In Sweden we have something that’s called Allemansrätten and the best translation I found to this is “the right of public access”. It means that the public is allowed to visit forest and land as long as you care for it and doesn’t destroy, litter or otherwise leave the area in any other way then you found it (more info here, the link opens a PDF from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency). It’s quite a big deal here and it’s something most Swedes make use of in their life whether it be something daily like running or walking, or something seasonal like picking berries or camping. For me personally this means I get to go on runs with some quite scenic sights as we have the forest right around the corner (well, almost). We had a brilliant clear blue sky and +22C (+71,6F) today so not going for a run or at least a walk would be criminal.
But this is something very special for me, going to the forest. When I run in the suburban areas surrounding our apartment I always have my headphones firmly tucked into my ears, but when I run in the forest I leave the headphones in the car. I love to run in the forest, it gives me a feeling of calm and clarity. It’s like I can finally think clear thoughts, process all the shit going on around me and breathe without feeling like I’m drowning. It’s like I can leave my fears and doubts in the car when I turn to enter the trail. It was on one of these runs last year that I started to think about going serious with the whole gaming as a professional thing. The idea hit me in the shower after one of the runs to be honest, but I also started to approach the subject when I was alone with my thoughts, far away from the city pulse. Both my mind and body get boosted by these runs and I always feel calmer after a run in the forest. I feel calmer after a run in the city as well, but it’s amplified in the forest.
My psychologist like to draw the analogy of me getting a hug from the forest when I’m out there, sweating and panting my way around the trail. I don’t know if I would use those words exactly, but he’s not wrong. It’s hard to describe.. But I’m very happy I took the challenge of c25k last year and also that I dared to head up to the exercise central and do my first run on one of the trails. I managed to go from never have done any running ever in my whole life to running 7 km (4.1 mile) without breaks last season, I’m hoping I can double that this season.