After a phone-call with my physio today I put in a special sole in my running shoes since we suspect that it’s Morton’s Neuroma. I went out in the sun and crisp winter landscape for an extremely easy test jogg and it fell out well. No pain in the left foot or toe. The right calve is a bit annoyed when I walk but that will disappear when I can start to run more and the left foot is back to normal. But first things first, baby steps, one small step at a time.
Speaking of small steps. Looking at my charts from the run I’m pleased to see that I haven’t decreased my “cadence” or SPM (steps per minutes) as I’m used to calling it in running. It has been a long journey for me and I will try to share the knowledge and experience I have from this here.
In the beginning when I started running more frequently and also got help from the world’s greatest physios I had a much lower SPM than today and I walked and ran with much “longer” and more stretched out step making the strain on my pelvis and knees very high. Actually my power-walking maybe even hurt my pelvis more than it benefited from it so for almost a year I had to wear a Sacriliac Belt, you know the kind that pregnant people use for sacroiliac joint problems. I also started learning how to walk with a proper posture and smaller steps and to run more bio-mechanically efficient to relieve the strain on my poor old hurting pelvis.
The pelvis is quite complex but simplified the two hip bones (2-4) are connected in the back by the sacrum (1) and in the front at the pubic symphysis (5). When you walk the two hip bones rotates so that when you move a leg forward the hip bone on that side rotates back a bit while the hip bone on the other side (the one with the leg back) rotates to the front. This rotation increases the bigger steps you take and decreases when you take shorter steps.
When you run your fly. Well it does not always feel that way but in a way you do. The difference between walking and running is note a certain pace but the fact that you, when you run, have one foot on the ground at a time and in between you fly a bit. In practice this means that at a certain stride length when you run compared to that stride length when you’re walking will be less strenuous on your pelvis because your legs don’t have to stretch from one foot to another, both feet on the ground, but instead you fly a bit. Thus, the pelvis rotation in such a comparison will not be as great in running as in walking.
So when running, “shortening” the stride and/or increasing the SPM will lessen the stress on the pelvis. It will also do a lot of other things. However, only shortening my step was not enough for me to be able to run free. There was a lot of work to be done with posture but that will be the subject of another blog.
So a week of not doing very much apart from a little bit of Ashtanga Yoga and swimming is over. I’ve rested the foot to the max and it maybe feels a bit better, I’m not sure.
Today was the second time in the gym in a very long time and I constructed a tailored program to fit my status and injury that consists of:
1) Activation of the transversus (apparently out of order a bit) 2) Upper body 3) Lower body
I’m planning on doing
Ashtanga 2-3 times per week
Strength 2-3 sessions per week the days I’m not doing Yoga and when I’m at home and not travelling supporting on competitions or alike.
Cardio 2-3 times per week
Each strength training session must start with #1 and then either #2 and #3 or both depending on what type of cardio I’ve been doing or have planned. The most difficult part will be to find cardio that does not affect my foot and first I have a week in Portugal supporting Benen på Ryggen at ALUT.
For most of my 49 years I have not been able to buy a pair of pants just like that. Too long legs or too wide in the waist unless. Of course I know how to sew but if you buy trousers for a lot of money it’s just annoying that you should be forced to spend several hours doing alterations to them. For outdoor trousers it’s sometimes not even possible with all functionalities and details at the end of the leg. I’ve bought Fjällrävens raw length before but they have no stretch and I need a huge size to be able to move freely and in the huge size the waist is way to big… yeah you get the drift.
So now I read about Norwegian Stormberg in a forum and thought I’d try them out since you have 100 days to return and only to a very small fee and all the stuff you need to return is included in the delivery.
Stormberg has two shell pant models with extra short legs – I bought both of them, the Finse (1299 on sale for 1169) and the Farvatn (1199 kr, on sale for 599 kr).
The Finse did not fit due to the reinforced rear and hence not so stretchy so I sent these back. I had a feeling that this would be the case when I ordered but I really wanted to try to be sure.
The model I will keep and start using is called Farvatn. It is a waterproof, fast-dry, lightweight, stretch, shell pant with a soft cozy insulation to keep you warm. For me, with cold urticaria, it’s a perfect pant as is above zero, even up to 15 degrees when I’m not moving fast.
