Saturday, 30 May 2015

Dances with reptiles

After a month of seemingly constant rain, a period so long and miserable that I thought moss would start growing on me and my running shoes started smelling conspicuously of mold (and looked like they were covered in it, too), we finally got a day so marvelous, a sun so fiercely devoted to drying our soaked bones and drenched hearts that everyone in the whole city dazedly crawled out of their houses like snails and stared disbelievingly at the blue sky.

About 15 of us in AIK ran a route I had never run before, which took us past one of my most favourite spots in the whole world: a weekend-house neighbourhood by a nearby lake, a place so picturesque, summery and, well, Swedish, it could have been the inspiration to an Astrid Lindgren book. Time flew faster than we could run as we chatted and laughed. Before we knew it, we were back at the hockey arena where we had started, 17 sunny kilometres richer.

I went on running after we had said our goodbyes. This time, I sought the shadow of the woods, having almost run out of Tailwind and needing the terrain mileage and elevation gain. The ground was sometimes soggy, even completely submerged in water at places. But some parts were as dry as a sun-baked stone in Death Valley. And there, while I was busy daydreaming about trail running in the mountains and summer days in warmer latitudes letting salty waves cool my legs, I heard it.

A hiss. That's all it took to make me produce a most pathetic little whimper. I turned around and realised I had narrowly missed running on a viper, that was lying on the right side of the double-track I was on, sunbathing and probably it, too, daydreaming about whatever adventures vipers embark on with their viper pals. Slithering up the mountain and biting unsuspecting runners, I'll bet. Or whispering in your ear that you should just eat the damn apple. Sneaky sods.

This is the second viper I encounter while on a run this week. The first one was a relatively small viper, cocky and pissed off (ergo most likely a teenager). The one I unwittingly almost got very friendly with today was probably an adult one. A grandpa, even, judging by the way it harrumphed and slowly crawled into the bushes after having warned me to get off its lawn.

Me and snakes, we get along great. Like cats and dogs. Remember the time I danced on with one?

Luckily the rest of my run was uneventful and I managed a not-too-shabby 30 km on happy legs. One tough week left.

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