Week of 10/28/13 – 11/3/13: WDW Half Training, Week 7

week of 10/28/13 to 11/3/13

Another bleh week…

I finally dragged myself to the gym on Tuesday to hit the treadmill. I don’t know what they do to the treadmills at this place, but it almost feels like I’m running harder than I do outside and at slower speeds. They also keep the temperature in the gym up, so I was all kinds of sweaty after 4 miles. Like I haven’t been that sweaty after a run since like July. Anyway, I completed day 3 of week 9 of Couch to 10k.

I had good intentions about returning to the gym, but on Wednesday I had a hair appointment and Thursday was Halloween. I have no real excuse for Friday, but Saturday I shot a wedding. So, Sunday I went out for my long run of seven miles. I knew this would be the longest distance I had ever run at once. The weather was cool, the scenery was pretty. I put on my Nathan hydration pack for the first time and headed out to the greenway.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if I went out too fast or if the hydration pack was just a lot of added weight I wasn’t used to. Maybe it was the cooler, drier air. Certainly the fact that I had forgotten to take my Advair that morning played into it. But right around the end of the first mile, my asthma decided to show up.

I haven’t had issues with my asthma in months. Therefore, I had (stupidly) stopped carrying around my inhaler when I ran. But here it was in all its wheezy gloriousness. So I had to slow to a walk. I ran when I could, but those seven miles were very hard earned, with a lot of walking. While I completed the first mile in under 12 minutes, my subsequent splits were all closer to a 14 min/mile pace. By the end, my chest was hurting from trying to breathe. My back was hurting, probably from the same reason, with the added bonus of toting around 2 litres of water (I really didn’t need that much).

I will be prepared for my eight miles this weekend.

Running with Asthma

As I mentioned in my initial post, I have asthma. My first experience with it was 17 years ago, and I’ve known I had asthma for 13 years, but I didn’t get treated for it until about 4 years ago when it got really bad.

IMG_8191

There are a couple things that will trigger my asthma. One is cats. I love cats. I grew up with them, and I adopted my sweethearts Oscar and Vera from a rescue in December 2007. The other is cardio exercise. This is the main reason I’ve never ran before now.

Around the time I got my cats, my asthma started getting worse (go figure). However, it prompted me to finally go see a doctor and get treatment. I was put on Singulair first, but it didn’t help at all, so my doctor switched me to Advair, aka the Wonder Drug. For the first time that I could remember, I could breathe well and not have to worry about NOT breathing over the course of my routine day.

While my asthma no longer acted up around my cats, I did still get wheezy when I tried cardio and would have to use my albuterol inhaler.

I want to let all the asthmatics know right now: you can’t let this stop you.

Since I’ve started regularly running, my asthma has improved. I used to use my albuterol inhaler before running to prevent any wheeziness during the run. When I forgot it, I would tend to get wheezy about a mile in. However, over the course of my training, that has changed. I don’t know when, but one day I forgot the inhaler. I realized it, but didn’t want to stop my run. So I kept going. And never got wheezy.

Now I can do an easy six mile interval run without needing it at all. If I’m doing speed work, I may sometimes still need it, but it’s not like it used to be.

Some tips for those of you with asthma who may consider running but are scared:

  • Always have your inhaler with you or nearby where you can get to it quickly. Though I no longer really need mine, I always have it nearby (either in my car or in my house, depending on where I’m running) for short runs or on me for long runs.
  • Start out slow. Don’t be a speed demon. It’s going to probably take some extra time for you to build speed than it would a non-asthmatic. Don’t worry about it and just focus on building your endurance.
  • If you start to get wheezy, slow down to a walk or even stop. Do it before you can’t breathe at all. It’s okay. I highly advocate the Galloway method, which is intervals of running and walking. I couldn’t get through my long runs without doing this right now.
  • Remember that having an asthma attack is more exhausting and taxing on your body than running is, so make sure you listen to your body.

Any other asthmatics out there have anything to add?