Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I. Am. Batman.

I wear a face mask to run when it's less than 25 degrees. And now I know what it's like when people are dozens of feet underwater and panicking and they take off their breathing apparatus thinking that will save their lives.

I hate breathing through a mask. It feels like suffocating. It feels like a hand is over my mouth, like I'm just not getting any oxygen. I know that if I take the mask off the cold air will freeze my lungs and throat and make everything worse. I know the air is too cold to really absorb, and I'll end up losing my breath quicker.

And yet, today, with 16 degree air temperature, running my speed drills (30 seconds with 60 second 'rest' breaks), I just couldn't breathe. So I lowered the mask and inhaled deeply several times. And it burned. Duh. The thin cold air stung into my chest. It made everything so much heavier. Within seconds my feet started dragging on the ground. My throat started to close. My eyes stung.

I threw the mask back over my mouth and tried to take a set of warm moist breaths. But it was too late. One minute of frozen air had tagged my lungs with its burning graffiti. It's a weird drowning feeling- mask on: not enough air. Mask off: burning icicles of respiration. I lose either way. The challenge of the frozen run is to tell your brain what your body knows... you ARE getting enough air. You're still breathing. You're still moving. You're fine.

You're Batman.


Ali said...

I definitely don't miss that part of living up north. I remember the wet, weird feeling of a face mask over my mouth, but the cold is just too bitter to breathe in!

... said...

The mask is better than the sloshing and wet numbness of running through slush! (That would be today's run post-snow)