Tag Archives: asthma

What’s Next?!?

6 Jun

Since Boston, I have been thinking a lot about what’s next for me.

As everyone that knows me could attest – I love to run! So obviously running would is still a major part of my life. But how much running in my life is still TBD.

For the last couple years, I have been dealing with some hip/butt pain. The longer it is has gone on, the more it has affected other parts of my body. My hamstring has been hurting, and recently my foot has been hurting. It is crazy how everything is connected. After Boston, I decided it was time to do something about it. So I bit the bullet and went to therapy.

Therapy sucks. A lot. But it is making a difference. Each week, I feel stronger and less pain. The biggest obstacle for me is actually doing the exercises they give me. As I crawl in bed every night I remember, “crap! I didn’t do those dumb exercises”. So I pull my body back out of bed and get to work. My therapist told me I can still run and workout – which is awesome! But I need to be careful and not run as much or as hard.

I love that little electronic thing. Might have to go on my Christmas list!!!

I love that little electronic thing. Might have to go on my Christmas list!!!

Roll and drink. Roll and drink. You get the picture.

Roll and drink. Roll and drink. You get the picture.

Another big thing I have been dealing with is my asthma. It has always been there, but the last year it just seems to get worse. When I was talking to my Dr. about the issue I realized that in NYC I used my inhaler 4 times…at 4 hits each time. TOO MUCH. Then in Boston I added up that I used the darn thing 6 times…4 hits each time. WAY TOO MUCH. I hate admitting that asthma is a problem. But I recently realized that I must treat it like an injury. And if I don’t take care of it, it will also never get better. My Dr. put me back on every day meds for it, and it forcing me to take my inhaler every day, and every time I run, to see how much it makes a difference. I hate the idea of this, but like PT – it is something that needs to be done.

When I started thinking about my fall marathon, I realized after looking at a calendar I would have to start training in a month. I just didn’t feel like a month was enough time for me to heal my body, get stronger, and get healthier.

I decided that an early fall marathon would be out of the picture this year, and instead I will run a half. The half I will be racing is the KC Half Marathon. And I will finally be running as a Girls on the Run Soulmate! I am so excited for this adventure and to raise money for a cause I believe in so much. I also love the KC half, and couldn’t imagine not running it. Depending on how I feel this summer, I might try to break my 1:34 PR (finally!!).

As for a Fall full marathon…right now it is looking like a December race. As soon as my friends pull the trigger on the St. Judes Memphis marathon, I am in too! A race in December allows me to hold off on hard training until late summer, and really take care of my body.

This summer, I still plan to run 20-30 miles a week. But I will mainly be focusing on strengthening my body and getting healthy. I need this booty pain to subside and the breathing crap to heal. And the only way for that to happen is for me to focus on my therapy and my health. I will be doing tons of stretching and strength this summer, and a little cross training too! I will also follow Doctor’s orders and take all the medicine she tells me to…whether I like it or not.

Biking will be part of my cross training! Thanks for the awesome book Runners World!

Biking will be part of my cross training! Thanks for the awesome book Runners World!

I am excited to see how these things will impact my running performance and where my marathon time could possibly go if I decide the December race is for me!

Like I said – I will still run. And my next race is tomorrow at Hospital Hill – my other favorite KC race!! I will be running for fun, but still hope to push it a bit. After Hospital Hill my running schedule is pretty darn free. Which makes me happy…because I know it’s what’s best.

Are you prepping for any races this summer or fall? Have you dealt with an injury before that forced you to tone down the training?

Xo,
Ali

Dallas Marathon Recap – Running Because I LOVE it

10 Jan

Wow, I can’t believe that it has been over a month since I ran the Dallas Marathon, and that I still haven’t written my recap! Usually I am so prompt, but with this one, I have been procrastinating. However I procrastinate no more….here it is!

When I signed up for Dallas after the NYC fiasco, I was excited. I also had a good feeling about it. I had ran the race before, and felt that I knew what to expect. All I needed to do for this race was stay healthy and injury free. Obviously I had to keep up my running as well, but I knew that wouldn’t be a problem!

