Friday, 28 February 2014

Spring feelings

Winter in Skellefte√• 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.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Reboot

This morning I woke up thinking that it would be a shame to lose all my old posts if Blogger went bankrupt, or an asteroid hit the Earth.

Because my biggest concern if the latter happened would be that I would lose all my old posts, of course. Right before I burned to a crisp.

It would be a shame, not because of the sharp wit and excellent writing I have been offering mankind through the years which would be gone forever (you're welcome, by the way); it would be a shame because this has been my diary, preserving my training-related memories for later (or, let's be honest, now) when my brain is rotten and I can't remember what I've been doing with my life.

And then I regretted that I have not been updating it the last few months. Things have kept on happening with my training, and I'd hate for them to disappear in some dark, spider-web covered corner of my mind. Out of reach forever.

So I decided to try and start blogging regularly again. I'm not doing this for any reason other than to save my memories and share them with anyone who might be interested (that is, my mum and dad), but if you're curious enough about how slow I am these days or how painful my latest injury is, I hope you'll find my whining amusing.

First, a short summary of my training the last few months, just to catch you up. My self-diagnosed runner's knee might not be a runner's knee after all. Whatever it is, it doesn't let me run more than 20-22 km without complaining. I've also had some minor infections that have caused me to miss a lot of interval training. I don't feel I'm in a great shape right now, but I'm not too bad, either. So I'm curious to see how I perform when race season begins around April.

This morning I joined AIK for a run. Saturdays are usually long run days, but Sweden was going for a medal in the 30km cross-country skiing Olympics, and I think most of us wanted to come home early so that we'd see that (unfortunately, that medal never came). So, after warming up, we ran fast for 4,5 km, ending with a long upward slope. It has been a bad winter up North, with little snow and a lot of ice, and I struggled to stay on my feet while running downhill. Uphill it was a mental challenge to push myself, but I was quite happy with my overall performance given the shape I've been in. I averaged 4:50 min/km, a pace that felt comfortable without making me puke.

I left the others and ran home afterwards at a faster pace than I would have kept during a normal long run so that I would make it to the start of the skiing competition. I ”only” logged 17 km today, but let me let you in on my plans for this year. I'm going for continuity. I want to average 50-60 km per week, to build a good, stable base for the future, without succumbing to injuries. I have already reached that goal this week, so I'm satisfied. I'm trying to focus on the big picture, looking at week and month totals instead of individual runs.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to be able to go skiing. I haven't skied in weeks, not least because there is so little snow and so much ice this year. I am also hoping that Sweden will do better at the men's 50 km cross-country competition.