Today I “finished” my running season with the Hässelbyloppet, considered to be one of Stockholm’s fastest 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) races. And a great close to the season it was, with a finish of 48:18 – my fastest ever!
We arrived in Hässelby, out west at the end of the green metro line, with half an hour to the start. I hadn’t been feeling great, and combined with the cold, wet weather, was not expecting much from myself.
Waited in the ever-long line to the port-o-potties (one of my favorite words – bajamaja – in Swedish)> handed in bag> dashed to the start line with a few minutes to spare.
In the tävlingsklass, or”competing start group,” I was surrounded by serious, albeit anxious, runners, clad in the latest dry-fit, breathable, vapor-shield-max, custom gear … or something like that. And I in my 10-year-old North Face fleece with tiny holes from the sparks of a campfire; hand-me-down cotton stretch pants; and shoes covered in mud from my most recent races (both of which, as luck would have it, were during or just after rainstorms). Hmmm what am I doing here?
Today’s Hässelbyloppet – it’s 25th year! – wove mainly along leaf-mâchéd asphalt paths through neighborhoods and past the gorgeous Hässelby castle which we passed on the course’s only long uphill, a gradual ascent in kilometer 7 in which I was feeling surprisingly great. Floating along, I passed several people at a good pace – but reality kicked in again by the next kilometer.
Despite it all, my fighting finish put me a minute ahead of my fastest 10-kilometer time, and deserving of 2 cinnamon buns, according to myself. I also skipped the line for these. Accidentally, of course. And just checked – finished 173/1,923! Until next year…