Saturday, 14 January 2012

A Cold and Frosty Morning

Much colder and frostier than this!

So this is what winter feels like? Definitely the coldest day of the winter so far, probably ‘since records began’, as they always seem to say! Well, not quite, but it was -6C when I stepped outside this morning, but I was well-prepared. Neck to toe in thermals, including my insulated leggings which rarely see the light of day, and make me look like an extra from Star Trek (more specifically, the ‘Enterprise/Scott Bakula’ incarnation). The good thing is that all this keeps me toasty warm, although the weather seems determined to freeze me from the inside out as I suck in the sub-zero air and it, in turn, sucks the internal warmth from my mouth and lungs!

This breathing business is what makes this morning’s run difficult. My legs are still a bit tired from my exertions of the other day, but I reason to myself that they have felt far worse in the past when I have had much further to run, so I can deal with this for now – don’t be such a wimp! Possibly the dodgiest part of my run is as I enter the park, as there is a steep little path down to the riverside which is caked in frost and I have an innate fear of slipping ever since I slipped and broke my humerus one day when I was doing nothing more daring than walking a long the pavement on my way to work. Why people deliberately clamp things to their feet and sally forth on ice and snow is, and always has been, beyond me. Why? I always find it particularly unfair that, although I have never done anything more dangerous than walking and running, this has resulted in me breaking two of the biggest bones in my body. I always have a wry smile when I hear that the femur is ‘the biggest and strongest bone in the human body’. Not this human body, unfortunately, although at least my right one is now supported by a considerable amount of steel and titanium scaffolding…

There are a few dog walkers out along the path, although it’s hard to make out their gender or age as they appear entirely clad in wool, with just their eyes peering out to check on the whereabouts of Buster or Towser. Towser the terrier, I can reliably inform them, nearly got crushed underfoot, as the yapping Yorkie threw itself at me in a blood-crazed frenzy of ankle-savaging, little git! I don’t know what is worse – the ones that are free to roam unencumbered, or the ones tethered to an all-but-invisible trip wire of a leash that stretches across the path and threatens to pitch me nose first into the mist-laden iciness of the river below.

As I run downstream towards the bridge and my turning point I encounter a number of anglers already setting out their pitches for the day, complete with seats, little tents, gas stoves, hampers, bars, optics, overnight accommodation for a large family, etc. etc. When I used to go fishing it was with a line and a bag of maggots – these guys must be hoping for marlin or something, and my mind conjures up the image of Hemingway’s Old Man and the sea, his marlin strapped to the side of his small boat and slowly getting picked at by the mallards as he rows for home. Well, I think it was sharks in the Hemingway version, but here it would be mallards as there are hundreds of them.

As I reach my turning point I encounter two lady runners clad in tracksuits and I wonder what event they have signed up for, or if they are simply out for enjoyment and exercise. Actually, I think that, to get out and about in freezing weather like this there must be some kind of incentive or spur that strengthens the resolve. For me, and especially this morning, it is the backing of all my wonderful sponsors that have already brought me to my first fundtraising target a mere three days after launch. Unfortunately, this also means that I am now compelled to reveal my ‘special secret’ and announce that I will be running the Bath Half in the guise of The Diabetes Fairy!

Oh dear! I don’t mind saying that this is just a wee bit scary! In nearly thirty years of running events I have never run in costume, and now I’m going to be running 13.1 miles in early March in a dress with a wand, wig and wings! If only I could find some functional wings!  Hopefully, it will bring a smile to people’s faces though. My biggest worry is the fact that I have no idea how people go about training for a run in costume. I certainly never see any giraffes or rhinos or athletic bananas in my neck of the woods! Perhaps I should take advantage of the dark early mornings so I would be seen by fewer people? But I’d still have a couple of busy roads to cross! And would it be worse to be seen appearing from the gloom clad in all my frock and fancies or seen from afar in all my full glory? I have no idea!

I am sure these thoughts will continue to trouble me until the race is actually over, but for now I just have to concentrate in finishing my run, which I achieve without further canine encounter and managing to keep my legs moving reasonably well to the end. Hope it’s a bit warmer that next time! A better time than the other morning, slightly further, and not bad considering how cold it was. Flipping blood sugars seem to do the opposite of what they do for most people though – I’ve just run 3.5 miles and my blood sugar has gone UP over 3 mmol/l. This is despite being around the peak of my breakfast insulin at 1.5-2 hours. I’ll probably go low later, but some people would have omitted the insulin or be shovelling sugar down their throats by now! Must be the Diabetes Fairy at work!

Time               35 mins 59 secs
Distance        3.64 miles
Pace               9:53 per mile
BG before      8.2
BG after         11.4

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