The first thing that went through my mind when I woke up this morning was:
I can breathe. Through my nose.
And, man, did that freezing wind taste good as I inhaled greedily. Because, for the first time in over a week, I was healthy. Not ”I think I might be healthy enough to go for an easy jog”-healthy, but full-on, interval-ready healthy. So, as I took my first tentative steps by the river, trying to spot the sun that was snoozing low on the horizon even though midday was approaching, I was filled with pure joy. Finally.
This sleepy sun was casting no more than a pale light over the city, but it was a strange light. The thin coat of snow on pavements and roofs reflected shades of pink and orange, and it made me feel like I was enveloped in a warm blanket – which was in sharp contrast with the sub-zero, blue-lips temperature that turned my wind-induced tears into little ice diamonds on my cheeks.
My legs were eager to cover some serious distance. I decided to run around the bridges, a round of 12 km. As I left the first bridge, I turned my back to the wind and started flying. I was running faster than I'm usually comfortable with, yet I didn't feel tired or out of breath. I was in the Zone. With some relaxing, easy listening tunes in my ears by the likes of Nirvana, Trent Reznor and Prodigy I flew. Until I ran over the other bridge and turned back towards home again.
The first gulp of frozen headwind hit me like a punch to the lungs. The shock made me lose some speed momentarily and I struggled to pick it up again. Then I chickened out and thought boring, cowardly thoughts, like how I've been ill and shouldn't push it, how my throat is sensitive for cold wind and I didn't have my Lungplus with me, that kind of stuff. And settled for an easier pace. Chicken.
There is rarely a run that's more fun, more fulfilling, more appreciated than the first one after you've been ill or injured.