Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rest and attempted recovery

My lungs are making me angry right now... I just about took the whole week off trying to give my lungs time to recover from last Saturday's race, but I still have a bad cough every time I lie down.  I only ran twice this week, and really didn't have a problem with coughing during or after the runs though.  So now I'm thinking that time off wasn't necessary.  Also, in the last day or two I could feel my leg muscles start dying a slow and painful death.  I had to run today because I could tell that restless leg was about to set in and that is not something I want to deal with right now if it can be avoided. (Actually, it is not something I EVER want to deal with again.)

I clearly strained my lungs during the race at Beckley.  It's possible that I need a new asthma medication, but I suspect that that is not the problem.  See, when I have an asthma attack, the only thing that will make it go away is medication.  No amount of "waiting and seeing" or water drinking or rest will ease my breathing when I have an asthma attack.  I just struggle for breath until I give up and use my inhaler.  However, when I lost my breath during the Beckley race, I regained the ability to breathe within 10 minutes of crossing the line.  Without medication.  Therefore, I don't think it was an asthma attack.  I think my lungs were just weaker than normal.  And I have a hypothesis about why.

I was proud of myself for learning to "jog" this summer.  I have always had a tendency to make every run as fast as I feel capable of.  I've never been good at "conversation pace" or slow jogs or anything other than going out the door and running hard.  If I wasn't out of breath and tired at the end of a run, it wasn't a good run.  But as I've started racing more, and increasing my weekly or daily mileage, I've gradually learned to slow it down.  I've learned to start out at an easy pace and keep that easy pace until I'm done.  I assumed that this could only be a good thing.  I was taking it easy on my legs so they could be fresher for races.  I was decreasing the chances of an overuse injury.

But over the past week as I have been wondering why I had so much more trouble breathing during the race than usual, it has occurred to me that while my legs still get exercise during a jog, but my lungs probably do not.  When I jog, I don't get even remotely out of breath.  When I get home, my breathing is just as easy as it was when I left.  So, I am suspecting that I have begun to un-condition my lungs.  I had just about cured my asthma from all the hard running I was doing.  My lungs were much stronger than they used to be.  And then I stopped exercising them.

My plan now is to start running harder at least a few times a week.  Just because I learned how to jog doesn't mean I should be jogging every day.  And if I do feel like I need to jog on any given day, I think I will skip the inhaler so that my lungs still get a workout.  I have jogged without the inhaler before; there was awhile where I could run without it as long as I didn't push too hard.  At some point, I caught a cold and went back to using it, and then never got around to trying to run without it again.  I think it's time to go back to trying to run without the inhaler.

Obviously my hypothesis could be wrong.  It could be that since I've been on Albuterol for so long, it is time to start a new medication.  But I wouldn't want to switch medications if that is not actually the case.  So I am going to give it some time and see if this blows over.  I'm going to give my hypothesis a chance and see what happens.  I've got 2 weeks til my next race to try and shock my lungs back into submission.

This week:
T: 3.87 / 30:23 / 7:51
Su: 11.21 / 1:28:26 / 7:53
total : 15.08

I got the new "Great Gatsby" from Redbox last night and watched it this morning.  While I was on the couch watching it, I was getting more and more restless.  I hadn't run since Tuesday and my legs were dying to pound some pavement.  I could hardly sleep last night because I was coughing so hard, but it seems that as long as I don't lie down, I don't cough much.  I decided it was time for a run, before my legs could drive me crazy.  I figured I'd start out with my normal loop, which is a 4.7 mile minimum, and that I would see how it felt.  If I felt like I needed to keep it short, I would do the bare loop.  If I felt good, I could add a neighborhood for 5.56, or a second neighborhood for 6.3.  It felt GREAT to stretch my legs and pound some pavement.  I added both extra neighborhoods and was still feeling fabulous.  So I just kept going.  I didn't start to tire until 1:10/9 miles.  I had a plan for the end of my run by then, and knew it was only about 2 more miles, so I decided to stick to that plan and not take a shortcut home just because I was starting to get tired.  (I am supposed to be training for a marathon, after all.  Gotta get some miles under my belt.  And practice running tired.)  I was really pleased with the overall run.  I ran strong until the last 2+ miles, when I was doing more of a jog.  I didn't cough at all.  

equine therapy

pretty lights

from one of my students:

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