Time and time again I am reminded why I love the sport I have chosen to be my life's passion and mission to get others involved in. We all know that Stockholm, and in all of Sweden it is getting cold and winter is upon us! Yesterday afternoon when I was looking outside the window from our office on Sveavägen overlooking Hagaparken I was worried that we would not have many individuals at the training last evening.
Well I arrived downstairs at Planet Fitness and was amazing at we had so many people, we were bustling out the doors. On the program we had 8 - 16 x 200m hills and after a little introduction, we started our warm up. It was cold, it was dark, snowing, but it was so great with so many, happy smiling people. Our sport is so fantastic - you do not get many sports where you can have elite athletes like Louise Wiker running their warm up with 5hour marathon runners, Triathletes with runners, young with old, beginners with experienced runners, all warming up together on a Dark, Cold Tuesday night at the end of November in Stockholm.
We arrived as a group to storaskuggen and then broke into three groups - again with now focus on how fast one is just all groups mixed and feeding off one another - learning together how to do running drills like champions. After these we joined the groups together again and did 3 x stegringslopp - again as a big group, so cool to see.
Then we broke into our smaller groups again and started our hill intervals and we ran like groups of 200m runners pushing one another, leaders helping their runners up the gradually steaper hill, only to stop at the top and then return to do it all over again.
After 8 times, I thought we should allow everyone to have a little more to work for so we had the tranquil group begin the hill a little further up the road, the middle group a little longer hill and then us at the back - the object being the the tranquil group stay in front of the middle group, and the middle group to stay in front of our group. We sweated, we strained, we tried to fight off the fatigue - but it came anyway.
I noticed with 3 hill repeats left in my group the fatigue was really slowing people down - so I wanted to push them a little more and so stood with the middle group instead a little up the road and told my group that they had to run and be in front of me before the top - if they did not beat me then we would add one more hill to their total. So they sweated some more, strained themselves so that the lactic acid started to build in their legs, but all of them ran past me and proved, as I feel so often that we can always give more than we think we can!
We ran an easy warm down back to Planet Fitness together again in a huge group and stretched, laughed, and did body weight core training together - until at last all glad runners went their separate ways to the warm bastu of Planet Fitness, the warm showers, or the travel home with aching muscles but the high the all of us runners get no matter what level we are in our respective running careers...