Stockholm Absolut Run #605 -- January 8, 2011
aka Malibog's Anul Hangover Run
It was a brave, but scarce crowd that gathered outside Pensionat Norrviken this chilly Saturday, the first Absolut Run of the year 2011. The hare Malibog was there of course, as was his trusted Red Horse. And so was Laid Bird and her Drag Queen, Drunken Master Beater, and of course the Mites -- more regular than atomic clockwork. All were there when your's truly stepped off the train some 20 minutes early -- purely by accident, I assure you -- together with Moby Dick.
The traditional chalk talk was given by the hare -- or not so traditional, perhaps, since no chalk or flour was involved. Instead, the trail had been laid with ye olde TP (Toilet Paper), strips of GGoH (Green Grass of Home), and piles of sawdust cleverly disguised as... well, sawdust. Checks had been printed on A4-sized signs which had been hung with cute little ribbons along the way, a delicate feature that at least some of us managed to completely miss while out on the run. But they were very cute!
And then we waited... and waited... and waited... for the Teasers to show up as well. Apparently, their train had been cancelled and the next one had been delayed, but once they finally got there, the eager and somewhat chilled pack was off within seconds! Literally. Early in the lead was Laid Bird and Drag Queen as usual, the latter being even more snow crazed than normal (if at all possible). They were eagerly followed by the other "Queen" of the group (your's truly again) as well as Marmite and the Teasers.
The trail began backwards, or at least so claimed Laid Bird who apparently recognized it from a previous event. The start was easy running on soft, snow covered quiet suburban roads, which were a pleasure to run on. In fact, they were so soft and quiet that it took LB, DQ, and BQ quite a while to realize that they had been followed by a very polite van for the past several hundred meter of running. The snow had absorbed the sound of both engine and wheels and the driver had patiently waited for us to take notice and give way... poor thing!
Then came a sharp turn to the left and we were suddenly off the grid in deep doo-doo. Or at least snow. Running was now a lot heavier and slower, at least for some of us, but the trail was easy to follow and the change of pace and scenery welcome. Then back on the white roads again until we found the first check on Pommernvägen right under the E4. The hare had cleverly continued the trail a few yards back across the road on a barely visible path by the trees, but he was no match for DQ's sense of smell and LB's acute memory of yesteryear's trails.
On-on again, up and down the (white) shiggy! Then a gate and a road and a lake... But where's the trail? Having arrived first for a change, your's truly scratched his follicle impaired head while looking up and down the road. Then arrived the rest of the pack shouting "Check!" Aha, one of those fancy printed checks had been hanging on the gate, something that Mr Acting FRB had completely missed. But no worries, LB & DQ were already half way down the road shouting "on one"... "on two"... "on-on!" before you knew it.
So on we went... all the way to the end of the little road onto a promising forest trail until we realized that we'd been fooled by the hare: False! So we headed back again and tried the other direction, but... False again! What gives? Confused and befuddled, we stood there for a while looking for alternate paths until LB simply darted out into a deep, snow filled field following some half-visible footprints, and... found the trail again! On-on, we plodded through the thick snow, one step at a time... That is everyone except LB & DQ who just hopped, skipped, and jumped through it all without even noticing the impossibility of their swift gait!
The trail continued on mix of little paths and streets for a while until we reached scenic Lake Ravalen again. LB and your's truly were running and chatting and it took us a while before we realized that we hadn't seen any trail marks for a while. Oops! But there was nothing else to do but to backtrack until we found our beloved GGoH again. Which was probably a good thing, because it allowed the pack to get back together again too. But were did the trail go? Was there a check here? We couldn't see any sign of one, until... Aha, there it is! It had blown down and was now in a snow drift on the side path. Right then, a whisper of "on-on" came from a distance too. It was LB and Marmite who had found the trail going through the nearby forest. But shhh! A lot of bird watchers were in attendance and we didn't want to disturb their fluffy little friends.
Then onto a big field where we could follow nice paths laid by the local skiers. Very handy, thank you! Onwards into another forest, this one more dark and forbidding than the last one. Hmm, maybe I should have brought my flashlight? The run had begun a bit late and you could really notice how the daylight was fading by now... But we made it through that one too and arrived back to the welcome sights of civilization in the form of Hedemoravägen. Then under the E4 again where the clever hare (?!) had laid out a very unique knäckebröd-check -- a circle of crushed knäckebröd on top of a pedestal. Well, he denied it was his work, but he got a down-down for it afterwards anyway!
By now, the pack was beginning to develop a certain well-known thirst. A drink stop certainly wouldn't feel bad... Let's see, might it be here? Nope, that was a church. But here then? Nope, that was a parish hall. But here?! Nope, a daycare center. Where is it? On-on-on, until... Finally, the hare materializes like a modern Jesus on the hill! But unlike the kind original, this evil version forced us to do a loop around the nearby marathon monument until he and Red Horse finally allowed our spirits to be restored with some hot gin spiked ginger tea and Dajm-flavored hot chocolate! Yum, such delicious drinks! I think seconds and thirds was had by most...
It was a remarkably well reenergized pack that emerged from the drink stop and ran the last straight stretch back to the On-Inn in the day's trailing twilight. Circle followed by a nearby loading dock, held short on Marmite's request (or perhaps demand). Everyone got punished for something or another, but exactly what, I can no longer remember. Then back to the On-Inn for some tasty pasta & pizzas (+ kebab plate) together with some thirst quenching beer. (Mmm, beer!) And a good time was had by all.
On the record was,