After many whiny blogs about how I've suddenly and inexplicably become a sucky runner, my very wise friend Maddie (hi, Maddie!!) suggested that perhaps the cold weather is triggering my asthma and that using my inhaler might help. On Saturday morning, I went on a run but forgot to use the inhaler, and the run was the worst. I did my 5K route around my apartment, and had to walk so much of it because my chest was so tight that every breath I took caused a sharp pain and I got a cramp and my legs felt like lead. It took me 44 minutes to finish. I seriously wanted to throw in the towel on running entirely.
Today I was really eager to exercise after a 3-day celebration of Hanukkah (matzo and latkes and brisket, oh my!) and Dan's birthday (homemade pizza). Since about 90% of the food I've been eating for the past 3 months has been healthy, 3 days of fried food, red meat, cookies, and cheese left me feeling seriously gross. I am gladly back on the healthy eating saddle today and a run was necessary.
I checked the weather and it was 25 degrees (!) outside. I got really nervous about running, even with the inhaler, because I just don't want to have a crappy run again and 25 degrees is cold. But I sucked it up, did my inhaler, and got my butt out there. And it was pretty awesome! I could tell right away that the problem has been my asthma. My lungs felt so much better, my muscles didn't feel tired, and I had no cramps. The first time I felt my chest tighten a bit was when a truck chugging out gas-smelling black exhaust drove past me. I just slowed my pace down until the tightness went away and then I felt a bit better. I had to take a couple of walking breaks because it's been a long time since I've actually run any distance, but this run was definitely a million times better. Throw in the fact that it was snowing and windy (my hat blew off at one point!), and I declare myself pretty proud. I finished in 35:45, which is 3 minutes faster than the first time I ran the route (1 minute/mile!), and I see myself shaving it down to 30 minutes in no time.
My plan for First Night training is to keep running this route, and each time I go out run farther without taking a walking break, so that before long I won't need any walking breaks. That's my main goal for First Night, to run the whole thing. As I cut walking breaks out, my time will get better, and I think that the adrenaline on the night of the race will help me maintain around a 10 minute/mile pace.