The full length pic to the right I’ve borrowed from Stormberg, all other pics are my own. A full review with my own pictures of me in the pants will core in a while when I’ve used them. Until then, these are the specifications:
I bought an ax the other day. Then I bought a carving knife. I thought maybe I could do something useful out of wood. I thought long and well for two weeks, roaming the internet for videos on carving and bushcraft, and came to the conclusion that I want to do something that I can use and the only thing I could figure out we really needed was a spatula.
A spatula it is!
Although I did get the theoretical knowledge I did not take down the birch myself but instead I took a big chunk of a trunk that lie around waiting to become firewood. I split it in half, then split the halves in different sections to see if any of them wanted to become a spatula. I couldn’t really find a very good piece since the chunk was very dry and had numerous cracks and splits in the endings but one piece seemed better than the others so it had to be that one
Since carving with an ax is so new to me I took it slowly. I was determined to use the ax as far as possible and ready for the possibility of the wood splitting my project to pieces but none of this happened. I hadn’t bought a fancy ax. Nor had I bought a lightweight ax. I just bought a one that was good looking. Or maybe it was the only one that was sharp OTS. Apparently axes are sold blunt. Anyway I bought a fairly cheap “outdoor” ax from Hultafors.
I chopped with the ax until the tip was 3 mm then went over to using the Mora wood carving knife and the ax when needed.
After 3 hours of which 1 hour was contemplating and just looking out the window with a cup of coffee and my piece of wood I was finished with the bushcraft version which you see in the below picture.
Since I was eager to put it among the other kitchen tools I got some sanding paper and finished it off. That took about one hour. The photo below is before I oiled it with rape seed oil.
Some oil and voilà – my first hand carved… anything!
Next weekend “Benen på Ryggen” and I are travelling to Portugal for the Algarviana Ultra Trail mostly on the Via Algarviana. He will do the running and my mission is to support and cheer. During the week we’re there we will try to figure out if this route is a feasible project for me during 2019.
The race is held for the second year. They have a limit of 100 participants and in 2017 there were 55 participants registered. 34 of these did the whole distance of 300 km by them self, the rest in relay. 17 of the single finished in everything from 43h 6min to 70h 48 min.
So, I’ve had it for some time now the Ultimate Direction Women’s Adventure Vesta 4.0 and have a more balanced view of it now and below is a short review.
Despite my fractured toe I have been using the vest quite a lot although not during very much running but I’ve tested it both at home, during autumn, and in warmer very summery climate. The unisex UD vest I’ve had before (Scott Jurek Ultra 3.0) still feels better on the back despite what I claimed in my pre-review :D.
So here’s a short review (not including the not so good bladder in detail):
The boobs – where the heck am I supposed to have my boobs?? On the first try I had a sports bra, a sweater, fleece vest and a jacket making my front pretty flat and as long as I have a lot of clothes it is ok and if I don’t close the chest strap it’s ok but then it does not stay put.
If you fill the front pockets your arms brush against the pockets every step. Not comfy at all. Again they forgot that women have tits.
As suspected I had to tighten the fancy cinche system and in doing so the plastic endings folded inwards poking right into my ribs in the back (see pic). Not comfortable at all and really remarkable that no one have thought about or discovered this during the development – I thought they had a lot of people thinking, testing and developing these things but now I suspect it has gone a bit to fast from idea to realization.
One day it was super hot and I tried running with only my sports bra which isn’t a problem at all with my old UD but the fabric is too harsh and stiff and (again!) the cinch thingies are even worse because you can feel and the above-mentioned and the other hard plastic against the skin (see pic).
Front straps are easy to adjust stepless vertically.
The rod along which the front strap mechanisms does not form itself to your body contour but flexes back instead. Makes it highly durable but uncomfortable on my boobs.
3 zipper pockets and one open around waist – the front zipper and open pocket are easy to reach but the two others are bit more tricky, so difficult I’ve ended up not using them during running at all.
1 big taco zipper in front – it fits my huge Galaxy Note 8 but if you do not pack it fully stuff bounces around in it. Also, if you pack like a Note 8 it will be in the way of your arm every time you swing your arm – not much, but it will touch.
