Disclaimer: I received an Endure Strong Coaching Package to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
I was down for the count the last couple of weeks, so I apologize for the lack of updates. I was having a great training week before Memorial Day weekend; hitting all of my workouts, pushing myself in my speed training, but then this cough hit me…
If you know me in person, you probably know I’ve had this chronic cough/throat ‘tickle’ for years. Like, since college. I’ve attributed it to everything from allergies, to acid reflux, to asthma, to stress. I’ve been to doctors and specialists, but haven’t had the patience to get to the bottom of any real solution. I wasn’t a fan of long term medication usage, and when I didn’t see the results immediately, I would just move on. Well, recently, I decided enough was enough. I went to a pulmonologist to see if we could get it taken care of. I was put on some meds for a couple of options and was sticking with them… and then this cold hit me.
I tried to catch the cold before it went full-blown, and I was feeling optimistic going into the weekend, but I didn’t stand a chance with this cough. The cough is ultimately what took me down. I went into camping Memorial Day weekend, feeling fine, but my cough was annoying. By Saturday evening, it was unbearable. I had to head home in the evening (we camp close to home since the kids are still young) to sleep so I wouldn’t disturb the whole campsite. Sunday morning, the cough was still there and as persistent as ever. Another night spent at home hacking up a lung. By Monday evening, I was hopeful that it must be getting better, right?
I was up ALL night on Monday with this awful cough. I couldn’t catch a break. When I had a similar night on Tuesday, even with various drugstore remedies, it was time to head back in to the doc. While he couldn’t find any evidence of it being bacterial, etc, we both realized it was likely more aggravated because of my chronic cough. But my throat just wasn’t getting time to heal. So he upped my regular meds and sent me on my way. While this is fine for the short term, I’m not a fan of the effects of the meds that I’m on. I was having a conversation with Lilly from Ladies Fitness and Wellness, where I teach PiYo regularly, and she mentioned knowing someone who had basically been in my exact same situation. She ultimately made some dietary changes by following an elimination diet and found particular trigger foods that were causing these flare-ups. I started reading up on this; acid reflux, the meds I was on, and various treatment options related to these potential dietary triggers. I was intrigued. I posted about it to my Instagram and within an hour I was getting messages from friends who had experienced similar issues and had ultimately narrowed it down to particular items within their diet (gluten is a common theme, but also dairy, spicy, etc). I decided that if anything, this could be something to start to try before my follow-up doctor visit to see if I could finally get some relief (I still wasn’t sleeping, even with the increased dosage of meds).
So on Friday, I started the elimination diet. Going back to basics. I was terrified it was going to be too hard even for the initial two weeks, much less the re-introduction period but surprisingly, it’s been manageable. But the biggest thing I’ve noticed was that after 24 hours, I was able to sleep again. 48 hours, with just one pillow (rather than the mountain I had been using to keep me upright while I slept). Maybe it’s a combination of the diet and the meds? Maybe just the meds? But I actually dropped down from the double dose after 24 hours because I’m so nervous about the side effects (this runner has no time for brittle bones). So, I’m going to keep this up, and hopefully get to the root of the issue. And don’t worry, I see my doctor again this week, so I’m going to discuss this with him. He had mentioned that I was likely going to have to eliminate these foods, so this should be a way to determine which are the culprits versus playing a guessing game and just getting rid of all of my favorites.
That being said, I didn’t have the ability to get much running in since Memorial Day weekend. My Sunday long run was a no-go as I was in the midst of my cough, and the rest of the week was a sleep-deprived mess. I still got my mile in each day, but they were pretty pathetic slogs to hit the end of the BibRave Run Streak on May 31st. But I’m happy to report that on Saturday morning, I felt well enough to get a couple of very easy miles followed by PiYo. On Sunday, I did 4 miles with Rachel, and then some strength training in the afternoon. I feel close to normal again; though that normal still includes my regular cough and a raw throat from the past week of aggravation. I hate to have lost a solid week of training, but I have time… over 6 weeks still until Rock N Roll Chicago. I reached out to my contact at Endure Strong, Andrew Webb, and he was very supportive of my progress and how to adjust my plan.
To start, I’m going to prioritize my long runs and focus on getting the mileage in. It’s less about the pace right now until I’m able to incorporate those workouts back in. Based on my healing progress thus far, I’m optimistic that I can do my mileage this week and start to concentrate on my regularly planned speed workouts next, but again, I’m going to play it by ear and listen to my body. I will keep getting stronger, and focusing on my nutrition and health will hopefully help solve this cough that’s plagued me, and hopefully help with general breathing issues that can then aid in my running ability. I’m excited and optimistic. If you had talked to me mid-last week, you would have, you would have heard a completely different tune! But now that I see the light at the end of this cough-plagued-tunnel, I know I’m going to get there.
In the meantime, I have some miles to hit. Expect a regular weekly update on Sunday!
If you want more information on the Endure Strong Coaching program, check out their website to see the various training plan and coaching options in working with Jared Ward and his team.