Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

The first official week of training is in the book, friends!! And it was quite an eventful week!

Mondays I’ve marked cross-training days and I hit my local rec center for 30 minutes on the bike (7.25 miles). They’re pretty fancy bikes than what I’ve used before; each one has a big screen. I watched a show on VH1 that was highly entertaining –Love & Hip Hop in Atlanta. I’ve never seen or heard of this show nor knew anyone on it, but boy, those 30 minutes flew by jaja!! I don’t watch a lot of t.v. unless it’s Mickey Mouse Club House, Elmo, or sports. 🙂

I also did some core, back, and arm videos but in the comfort of my own home and not watching Love & Hip Hop lol!

Tuesday I met up with my running buddies at a local running store for a quick 3 miler. And it was quick! Despite the heat (and humidity!) I was able to pull out a fast (for me) negative split run.

How's that for humidity Kristina? ;)

How’s that for humidity Kristina? 😉

I was so freaking happy (and shocked) to see that last mile split! I didn’t feel completely dead either lol!

My plan had 4 miles on the schedule but I was okay with this quick 3.

Wednesday also had 4 miles on the schedule and I met up with my run club to get ‘er done. I was into mile 2 when a familiar sensation starting creeping up from my hands.

I was getting another allergic reaction.

If you’re a new reader, or haven’t heard yet lol, I experience what’s called Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis–basically, I’m allergic to exercise. I don’t have an attack each time I work out, but this was the second time in as many weeks it’s happened and this particular one was pretty bad.

I was 2 miles out from my car and knew I didn’t have much time before it (hives, itching, swelling) would begin to spread. One of my running buddies offered to run and get my car; I usually have about a 15 minute or so window before shit gets real. I knew it’d be close.

After a few minutes though, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to drive myself home and overdose on Benedryl (I stupidly didn’t have any on me or my EPI pen). So, I called my husband.

I was about a 10 minute drive from home and I had already been waiting for about 10, so when he finally found me, I was a hot itchy, red mess. I was trying hard not to scratch my scalp and skin off.

He had brought the goods and I immediately downed some Benedryl. I opted not to use my EPI pen as I can usually control the attack with medicine (and I’d avoid another ER visit).

The thing is, I get so frustrated that we can’t pin point what causes this thing. It doesn’t happen all the time, it doesn’t happen only outdoors (once was on a treadmill), and I don’t do anything out of the ordinary that could attribute to an attack. After the second time this happened, I started keeping a journal where I record everything–what I ate that day, what times, what I wore, products I used–everything, so I can try and find some commonality. But alas….

And when time goes by where I don’t get an attack, I become complacent with carrying my medicine and EPI pen. I know it’s dumb on my part but ….

A while back, my doctor suggested I take a Claritin before runs and Benedryl for if I sense an attack coming, so that’s what I do before runs (before complacency sets in) and what I’ve been doing after Wednesday’s fiasco.

I had 5 miles scheduled for Thursday morning and my husband left it up to me whether or not I’d do them.

I had to.

I just couldn’t let fear keep me from running. I know that it can happen but I also can’t really control it. I can try and prevent it–with taking a Claritin pill before I run–but even then, I don’t know if that really is preventative or if it was simply a run with no attack. Regardless, I knew I wanted to prove to myself that I wouldn’t let the anxiety of whether or not it would happen keep my from running.

So I got those 5 miles done.

Fight run.

Fight run.

Friday was a rest day thank goodness and it was also date night! My husband and I treated ourselves to a night out and we decided to do something we love but hadn’t done in a long time: bowling!!!

We are super competitive against each other so we take any form of sport we play seriously lol. He was going down!!

Pretty proud of my 170 :)

Pretty proud of my 170 🙂

And yup, yours truly came out on top!

Saturday I woke up so sore from the previous night’s bowling lol, but I made it out the door for my long run. It was pretty uneventful, which is good in my case. I made sure to start off slow and try to keep a steady pace throughout. After about mile 4, I felt myself settle in at a 9:45ish pace and that pleased me.

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Sunday was a rest day and we took the kids to see Sesame Street Live 😀

Me and my bestie <3

Me and my bestie ❤

I was really productive this week besides my running by doing a lot of strength training videos at home. I did a few each day. I also met my 10k Steps Everyday in June Challenge 6 out of the 7 days (I like to give myself one rest day) and ended the week with a cumulative 49.26 miles–19.02 of them running.

Overall, very happy with the first week of training. Now, I’m looking forward to a new week aaaaand this:

Screenshot_2015-06-15-09-53-30-1Hope everyone has a great week!!! ❤ , Helly

–Have you ever heard of Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis?
Anything you allergic to?