2 zipper pockets on back – I still haven’t figured out how to pack optimally but they are ok. One has a key clasp in it which is very good. If you use the tightening straps these will be in the way for the zippers which is a bit fiddly.
1 string lock front pocket – the closing mechanism on this one has broken. It took only 6 runs. Before that it was really good and one of the features of my old SJ I really love.
1 separate section (with zipper) for hydration bladder – the section is not tight enough so the bladder folds when empty eve if I hang it as supposed. Also this compartment is difficult to open when you use the tightening strings.
1 main storage compartment with a zipper that allows you to enter the compartment both from the top and from the side. This is where I keep my extra clothes in an Exped Fold Drybag size S.
Outside the back zipper pockets and the main compartment is a pocket that I have used for either quick stow away of a rain jacket or my electronics which I store in an Exped Fold Drybag size XS.
You can tighten the whole back sack with rubber strings on hooks when you do not pack fully. This looks weird and assymetrical but you can tighten and loosen as much as you want depending on how much you pack. A no bump guarantee.
Since I do not use poles I have not tested that functionality
Prepared for bladder & hose with canals and separat bladder compartment
The 1.5 liter bladder from Ultimate Direction sucks!!!!!! It does not resemble the 2.0 liter my husband got so this is either specific for the 1.5 or just a stupid “upgrade”. It’s hard to close since it’s all soft plastic and not hard as before. I can just imagine myself after 20 miles – no thank you.
Also the vaults both near the bladder and the mouth have been malfunctioning several times. Once when I pulled to open the vault before putting it to my mouth the whole thing came loose and I sprayed water all over me and the floor of the bus.
I sold the “body bottle” for the right front pocket so no review of that.
+ Fits a huge amount of stuff
+ Ability to enter mail compartment from top and side
+ Great string closing on front pocket (although it broke)
+ Can be tightened if you do not pack a lot
+ Adjustable fitting (is this really a pro? See con:s)
+ OK on the back but not great
– Not as comfortable when running in tank or T-shirt on as the SJ Ultra vest
– Cinche mechanisms cuts into back
– No room for boobies – my new trail name will be Uni-Boob?
– Taco pocket – stuff bumping around if not full
– Only two colors whereof one looks horrible. I chose the blueish.
– Bladder, hose and their mechanisms are just bad
– Not able to open zipper to bladder without unhinging the tightening when using it in smallest mode
My left foot is somewhat troublesome since a couple of months and I most likely have gotten a stress fracture at the end of the second metatarsal bone. This might be from bumping into the front of my shoe together with the fact that the front arch of the foot is too low, I’m not sure but that’s the best theory me and my physio has come up with.
The aching toe has, as a consequence, resulted in a stiff right calve and me becoming even more crooked than before and I need some time off. It could also be the other way around, that my crookedness and therefore excessive clomping and not rolling my step across the bed of the foot, have caused the whole thing. It could also be a horrible combination of any of these
Apart from a pedicure, the remedy is the same: rest, recovery and rehab. I’ve been doing easy jogging and hiking up until a couple of weeks ago but it seems as if I need a couple of weeks off. I’ve tried swimming and wet vest running but the sports tape looses its stiffness and do not give ample support.
So, for a few days now I will do only yoga that does not stress the foot too much and maybe some easy upper body rubber band and also some core exercises. After this I will step it up as fits and in collaboration with my physio.
What I’ve learned is the following
Rest more – Or maybe just rest, period.
After such a big effort as 100 miles in eight days I need to rest at least two weeks. I did not really give myself any rest at all. I worked a new job AND ran as usual (to survive at the new job and other stuff). I did not pay attention to the signs such as fatigue and other stuff such as minor colds hovering.
Set new goals – avoid post race depression
Having completed an A-race or a big challenge, no matter what you call it you need to use the energy to set new goals not to fall in the post race depression ditch. It would be the easiest thing just to pick a race and set up a plan but I cannot do it that way. I have such problems knowing what the state of my body will be in so I have to have other types of goals. It needs more thinking, hence I tend to procrastinate.
