When you are an runner with an inflammatory disease (asthma, RA, Crohn’s, etc) you (eventually) accept your limitations or accept the consequences of going into the hospital (or death). In my case, I am incredibly lucky that I have a supportive pulmonary doc that enables my running rather than put me in a bubble. While she will draw the line occasionally (see: Spartan Races) overall she supports me.
What does this have to do with running? When you do any kind of workout you create micro tears in your muscles which then get inflamed in order to heal them. (See video here) The problem is when your body is already inflamed working out has a tendency to make your disease worse. It’s a vicious circle. The trick is finding the balance between working out to improve and your disease.
This week I had a very frank discussion with the Wonder Woman of PT. We’ve been working on fixing some underlying chronic physical issues which. We’ve made so much progress, but I have been noticing as I’ve been ramping up my training for Twisted Fork that I’m already having some pretty massive swelling going on. I’m not even to the hard weeks yet. She’s not your typical PT. She understands the impact of my asthma (inflammation) and allergy shots (more inflammation) combined with the increased impact from training (even more inflammation). Notice a trend here?
I made her promise me that as we go along that if I start breaking down (beyond the normal level) that could potentially impact my long term running that she would tell me. The last thing that I want is to sacrifice my long term running for the short term goal of the race. She wholeheartedly agreed. We then made some changes to my training plan enabling me to swap out one day a week of running for either swimming (resistance/cardio) and spin (speed work). The hope is that if we swap one day of running that we might be able to continue to push training without actually increasing the inflammation in my body.
While I will always envy those people who can throw down massive miles week after week and never experience any issues I know how incredibly lucky I am. I hold every single mile close. I am an asthmatic trail runner. That I will be forever proud of.