–Do you like bowling? Think you could beat me? 😉

–Favorite Sesame Street character? (We’re team Elmo because my son is obsessed. Although I’m a little partial to Cooke Monster because…duh…)

 

Is it really possible I’m allergic to running? (Another ER visit)

Monday I was all set to go on my 6 miler tempo run. I had had a rather long day with my kids and was anxiously waiting for my husband to get home so I could finally escape run. Thankfully, he came home early and we had a quick chat on whether I should run in our neighborhood or go to the gym. The heat at 6 in the evening was awful and coupled with humidity (and hot wind), it just didn’t seem at all pleasant–so to the gym I went.

I started with an uneventful warm up and at mile 2 picked up the pace. I was sweating profusely but feeling good. If you’ve been following my running journey, then you know that I vary rarely listen to music when I run. I sometimes pull out the headphones when I’m on the treadmill though and today was one of those days. I was jamming out to a Shakira station on Pandora and in a serious running groove. When all of a sudden…..my palms starting itching.

I knew instantly what was happening. I tried to ignore it and wish it away but by the time I got to mile 4 I knew it was only going to get worse.

I was having another allergic reaction.

A million thoughts raced through my mind. What could have caused it? I’m inside for crying out loud! On a treadmill!

The first time this happened, I was running in my neighborhood and thought it could have been some flowers, trees, or bushes I’d passed. I had also eaten right before running and we all thought maybe it was that as well.

But this time, I was at the gym. I had not eaten before exercising. I wasn’t wearing anything that I wore previously. What. Could. It. Be?

I cut the run short at 4.5 miles and collected my belongings. I knew I had enough time to get home.

bbb

 

I called my husband on my way to let him know what was going on. We thought about whether I should head straight to the ER or go home. I decided to go home first and when my husband saw me, he said it was definitely a hospital worthy visit. I’ll spare you the head shot but my arms and legs were covered in hives.

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Interestingly, I looked way worse the first time. My face was a replica of Will Smith’s allergic reaction in the movie Hitch and my entire body from head to toe was swollen and red.

But in this most recent episode, I felt much, much worse on the inside. My brain felt like it was swelling. That’s what was scaring me the most. There was just an intense pressure in my head that wouldn’t cease.

I drove myself to the hospital (my kids were already in bed) and was checked in pretty quickly despite the Emergency Room being extremely crowded. I was given steroids and Benedryl and they worked almost immediately. The swelling went down, the itching stopped, and my head felt a lot better.

But I was still with no answers. No idea what could have caused it. I plan on seeing an allergist (I foolishly didn’t see one the first time) in the hopes we can find some clues. In the meantime, I have to continue running with my EPI pen and make sure I respond quick to the symptoms. At least I know when it’s happening.

I just hate that I have no idea what triggers it.

I don’t want to run in fear. I don’t want my husband to stress out whenever I leave for a run. I don’t want to stop running.

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Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis—bah humbug!!

Thanks for listening and letting me vent. ❤

–Doesn’t being allergic to running sound awful??

–Tell me something positive that’s been happening in your running world 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Shamrock Shuffle 5k Recap and Allergy Update

First, HAPPY St. Patrick’s Day!!

So, I wasn’t sure whether to run my run club’s annual Shamrock Shuffle 5k yesterday. It was noncompetitive, unclipped, and just something fun to get all of us together. I figured, why not? I knew I didn’t want to be scared away from running after what happened on Friday so I felt this was a good way to ease back in. My husband was coming along and that made me feel a lot better about my decision.

It was an absolute perfect weather day. I mean, I was in a tank and shorts. (Sorry east coasters!) I’m not a dress up person when it comes to fun runs–I just can’t deal with unneeded accessories while I run lol. I do however, go all out during school dress up days! So I was just in some Swirlgear attire that had a hint of green.

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I had my SPIbelt with my new Epi Pen with me and headed out. I had no idea what pace I was going although I had started my watch. I decided to not look or worry about it and just enjoy the run as best as I could.

The first mile beeped but I kept going. I was running with a run club friend and we were chatting the entire way. It was such a leisurely run that before I knew I it, we were done.

I stopped my watch and took my first look:

32:50
10:36/mile

I was not the least bit phased or concerned. All I wanted was to run and get some of the jitters out and this was the perfect opportunity to do it.

Since my last post describing what happened this past Friday, a lot of running friends have reached out and shared their own running allergy experiences. After doing some of my own research and hearing the stories of these runners (especially my buddy For The Love of Running), I think it’s the closest thing I can explain what happened is what’s called an Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis. This is a good article describing what it it and how it happens. There are different causes, but what I think triggered mine was eating and then running immediately after. I’ve done this before (I know, bad!) so I still think it’s strange but it’s the only thing that makes sense. I did absolutely nothing different during the run, did not wear anything new, did not eat anything different. I’m simply at a loss.

I did not feel a hint of what I felt on Friday during the Shamrock Shuffle 5k.

I’ll be seeing an allergist soon to try and get some answers. In the meantime, I want to continue running and not let what happened throw me off of what I’ve got going on.

–Did you race this weekend?

–How was your running week last week?