9K training walk: lungs, legs and hydration = less than stellar.

Things are looking a bit different around here!  I won a copy of Standard Theme for WordPress by 8BIT from Chris from Canada, so thank you to both parties of that awesome partnership!  I am in LOVE with Standard Theme so far! Next on the round of thank-yous is my friend Andy Darnell (also a Standard Theme user) for pointing me in the direction of Pixlr so I could make that snazzy header up there. I’ve been without Photoshop since I got my Mac over a year ago, and was doing limited projects using trial versions (I am a student, read: I am cheap). So there we go! Site looks different thanks to a bunch of awesome people!

Yesterday Danielle and I did a long training walk in preparation for the Run for Diabetes on Monday. I will be completely honest and say that this was one of the hardest walks I have done, and I am hoping things go smoother on Monday. For the first two kilometers, I had some pretty bad pain in what i’m going to assume was my tibialis anterior on both the right and left shins and some of the flexors of my right foot. I’m really unsure what the deal was, and I am really hoping that it doesn’t resurface on race day. I stretched it out the best I could around the 2K mark, and it didn’t bug me too much more for the next 7K.  I obviously have some biomechanical oddities going on here with the discrepancy between my right and left legs, but it should really be nothing I haven’t adapted for by this point in my life.  Kilometres 3 through 5 were fine.

Kilometres 5-9 were brutal right up to the end, and I am hoping that there’s enough adrenaline coursing through me on Monday to have a slight beneficial effect. Once I hit 5-plus K/an hour-ish (slow? yes.) my lungs simply don’t feel okay anymore, and from kilometers 5-9 I felt like my breathing was just all screwed up [I even stopped at one point to see if that would help get things back in check]. This could be caused by a variety of things (more demand on my muscles = increased respiratory rate = increased inhalation of particulate matter in the air [aka “air crap”]; increased drying-out of the airways [obviously NOT helped by any degree of dehydration, which I was experiencing yesterday] . . . the list goes on). So, of course, I’m always trying to figure out what’s going on inside my lungs and how I can possibly mitigate it on Monday. I shot off a quick what gives! e-mail to my friend Steve, who’s a respiratory therapist who has severe asthma, and is an all around badass[matic], explaining the experience to him. Within this sentence conveys one of the many reasons this man is among my favourite people:

Hi Ms Lovely,

I think you’re having these problems because you’re an ASTHMATIC.

Damn it!

So, yeah, I just about killed myself laughing at his response. (And thanked him for the diagnosis.) He went on to say that it’s probably some degree of air-trapping caused by the prolonged exertion. [To get a better idea of what air-trapping is, take a deep breath and exhale only half of it. Inhale again on top of the air that’s stuck in your lungs. Repeat. That. Or go read Steve’s post about it.]

Anyways, so kilometers 5-9 included taking the inhaler multiple times to take the edge off of the dyspnea. It’s not preferable, and obviously I wasn’t stopping to take the Ventolin it’s not like I was giving my lungs a break to let it get in there and start working before continuing the assault. However, using the inhaler 3 times in 4 kilometers [six puffs — two of those right at the end] may have helped fend off any delayed stuff and certainly helped at least a bit during that last expanse of time on the trail.

So what am I going to do differently race day?

  • Pre-medicate with a neb treatment as opposed to 4 puffs of the inhaler. Getting the bronchodilators where they need to go is super important.
  • Somewhat prophylactically take the inhaler immediately when I start having issues breathing, not letting them escalate any. Will it help? Who knows.
  • Light warm up with some stretching pre-race time-dependent.
  • Carbs/protein, little if any fat to slow down the digestion thing. I’ve got some Gatorade Prime chews [and have fingers crossed for some free Gu!]
  • H-y-d-r-a-t-e.

The last one is important. I was definitely experiencing some dehydration during this walk, and that is obviously not performance enhancing.

And is likely the reason that the consumption of 1 litre (aka 32 ounces) of fluid followed within the next half hour at the Starbucks we ended up at, and then I didn’t feel awesome.

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Really, I couldn’t loose too much fluid in an two hours and fifteen minutes, right?

