Always Trust the Norwegian Weather Forecast
Thundering down Manhattan’s 1st Avenue was fabulous. Tip-toeing through Forêt domainale du Flavigny was amazing. Sweatily climbing Joua Baba Ali Jebel was absolutely breathtaking. But there is a certain something about running in familiar surroundings at home. A few days ago, Jakob picked me up at 07.00 and together we drove to Skatås in good old Göteborg. Last night the forecast on yr.no had promised several centimetres of snowfall for this morning, prompting Jakob to enthusiastically set an early wake-up call for today. But slowing the car down on the black, glistening asphalt of the parking lot by the Skatås gym, we were disappointed. Not a single speck of snow on the ground and not even a whiff of snow flakes in the air. Shrugging as if to say say that Norwegian websites are what they are, Jakob picked up his backpack and led the way down the wooden stairs to the huge digital clock where all of the trails start. I started my Suunto with a beep, and off we went along the lit 5k-trail, heading for the first turnoff of the 10k. Taking it deliberately slow and talking about this and that, we finally found the black-and-white diamond marking the 18k-trail in among the trees. I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I simply LOVE forest trails. I know I have. Told you, that is. Probably a thousand times. Well, you’ll be hearing it a lot more. This is our blog, after all.
Leaving the generously lit path of the 5k for the dark 18k trail, I reached up to the headlight parked on my forehead, turned the switch on and suddenly the impenetrable darkness melted away on each side of the penetrating cold light of the beam. And suddenly, out of the blue – well, out of the black – sky, it started snowing! Softly at first and then more heavily as we ran along. I caught myself, not for the first time, grinning like a fool. Joua Ali Baba Jebel indeed. I don’t suppose the trails deep within the woods had been warmed by plus degrees for many minutes during the last couple of weeks, and sure enough, on several of our climbs we had to slow to a walk in order to carefully step around small, frozen waterfalls of ice. Soon enough, though, everything was covered in a soft powder of newly fallen snow. It felt like the lamp post on the other side of the moth-eaten furs in the wardrobe would turn up at any minute, with the faun Tumnus by its side. It’s always a great pleasure running with Jakob. The topics are varying and endless, giving us as much training as intervals since both of us are normally babbling on incessantly. We covered everything from Thomas Aquinas and Saint Nicholas (the saint of the previous day, Jakob’s birthday) to a possible coach for UT du Mont Blanc.
Since I long ago had stopped paying proper attention to where my feet were landing, the slip caught me completely by surprise. Hidden beneath a soft coating of powdery snow a devilishly wet patch of ice had attacked me without warning and I’ll be honest with you, Donald Duck and Goofy would have been proud of the way both my feet swung high up in the air simultaneously leaving me no choice but to break the fall with my left elbow. Crack. Wonderful. It sure is lucky no annoying nerve ends run along the joint. The hard end of my elbow exploded in pain. Twisting it around and bending it, it didn’t seem broken. Still, all of my 72 kg had landed right on it. I pulled myself up by the birch sapling standing right next to me, and we started off again. The snowfall had increased and was lashing our faces as we emerged from the trail onto a wider gravel road. Ah, this is life, I remember I thought. We had turned off our lamps a while back, the snow on the ground and the increasingly stronger morning sun illuminating our way. Even so, fifteen minutes later I managed to miss an icy spot again and went all Goofy on it. This time my knee took the brunt of the fall, ripping a pretty little hole in the fabric of my borrowed running tights. Sorry dad! We set off again, but five minutes later it was Jakob’s turn. I don’t think I have ever seen Jakob’s feet so far above his head before. Not even when I saw him break his nose in a Bydalen skiing slope almost 20 years ago. He seriously looked like a U2 bomber coming in for landing, ending in a noisy crash between two tree roots by the trail. It looks hilarious when you’re an observer instead of an observee. Oh, I think I just made a word up. Observee? Does that even exist?
When we finally emerged from among the trees by the big digital clock, we were bruised and sore all over, but otherwise OK. There’s nothing like risking your life among the familiar trees of your backyard. And the breakfast? D-licious!