going to take before the Marathon deadline on Saturday. I decided to risk it and go for it, and hope that I can somehow compensate for the lost running sessions by doing alternative training. Good thing my finishing time expectations are low.

I love being active
. I can't imagine my life without exercise, just like I can't imagine life without oxygen. I've fallen for different sports over the years. I've had a wonderful year of dancing salsa, two years of getting nowhere at the gym (but loving it anyway), and now three years of injury-plagued, on again - off again running. Three months ago I took up climbing, and next week I'm starting swimming. I might even give yoga another go. If only this pesky having-to-make-a-living thing didn't take up so much of my time...

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Love at first sight

It's not even two months
since my über-thick, extra-cushioned, pronation support, cherry-on-top Kayanos arrived in the mail, and I'm already buying new shoes. I'm terrible. I spend all my hard-earned money on running gear.

Better than spending it on booze and drugs, I guess.

So I got a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, model KSO. As soon as I tried them on, it was love. They are so light and flexible, yet they protect my feet on rough surfaces. Are they any good? I don't know yet. I'm starting very carefully in them anyway. I'm planning on using them for walking first, and then gradually introducing some jogging, once my feet are strong enough. And that is precisely why I bought them: I am hoping to build up my foot strength to prevent future injuries.

New Year's day jog

The little devil on my left shoulder won again and convinced me to go running on the first morning of 2011. I resisted; oh, how I resisted. It took him a whole minute to talk me into it.

It was an amazing day, sunny and warm with a light breeze, just the kind of day that puts a gun to your head and threatens you with unspeakable horrors if you choose the sofa instead of a walk in the woods. I put on my sneakers again, but this time with added spikes. The temperature had risen over night, resulting in patches of treacherous ice on the pavement.

I ran toward the lake. Not many people were about. I suspect that, at 10 o'clock the morning after the New Year celebrations, most people are at home, either asleep or nursing a hangover. I had the woods all to myself. My pulse was high, but then again the effort of keeping a high cadence on only 5 hours of sleep will most likely do that. My foot had no complaints, however, and since my training has been revolving around it lately, I can't complain either.

5,5 km later I was at my doorstep again. It worries me that my stamina is so much worse than it used to. It was only a few weeks ago I ran the 49 km from Alingsås, and now I can hardly run 5 without getting out of breath. How am I supposed to run a marathon in 4,5 months?

On the plus side
, I have wonderfully achy calves!