Oranges, Altar Boys and Toboggans
Sometimes I believe that Easter was invented to give Norwegians a last chance to enjoy cross-country skiing before they pack away their winter clothes and prepare for summer (thanks for the inspiration, Margo). The missus has always regaled me with wonderful stories of how her parents used to take her and her sisters to visit their grandparent’s cabin during the Easter holidays, and where they every day went “ut på tur” (roughly translated as “out-into-the-woods-for-some-walking/cross-country skiing/hiking-and-have-lots-of-stops-in-order-to-enjoy-an-orange-and-a-Kvikk-Lunsj”. Footnote: Kvikk Lunsj is the Norwegian version of a Kit Kat).
I, on the other hand, was raised catholic and spent several happy Easters as an altar boy, running hither and thither during all of the Easter masses, making sure that the priests had everything they needed and didn’t miss their steps during the liturgies. During a few years I even got to sing the part of The Crowd/Pontius Pilate in the Passion, which was absolutely awesome, especially when singing together with my old friend Rickard, who always sang the Narrator, and father Zvone (singing the part of Jesus), a Slovenian priest, a close friend and the owner of a tenor voice so stupendous it used to knock the dust off the church bells all by itself.
But the last four or five years have more or less always been spent at home, since either the missus or myself have been on call at the hospital. Lucky break this year, though, with her free and me on paternity leave. So we decided to pay my father-in-law (he of marathon fame) and his Ellen a visit at his hytte where they always spend Easter and New Years. Being a Norwegian hytte, it lacks running water, electricity and an indoor toilet, but what it lacks in hallmarks of civilisation, it more than makes up for in cosiness and warmth.
Moreover, this was the first time little miss Sunshine was to join us in the ski tracks. Heavily bundled up in a toboggan lined with fur, but still. As luck had it, it turned out to be the best weekend for skiing all winter, and the warmest since last summer. I almost burned myself to a crisp on the terrace in the afternoon sun, and still have a lovely red face in remembrance. Grilled lamb, seasoned sausages and the ubiquitous pizza kept us fed, and our little Sunshine loved every second of the trip. Apart from when she was supposed to sleep. Then she didn’t love every second at all.
Now, what does this post have to do with running? Well… Not much, I admit. But it was good training for the climbs we’ll be doing in the Dolomites this summer. As you can see, I pulled the toboggan for a few kilometres, putting in some weight training as well. Including our two daytrips on skis, I totalled out at 92 km this week with a long run of 34 km (3 h 1 min) carrying a backpack with some water. Pretty decent, since I haven’t carried anything on my back since Alesia last fall.
Anyway, Happy Easter, everybody! And huge congratulations to Meb Keflezighi for winning the Boston Marathon today! The 39-year-old (!) was the first American to win in almost 30 years. Impressive.