Staying injury free prior to the race was not an issue, but staying healthy was. I got sick the week before the race with horrible respiratory crap, and with my asthma it was a nightmare situation. I tried everything I could to stay positive for the race and not let the illness affect me. I took drugs from the Dr., got a ton of sleep, took time off work and tried about every home remedy possible. I knew my breathing on race day wouldn’t be perfect,  but I did know it would be manageable (after all, I have had asthma my entire life, so I know what it is like to race with it).

The Plan! Complete with steroids, nebulizer treatments, inhalers and mucinex.

My attempt at getting better

We left for Dallas on Friday afternoon, and arrived early evening. Everything about the trip was going well, and we were able to go out and have an awesome dinner in a fun area! Friday night I went to sleep early and slept like a rock, waking up on Saturday feeling happy and refreshed!

Saturday morning, Ramsey and I met his friends Brian and Allison and headed to the expo. I was SO excited to meet Allison in real life, since we had been instagram and twitter friends for quite awhile. Allison and Brian were running their first half Marathon (A) and first full marathon (B), so they were the perfect people to hang with all day! We went to the expo, and then to lunch at an adorable little restaurant. After lunch, Ramsey and I headed back to the hotel for a little relaxation.

Yay Dallas!

Yay Dallas!

Post expo photo with the bulls

Post expo photo with the bulls

Holy amazing!

Holy amazing!

Following doctors orders, I brought my nebulizer to the marathon with me. I was so mad that I had to bring that damn thing, but I was going to do whatever it took to not let my breathing get in the way of a PR worthy marathon! I took the nebulizer before dinner, and immediately felt better (breathing wise). Once we were back from dinner, I took it again and attempted to settle in for bed.

After dinner with my Mom

After dinner with my Mom

Taking photos of the gorgeous downtown lights

Taking photos of the gorgeous downtown lights

Boy, was that one awful nights sleep. I was a nervous wreck. I was so wound up to the point that I was having a full out anxiety attack and thought I was going to pass out (hard to do while laying down, but I got really close). I remember laying there thinking that all I wanted to do was go to my parents hotel room and have my Mom hug me and tell me it was going to be OK (Moms are so good at that, especially my Mom).

During this panic attack, I was thinking about the past 21 weeks of training, and how badly I wanted to have a good race. Then I couldn’t help but let my breathing issues and the heat (it was supposed to be low 60’s to 70’s) come into my mind. The fact was, I was so scared that I was going to have an ashtma attack while running and die (seriously). I couldn’t stop envisioning myself falling down on the course and ending up in a med tent. It was AWFUL! I pride myself on not being a “mental runner”,  but that night, I was going mental. I don’t know what came over me that made me such a mess, but whatever it was needed to go away.

After a while of this I began playing the “how much sleep could I possibly get game”. You know that game…the one where you stare at the clock and start subtracting the hours. Yeah, I was playing it for a few hours. I think about the 4 hour mark I finally fell asleep.

When I woke up Sunday, I was feeling nervous, but ok. I got dressed, ate a banana, took my medicine, and headed out the door. I was happy and excited to face the race, but was most excited to cross the finish line. My parents were there to hug me goodbye, and my wonderful boyfriend was too. I am pretty sure I couldn’t have mentally made it through the weekend without those three people. They were amazing!

Ready!

Ready!

On the shuttle to the start, I made friends with a super sweet girl named Bobbie. Bobbie was running the half, and had also been signed up to run the NYC marathon!! After we figured this out, we had a little connection and stuck together until the race started.

When the race gun went off, I knew it was a little hot and kind of humid, but I was going to ignore that. I was there to run my 26.2 miles, and hopefully run it under 3:32! I was NOT willing to let my asthma and the weather control my race. I was going to do the best I possibly could!

Runner get set...

Runner get set…

and go!

and go!

Around mile 3, I was already dripping with sweat. I remember thinking, “this is not good”. I was also slipping on the pavement because the humidity made the roads slippery. 3 miles in, and the race felt harder than it should. I knew that it most likely wasn’t going to be my PR day, but that didn’t mean it still couldn’t be my day.

