Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The 12:00/Mile Allergy

So, I couldn’t hold back another week and started running today. But it was all in good measure, and maybe a little too slow to start.

Because I’m still being a weather wimp, I went to the rec. center track (besides, my membership needs to be worth its while; I have all winter to run in the cold) and warmed up with a 15-minute/1-mile walk. Not only did the walk make for a good pre-warm-up, but stretched out my feet and helped me gauge how my achey and fatted bones felt today. All good so far—even if I could feel the gravity of three days’ worth of binging!

Then I took off for a slow warm-up. I generally don’t give myself targeted times for a slow warm-up (12:00/mile today, which is 2:00/lap), but my propensity for running at too high intensity has proven uncontrollable in the past. And I just didn’t want to break my leg today.

Exercise Induced AnaphylaxisAs usual, I had poor speed control in the first half lap (I was just too excited!) before finally nailing the 12:00 pace by the end of lap two. The only problem: my legs broke out into hives! It’s been years since I’ve experienced what I assume to be slight exercise-induced anaphylaxis. My legs from thigh to calf were itchy red and slightly swollen. Thankfully I had no allergy symptoms elsewhere—running a warm-up isn’t the best time/place to get swollen air passages. Years ago I would get hives when I ran, but I always figured it was the shock on running that threw them for an allergic loop. It was their way of not-so-quietly saying, WTF?

Here I am, however, a year into doing some not-so-bad training, and I’m breaking out into hives? Argh! Lucky for us all, I’m as stubborn as they get. If a stress fracture didn’t stop me from running, how could a few blisteringly itchy hives? (Warning, kids: don’t try this idiocy at home.) I know these types of “attacks” are often related to not exercising for several days, but where was this outbreak when I took a month off in October? And most of November? My cross-training has been pretty steady all along, so I just chalk it up to the randomness and unpredictability of EIA.

Luckier still: the hives went away two laps into my second mile. After the 12:00 warm-up, I did a 3-mile set, which included three more consecutive miles at 10:00, 9:00 and 10:00 paces. I allowed myself the 9:00 miles as a reward. It had nothing to do with needing to pass other people on the track; it was just a pat on the back for being able to pace myself. Honestly! It felt great to stretch my legs and run at a comfortable pace for the first time in too long. I miss my running.

Isn’t it strange, though, that the hives disappeared almost immediately after I picked up my pace? Sure, the EIA or whatever else it was could have been burned away by my sensible warm-up run, but I think I’m really just allergic to the 12:00 mile. My body apparently just doesn’t like it (maybe it prefers stress fractures; who knows!).

Perhaps my legs were just protesting—how dare I make them run after I ate so many pastries, cakes, tarts and tortes?

When I think of the past three days, however, I realize that if nothing else I did make good on my goal of eating by color: I had my red flavanoids in red velvet cupcakes, orange in the carmelized sugar-topped dobos torte, yellow in the creamy center of an éclair, green in the holiday-colored melted chocolate drizzled on baked goods, and blue from blueberries topping a creamy orange dreamsicle cake. Taste that rainbow, baby! Sounds like a balanced diet in anti-oxidants to me. No wonder my body has become allergic to running.


IM Able said...

I've never even HEARD of that before -- how crazy! Good to know it went away quickly and didn't hit el lungo. If it happens in a race, just say they're your cheetah marks!

TrainingtoTri said...

Wow I have never heard of that before. Crazy! I get seriously itchy and uncomfortable after swimming, it's the worst. I feel like bugs are trying to get out of my skin, I think I have a mild allergy to chlorine? That's my webmd dignosis at least.

Glad you were able to get in a steady run.

triguyjt said...

hey- didn't you say you would begin running on january first..and so, I conclude, after much thought, (and no caffeine) that you jumped the gun and so your legs said, in so many words..."here, deal with these, sister".
Thats my theory and I'm sticking too it. good job on the running