This week was 65 miles of running, 30 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.
Only 6 weeks to go until Chicago. Two more weeks of hard training, a half-marathon, and then a three week taper.
This week was frustrating. As I noted last week, ragweed levels have exploded in the DC area. I was really suffering last week, so my asthma doctor upped the strength of my asthma meds.
As I learned this week, it didn't help much. Tuesday's interval workout looks good on paper, but was much too tough in reality, as I strained to run paces that had been far easier a week or two ago, even though the weather was remarkably cool for August.
And then Friday's tempo was miserable. I was optimistic at the start, only to quickly feel the load of bricks pile on as I struggled to hit paces that were ~15 seconds per mile slower than what I had run just two weeks ago, in equally hot and humid weather. I had planned to do four miles; at three miles I ended up taking a minute break to calm down my breathing before grinding out a fourth mile. And I felt like shit afterwards.
Absolutely, I should have pulled the plug on the workout at 3 miles instead of digging my hole deeper - tempo workouts are NOT exercises in methodical self-destruction. But I was frustrated and pissed off that the breathing issues were back, and frankly not thinking too clearly.
Luckily, I have an awesome asthma doctor who really really cares, and I was able to speak with her on Friday. She suggested that we change my asthma meds again, and add in a prescription anti-histamine.
Essentially, the issue is that I have two separate, but related breathing problems. Asthma (lungs constrict when triggered) and vocal cord dysfunction ("VCD" - larynx gets irritated and constricts at the wrong time, making it harder to inhale). Most long-acting asthma meds tend to irritate the larynx and worsen the VCD, even as they improve the asthma, which is why managing both conditions is a balancing act.
My allergies have been irritating both my lungs and my vocal cords, and thus worsening both conditions. When we increased my Advair dose, though it may have helped the asthma a bit, it also worsened the VCD. So, we decided to drop my Advair back down to the previous dose that had worked so well for me pre-ragweed (the 250) and to add in another inhaled corticosteroid - QVAR.
She also prescribed the anti-histamine Clarinex - a stronger prescription-only version of Claritin. Since the underlying cause of all this is the allergies, it makes sense to target that (I've been using Claritin and/or Allegra, but neither has helped terribly much the last week or two. Zyrtek and Benadryl both make me drowsy and my running sluggish).
[disclaimer #1 - because I care - all of the above drugs are legal under WADA - no TUE required]
[disclaimer #2 - I know the above detailed talk about meds may be a bit much for some people, and I sometimes debate whether to put all that in. I get that it's TMI for some. At the same time, I've found that detail like this is helpful for me to refer back to in the future. I also know of other people dealing with the same issues who read my blog and find the detail helpful. So I've decided to err on the side of inclusion - my feelings won't be hurt if some people aren't interested and want to skip.]
[disclaimer 3: yes, I've been getting allergy shots for the past 5 weeks. But I started them too late to help with this year's ragweed season, though they should help next spring and fall.]
So I made the switch on Friday night, and felt a bit better on Saturday and notably better on Sunday. I'm still not back to where I was a few weeks ago, but Sunday's long run felt much better than either Tuesday or Friday, despite fairly humid conditions and high pollen.
The one hitch is that I find the Clarinex very dehydrating. In the two days I've been on it, I've dropped 3 pounds, despite loading up on food in prep for my Sunday 21 mile run. It sounds like a nice problem to have, but I assure you it's not - all the lost weight was water weight, at a time of year when I really need to stay hydrated. I'm drinking water nonstop, but it doesn't seem to want to stick. However, the Clarinex is working really well for the allergies, so I'll just hang tough for a few days, pounding fluids. My hunch is that the dehydration issue will get better as my body adjusts.
Monday: yoga and 7 "miles" pool-running; 3 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night.
Tuesday: 12.5 miles, including a track workout of 2x1600, 800 (6:21, 3:03, 6:11, 2:53); followed by injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday: 8 miles easy (8:19) to yoga, then yoga. Later did 4 miles very easy (8:38). 4 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling in the afternoon.
Thursday: 10 "miles" pool-running and upper body weights/core in the morning. 2 "miles" pool-running and foam rolling at night
Friday: 10 miles, including a ~ 4 mile tempo on the track in 27:23 (6:50/6:47/6:54, one minute break and then 6:52), followed by 1250 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.
Saturday: 10 miles very easy (9:27), plus upper body weights. 4 "miles" pool-running with the belt and foam rolling in the afternoon.
Sunday: 21 miles, split as progression of first 7 miles at 9:12; next 6.5 at 8:02; last 7.5 at 7:17. Followed with 500 yards of recovery swimming. Foam rolling in afternoon.