micke-midlife on January 3rd, 2009

03012009077_helsinki_vahankaupunginlahti.gif click to enlarge

there are all kinds of different species out there on the nature trails within city limits. there’s the nordic walker with her/his sticks blocking half the trail, the baby walker normally seen with a stroller and dark rings around the sleep deprived eyes. further there’s the dog walker, who is seen out there in any weather (poor dog), the sunday walker, who’s the one that might even greet you back. and of course the biker, to whom the runner is just an annoying moving obstacle (until he looses out on a steep enough uphill section and is the obstacle to the runner).

Due to the cold weather lately the natural habitat for a new species spreads in the helsinki area. suddenly the trail shows a thick white capret with striations and funny patterns on the surface. not quite as fun are the creatures moving upon this carpet. on long narrow boards and sticks they slide along, mostly in a crooked body position and panting like a train engine, demanding even more space than the nordic walkers. you can read in the faces of the most representatives of this species that “this is not fun but dead serious”.

normally there’s rarely interaction of any kind, let alone communication among the species (except of the occasional friendly greeting with the sunday walkers, those are nice chaps) on the trails. and especially barking you’d expect from one of the dogs. but always be ready for some surprises as it occured this morning.

i was enjoying a 8 x 2 minutes up-hill running session in the herttoniemi forestry slope patch. on the upper half a cross country ski run was laid out in the last days. 3 meters wide, with the ski run for the classic style on the right, the wide middle area for the v-style and a not even by freestyle skier touched strip on the right. after the second up-hill effort on the way down one of those panting and barking creatures (remember: not a dog) tossed a “who do you think this ski run is made for?” at me. wow, i was slightly taken aback from so much communication on a nature trail, before smilingly replying “hello, who do you think you are?”. the crooked creature went on bitching about the other species, such as exactly runners like me and walkers, who all destroy the ski runs. yeah right, at -8 degrees celsius it’s more their own sticks than the runner’s feet that leave marks in the snow.

skiers seem to be a rather aggressive species with a serious activity. fortunatly running appears to be a happier undertaking, the oxygen reaches the brain as well.

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