Apparently my body is not so cool with ingesting that much fluid at one time. But, I mean, it otherwise felt awesome to be drinking cold things [even after a refill in an en-route hotel bathroom, the water in the Dasani bottle was not cold. And also, screw the myth that cold water isn’t good for your body–about 12 seconds on Google with the more reputable sites will tell you otherwise.] [Also I got a wicked headache last night. Dehydration induced? Possibly. Things i only figure out in retrospect.] [Bracket ;).]

So I learned some stuff. Also I iced my legs for the first time ever [both anterior/posterior and some slight lateral], and they actually don’t hurt basically at all today, though they feel a little tired, so there is something to be said for that. Exciting. #kinwin. Etcetera.

Finally, THANK YOU to everybody who has chosen to give generously and support the Canadian Diabetes Association through my fundraising page! I set that $200 fundraising goal feeling ambitious, and many of my amazing friends stepped up to the plate right away. Whether the contributions were simply to support my efforts or from a deep passion for the amazing work the Canadian Diabetes Association does for Canadians with diabetes, I am thankful that the money goes to support research and care of people with diabetes in Canada. The fun I’ll have at the walk is a bonus.

how not to train + accountability

How not to train:

  1. Miss a month of workouts for no good reason. Sometimes there are reasons. Sometimes there are stupid reasons, but those are still reasons. Kind of. No reason at all, though, is the stupidest reason of all to miss an entire month of workouts. And, from July 18th to August 18th, I did just that.
  2. Register for a race. Forget to use that race as motivation. I go into so many races with the mindset that I am going to rock training for the race. That I am going to train to be able to do the race distance comfortably, rather than dragging myself across the finish line.
  3. Let previous goals slip.
    1. Nutrition is a goal that I’ve been trying to build on slowly, or else I know I overwhelm myself. Part of nutrition is not only ensuring I’m eating proper things, but now includes that damn iron supplement that makes me feel yucky. However, in order for me to be able to exercise properly, my body needs to be able to transport oxygen to my muscles. And what’s responsible for that? Hemoglobin. Iron. Boom.
    2. Asthma. I am good at taking care of my asthma when it needs to be taken care of. I’m good at the morning and evening inhalers. I am not so good at doing the evening inhalers on time on weekdays, or the morning inhalers on time on weekends. This is not a huge deal, but it DOES have an impact on how I feel in those spans of time. I am also not doing so well at taking my Atrovent regularly. I need to get it in my head that when I am exercising, i need to be taking my Atrovent four times a day so that I feel good and want to keep doing it.
    3. Regular training. I need to once again focus on the fact that anything is better than nothing. If take half an hour and slide a few kilometers in, if I take ten minutes and do some yoga, if I take 3 minutes and do some push-ups. It all adds up.
    4. Active choices. I got a new bike in the Spring. Part of the hope with the new bike was that I would ride to/from work. I didn’t think that goal through well, as it worked fine in the spring but when summer hit I realized getting to work all sweaty and gross would not be awesome. Once again, that is only an excuse, as
  4. Make a training plan–ignore it. I made a beautiful, colour coded, training plan for this race. Had I followed it, I would have built up to 10K slowly and easily over about six to eight weeks. Instead? I have a passionately-exercising binge for the last two weeks following the race. If nothing else, I hope this is getting me back in the groove for when school starts again.
  5. Be unaccountable. During the July/August exercise lapse, I probably told myself at least three times a week I am going to exercise today. I didn’t. I did not make the choice to hold myself accountable to my decision by putting that decision into action. The hardest part of exercise is often putting on my shoes and getting out the door/on the trampoline/to the gym.

I have an amazing, beautiful community of people around me to help keep me accountable. However, I have to rely on myself, and I have to let this amazing community know what my ambitions are so that they can hold me accountable. Even if I simply tweet my plans to work out, it is that much harder to back out of those plans because I know that somebody read it, and later that night somebody could shoot me an @ reply saying: “Hey, how was your workout today?” — “I didn’t work out” is an awkward answer. Making an excuse is an awkward answer. “It was awesome, I felt so much better after!” is not an awkward answer. Even if I am only going out for a ten minute walk, even if that does not spill into longer than ten minutes, I can almost guarantee that even if it is short, it will still be sweet, and I will still feel better after.