Stop comparing – turn off social media
I definitely identify myself as a runner but not running or being able to move outdoors, not only due to the fracture but also due to my cold urticaria, leaves me sad especially bright and sunny days like today. My Garmin says MOVE! social media is full of people’s most successful shots and with nearly 700 “friends” whereof maybe 80% are runners you bet there’s always someone completing a race that is so extreme I can hardly drive the distance by car without taking a break or even a nap and here I am, not being able to complete a race that “real” runners do in one day in eight fucking days without getting injured???
But heeeey STOP!
Wait a minute and THINK about it! You did make it. Now you just have to ACT on this and REFLECT on what went wrong and you will become a the STAR that you are.
With my body, barely screwed together, it’s a challenge just to stay upright. Add menopaus almost ten years ago to my somewhat herniated disks, arthritis, gout (!) cold urticaria and whatnot. Few would have the knowledge, persistence and stamina to follow this “project” through. Just the fact that I’m not being able to set those usual goals that people are so familiar with, like running a certain race, because you never know if the body will make it is a horrible challenge – I’m surrounded with friends that want me to tag along and most often I end up being support – driving a car, meeting up here and there. Sometimes it’s fun but it also hurts in my runner’s heart seeing these beautiful surroundings and not being able to participate. Not wanting to participate.
Yes, I developed quite an aversion to my own participation in races. I don’t enjoy the challenge of having to pay for something I’m not sure if I want to run a year in advance. I don’t fancy the hard work of fiddling my fitness to peak at certain periods. Staying strong and fit is such an accomplishment anyway with this body.
So yes that’s where I am now, looking out on a bright and blue sky pondering if I’ve ever get well and what the mening of life is if not being outdoors.
So it arrived the other day my brand new Ultimate Direction Women’s Adventure Vesta 4.0 and it feels great!
Unfortunately I have a fractured toe and haven’t really been able to test it running but I’ve gone walking two or three times and it’s really an upgrade for me regarding comfort. I got my first Ultimate Direction vest approximately a year ago when we were in Algarve and desperately needed two vests because we found this race that we wanted to run (Trilhos de Odeleite). It’s painful to admit but that was the case – we took a cheap last-minute trip and packed only one vest because we were not aware of the fact that no matter where or when you go to Portugal there is always a race.
I then bought a unisex model in the smallest size, model Scott Jurek Ultra 2.0 and at that time it felt like a bit of heaven had landed – it fit like a glove compared to the Salomon vest I had had for the last years. Now, having had a women’s specific model on my back I know I don’t want any unisex models ever again :).
At a first glance these is my thoughts:
It fits like a glove! I just pulled up the lower sternum strap a bit and wham!
I can imagine that I will tighten it with the fancy cinche system later on when I use it with less clothes on but for now (with a lot of clothes on) it’s perfect.
The sizing charts are confusing but I finally went with the smallest after having tried out that size at a friend’s although her’s vest was the Ultra Women’s.
3 zipper pockets around waist – 1 easy to reach and 2 bit more tricky. The SJ Ultra has one (1) in the back that is almost impossible to reach.
2 zipper pockets on back
1 big taco zipper in front – it fits my huge Galaxy Note 8 (!!!), as does the SJ Ultra but that one has no zipper and is not as water proof as this one maybe is.
1 separate section (with zipper) for hydration bladder
It comes with a “body bottle” for the right front pocket but after a year with the SJ Ultra I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer having food and other stuff in the front pockets.
I bought a 1.5 liter bladder from Ultimate Direction just to try it out. I have a Salomon 2.0 liter bladder that is a bit too big for the SJ Ultra so if I decide to keep the SJ Ultra I can use it in that one too. Most races has a requirement for 1.5 or 2.0 liters.
– Temp: 25-27°C
– Distance: 29.1 km (1.3+27.8)
– Time: 5h 40 min
– SL4 Stage: 2 & 1 (tiny part of 3)
– Difficulty: Demanding (stage 2) to very easy (stage 1)
– Markings: OK
Waking up day 8 was out of this world. Already yesterday I felt the taste of success. Now, I felt it even more. The gut feeling was I was there already – I had reached the finish, it was just a matter of… nearly 30 km. The fact that 30 km is a normal weekly dose of running for me did not occur at all. It seemed like, pardon the expression, a piss in the ocean.
