It´s 21:15 and the thermometer shows zero degrees Celsius. I am taking out my nordic walking gear and putting reflex bands over the sleeves. Ice cleats are a necessity tonight as well.
Turning on the headlamp and in company of Chemical Brothers and other trance music, a bit spooky for the occasion, I head out into the darkness.
The few street lights of tiny, sleepy Vedjeön throw shadows on the glittering icy surface of the street and a gentle breeze, too warm for this time of the year, blows through my hair.
My thoughts immediately turn to the upcoming race season. To my condition. To the dogs´s condition.
Today I sent out our first two entries, which is like putting a stamp or signature on a contract.
The dogs are great, they come back from every run happy and before we take off their booties and praise them, their breath looks as if they were just waking up from a sleep. They are so ready for an upgrade to the next level of training. They want more. More miles, more hours of running. Instead, we´ve had to stop training for a few days due to this darn ice.
But what about me? Why am I walking in the dark? Am I worried about my condition? Am I trying to make up for the gaps in my own training and workout program? Of course I am. I have the vision of a long, tiring run in the middle of darkness on an unknown trail at one of the races. The dark lake and black windows of our neighbors´s houses I am passing help to envision this perfectly. A physically and mentally tired musher with a weakness of metabolism disorder and severe overweight will suffer. I am aware of that and of course I am asking myself, why haven´t I trained myself harder. Tomorrow I need to do this again.
I am counting the months, weeks and days left before the main race. The big race I´ve dreamed about for a long, long time, still being afraid to speak it´s name loud in connection with me. I know my dogs can do it and I painfully know that I am the weakest part of the team.
I have come a long way since my diagnosis, I have lost over 20kg and gotten in shape. But I can´t stop. In fact, I must work harder and these nordic walking sessions are here to remind me of that. Putting the words in a written form also help immensely.
I am approaching the dark curve at the end of the village, leaving the last street light behind me. Heading into the dark with just my headlamp beam, then reaching the half way point and turning around. I walk against the wind, back towards the safety and warmth of home. I hear the dogs howling their after dinner song. Something makes me turn around and I can almost see the other me standing behind in the darkness. She looks at me with faith. "You can do it", she whispers.