Race training has not gone well. That does not mean the race will not go well. So long as I don’t get as sick as I did following my last 10K, I am okay (two years ago I did my first 10K and I had a ridiculous asthma flare that evening, and had I not been fortunate to have a nebulizer at home would have required intervention, read: an ER visit. Put that in the awkward category!). Tuesday I did a 7K training walk, needed my inhaler at about 5.5K and again when I finished, but had few residual symptoms. I am hoping this is the case on race day pending I post-medicate as well. Mostly, though, I know I can handle the asthma. I just need a better idea of how I’ll handle the rest of the distance that I know my body is not adequately prepared for because of being a master in How Not to Train.

The ultimate in accountability though is having a training partner to get out on those long walks with. Because it’s not like you can get lazy and go home early when someone is out there slogging through that same distance with you. Tomorrow is practice 10K day, and I am going to accomplish that with Danielle.  One week until race day.

I’ve rocked the fundraising. I’ve kicked up the training in the last week. I’ve gotten my head in the game. Now I’ve just gotta get myself out there and make it happen.

the status of my thyroid, education, travel plans, racing . . . and a guitar pick

Here is another one of those iamtheworstbloggereveritsbeenforeverandileftyouallwithacliffhangerohmygod posts. Now that we have that over with . . .

Appointment update. I saw the doctor on Monday. My iron is way lower than it should be, so I am supplementing with essentially as much as my body can tolerate [which is essentially the nice way of saying: take as much as you can because this is not good, a nutritional re-vamp is not enough alone, lady. Fine then. At least chocolate milk has iron in it?]

As for the thyroid, my TSH [thyroid stimulating hormone] is borderline high. So when we go re-test the iron in August, we will re-test the thyroid. Essentially, and it is kind of confusing, high TSH = lower thyroid hormone production; low TSH = high thyroid hormone production. So there you go.] The short story is that while I do not fully have hypothyroidism yet, however, it could go either way: best case, it corrects itself [this is what the internet tells me might happen, so I am not overly optimistic], otherwise, my thyroid hormone production will keep dropping, therefore my TSH will keep going up, and I will have hypothyroidism. So it is the game of wait-and-see, which kind of sucks more than just getting the diagnosis over with.

School update. So alongside this, I am also failing anatomy. I’ve been doing twice-weekly tutoring sessions with my friend/now-coworker Danielle and making flash cards and filling out charts, and all that supposed goodness. There is just so much stuff to remember, and this class is hard. I have five days left, so fingers crossed I make it through this and don’t have to repeat come Fall. I filled out eight pages of muscle charts today, and there is more to come, plus a tutoring session tomorrow. I am so close, but so far from being close enough. I’ve had so many of these close calls with dumb classes this year, like Principles of Coaching, but this is by far the closest aside from Intro Kinesiology where I failed pretty hard early on and then pulled myself up to a B. So there is hope to pass, but I’m just riding it out and not holding my breath on anything. i’m working hard, but it’s just nerve-wracking to have 50% of my grade riding on a 27-hour span of time. Three. More. Days.

Also thanks to studying, I’ve eaten like a third of a pan of rice krispy cake today [my mom put chocolate chips in it. Who can resist chocolate chips?]. And likewise have gotten no exercise.

QUEBEC. The Asthma Society of Canada booked my flight to Quebec City for August. I am so amped. Except I need to probably learn some French beforehand. it’s going to be a whirlwind trip, as I will be in-and-out of Quebec City in 33 hours and back home in just over 40. Or something. [I’m bad at math at the best of times and it’s currently 12:10 AM.]

Race training. And, another exciting bit! As soon as this exam is over, I’m kicking up the training for the Canadian Diabetes Association 10K walk in September! Wanna support me in the race and support Canadians living with diabetes? Hit up my fundraising page! Live in my area and want to race with us? Shoot me an e-mail.  I’ve got hopes to get “team” shirts made, and hopes to rock a blue tutu on race day!  With props to Jay, we’re going to be called Good Things Run on Insulin, and it’s going to kick ass.