The breakfast at Backåkra vandrarhem was a bit chaotic at peak due to the fact that the buffet was in a tiny corner with no room to walk by and access only from one side so the line was 10 minutes long and people a bit irritated. Even to get a cup of coffee you had to stand in line to get in to the house with the buffet. The breakfast itself was nothing out of the ordinary and a bit of a disappointment since they had promised a spectacular one on the website.
I prepared myself for liftoff and just to be on the safe side this last day I taped the longest of my left pinky and long toe – I hadn’t had any trouble with it but when I look at it it looked like the big toe nail is chafing against the next one even though I have used my splendid Injinji woolen toe socks that normally prevents this – I guess 15-25 km a day for 7 days is out of the ordinary then :).
Up and away! I left all the stuff my darling had left here, except for the stuff I ate – the bag with the bed linnen and towel I put behind the reception desk as agreed, and we went to get it the next day on our way home. 1.3 asphalt before the final stage of my GAX challenge starts. This first bit for me is actually the end of stage 3 of Skåneleden SL4.
SL4 Stage 2
Stage 2 is 18 km and marked as a challenging stage and I think that’s a fair thing to say with all its hilly dunes and sand but since it’s a 4 grade scale were “challenging” is the worst it does not fit into an international scale – it’s nothing compared to hikes I’ve done in Portugal or the Canary Islands. But, for us with a bit of vertigo there is actually one place that you need to be aware of on this stage but more about this under Ales Stenar below.
I run 1 km of stage 3 before I get to the end of stage 2. Since I’m doing the whole thing in reverse it’s my beginning. At these crossings near car parkings and stuff there are people but apart from the touristy junctions, in eight days, I have not met one person walking or hiking the SL4 – very strange.
Now, I’m not far from Löderups strandbads camping and according to Skåneledens website the stage goes down to the seaside and back again but my GAX-track says to continue in the woods for a while.
Some gravel, some sandy heaths and I’m closing in on the seaside. Just before Löderup strandbad (2 km east of the camping) at 2.5 km I was just in the mood, everything seemed like a dream come true and I just kept on jogging, taking photos sometimes and suddenly there was the ocean again! I just remembered I was to go towards the seashore pretty soon so when the asphalt sloped down I did too just filled with happiness… down by the sea I realized that I had went too far and went back up again and into an road to the right. I thought a while of taking a shortcut but I wasn’t keen on that – you never know were you end up. If you look at the picture above real close you can see the turn-right-sign I missed :D.
After another kilometer of asphalt at 4 km I came onto cobbles, 2 kilometers of cobbles. It was hard to walk on but easier to jogg so I tried even though I was tired.
Near the town of Kåseberga there was a long ladder up to the road and then asphalt for less than a kilometer through the busy touristy harbour area crammed with small restaurants, food trucks and so many tourists I entered panik mode and missed the right hand turn, but I took the next one right and was soon on my way up the gravel road leading up to yet another tourist magnet – Ales stenar.
Ales stenar is a very old megalthic magnificent stone ship full of tourists and with a grandiose view. It took me a few minutes to get a picture of the stones without crowds of people and the only way to escape the crowds and continue on the SL4 is via a 2 meter tall rickety ladder leading to the paragliding area. I’m really no good with ladders like this but I managed.
The view here and onward was even more spectacular so it was it was a bit odd that no people except para-gliders were here but I did not mind. It made my experience kind of more down to earth. Apart from the few kilometers of cobbles this is the part that makes the stage a bit difficult. Up and down, up and down along the scree. Nothing technical except for the ladders but a lot of up and down.
The scree is mostly far from the path so there’s nothing that bothers me but at one point a fenced pasture goes all the way to the edge and I have to walk so close to the edge I feel a bit nauseous because it’s a bit windy and a gust every now and then makes me even more scared – the people down by the water are soooo tiny. The map tells us it’s only 30 meters down there but a fall at such a steep place with nothing to catch the fall would definitely hurt and possibly kill me. As you may have guessed I managed to get passed the point and survived.
At about 11 km the path turns right in between to pastures because of Kabusa firing range, a military practice area. Half a kilometer north you get onto an asphalt road with cars that don’t really care but luckily the path continues on a bike path. Lucky is a matter of opinion maybe but to begin with it felt rather nice not having to think about were you put your feet, after 4 km it felt like it was quite enough but the military area sign saying “breakpoint” (or inflection point?) really made me laugh and after a few text with a friend that did the GAX I was back on track mentally. Physically there was nothing wrong at all, just a bit tired.
