We have been running on snow. Literally and figuratively. I often make analogies of life and sport and this one dawned on me after I had been looking at some of the pictures from a run we did a couple of weeks ago. It was a wonderfully sunny day, maybe the first of spring, and we decided to go and run on Parnitha for the day. First we climbed the nearly vertical mountain, step by step, lungs screaming and legs burning.
Then we reached the more level part of the mountain and were surprised to see there was still snow there (rookies!). I was wearing my favourite running shoes, my inov8 195's, a great pair of shoes, but made for road and certainly not for compacted and iced-over snow. We started running, at first avoiding the snow, then the further up we went there were fewer and fewer parts not covered.
Soon the whole trail was covered and the choice was simple - keep to the footsteps in front of you, but fear slipping on the compacted snow, or go onto virgin snow and risk occasionally sinking up to your thigh.
Life has been a bit like that too. We have been running up the mountain on snow. 2011 was a tough, tough year in every sense of the word. It left us winded and tired, deflated and unsure of where to go from there. But life is relentless and you can only go forward. After the steep uphill that was last year, we have now hit the plateau.
2012 has started well and is certainly easier than last year. It is however, covered in snow. We are taking tentative steps, unsure of what we'll find. Greece is in crisis. Not a theoretical one, but the kind of crisis that has left people on the streets, that has children fainting in class from not having eaten for days, that sees friends losing their jobs, relatives unpaid for months, pensions disappearing, cold houses in a long, long winter.
We have been moving forward, yet looking down. Wary of the holes and the icy parts. Having to make choices of whether we stay on the path or diverge from it. Careful of hidden traps and moving towards something we don't know much about.
But, like running in snow last weekend, we have actually been in a position to enjoy it a bit more. It can be tough, but we've had two really difficult years and we know that we can do this. We've been through worse and have come through. We have each other for balance and we can pick each other up. And like that, we are getting into our stride, both figuratively and literally and enjoying the route.
Not bad, for the first day of spring!