I haven’t run since the triathlon almost two week ago. My running shoes are placed by my front door, but a few things are stopping me from heading outdoors and hitting the pavement. My horrible plantar fasciitis is back, however, this time, it’s taken over my left foot now—I really feel doomed! This painful injury not only makes running impossible, but walking for longer than a few minutes is achy too. I'm icing my feet and waiting for them to get better, but I'm hitting the gym to do something, anything, tonight. On top of that, at the finish of my triathlon I found out that I’ve got something called exercise-induced asthma. What? Asthma?! Me? It seems like a dark sentence to be given to someone who loves running and working out. Besides, I’m healthy, so how could I possibly have something like this? If you aren’t familiar with exercise-induced asthma, I’ll tell you what this is.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the breathing passages of your lungs—most people that you know with asthma have wheezing attacks and need an inhaler to clear their passageways to be able to breathe easier. These attacks are triggered by one of the symptoms, usually aliments in the air, such as pollution, smoke, vapors, or dust. Unfortunately, the trigger for someone who has exercise-induced asthma, would be exercising—sounds so ironic doesn’t it? Why would exercising, which is good for your body, prevent something in your body from working properly? What happens with exercise-induced asthma, like in my case, is that I’m sensitive to changes in the temperatures of my environment, mostly humidity—so a really hot day (like the ones we’ve been experiencing) are the worst kinds of days for me to be running outdoors. The contrast between the air in my lungs and the dry air that I’m breathing in causes a constant, nagging cough as I work out. Coughing while I run has always been the norm for me, but it was annoying, and I never really thought more of it. Until the day of my triathlon (in 95 degree weather) when I crossed the finish line...stopped running...and couldn’t breathe at all.
Although I left this bit out in my triathlon rundown, I thought it’d be important to mention separately. When this happened on race day I had to see a doctor immediately (most injuries that day were due to the heat, and someone even died, so they took everything very seriously!). Imagine finishing a 3-hour race, holding your medal proud, and doctors swarming you when you're gasping for air? They asked me all types of questions, and the most frustrating of them all, “Do you smoke?” totally hit the wrong chord. “I just ran a 3-hour race and you’re asking me if I smoke?” I angrily stammered back at them. I work hard to be healthy and fit and it’s frustrating that someone would think I’d ruin all that by smoking cigarettes (which I'm so against!). After I was able to breathe properly again, the doc on site informed me that exercise-induced asthma was indeed what I had.
Needless to say, this is why my sneakers sit by the front door and it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve run. I’m planning on swimming tonight and going back to my routines and getting in top shape for my wedding in 6 months! But, an inhaler I'm getting will help me in these conditions—one chug of air and I'll be good to go for any run! If you’ve experienced anything like I did, and think you could have exercise-induced asthma as well—see your doctor! Dont let anything stop you from being the best athlete you can be!