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November 1, 2010 / elodie kaye

Reprint: Going Deaf

On this first, truly cold excursion of the year, I remembered why I dislike running in the winter.  It’s not the cold, which is easier to get used to than the heat.  When I’m dressed just right, it’s even cozy to be outside in a blizzard.  I still love running more than anything else I could do in the snow, but I hate that my legs go numb.  Just like heat acclimation, your body eventually responds to the need to conserve heat, so it stops sending blood out to the surface of your skin.

Apart from the fact that my arms and legs no longer feel moving air because they’re covered, they stop feeling the slow, accumulated fatigue that I use to measure how much I have left in the tank on a long run.  Even on steep hills, my quads are impervious.  They just get a little heavier; then they fall off a cliff when they’re completely spent, and I discover I suddenly have no knee lift any more.  Of course, they don’t go completely numb.  I can still feel some vibration from foot strike, so harsh strides ripple differently than light ones, but it’s as though the echo is very far away, like going deaf.

It becomes more complicated to puzzle out what my effort really is, but more than that, I’m deprived of one of the things I love best about running.  Sensation.
I love bathing in the feeling of air and wind and power in my limbs, even pain — no especially the uncontrollable fire of taking a hill hard.
Today was a journey of longing.

Originally posted on dailymile, October 31, 2010.

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