Winter has finally arrived in Sweden. Actually, it’s been here for about a week. Having been home in Scotland for a couple of weeks where temperatures seldom dropped below +5 c, the prospect of a run at -5 c in the snow did not seem too appealing. Why? Well the asthma of course! The last few nights have been restless and the breathing deteriorating steadily. It came to a head today on only my frst morning back in Stockholm. The shock of the icy chill outdoors as I made my way across Stockholm last night was matched only by the dry and oppressive heat in the flat. Swedes keep their flats ridiculously warm (or Scots keep theirs more comfortably cool?). In combination these factors set my lungs ablaze as I woke out of a deep sleep to a pretty brutal wheezing attack. So a combination of not enough sleep, coupled with sitting on the end of the bed pulling hard to get the air in and generally feeling disgruntled – that was my start to the day. These episodes always drain me and I thought about scrubbing the run scheduled for this morning. I sat, drinking coffee, looking at the snow falling outside and waiting for the tiredness in my chest muscles to move on and the pain in my shoulders to go away. Being an asthmatic runner can be tough.
By lunchtime I felt strong enough to contemplate a small joggette: 3 miles (5km) maybe? – just to see if I could get into the winter running again (we’d had a week of sub-zero in early December). So on with the running gear (& the spikes).
After last year’s fall on the ice which saw me destroy my inhaler (see above) as my full weight landed on it (and my coccyx), the spikes have become a permanent feature of my winter running.
To my surprise and delight, I eased into what turned out to be a very pleasant ciruit of Nacka Nature Reserve. It’s a familiar location to me and one which allows for a variety of distances depending where you want to exit. I couldn’t believe the difference from this morning when for over an hour I was trying to get my breathing in check. There I was, on the run which proved to be painless and easy. I suddenly realised I was nearly seven miles in and feeling good. I wanted to push on for more. Just before Christmas a friend had said to me “You asthmatic runners are like stammerers who sing!”. I decided I liked today’s song so much I pressed on over the undulating ground and finished with a nice distance of 21km exactly (Garmin Stats Here) – a sub two hour, sub-zero impromptu half marathon. That will do nicely.
Of course, as I’d not set out to go so far, I’d not eaten lunch, so I did a blood test (it’s a diabetic thing) and was pleased to see my BGL was sitting at 6.2. Given that I ran nearly three hours after having breakfast and had not taken any carbs onboard, I was surprised both at the level and how good I was feeling. Clearly the porridge had set me up perfectly (and hopefully may serve as a lesson to those T2 diabetics that overfuel on their running). This has been a great end to what has proved to be a cracking start to the running year.