I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time today.
At the top of my to-do list today was to workout. I was trying not to put any pressure on myself by telling myself it could be any kind of workout. Pilates and I have been very good friends lately. As much as I love stretches and killer ab crunches I really, really wanted to run today. In the last three months I haven’t ran more than a mile at a time. Last fall I started running and fell in love with it. I ran my first 5k at the Runner’s World Half Marathon Event, and then my fiance and I ran self-made 5ks together around State College. I was working on increasing my mileage this past December (I really want to run a 10k) when I started to notice some problems while running.
I always breathed heavy when I run (I’m a mouth breather) and would get these little throat clearing coughs after a few minutes as my throat seems to make extra mucous when I run. I thought that was normal but sometimes would feel like my chest was being constricted, or like there were two levels to my lungs and I could only reach the first level. One run I started to get lightheaded, and after another run I had a light wheeze for hours afterwards. I never once felt in danger, or even like I was having a full asthma attack, I just felt uncomfortable. At that point I realized what was happening was not normal, so I made an appointment to go to the Doctor.
I had an in-house asthma test and had my lungs listened to and passed both tests. I’ve never had breathing problems in my day-to-day life and whenever I would breathe for the Doctor was always told I had strong lungs. Even tough I passed the tests I was told it still is possible that I have asthma and was scheduled for a methacholine challenge. I measured completely normal before having the methacholine administered. After four rounds though, my lung capacity had decreased by nearly 40%. I officially had exercise-induced asthma. The crazy thing is even with my lungs getting 40% less air it never left me gasping for breath or feeling like my lungs were under attack. I just felt like my throat was smaller and my chest was tighter and I had to focus on breathing more. I feel very lucky that I don’t have out of control or incredibly severe asthma.
After the diagnosis I got an inhaler and got excited to get back into running. Then my stomach decided to throw me for a loop. Suddenly I was having digestion problems and feeling bloated and in pain with no appetite for weeks on end. I wasn’t sure what was going on and was scared why I was losing weight and not feeling well. The last thing I wanted to do was exercise and put any more stress on my body. Now that I know I have IBS and feel a million times better than I did when this all started, aside from occasionally feeling bloated, I really wanted to get back into running. Running relaxes me, challenges me, makes me feel strong, and gives me such an amazing confidence in myself. I was just scared and hoping my body could handle it after such a long running hiatus.
I don’t know what in me decided today was the day but after coffee with my dad I pulled out my gym clothes, laced up my shoes, and headed out the door to tackle a run. It’s still really cold here so I went to my school gym. I ran into my trainer and caught up with her for a little bit before getting out my inhaler. My Doctor told me it’s a good idea to take two puffs before I start running to open my airways. I’ve never used my inhaler before and the first puff I did didn’t feel like anything came out. The second puff I had the inhaler angled too high up so most of it went to to the roof of my mouth. I definitely need to practice. ;p I didn’t want to take anymore so I decided to hope for the best and get running.
I jumped on the treadmill and after a warmup and lots of stretching put it on a hill workout and decided to run for a few songs and then walk for one when I needed it. I definitely got some pep in my step when old school NSync music videos came on. I figured I would know how long felt good on my legs as I did it. I ran for four miles and walked two of the songs. I had to clear my throat once or twice and breathed a little heavy but I had no other signs of asthma which I am so happy about. I felt so good getting off that treadmill with four miles under my belt. I wasn’t sure I would still be able to run a 5k so I was ecstatic running past that marker. I definitely lost speed but my legs felt like they could have kept going for longer. I think my body has been craving running as much as my mind has.
My feet were super happy to be running in Swiftwick socks. These really are the best socks, they keep my feet warm and dry and free of any uncomfortable bunching or riding down like my cotton socks used to do. I’m hoping now that I’ve ripped the bandaid off running I can get back into a normal running pattern. I’ve missed it and seeing blog recaps of all the tutus and glitter at the Disney Princess Half Marathon last weekend has really stirred up a desire in me to start increasing my miles. I have a running date with Lily this weekend and I could not be more excited. It’s just the encouragement I need!
Questions of the Day: Did you ever take a break from running? How did it feel to start back up again?