"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Asthma Wolves

Two weeks ago, I managed a few miles at 8 min./mile, with a couple of 400s thrown in, done in 78 and 81 seconds. Yesterday, the plan was to do 4 to 6 fast quarters, but asthma reared its ugly head; perhaps because the dewpoint had dropped from 65 to 45 - I don't know.

I was going to do the first quarter at the end of a mile warm-up, then realized that that would make the first one up a steep hill, so I held off a bit. Going up the hill, I could feel that I couldn't breathe at all through my nose; my sinuses were closed. And the wolves picked up my scent.

I banged out the first 400 in 91 seconds, feeling just a bit of tightness in my legs and decided to move from asphalt to grass to try to stave off harm for a while. The slow time surprised me, but sometimes it takes one to warm up. And the wolves started to follow my tracks.

The second quarter came in at 93 seconds, showing that this is what I could that day and no more. I held back a bit, feeling a tightness in my chest, trying to hold off an asthma attack by not forcing things. The recovery was starting to slow down as well and I saw my heart rate was about 95% maximal. The wolves had me in sight and were stalking.

The third quarter was uphill the last half and I knew it would be a struggle. My breathing had gone from having a cat-like purr to more of a death rattle; the attack was starting, whether I liked it or not. Now it was going to be a struggle. I felt sure I could feel the oxygen going out of my quads on the uphill and one heel was starting to bother me a bit. This one took 95 seconds. A wolf had nipped at my heel and was now trying to run me to ground.

The recovery started with a couple of walked steps and eased back into a trot as my lungs heaved, trying to get air to starved muscles. My heart rate wasn't dropping, but steady at near maximal. I decided I was going to do one more 400 (two would be suicide).

The last quarter was hard, even though it was slightly downhill. A wolf had jumped on my back and I struggled to throw him off. I forced myself to continue, landmark by landmark, meter by meter. The alarm I set went off, meaning I was at maximum heart rate. Now two wolves were tearing at me from opposite directions. A glance at my Garmin showed I was not slowing as much as I thought. I looked for an escape, a tree, anything... Finally, I came to the end and stopped the watch. 94 seconds.

I wanted to do a cool-down, but the wolves had me.

[This post was brought to you by the people who ask "What do you think about when you run?"]


wildknits said...

Ummm.... using a rescue inhaler before your runs?!?

I certainly wouldn't try anything but the slowest of runs without using mine. Asthma attacks mid - run (well, anytime) are no fun!

Matter of fact, haul it along/stash in a drop bag during some long races as I have had to use it mid-race as well (50M- 100K).

Carilyn said...

Yikes! That actually sounds kind of scary, Steve! Be careful :)