Sunday, November 14, 2010

2nd Week Back- Reality Sets In

Ok, as happy as I am to be running again. . . getting back into shape stinks. I feel like the 5 or so pounds I probably gained are more like 30, my lungs still aren't totally back to normal, and everything hurts. However, it's a hurt much preferable to the restlessness that comes from a month of couch sitting. The highlights of the week were traveling back to my mother's house in NH for a night, then watching my brother run the race of his life for the third week in a row to snag 17th at the New England Championship.

On Wednesday, I went to the allergist to get scratch-tested for a host of different allergies. As it turns out, I'm EXTREMELY allergic to just about everything they tested for. The allergies that are relevant to my ability to run include ragweed, dust mites, alternia (a family of molds that peak in the late fall), cats, dogs, and cockroach poop. The doctor's theory is that my yearly fall "pneumonia/ breathing illness" is mostly allergy-related, since ragweed and alternia peak at about the same time (mid-October to the first frost). I'm glad I've got a definite diagnosis, but it's irritating to have mistreated it for about five years. It could be worse, but damn, that's a lot of wasted cross-country. I started allergy shots on Thursday, and for the next 8 months, I'll be getting three injections (for the worst of the allergies: ragweed, alternia, and dust mites) one a week. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 96 separate injections. I'm told that I "might" feel a difference in 5 months, but it will probably be next fall before I notice anything. With the cold nights, I find that my lungs are probably about 90% of normal. Once we get a real hard frost I'll be even better.

Unfortunately, going back to New Hampshire for about 24 hours reminded me how much worse my allergies are up there than in Boston. If slept more than hour on Friday night, I'd be shocked. It was worth it to see my brother's last high school cross country race, though, even if it did feel like someone was stepping on my face and making me breathe through a straw. I missed a day of running Saturday because there was just no way I was going to be able to do anything productive through that reaction.

Anyway, here's what I got up to this week:

Monday- 8 mi easy with my friend Beth, ran at night through some gentle rain.

Tuesday- 8mi easy with Ken in a cool rain, around Jamaica Pond in 10:00, which is awesome, because I figured we were running 7:40 pace and instead we were closer to 6:40.

Wednesday- 4:30PM- Weak workout with Ken. I think the scratch-testing at the doc's office caused a mild reaction, because I was wheezier on this run than I had been in more than a week. Ken and I warmed up, then he did a 4mi tempo run at the BC Res, averaging about 5:25/mile. I ran the first 11min with him, then jogged in the other direction for 6min, then finished up the last 5min or so with him. 2+ c/d, almost trampled some sleeping ducks.

Thursday- 5mi easy- went out 18min on the river with James, then turned around because I couldn't breathe at all. This run scared the crap out of me because I thought I was getting worse. Allergy shots in the afternoon.

Friday- 3:30PM- Fears of a relapse put to rest. I was wheezy for the first half of the run, then everything seemed to open up. The group of us who didn't run Regionals went out to Fresh Pond nice and slow, ran around Fresh Pond moderate (15:56, just under 6:30/mile) then coming home I felt good and figured if I was going to run, I might as well get after it, so I ran the last two-and-a-half or so at about 5:40 pace. My last mile was 5:34, and it felt good to run hard and honest again. 45min on the T to South Station right after, then an hour on the bus.

Saturday- As mentioned, off due to a really bad attack up in NH. I might be exiled from there until I advance along in immunotherapy more. It was awesome to see my brother run a smart, tough race to finish off his senior season though!

Sunday- Noon- Mayor's Park with James, shocked that we ran the measured 9mi in under 63 minute, because we were just chatting and shuffling along. 8PM- 23minutes of gentle strides and jogging on Nickerson with James.

Tot- 50 miles, plus pushups, core, and a strength circuit most days after running.
I'd like to get in another two weeks of building mileage and plenty of easy striding before getting down to some serious work after Thanksgiving. Part of the reason I want to take my time is that once I get under 6:00/mile, I start wheezing again, and I think at this point, interval work would only discourage me. Plenty of strong, aerobic running is in order while I wait for a hard frost.

I couldn't end this week without mentioning Boston University's 7th place at the Northeast Regional meet, only 7 points behind Robert Johnson's Cornell team. It was a solid end to a season that saw the team take several large steps forward from last year. Next year's team will miss Eric, but we return our 2nd through 8th men, and I'll be added to the mix, hopefully free of my inability to breathe in October.

Best wishes, internet!


  1. Are you taking Zyrtec or an imitation generic in the meantime?

  2. I've tried all the variants of different allergy stuff, nothing seems to have any effect. I've noticed that happens with a lot of medicine. I have all sorts of weird stories about being totally unaffected by strong medicines. I was put under general anesthesia to get my wisdom teeth out my senior year of high school, and my mother was told it would take me about half an hour to regain consciousness and to expect me to be groggy and kind of loopy for about four hours later. Ten minutes after that I was fully awake and completely lucid, like I was just woken up from a light nap. Who knows, maybe I'm just imagining it- a reverse placebo effect, if you will.

  3. Ah, well that's tough. For me, I used to get frequent sinus infections/have major difficulties breathing before I started taking Zyrtec or the generic. Claritin barely helped, and I think it even took a few days for the Certizine to start working. After that, though I've had one very minor sinus infection(about half as long/bad as what I was used to) in about a year after getting them every couple months and having breathing problems daily. Just wanted to make sure you tried it for a decent period because it made a huge difference in my running and day-to-day life. Good luck and I hope the allergy shots do the trick!