So, the asthma is under control and hey, I know what lungs feel like when able to take a deep breath without first yawning. Yay! This is also how I know when I’m having a hard time breathing, like when the dew point is the same as the air temperature. We’re rapidly approaching summer, when the air is veritable soup.
Thank goodness summers in eastern Virginia don’t last long and aren’t too extreme.
Lately I’ve been keeping my mileage small until I got the push from my body it was time to move up. A few weeks ago, I finished a 6-mile run with friends and realized at the end I didn’t believe we had run a full 6 miles so I asked Friend K, who had a watch, to confirm the distance. Yep, we had run 6.3 miles that evening. (Chevy was with me, too, and he enjoyed the change of scenery as much as I did I think.)
That was the early part of May, a full five months after my 3rd attempt at a 50-miler and a full three months after having started treatment for the inflamed lungs.
I signed myself up for the local Grand Prix competition with the Richmond Road Runners Club, of which I’m also on the board. These races, though small in distance, have kept me motivated to continue running and getting outside with Chevy the Adventure Dog to get some miles under our feet.
Three weekends ago I completed the Grayson Highlands “Half” Marathon and I highly recommend to everyone that you at least visit. Gorgeous views, the ponies are everywhere and the weather is unpredictable. Throughout the course there was evidence of the snow from the day before.
In the race, runners gain 1,000 ft of elevation in one mile at the 9-mile mark. We walked up for so long with two ladies making a lot of noise behind us which was excellent motivation to push harder so that I could get away from them. The weekend before I sprained my ankle at the Ragnar Pocahontas Trail Relay. It wasn’t bruised, but it was swollen. A week of rest did it some good and I managed to stay upright throughout the very technical single track.
What I also learned from that race is how unconditioned I am for elevation.
Having just gotten to the point last July where I could run uphill for a whole mile, I remember feeling a bit bummed that I will need to work hard again to get back there.
Where once I was somewhere in between the front and middle of the pack, I am finding myself somewhere near the middle of the pack and sometimes even the end of that middle. The speed I had, or better, the stamina I had for that speed, is gone. While I do have my lungs back to normal again, I will be meeting with a doctor to check on my vitamin D, iron and potassium levels, all of which help us tremendously in our quest of the run.
For now, I run on the slower side to focus more on the breathing, only running as fast as wheezing allows. Now that I know the whistling sound at the end of my breath is a wheeze, I focus harder on breathing in through my nose and out of my mouth. I figure eventually the speed thing will come again as it has many times. I try not to worry about it too much and stopped running with a watch because comparison is the thief of joy and all that.
I’ve been practicing a lot of it these past handful of months.
I go to the gym four, sometimes five days a week and lift heavy things for an hour. I’ve been consistently eating lots of great food. I’ve gained weight most of which is muscle (I guess that’s what happens when you gym without all the running). Currently I am attempting to make my T-Rex arms a little less so. I practice yoga two or three times a week. We camp/hike/run in the mountains at least once a month. And I rarely run over 11 miles these days and I’m totally okay with that.
Having gotten more active within the running community, the enjoyment I get from helping and encouraging others to participate in their firsts is the best kind of run love I could ask for. It makes up for the lack of running in my own life when I get to help so many others do it instead.
This Friday we kick off the Global Running Day week with a celebration in Forest Hill Park; Saturday morning the Marathon Training Team starts again and it is also National Trail Day; Sunday, The Dude and I will run our anniversary 25k; and then who knows what will happen.
And that’s kinda how I like it.
wheeze on fellow runners.