When I reached the 10k, I started to panic a tad. My legs hurt already and my breathing was too labored. Up until the 10k I was running my race I needed for a PR, but then I decided it was time to slow down. My mind started racing and my heart was pounding. I remember thinking, “Holy crap. I am hurting this bad and I am 6 miles in. How in the HELL am I going to run 20 more miles!!!”.  Also the realization that I would not PR and that I had many miles to go was a hard pill to swallow. A big part of me wanted to stop and quit. But a bigger part of me wanted to FINISH.

The first half of this race was by far the hardest half marathon I have ever run. It included a number of pep talks, water cups thrown on my body and muscle cramps in my legs. But once I got over the 13.1 mark and realized I was over halfway through, my attitude changed. It was like passing the halfway mark flipped a switch in my brain. I would not be defeated by this race as I had been in Chicago last May. I would run 26.2 miles, and be really proud of myself while doing so.

The theme of the first half of this race might have been defeat, but the theme for the second half would be triumph.

At mile 18, I saw my cheer squad. I was SO excited to see them, I about stopped so I could jump on them and hug them. I needed to see their smiles, and feel their love. My Mom jogged next to me and I said to her, “Mom, today isn’t my day to PR”. And she so sweetly said, “I know it isn’t honey, but is ok! You are doing amazing!”. When I saw my Dad, he gave me a big high five, and I told him that I was hot, but I was doing ok.

Thank, Dad!!

Thank, Dad!!

Happy as could be (at least at mile 18 of a marathon)

Happy as could be (at least at mile 18 of a marathon)

Next up to run by me was my boyfriend. I told him as well that it would not be my PR day, but that I was really ok with it. I wanted them to know that my attitude was really positive and that I would be happy with whatever I did, as long as I crossed that finish line.

And then I ran on.

And then I ran on.

I am actually very thankful that they got lost (whoops!) and didn’t see me the first half of the race. Had I seen them in my panic mode I know I would’ve cried and made them all worry about me. Seeing them at mile 18 was perfect, because I could let them know I was happy with whatever came of my day, and my asthma would not be killing me – yay!

When I hit mile 20, I knew that my heart would finish that race for me. My legs burned so bad, but I was able to keep a solid 8:20ish pace going. I continued to remind myself that I was running this marathon because I LOVED running, and that I was running this marathon for ME! My time didn’t matter anymore and it does not define me as a runner. What defined me as a runner was having the strength and courage to keep on going when I felt so bad, and had so many obstacles thrown my way.

At mile 24, Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’ came on my ipod. Immediately, I had tears in my eyes. As cheesy as it is, this song got me through a really hard time in my life last spring. I would listen to it blaring and sing it with my running girlfriends on our morning runs. In a way it felt like they were there with me, running alongside me cheering. Hearing it during mile 24 made me so happy, and reminded me of how strong I have become – emotionally and physically – over the last 6 months.

In my head I was thinking, “how many people running this race were on a nebulizer last night?? And how many of these people had to stop and take their inhaler 3 times during the race?? And how many had the LONGEST training EVER because their original race was canceled?!? I bet not many!!!” I wanted to scream out, “I AM STRONGER!!!!” because that was exactly how I felt, but I refrained in order to avoid looks from spectators 🙂

Before I knew it, the finish line of the race was approaching, and I was so excited!!! Then I saw my cheering squad and got all sorts of emotional again. They were standing there cheering, and I felt an insane amount of joy running through my body. People have seen my photos of the finish and said, “awww you look so happy in this picture!” and I quickly tell them that it was because I was so happy! I wish I could bottle up that feeling I had at that moment and give it to people who need a little extra umph to get through something hard.

Almost done!

Almost done!

Crossing the finish line felt amazing. I couldn’t do my usual sprint due to my shortness of breath, but I finished as strong as I could (and of course with my arms thrown up in the air).

I did it!

I did it!

