Although it was a pretty nice evening, there was some frost around this morning, so in anticipation of the cold drawing in as we played, I wrapped up warm for football tonight. Most of the rest of the guys are still knocking around in short-sleeved football shirts, but I had one of my thickest long-sleeved running tops on underneath my shirt and I also wore my fleecy running gloves. As you might imagine, I came in for a bit of a ribbing:
"What are you going to wear when it actually is cold?" etc.
The answer? I'm going to wear more. That's what I'm going to wear. Wooly hat, full-length running tights under my shorts, additional layers.... you can bet I'll be wearing them all before the winter is out.
What can I say? I feel the cold. I don't know if I always have, but I certainly have since I lost a lot of weight a few years back. My metabolism seems to be stoked up permanently high, and I'm told that I act as a veritable radiator, throwing out heat. That works well for C, who is always nice and warm in bed, and for the cat, who likes to nestle up against my legs when it gets really chilly, but it does seem to mean that I'm always cold. Even at the height of summer, I'll be out running in a long-sleeved thermal top - albeit usually a pretty thin merino one.
When my MS first began to manifest itself a few years ago, if anything, things have got worse. It's generally thought that people with multiple sclerosis are sensitive to heat: too much exposure can lead to a flare-up in symptoms. It even has a name: Uhthoff's phenomenon. It's because of this that people with MS are generally advised to keep cool, and you can even buy things like cool vests to help keep your body temperature down. The heat doesn't generally seem to affect me, but oddly the cold does. When I start to get cold, I begin to lose the sensation in my arms from the shoulder down, to the extent that my hands actually become painful and nothing I do seems to warm them up and to regain full function in my fingers. When I get really cold, I also start to lose the ability to form words, and everything I say becomes a real struggle. It doesn't even have to be that cold for this to happen. Even today, when everyone else was happily running about in short-sleeves and I was all wrapped up, I began to feel the numbness in my arms and shoulders. Even now, an hour and a long, hot shower after the game, I still haven't regained full feeling. You probably won't be surprised to know that there's a medical name for this too. Can you guess what it is? Yup. Reverse Uhtoff's phenomenon. Do you see what they did there?
Funnily enough, although I'm often out running and go out in much colder temperatures when I do things like go skiing, it's at football that I feel this most often. I'm not sure what it is about the game, but it's also football that I find the most physically difficult of all the exercise that I do. I don't do anywhere near as much running in a game of football as I do when I'm out on a jog, but somehow I find the running that I do much, much harder. Most of it, I'm sure, is mental.... I'm much better at running at a steady, controlled pace in a straight line than I am at stopping and starting all the time and running up and down a pitch. And let's face it, I've never been much good at football anyway, lacking the basic control and technique that most people seem to learn when they're kids but when I was playing rugby (also quite badly, it has to be said). I enjoy playing though, and I try each week to work as hard as I can and to not be too embarrassingly below the general standard. Losing the sensation in my arms and the strength in my shoulders as I get colder definitely does not help. The ribbing from the guys I can take, it's the fumbling around in my wallet for change that I can barely hold and losing the basic ability to form words that worries me.
It's only October too. There's an awful lot colder weather where this came from.
I did score a goal tonight, mind....
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