Sunday, April 9, 2017

Training log - Week ending 4/9/17

This week was 66 miles of running,  14 "miles" of pool-running, and 1000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

The land mileage is slightly inflated this week, since I ran six days instead of five.  This was because my gashed knee was still technically an "open wound" on Monday, so I couldn't go in the pool.  By Thursday my knee had healed enough that I could go back in the water, so yay.

In other regrouping news, I did a five day course of prednisone this week (Monday through Friday) to try to get last week's asthma flare under control.  By the end of the week my lungs were better - not 100%, but much improved.  And, of course, the prednisone had my legs feeling awesome, so the result was a great workout on Friday despite the remaining tightness in my chest.  I think the math is 80% lungs x 125% legs equals good workout.

As I've noted before, prednisone is allowed outside of competition, but banned in competition.  And there's a very good reason why you can't compete while on it - in my experience, prednisone combines the best parts of a caffeine buzz, the runner's high, and being 20 again.  No aches, no pains, bounce out of bed in the morning.  Uber-woman.

Which doesn't mean that you aren't working hard when you hit the track while on prednisone.  I assure you that both Tuesday and Friday's workouts were hard work.  They were just hard work with a near-guaranteed good result.    Which highlighted to me just how easy it can be to rationalize PED use.

To explain: there's an implicit myth that PEDs like prednisone are a substitute for doing the work - that the cheaters who use them are putting less effort into their training, or not giving their all in races.  It's the PED that does the work, not the runner - hence the cheating.  Or so the thought process goes.

In actuality, I don't doubt that dopers (at least the successful ones) are working very very hard. Doping isn't a substitute for hard work and effort; it's a supplement that enables you to work even harder without breaking.  Taking PEDs means that you can race and then do a hard workout without breaking or overtraining.  It means that if you run your heart out, you're assured of having a great day.

I suspect this myth makes it easier for people to rationalize their own doping.  After all, if "cheaters" use PEDs to make gains without putting in the work, then....if you're putting in the work, then you're not cheating, even though you're using PEDs.

It's elementary level mental gymnastics.  But it's still wrong.


Back to the allergies/asthma: on Monday, I'm trying a new (to me) drug - "Xolair" - to get my allergies/asthma under control (per discussion above, it is allowed in and outside of competition).  It's a once a month shot that stops the "inflammatory cascade" that results in allergies and asthma.

To explain in more-but-still-oversimplified detail for the geekily-inclined... there are people (like myself) who react to pretty much everything, due to having too much "immunoglobulin E" (aka "IGE") floating around in our bodies.  This excessive IGE bonds to "mast cells" and then waits for pretty much anything odd (the "allergen") to show up.

Once an allergen appears, the IGE-mast cell thing does stuff that releases histamines. The histamine release causes the classic allergy symptoms. And then, if you have asthma, the asthma gets triggered by the allergy response.

So....IGE -> IGE+Mast Cell -> histamine release -> allergies -> asthma.

(more technical discussion here)

I'm currently on a combination of asthma drugs and antihistamines, both of which attack a late part of this chain reaction.   In contrast, Xolair addresses the very first link in the chain, blocking production IGE. histamine release, no allergies, no allergic asthma.   Brilliant.

It really is a cool wonder drug (if it works...), without the side effects associated with antihistamines and asthma meds. And yet, it's not in wide use - the obvious question is: why not?

Simple - it's pretty expensive.  On average, about $1000 a shot.  And it's also a bit inconvenient to get the shot - due to a very-very-small-but-not-nonexistent risk of anaphylactic shock, one has to hang out at the doctor's office for a few hours after each shot.  (but at least there's wi-fi).  And it doesn't always work.

But it does work often, eliminating the need for all the other drugs.  It's worth a shot (literally).  What else are health savings accounts for?


Monday: In the morning, 6.5 easy to the gym (8:55), upper body strengthwork and core, and then 1.5 easy home (8:54) plus drills.  Foam rolling at night.

: In the morning, 11 miles including a workout of 6x800 in 3:01, 3:00, 2:58, 2:58, 2:56, 2:52.  Followed with injury prevention work.  Foam roller at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 8 miles easy (8:48) to yoga, yoga, and then another 4 miles (8:54), followed by drills and strides.  Massage at night.

Thursday: In the morning, upper body weights/core and 10 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 11 miles including a track workout of 2x3200m in 12:46 (6:26/6:20) and 12:35 (6:20/6:15).  Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:  In the morning, 10 miles very easy (9:07) with drills and strides.  Late that morning I did upper body weights plus core and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling in the evening.

Sunday: In the morning, 14 miles progressive, split as first 3 at 9:17, next 6 at 7:53, last 5 at 6:57.  Later did 4 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling in the evening.

1 comment:

  1. I hope the Xolair works for you. Sometimes patients have really amazing relief! And interesting thoughts about PED use. I am SUCH a rule-follower that that sort of justification would never occur to me. I'm all about the black-and-white! But I can see how one could sort of slip into it. People are good about explaining their actions away.