On Easter Monday, after seeing Daniel off to the airport, I took off from T-Centralen for my first 20-miler of my Windermere 2013 schedule. It was freezing, possibly the coldest weather I'd ever run in, and I was grateful for my jacket and scarf which I kept on for the first 2 miles before stuffing them into my backpack. I've run with a backpack on a couple of occasions in the past but never more than a few miles, so I was nervous about having it with me even though it was necessary. It was fine, though, and I ceased to notice it after a while, even though it was packed full with my warm layers from our early start!
My plan was to run around two islands - Södermalm and Djurgården - before getting back onto the main island and running home via the University. I immediately went wrong and found myself on the beautiful island of Kungsholmen, which I had never visited before, so I ran around the edge of this island instead, sticking to the gorgeous waterside paths as much as I could, with wonderful views out towards the Swedish mainland. I ran through the beautiful Stadshus (City Hall), too, which was a treat! I must go back when I'm not on a run to explore it further.
The regal grandeur of Djurgården - lovely except for the grit!
Over the next couple of days I really felt the after-effects of those miles, and struggled along on a 4-mile recovery run on Tuesday, and then an interval session which was almost pointless on Wednesday. The grit where I live is even worse than in the city, and my feet were so sore and swollen from the terrain, as well as my knees still giving me angst. After two whole days' rest I was feeling much more optimistic for my longer run on Friday, and had a quick half-banana before I set off into the early morning sunshine with directions in my back pocket. I was enjoying the run, and enjoying having some energy at last, but as I got to 5 miles I suddenly doubted my directions completely - I was running somewhere completely new, and turning right instead of left could be a big mistake when I didn't know where I was going. Rather than follow my directions (which said to go right) or my instinct (which said left) I turned back and went back the way I came - 10.5 miles on half a banana was not good, but it was probably better than ending up in Norway thanks to an early-morning cartography error. I got to the end with some discomfort, but my spirits remained high, especially since I found out that the council have started to remove the grit now that winter is over.
Thankfully I ended the week on a high, with a gorgeous waterside run this morning - wearing shorts and no extra top layer, to boot - which included 12 hill sprints, taken on a nice gentle, grit-free hill near the waterfront. I enjoyed every step in the morning sunshine, until I got lost again and panicked that I might never get back. Luckily I was right to trust my nose in this case, which took me back home for a gorgeous Saturday lunch of poached eggs, malt bread and a big bowl of cous cous (I am carbo loading, after all!), enjoyed while catching up with Any Questions on Radio 4.