I quickly walked to find water cups (shame on you Dallas for not having water bottles for the runners), and then heard my name being called. Ramsey had run over to the finish to find me and we had such a sweet little moment holding hands through the fence. If only I had the energy to crawl over that thing so I could get a big hug!

Upon entering the after race complex, I ran into my new friend Allison (mentioned above), who was on cloud 9 after finishing her first half marathon (GO ALLISON!). She was so proud of herself, and I loved hearing her race story. Seeing her happiness and runners high after her first half marathon reminded again why I run – because I love it.

So proud and excited for you, Allison!

So proud and excited for you, Allison!

I finally met up with my boyfriend and parents and we exchanged big hugs. For some reason I felt like I needed to apologize to them for not running the race I wanted to, which is so silly. They told me that no matter what time I run, they will always be proud of me – and that is why I have the most amazing support system ever. I did want them to know that although my day didn’t turn out as I had wanted it to, I was still really really happy and so so proud of myself. Another marathon medal was earned!

BAM.

BAM.

He is amazing. He will even wear a shirt with a high heel on it to support me.

He is amazing. He will even wear a shirt with a high heel on it to support me.

When I got back to the hotel and checked my phone, I was overwhelmed by all the love and support waiting for me. I can’t get over how many people congratulated me on a finish and checked on me to see how I was doing. All of that love and support never goes unnoticed or unrecognized in my eyes, so thank you VERY much for everything!

The rest of the day was for traveling home, drinking beer and eating a ton of food (my favorite post race ritual). Overall, I was in a great mood and my spirits were high, which surprised me. Had you told me a month before the race that I would not PR or hit my goal, I probably would’ve punched you and then cried. But that day, I was perfectly content. As I said earlier, my marathon time will not define me as a runner, but my spirit and determination in the sport will.

Thank you again for all the love and support these past few months! I owe you all big time!

Splits (and pace)
5k: 24:22 (7:52)
10K: 49:20 (7:57)
Half: 1:47:26 (8:12)
20 Mile: 2:49:22 (8:28)
26.2: 3:43:08 (8:31)

and I won't forget that.

and I won’t forget that.

xo

Ali

Determined to Get Well Soon

4 Dec

Dallas is quickly approaching, and as of last week, I was more than ready to run this race. However today, it is a different story.

I have been a total germ-a-phobe the last few months and have done everything I could possibly do to not get sick. All of my precautions worked, until last Friday…

When I woke up on Friday morning, I knew things were not good. You know that feeling you get right when a cold is setting in? Well, I had it. With my asthma, I get knocked out by a cold. For me, I know what it entails, because I have been dealing with it my entire life. A cold means I get a respiratory infection and it means I spend at least a week hacking and coughing and feeling miserable (I know, poor me!!!).

With my big race on Sunday, you can imagine why I am freaking out a little bit. I have been training for 21 weeks for this race (which is over half of a pregnancy btw)! I want to rock this race, and run my heart out on Sunday. And the last thing I want is for my breathing issues to get in the way of that.

As soon as I felt the illness coming on Friday, I called my Doctor and got two of my inhalers refilled. I thought I would be able handle it with those and not have to go in for more medicine. Well, yesterday I had to give in an actually go into the Doctor for additional meds.

I am now operating under a full on “Get Well Plan”. Included in this plan is a ton of rest, lots of fluids, Emergen C and plenty of medicine.

The Plan! Complete with steroids, nebulizer treatments, inhalers and mucinex.

The Plan! Complete with steroids, nebulizer treatments, inhalers and mucinex.

I cannot believe I am actually putting this photo online...this is what a nebulizer treatment looks like!

I cannot believe I am actually putting this photo online…this is what a nebulizer treatment looks like!

I am on Day Two of the plan, and still feel like crap. However I can tell that I am starting to get a little better.

Tonight I was feeling completely stir crazy and decided to get my bike out and ride stationary in the living room. Not working out since last Thursday was making me nutty. I had to sweat a little, and I am so glad that I did!

45 minutes on the bike felt incredible!!!!

45 minutes on the bike felt incredible!!!!

