Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Puff That Magic Dragon

Bring on my inhaler. After a month of bending over to suck air only 15-30 minutes into every run, we now have an answer why. It's exercise-induced asthma, which I suspected a year ago but it never raged like this year's month-long episode.

Having puffed my new favorite running aid yesterday, I ran the treadmill for 8 miles at 9 and 8:30 paces comfortably. I even experienced a "second wind" -- a squirt of endorphins -- which has been non-existent in my miserable, breath-sucking, death runs this summer. Thank you, Dragon....

My doctor, who was reluctant to prescribe the inhaler until I saw a pulmonolgist (in two weeks!), will appreciate the numbers (I love being right with doctors!): Comparing Sunday's pre-puff run to yesterday's post-puff run, my heart reached 145 BPM at 10:42 and 9:13 paces, respectively. Yeah, incredible. My heart was working much, much harder with my bronchial tubes constricted, inflamed, engorged, and gooked with mucus. Two puffs 30 minutes before running, and I was clear to go. There's still irritation in there from Sunday's 18 miler, but it's ridiculously better.

Did I lose training time? Sure. About of a month, at the worst possible time. I still averaged brutal 40 mile weeks (except for the flu bug week), but at very slow paces, with no improving intervals or tempos that would drive down my overall pace and improve conditioning. In fact, I kept getting slower. Inexplicably slower. From that standpoint, it was a waste. However, on Sunday, I realized I might only be able to complete a half-marathon. Now I can run the full.

Most important, I'm enjoying it again. Puff on, man....

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