So I have had this persistent cough for over 2 months now. I thought it was just a cold that wouldn't go away but now it has gotten worse. I have breathing problems about 30 minutes after I wake up and sometimes I have to stop within a few blocks after starting a run to cough and almost throw-up, but not every day. I finally went in to the doctor to see what was up. I described my symptoms and as it turns out.....I have asthma. OK....I can deal with that. I know there are many runners on this blog who have dealt with that for a long time.
I did some research when I got home and realized I have been modifying my breathing for at least 2-3 years to accommodate my issues. I purposely do not breathe deeply because it causes me to cough. I also realized that I suffer from a bad, raspy cough for several days after a race. I always thought it was just from breathing harder during the race. The doctor wants me to take Zyrtec daily and use an Albuterol inhaler before I go for a run. She also recommended that I keep it with me at all times. I haven't had a full-blown asthma attack yet, so I guess I have that to look forward to. She said that due to the mild winter we had there have been a lot more cases of asthma due to the extra "junk" in the air.
As one does, I started asking a lot of questions and found out some interesting things. First of all, why does it bother me some days when I run and not others. Specifically, why did I do just fine running 21 on Saturday but hacked my guts out on the start of a 10-miler last week. I did find one answer. As I discussed with Kory on our run Saturday, I completely cut-out drinking soft drinks 1 week ago. As it turns out, caffeine actually helps open the airways so you breathe easier. I was using a power-gel on Saturday that had caffeine in it so that may be why I had less troubles. No, I am not going to go back to drinking soda again......it is just good to know.
Obviously, I am going to have to figure out what works best for me and modify my approach to running, if necessary. It also helps to explain why I have been getting tired late in a run and lose my pace. If you don't breathe correctly, you lose energy.
Sorry for the rambling, but I wanted to log this as I try to keep tabs on what works for me and what doesn't.