Sunday, April 16, 2017

Training log - Week ending 4/16/17

This week was 46 miles of running,  12 "miles" of pool-running, and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

My running week generally has a routine - intervals on Tuesday, tempo on Friday, long run on Sunday.  This week I wanted to race a mile on Wednesday night, which threw everything into flux.   A Wednesday evening race meant that I couldn't do a workout on either Tuesday or Friday.  Tuesday was too close to the race, while Friday morning was too soon after.  Yes - there are others who can race a mile on Wednesday night and tempo 36 hours later, but experience has taught me (painfully), that I personally need more recovery time.

So, that meant that I could only do one of the three prescribed workouts this week.  I felt that since I'm not marathon training right now, I was better served by a 4 mile tempo than a progressive long run.  My coach agreed, so I ended up tempoing on Saturday morning, followed by an easy 12 miles on Sunday.

The tempo was a pleasant surprise.  After Wednesday's race, I was trashed.  For whatever reason, mile races always beat me up more than 5K races, and this one was no exception.  The fact that I "recovered" from the race by first driving for 80 minutes and then taking a hot shower before having a sleepless night didn't help either.  My post-race/workout recovery routine of a swim in cold water really does make a difference, and I missed it here.

So, even by Saturday I was still a bit sore and sluggish.  But the workout was a tempo, which is not supposed to be a really hard workout, so I thought I'd give it a try anyway.  Because I suspected I'd be running slower than my norm, I set my Garmin to autolap each mile and resolved to run the tempo off of effort, not checking splits until I finished.  That way I'd run the workout at the correct effort, rather than getting frustrated if my splits were slower than usual.

So, I did the workout on Hains Point - a flat and fast circular road with perfect GPS reception.  I checked my Garmin when I finished, and....I had just run my fastest 4 mile tempos in several years- notably faster than anything I've run on the track this year.  So that was a very nice surprise.  Especially since I felt sluggish for much of the workout.

Even better yet was that the pollen on Hains Point was a total non-issue.  I credit my Xolair shot - the "hail mary" of allergy/asthma treatment - for this.

I got the Xolair shot (my first) on Monday at noon.  [reminder - this is an "IGE inhibitor" drug given to people who have allergies/asthma that is not completely responsive to other drugs.  Xolair is totally legal under WADA/USADA both in and out of competition]

The Xolair injection is a structured procedure.  First, I have to call the doctor's office 30 minutes in advance to confirm that I'm coming in, so that they can mix up the medication.  This is because it's extremely expensive (about $1K a shot, and I get two shots each session) and is only usable for four hours after being mixed - they don't want to mix it up and then have me no-show.

Once I get the injections, I have to sit in the waiting room for 2 hours, because of a very small risk of going into shock.  After the two hours is up, then I'm free to go, but I have to carry an epi-pen with me for the next 24 hours, just in case.

[BTW, epi-pens are huge and hard to run with.   About the size of a baton used in a high school relay.  So no tucking in a sports-bra - I had to run with a spi-belt to carry it the next morning.]

In case anyone's wondering, I did NOT go into anaphylactic shock and force a reenactment of Pulp Fiction.  So that was nice.  I did suffer from silent hypochondria while I sat in the waiting room, but I think that's normal.

There were some side-effects over the first few days after the shot.  Basically, mild flu-like symptoms - my resting heart rate was elevated, I was more tired than normal, with a lot of trouble concentrating and a headache.  Also achy muscles, hot flashes, and nausea.  Not fun.  I felt lousy enough on Wednesday morning that I debated skipping the mile race.  But, it was only a mile and I'd always wanted to do it, so I gave it a try anyway.  And was glad I did.

By Friday (four days post shot) the side-effects had subsided, with the exception of the injection sites on each arm.  Those are still sore and apparently will be for some time to come - just the nature of the shot.  Wonderfully, I noted that the pollen was bothering me much less.  Almost like tree pollen season had passed, though according to we're still peaking.

So that was great news. If it continues to work, I should be able to reduce or even eliminate all my other asthma/allergy medications, which would be awesome.  Even better was the call I got from my insurance on Saturday confirming that they would cover my future injections (you have to submit an application to be covered, with evidence demonstrating that you have "moderate to severe allergic asthma" and that you have tried literally everything else first).  So woo-hoo.

It was a good end to a good week.


Monday: In the morning, yoga and 6 "miles" pool-running. Foam rolling at night.

: In the morning, 7 miles easy (9:02) plus drills and strides, and then upper body weights and core.  Foam roller at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 3 miles easy (9:17)).  In the evening, foam rolling and stretching, then a 3 mile fartlek warm-up (most at 9:00 pace, but with a minute nearly all out), followed by a 1 mile race in 5:08.  1 mile cool-down after (9:28 pace).

Thursday: In the morning, 1000 yards swimming and 6 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 9 very easy miles (9:23) plus drills and then upper body weights and core. Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:  In the morning, 10 miles, including a 3 mile warm-up (8:43), a four mile tempo in 25:28 (6:31/6:23/6:18/6:16), and then a 3 mile cool-down (8:32). Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming, plus foam rolling.

Sunday: In the morning, 12 miles very easy (8:45), followed by drills and two strides, and then foam rolling.


  1. Awesome that the Xolair is working for you! I hope you continue to do well - the fact that you are able to run so well with such severe allergic asthma has always amazed me; I can only imagine how well you will do with reduced symptoms and flares.

  2. I'm interested in this shot-I'm currently getting weekly allergy shots for allergy/asthma. Have you gotten those as well? Or mostly just use an inhaler? I find I'm mostly ok, except in really humid conditions. Asthma just kills me then.

  3. Hi - I've tried the allergy (immunotherapy) shots without much success (I'm still on them). I am currently on Advair 250/50, QVAR 80, Singulair, desloratadine (rx version of Claritin), and a budesonide nasal rinse. Plus my rescue inhaler and the allergy shots. In the past, I've also tried Dulera and Symbicort for the asthma, and Claritin/Allegra/Zyrtec/Benadryl for anti-histamines.

    In order to get approved for insurance coverage for the Xolair, you need to show that you've tried a lot of different stuff, including several different antihistamines and immunotherapy shots.

    Also, I'm not sure how this shot works for humidity-triggered asthma. (Humidity is one of my triggers also). Xolair is prescribed for "allergic asthma."