At 17.5 km the SL4 turned into the left and continued close to the sea for another 3km. At Nybrostrandsbadet, a public swimming pool, I bought one bottle of enriched water and two icecreams from the outside. I stood in the shade and ate the icecreams, then continued to a bench by the beach and had a rest.
At Nybostrand camping stage 1 ends, or begins for me. I went into the kiosk but found nothing I wanted but gave them my empty bottle. I was lost for a second and had to take my map on the phone up to navigate and on the right path again I passed the recycling bin the girl in the kiosk tried to give me directions to. Well, well.
Out on the road for a tiny bit and then into the woods at 21 km. Further on for 5 km along the seashore, to begin with in the woods but so close to the sea you see it all the time. After a couple of kilometers the path gets even closer to the sea and it gets a bit harder to run since it’s a bit mushy and sandy at times but soon turnes into a well prepared path, I run into joggers and a runner (at a pace that I never have been able to run) that cheered me on in a way that made me think he saw I was not on a 5K stroll.
Somewhere here I meet my first couple of hikers. After 8 days finally! We talk a bit, they tell me they only just started stage 1 and we say good bye. Further on a bit somewhere after Saltsjöbad Spa & Hotel the path becomes asphalt and there are crowds of people. I’m in the zone and trying to crisscross between bicycles, strollers, baby carriages and whatnot.
I’ve been texting my husband regularly during the day and talked a bit trying to coordinate a meeting. He’s been working at home and has been driving for a very long time just to be able to see me finish. At 26 km I turn right, north to get into the city of Ystad via the ferry port. And there he is my darling – he made it!!!! Running beside me cheering me along the last 1.5 km is the person I love the most in the whole world. A person that loves crazy stuff, crazy me, crazy in love.
The square where I finish is almost empty apart from some senior citizens and some drinking buddies – none of them even remotely interested in my finish but my lovely husband brings me champagne and takes a photo. He ask if I want something – I really don’t remember but I think I had a smoothie. I laid down on a stone wall since our friends occupied all benches and I felt a bit empty but very happy. But, eager to get a shower and to lie down.
Lucky enough, or due to my darling’s excellent planning, we had a fabulous room at Stationens B&B, there was a shower only 5 meters from our room that also had a laundry machine, yääääyyyyy! the room was tiny but so nice. Everything seemed newly renovated and even though the room was on the top floor and it was steaming hot outside, the extra cooling fan they had equipped the room with did its’ job.
Fooood! I want food! Some googling and a phone call and we had ordered hamburgers and sweet potato fries from a nearby hotel. My darling went there even though the city was crowded and he probably was more tired than me. We ate and just enjoyed each others company.
– Temp: 23-28°C
– Distance: 28.3 km (12.1+16.2+2.0)
– Time: 5h 51 min
– SL4 Stage: 4 & 3 (parts/almost whole)
– Difficulty: Easy
– Markings: OK
Part 1: Simrishamn – Skillinge (12.1 km)
The mist is heavy over Simrishamn. I got a couple of hours of sleep but my horrible room leaves me no excuse to lie in bed for any longer than necessary. The bed, by the way, was way too soft and bumpy for my taste and to far from the window near the ceiling so, in the middle of the night, I took the top mattress and moved it to the floor beneath the window. I really would have been better of in the woods.
Breakfast was not that inspiring but the kind personell was aware of my needs and when I asked for oats they were happy to prepare it. At first I got a third of my normal portion but after having explained for the kitchen staff what was in front of me I got a real bowl of oats that I could hardly finish – yäjjjj!
The mist was heavy on Simrishamn when I got out. Beautiful but a bit colder than I had become used to. Fortunately the forecast promised heat later on and I could feel that that would be the case no doubt.
The start from Simrishamn after the city was asphalt and through a boring industrial estate. After a couple of km the SL4 turned into a pasture very close to the sea and continued along the shore mostly on small paths with grass, sand and blackberry bushes. In fact the whole day offered plenty of blackberries. After 5 km, passing through Brantevik, the lovely paths turns into gravel and then asphalt and continues on asphalt all the way to Skillinge a good 6 km.