My hope is that by Thursday I will be able to run, and by Sunday I will be able to rock my race! Sure, my breathing won’t be back to normal, but I do think it could be manageable to run a good race.

I welcome all tips and tricks you have for a breezy and fast recovery!

xoxo,

Ali

My little snuggle buddy Karly has certainly helped be feel better!

My little snuggle buddy Karly has certainly helped be feel better! My Mom has been quite the help too! 

It’s in the Bag! (Literally)

19 May

First of all, I would like everyone to know that I should be in Chicago right now, relaxing in my hotel. But I’m not. I am sitting in the airport in Kansas City waiting for my flight, after my first flight was 8 hours delayed. I might have had a tiny meltdown (ok, like 6 huge meltdowns) already and threatened multiple ticketing agents. They don’t think running a marathon is as big of a deal as I do. How dare them.

6:30am, at MCI airport –

Ali: “You don’t understand. I need to be in Chicago TODAY. THIS MORNING. I have to do stride outs and hydrate and prepare for my MARATHON.”
American Airlines Worker: “Mam (ummm, how dare she “Mam” me), we will do what we can. But right now we don’t have any other options”.
Ali: “I don’t care if you have me ride in the CARGO bin of a sold out flight. I don’t care if I have to sit in the bathroom for 1 hour, GET ME TO CHICAGO ASAP THIS MORNING!!!!!!”
Worker: “Ok, how about a 1:58pm flight?”
Ali: “Fine”.

Ok…now onto the point of this blog post….

Have you ever seen those articles in US Weekly, where they go through a celebrities bag? Well, I thought it would be fun to show you what is in my bag when I travel for a race! Here we go!

Medical Essentials

I hate that I have to run with an inhaler strapped to me, but such is life for a person with asthma.
KT Tape is a lifesaver.
I take 4 ibuprofen before the race starts.

Energy Essentials

I love strawberry lemonade NUUN.
GU is my go-to safe gel.
Gatorade pre-game is so yummy.

Food Essentials

Zone Bars for pre-race.
Chex Mix is my crack.
Arbonne Detox Tea.

Storage Essentials.

Spi Belts to store our GU, will remove after first two GU’s are gone.

Clothing Essentials

Workout clothes galore. I didn’t even pack a pair of jeans!

And the rest!

Laptop to blog.
Cross body bag – a must for traveling!
Make up, hair tools.
And everything else.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

In 12 short hours, I will be on my way to a two time marathon title. And I can’t freaking wait.

xoxoxoxo,

Ali

 

Race Day is Upon Us…

13 Apr

WOW, I cannot believe it is already time to run Rock the Parkway half marathon!

I have been preparing for this race since January, with the hopes of running my little heart out. I never officially made a training schedule for this race, but I believe I kept myself on a pretty solid mental plan throughout.

With all the preparations I made for the race, I had planned on having a good day. But now, I am starting to freak out a little bit. I am NOT trying to make excuses, I am only talking through my pre-race anxiety on this post 🙂

There are two main things I am freaked out about…

1. Weather

Take a look at the weather forecast for tomorrow (source: Weather.com).

This weather is no bueno when trying to run a super fast race. I start at 7:30am, and it will be hot even then. It will also be windy, with a 60% chance of storms. I won’t even think about the humidity yet…

2. Asthma

I have been running with asthma my entire life. I don’t know what it is like to run without it. Usually I can get by just fine, but every once in awhile I struggle. Right now, I seem to be struggling.

I am not sure if it is the change in seasons, or the warm weather, but I am a wheezin’ machine. I actually heard myself wheezing this morning after walking up stairs. Which is totally awesome considering I have to run a half marathon tomorrow.

Because of this current breathing situation, I will be forced to run with my inhaler tomorrow. The thought of having to give myself puffs of an inhaler while running 7 minute miles makes me cringe. But hey, I have done it before – and can do it again!!

………………………………………………………………………

So here is what I need from you all…I need you to give me some encouragement. I also need to hear some inspiring stories of people running great races in hot weather while not being able to breathe.

I am counting on you all…please don’t let me down!

And by the way, TGIF!!!!

xo,

Ali

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