Speaking of kicking ass . . . This is me on Friday. Rocking my You Can Do This Project t-shirt, kids’ scarves [one of which happened to be blue for Blue Friday ;)] and my sweet new ID necklace from Lauren’s Hope! :] [To follow up on a previous entry, I am not continuing my MedicAlert membership after August. They offered to decrease my membership fee from $5 to $4 a month, but why should I when that doesn’t help anybody but me? i’ll be rocking my cool Lauren’s Hope ID, hunting down an epic interchangable bracelet, and sporting some Road IDs [I can get multiple Road IDs for the same price as a MedicAlert sportband. Boooom!]  Anyway, oh my goodness, look how kick ass this necklace is!

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back home, back to training (and screwing it up)

It’s not a new thing, but I have some kind of weird North Dakota Lungs phenomenon going on, ever since a couple months before I was actually diagnosed with asthma in 2008, in which every time I go to North Dakota my asthma starts flaring up [what’s the deal with that?  I was FINE in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.  It’s always friggen North Dakota], I got out for a walk today with Sam.  My mantra is slowly becoming “Well, if I already don’t feel good, might as well go out.”  Yeah, it wasn’t the best, but it’s been worse.

I had a 7K on my training schedule, but cut it down to a measly 4.2 because 1) I screwed up my ankle, and 2) I got iced coffee on my two-day-old white UnderArmour shirt.  These things have to be dealt with, people. Mostly new shirts.  Proof I shouldn’t be getting iced coffee during a workout, I suppose.  Went home pretty rapidly after that so I could get it in water.  Screwing up my ankle was just a stupid move on my part.

So Sam and I set out with a camera, ready to strike some poses and have some fun on our walk.  This ended in craziness where we were jumping off picnic tables (it was awesome).

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I landed wrong AND hard on my left ankle.  It’s minor, I’ve got it wrapped right now and am going to tape it in the morning.  I’ll be icing.  Don’t want this getting in my way and think it’ll be better in a couple days, but taking precautions.  My left side is my strong side and takes a lot of the work thanks to my left leg being significantly longer than my right leg, it overcompensates.  Also I was jumping in non-proper athletic/jumping shoes.  Read: Converse.

I’m doing another measly four kilometers tomorrow [going to walk to work and add a block or so somewhere].  The 7 has been moved to Thursday.  And it will happen then, either before or after school, which starts on Wednesday [on which day I work 7:30-9 and then will find myself stuck in class until 8:30 pm, so unless I figure out a non-peak time to hit the gym, will be a rest day forever and ever amen.]

slowest ever 5K

After a totally fine day breathing, my lungs decided to flip gears for the night — of course, right before my 5K training walk today, right? I’m walking my second 10K race on September 24th, and unlike last year, I kind of want to train for it this time. Make myself feel more like the kinesiology student that I am. I’ve been working out lately with relatively little issue in the way of my asthma [which is much more touchy and frustrating than I ever would have imagined when I was diagnosed.]

So I slept off-and-on and found myself wandering around the house for an inhaler at 2:26 am. Who can really be bothered to find their inhaler that is around their bed in the dark when they know where the one in the kitchen is? And so it continued like that, waking up randomly, needing the inhaler again at 5:45. By 9 AM I was tired of fighting it and did a breathing treatment and then attempted to go on with my day. You know, and do a 5K at 11:30. Hey, I already feel bad, might as well just go, right?

Danielle and I kinda slowly meandered our way around for 5K. It took us nearly an hour and fifteen minutes — completely the fault of my lungs. But, hey, it’s done. We had a good talk. Chased it with a breathing treatment and a freezie [every summer I work at a daycare, I get addicted to freezies. Happened in ’09, happened again this year], then some Starbucks a few hours later. If I was by myself, it would have been so much harder. So, there’s definitely something for being on a “team” of sorts — so far, having a training partner has been awesome.

I’m crazy tired now and it’s not even 6 PM, but hey, at least I didn’t just waste another day! As irony would have it, the MedicAlert bracelet I ordered last week arrived today — with perfect timing in the ironic way of this being the worst breathing days I’ve had in about two months [dude, so I’m not cured? Dang it], but also that I’m off to Chicago and Minneapolis next week (and hoping this flare breaks before then!)

I’m hoping I don’t have to fight my lungs all week, but either way I’m looking forward to getting back on the road!