I’ve written previously about my issue with spring and how it affects my routine here. My trip to the doctor this year was a little bit later in the spring but with the same diagnosis – – sinusitis, resulting from allergies. The prescription following the diagnosis, was something I’d never heard before and it went something like this:

Dr.:  I’m prescribing <antibiotic>.  You should take it twice a day for 10 days. Continue taking them even if you start to feel better before then.

Me: okay (I know all this already, boring…)
Dr.: as for that exercise, I advise you to stop while you’re taking the medication.
Me: no exercise?
Dr.: yes.
Me: for 10 days?
Dr.: How can your body heal if you’re exercising? Doing so forces your body to concentrate on something else in lieu of healing the infection.
Me: okay
I was skeptical about his advice as every single year, I plod through, only taking two or three days at the most jump right back in. After Googling a bit I found that as long as illness was from the neck, exercise can be done but intensity should be scaled back.  I knew that as well, however I was just beginning to get some asthma symptoms, which also unless really bad, I work through as well, with the help of inhalers. Mulling over research and what the doctor said for  few hours, I decided to comply with his prescription and here’s why.

  1. Every year there is always a setback – as I thought about these annual trips to the doctor I realized that within a month there was always a relapse, resulting the extension of antibiotics and the addition of an oral steroid. Every single year. Maybe if I had halted the exercise, I could have avoided the additional trip and additional meds.

  2. I’ve had a lot injuries during the last year, achilles strain, shin splints, ongoing knee and shoulder pain with the latest injury being a literal pain in the ass. The pain was getting worse as I continued to push.

  3. It was time to end my paranoia. As a person who’s had weight issues for 30 years, stopping training for more than a few days always lead to my mind playing tricks on me in the form of “you know if you miss these days (not years) you are going to be that unhealthy person again.” Which is ridiculous. All my critical numbers have been good for about five years now. The blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol were on point but the muscles, tendons and joints had taken a beatdown. Resting sounded like the best prescription to keep going for the long haul.
What does it all mean?
Though I’m not a competitive runner I do compete with myself. I continue to test the limits of my body.  Funny thing is this self competition is in conflict with the reason I run and do other exercise.  Moving the body, especially running (for me) is a spiritual practice.  It’s a space and time in which I honor my body for the magnificent piece of work that it is. Running time is that time that my brain gets a rest.  The tipping point had been reached at which the spiritual became the competitive, bordering on the obsessive.  So I yielded to spirit instead of mind this time, in order to heal the body.

What about you? Are you chasing PR’s,  pushing the heavy weights to exhaustion, always looking for the competitive edge? If so and you have lost the joy of whatever sport/fitness activity you engage in, take a little down time before you’re forced to.

I’d like to hear about your downtime. Was it a force out or purposeful? Tell me about it in the comments and until next time see you on the road, I’ll be back outside in another week 🙂


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