Running on a bike path can be really boring, especially sleep depraved so I surrendered to walking and having done 12 km with barely no sleep I felt the need for a really good rest so I stopped my watch and bought a a cheap towel and a can of fish quenells. I was to tired to tell off the really snotty teenager cashier at the local supermarket, who snapped his fingers impatiently in the direction of the stuff I asked for instead of just telling me with words- really? I guess the Skåne youth has not invented sentences yet. I hurried out with only the most basic stuff and lied down, ate my lunch and shut my eyes for half an hour or so trusting that the rest of the day had better to offer. At least the mist had gone and the temperature had gone up to a pleasant 27 degrees.
Part 2: Skillinge – Löderup (16.2 km)
Getting out of Skillinge I had to run some more asphalt but soon the path hit the wonderful beach. It was lovely to be by the sea but there had been quite a lot of sand both here and there so far and it could be quite heavy at times when it was all loose and no grass or water or nothing that kept it firm. And now I had 8 km of beachy sand and sunbathing tourists in front of me. I really wanted nothing but sleep. Or at least an ice-cream.
My legs were awfully tired. I could not run at all in the sand but I was too tired from not having slept anyways. I texted my friend F (who did GAX the other day) a picture of the sand and got his deepest sympathy. Our honest and funny conversation thereafter made me feel much better.
After 2 km of heavy sand, 6 km of the second part of today’s stage I reached Spraggehusen and the long awaited ice-cream! I got to rest in a chair as well – probably too tired to even think because I find no pictures at all…
6 more kilometers of sand to go before I reach Sandhammaren and get to a path. My mind is drifting here and there. I focus inwards on the steps – one step after the other. All these people in bathing suites relaxing eating burgers (where did they get them from???) and just lying there. I’m glad I have a mission.
“Mooooom, I’m tired, you need to carry me – I can’t walk the sand, mooooooom!” Apparently it’s a long way from the car park to the beach. Like 500 meters or so – my mind ponders the mystery of goals and mindset. I too can feel that 500 meters can be insurmountable. I too want someone to carry me at this point. My mind is set. My mom’s not here.
Sandhammaren! Finally. I see the signs saying there’s water and toilets but all I see are endless lines of people waiting for their turn. I just surrender on a bench. My ancles are so tired but it’s just tired, nothing else.
I finally got up and saw a shop with no line and realized the lines were only for ice-cream and I wanted a drink so I bought one and was soon off again. Only 5.3 km left to the youth hostel.
Only 5 km but now the ground underneath my feet is firm. I try to run and lo and behold it works! At least for a short while. I continue walking and running, walking and running, walking and running. During this whole journey I have met very few people along the route. Actually I haven’t met anyone the last 7 days that seem to be hiking the SL4, which is odd because it is really fantastic that we have these wonderful paths.
At Sandhammaren the path turned west away from the water and into the woods. Still firm but still a lot of sand. I am so so so tired but still I try to run a little every now and then. Today has probably been the toughest and longest challenge and at this point my focus is not right – I’m just longing for shower and to lie down.
After a long long, very long while I get out of the woods and my journey on the SL4 ends. Only 1.3 km to the youth hostel! I stop and restart my watch and continue on the asphalt, passing a scout’s camp. Running, walking. Weather still nice and warm. I’m so longing to lie down. Did I forget to mention that?
When I turn out on a bigger road the cars go really fast and do not keep distance at all. I pass Dag Hammarskjöld’s Backåkra, and finally I get to Backåkra Youth Hostel. The first room I got was a copy of the one I had in Simrishamn and although my hostess promised it was in the coolest part of the house I did not care – that tiny tiny window in the ceiling was not enough. I explained that I can do with the hottest room in the whole house as long as I get a window at normal hig. So I got a room twice the size, with a basin and four windows – ok hot but with all windows open it felt almost like sleeping out.
I unpacked my my bag with bed linen and stuff and took the food my husband had bought and prepared. The hostel had a washing machine and a tumbler that you could pay a small fee to use so I did my laundry. I was going to begin my last stage tomorrow clean. Lovely!