i went to see a pneumologist and confirmed what i have long suspected. i have asthma. more specifically i have exercised induced asthma. ive had a few asthma attacks since last summer during really intense periods of my workouts. steady state efforts dont usually bother me if im running or biking at a descent pace but once i suddenly increase the effort then my body starts trying to turn itself out through my lungs. it never happens when i swim and the dr feels this is because of the higher humidity near the water.
the annoying thing is that my legs can always take me faster than my lungs will allow. i rarely have to slow down because my legs are tired or burn from lactic acid buildup. i can run 6 minute miles before my lungs start to give me problems but once i start dipping into the 5 minute range i can no longer breathe. but im hoping that will change now that i have some medical help.
my visit o the doctor was interesting. after all the usual conversations detailing history and bla bla bla we got started on some tests. first they measured my lung capacity. "wow thats really good" was what the nurse said. "you must be in good shape." (i guess my training is doing some good!) then i was subjected to a horrendous torture. the allergy scratch test. when it comes to pain im about the best there is at ignoring it. i once nearly cut off my thumb and didnt blink. but when it comes to being poked, my body just goes nuts. i dont know why but touching me with the tip of your finger or something small and i get furious! i know its irrational but it really is a physical and not mental reaction. so the nurse has me lay down so she can write on my back numbers 1-46. with the tip of a pen! oh the horror! it took all my super powers to let her do it without jumping up and freaking out on her. but she finally finished, and then had to go back and poke me some more! 46 more times! holy shit there has to be something in the geneva convention about this inhumane treatment! but i made it through still alive and even snapped an akward photo in the mirror while waiting for the results to develop.
turns out the only thing im allergic to is dust mites. number 3. that means i was unnecessarily poked 86 times!
but in the end we did learn that allergies werent to blame for the asthma. after more investigation it turns out that i have bronchospasms brought on by exertional gastroesophageal acid reflux. basically i get heartburn and it triggers my asthma. i was given a prescription for two inhalers! advair, pro air and prilosec! im super excited to see how they work for me even if i do look like a nerd carrying around my cartload of medications. can i now run faster without leaving behind coughed up bits of my lungs? will i be able to run better than my 5:30 mile? can i run 5:00? i really hope this breathes new life into my fitness. ill keep you posted.