The Allergic Asthmatic Runner

Here we go again
I was just in this place on March 13 after having pushed the envelope a few days before and here I am again, back at Kaiser with the same stuff except it feels a bit worse this time. For allergy and asthma suffers the Atlanta metro is not friendly during the springtime. This year with a mild winter, even for the south, we started seeing pollen in February. For runners with allergies and asthma this time of year is especially brutal, physically with symptoms and mentally.   Our local parks and tree lined streets are meant to be seen and smelled and experienced in person, not viewed from inside an air-conditioned car or through the windows of your home. There’s nothing like running amidst all that color and lushness, but for this runner it is a no-no.

The schedule
For over a decade I followed the same schedule. From May to September and only on weekends I would run outside. I’m one who suffers from year-round indoor and outdoor allergies  During the fall its ragweed, winter mold, spring trees and summer grasses and pollution. During the last two years I maintained the weekends only schedule but extended the outdoor time to May through February which sent me from two allergy/asthma/sinus episodes a year to four.  During the spring and fall I ramp up the meds and fall back during summer and winter. Allergy shots are year round and have been for about 10 years.  This schedule doesn’t help me to avoid the doctor but it does keep me out of the hospital and allows me to enjoy the outdoors a large part of the year. 

How my running is affected
Since the schedule is built around my upper respiratory system, I do most of my mileage on the treadmill and the weekly long runs outside.  Many runners would be loathe follow this regimen and I understand it, trust me, I want to be outside but doing so is only asking for trouble.  Symptom wise, if it’s just allergy symptoms, I treat those and continue my treadmill running.  When I’m feeling the familiar elephant on the chest of asthma about to go wrong I don’t run at all, I go to the doctor and do what they tell me to do until my breathing is no longer labored.

Allergies and asthma have not precluded me from enjoying what I love, running.  Certainly some precautions are necessary, but taking those has allowed me to enjoy and appreciate running even more.

I’d like to hear from you.  Do you suffer from allergies and asthma? How do you manage them in order to keep running? Let me know by leaving a comment.

See you on the trail… in May.
photo via my camera, Suwanee Greenway via Georgia Pierce Park, Suwanee GA