The first part of this week was dedicated to recovery from Cherry Blossom and tapering for the Monument Avenue 10K, which I was planning to race this past Saturday. However, on Thursday morning I checked the forecast, and noted that the rain I had been counting on for Saturday morning likely wasn't going to happen. And the pollen forecast for Saturday morning in Richmond was looking very high as a result.
At that point, I decided to pull the plug on Monument Avenue. It's sad, because I love that race. But there was a long list of solid reasons to skip it anyway - I'm borderline over-racing, I'm not in PR shape, and Richmond is over 2 hours away. Add in the pollen forecast, and it made DNSing a relatively easy call.
I am pretty frustrated that my allergies are starting to drive my spring racing decisions. It's one thing to have ONE period of about 6 weeks in the fall when I know my running will be sub-par, and to plan around it. It's another thing to have a similar period in the spring.
I've scheduled an appointment with my allergist for this Friday, to see if we can redo some allergy testing, and possibly start allergy shots, based on the results. (we'd have to do them for the fall - it's too late for this spring). I was last tested for allergies 5 years ago - at that point I was one of those unfortunate people who clearly had seasonal allergies, but didn't respond to the skin prick test. Since the skin prick test was clear, I couldn't get shots (since the results of the skin prick test determine the components of the allergy shots. But maybe things have changed.
In the meantime, I'm going to extreme measures. I reviewed a list of "concomitant foods" that my allergist gave me a few years ago. These are foods that supposedly have something in common with the specified allergy, and so can make one's allergy symptoms worst when consumed at the wrong time of year. Oak pollen is the dominant pollen in the DC area in the spring. And...what foods are concomitant with oak? Chestnut, apple, and eggs. I snack on chestnuts and apples occasionally; eggs are a staple of my daily diet.
After reading that, I decided that, as much as it would suck, I'd have to try cutting eggs out for a few days, to see if that eased stuff any.
Eggs are honestly pretty hard to eliminate. I need to eat a fair amount of protein and fat in order to feel good - a high carb diet (even when it's almost exclusively complex carbs, or something like UCAN) leaves me shaky and sluggish if not combined with protein and fat.
Eggs are really the perfect food for me. They have the right balance of protein and fat, and are a complete protein to boot. Plus they're easily portable. Usually I have at least one egg plus some additional egg whites as part of my pre-run breakfast, and another hard-boiled egg post workout. Plus the occasional omelet for dinner. And now I'm trying to cut that out, while still getting enough protein and fat in.
For post-run recovery, I can simply eat a bison bar. Expensive, but easy. It's my pre-run breakfast that is tricky. Nuts would be one obvious candidate, but those are migraine triggers for me. As are peanut butter, soy, tofu, and whey protein. And my lactose intolerance knocks out milk/yogurt/etc (not that those would be good pre-run choices anyway).
Basically, it's dietary princess and the pea syndrome. Except that pea protein irritates my stomach massively.
(And yes, this is ridiculous, bordering on diva-esque. There are times when I've debated getting a tiara tattooed on my stomach.)
Fortunately for both myself and WFM shareholders, there is no shortage of pricey powders at the local Whole Foods. I've invested in a tub of "rice protein" and a tub of "hemp protein." The rice stuff is low fat and an incomplete protein (missing lysine); the hemp stuff has fat (good) but is also incomplete (missing lysine and leucine).
But I figure I can worry about complete proteins the rest of the day; for pre-run, I just need something that sits well and doesn't leave me feeling shaky. And isn't eggs. And the rice and hemp powders seem to be doing the trick, albeit expensively.
As for whether cutting out eggs helps? I felt a bit better this weekend, but that could also be attributed to slightly lower pollen. I'm going to give it a few more days, and see how things progress.