The last time I went running in Norway it was winter and I was unknowingly six weeks pregnant. It was a challenging jaunt through the wooded area behind Hubby’s childhood home, but it was exhilarating.
This winter, I went jogging in Norway again and this time I had my gorgeous sister-in-law with me. She’s recently been bitten by the running bug and is training for her first half-marathon in September. Before arriving in Norway, we emailed each other that we should go on a run together, but once we were under the same roof, the late night wine-slogged conversations kept those early morning runs from materializing.
Finally, we agreed one afternoon we’d head out. Like all running buddies, we had to outline each other’s expectations.
“I’m slow.” I said quickly. I always like to get that one out of the way. (Team Tortoise and proud!)
“So am I, I just focus on finishing.” She responded, adding that she’d never before ran with someone and wondered if it was OK that she’d be listening to her iPod.
I laughed explaining that I usually don’t run with people because I get engrossed in the music too, so she was of no obligation to talk to me, or even run near me.
As one might expect from Norway in the winter, the pathways were icy but I strapped my mother-in-law’s metal spikes to the bottom of my shoes . My sister-in-law opted not to use any, saying she thought they’d just annoy her.
But she has what I call “Norwegian legs.” Those Norwegians can walk on ice like penguins, but without the waddle. The first time I went to Norway, Hubby and I were in downtown Oslo and I was doing my best Bambi-on-ice impression. I couldn’t stand up, my legs whirred beneath me and I held on for dear life to Hubby who navigated the ice-glazed cobblestones with ease. Yet again, it was obvious I wasn’t from around here.
My sister-in-law and I finally were all geared up, I even made sure to bring my new inhaler after remembering lessons learned from the climb up Sears Tower. We took a pic to memorialize the run and headed out. She bounded down the snow-slicked path and I reluctantly followed. I was perplexed as to how she could just run without worry of busting her tail.
But if she could do it without spikes, I surely could do it with them. I followed her. We ran through their neighborhood, the paths were twisty, had a handful of hills and even a tunnel or two. We ran alongside a main thoroughfare, then on the backside of some type of plant and through the neighborhood of Hubby’s best friend. It was peaceful.
My SIL kept getting farther and father ahead, as her definition of “slow” and mine are clearly two totally different things, but it didn’t matter. She’d pause and wait for me to catch up, greet me with her 100-million-watt smile and then take off again. I was happy to see that she too was having a good time.
It was such a freeing run because not many people were out. For those who know me well, you know that means I was free to belt out my tunes. And I did. I didn’t have to worry about spewing Eminem’s curses in my quaint little suburb, offending the Hunter-boots wearing, BOB-pushing mamas. I was in the hills of Norway, giving them my own little sound of music. (Maria would have disapproved of the content, but been proud of my spirit.)
I got so into my run, somewhere along the way my spikes came off one shoe and I didn’t notice. (Nor slip!) Later, my SIL and I went back to look for it, to no avail.
So we headed home. She kicked it into sixth gear the last leg of her run and I broke into a smile. I felt strangely proud. There’s something inspiring about watching someone really get into distance running. It’s like they’re starting to open a gift, unaware of the greatness inside.
I’m excited that she’s starting to fall in love with running and hopefully the next time we’re together we can go on a run again. Of course, as long as the late night wine-induced gabfests don’t get in the way.