Well, since I keep forgetting how long I’ve been doing this and since I feel it irrelevant, I’ll just stick to dates. I actually don’t think they’re relevant at the moment, but they’ll serve to piece together the whole story later.
I don’t recall putting this into words here. If it’s a repeat… Blame it on the addled mind of a long distance runner.
I realised the other day that there was a moment that could have had me still following the E1, further south in Norway and heading to Sicily. That moment wasn’t when I decided to stick with Rooney and it wasn’t the decision to wait for a tent in Abisko. It was the decision to leave Kautokeino without the tent pole. It arrived 3 days later. 3 days that would have then altered the course of the rest of the adventure. So, as I’ve said before, we make our own luck through our choices and although I’m more than happy with my path, it took a while to puzzle out and realise the mistake was so far in the past.
On to today.
I had a restful day yesterday, ate just enough food, drank just enough liquids and generally relaxed and planned. I posted on Runners World Sweden’s page on that well known social media site Facebook and in the Fell Runner’s Association page. I wasn’t expecting any response but what I got blew me away. I was amazed by the willingness of people to help and the interest in the run.
I left today, planning to follow one road and thanks to the advice of a local. I hose a different path. A meander near to the inland section where sea and river become one (I think they’re called bays or harbours, but that just doesn’t read right). Passed woodlands, farms, small villages that I’ve grown used to and toward the small town of Bjasta. A car heading towards me, a lady wearing a pink jacket. Suddenly she waves smiling. There’s a bit of astonishment from me! There’s actually someone here that knew about my run and has come to say hello!
Liselott. She got out of the car, double checked I wasn’t some other traveller and the the traditional greeting of a hug. She generously offers me food, drink and then invites me for coffee. I’m delighted and head off, repeating the street name to myself so I find her house. Then the joy of running washes it away and I’m running and singing towards Bjasta. I arrive, head to the wrong road, pause…
Quick Facebook post reply and after some general meandering in the wrong directions she find me and we run for coffee. A warm house. A comfortable space and Liselott offers me more food choices than the typical shop! A meat stew looks interesting…
A quick taste while she sorts out the kettle. Holy moly (I’m learning to censor my language, but maybe learning Swedish would be more useful!)!! It’s proper tasty!
That’s me sold and a plate appears, I dish out a handfull of Swedish Almond potatoes (named due to their shape) and a serving of the stew. I don’t want much. I have to run and I’m still not back to eating like I did before starting this whole adventure. The on and off switch for hunger seems to be functioning a little too perfectly!
I eat, we chat, I notice the pole dancing pole (or that’s what I thought it wa) but don’t mention it and she shows me a trail that runs along the coast. The road is easier to run on and I want to get to Docksta today, so I keep it in mind just in case and after a coffee and more chat I leave. There’s a tipping point that I’m all to aware of. The point where you suddenly decide to stop for the day. After a thank you (and in hindsight maybe I should have apologised for my general running odour) I’m off again.
Holy shit! (Censorship just turned off)
This is a busy road. It’s like running on a single carriage motor way! Huge trucks go by, I jump to the other side of the barrier as the small gap I use to run vanishes for a few meters or a huge row of card and trucks come hurtling towards me. I need some highviz stuff. Liselott offered me something and I felt bad taking it so I kindly refused but now, with the light fading around 4:30pm, maybe I should get some.
Docksta appears out of nowhere, I buy some food for today and part of tomorrow. I head to that trail we looked at earlier. There is a section where the ground levels out and I’ll pitch up there, hidden in the woods. The start of the trail is through some farmland and it actually looks like an English footpath! I plan a cheeky farmers field pitch, but then turn to find someone walking their dog behind me and so back to plan A and what a result!
The perfect flat, woodland flood. The layers of pine needle giving a delicate amount of cushioning and the trees enough cover to hide me from passers but. I expect no one, but I feel the need to be hidden while I sleep. Tomorrow is a another day and my only challenge is to find somewhere to exchange my pounds into SEK. The banks in the big town of Örnsköldsvik didn’t handle any cash?!
So in short or in summary, which ever you prefer.
There is a lightness to my step and mood. I find myself laughing and smiling as I run or walk. The efforts of running feels good. I’m left wishing I could do more as way of thanks to those that have shown me kindness on my journey so far. I’ve said it before and will happily repeat myself…
Thanks just doesn’t seem like a big enough word to express the gratitude that I feel.