Ok………I’ve had a stellar walking/breathing week. Actually… make that 3 stellar weeks! I’ve been green lighting ever since I got out of prison last month, and to prove it, I even did that sub 2 hour 10 mile walk three days ago.
Well, it’s pay back time, because now I’m suffering the negative effects of going hog wild on that racewalking stunt . I’m back in yellow zone and my lungs are hyper- inflated! I don’t feel that bad , just enough to put me in a bitchy mood cause I’m too short of breath to do much of anything.
When will I learn, that just because I’m feeling invincible during a string of good breathing days, that it doesn’t mean I’ve sprouted a new pair of lungs. When I’m lucky enough to get these good days, I tend to develop temporary amnesia for all the bad days that proceeded it. I have this nasty habit of pushing myself hard when I’m feeling well—shame on me!
As ridiculous as it might sound, when I walk ,I have to continually remind myself not to walk too fast, even if I’m breathing easy, and especially for walks that exceed 5 or 6 miles .
You see, unlike most “normal” asthmatics, in addition to having exercise induced bronchospasm ( wheezing and shortness of breath), I also have an anatomical problem with my lungs which causes them to literally over-inflate when I’m exerting myself too much. Because I have very little elasticity left in my lungs, the faster and deeper I breath over a given period of time, the less able I am to completely expel the air from my lungs. This leads to a gradual build up of trapped air in my lungs ( what they call “dynamic hyperinflation”) which is extremely uncomfortable and can last several days or even several weeks.
So herein lies the catch 22, or should I say…frustration. After years of very hard work, Ive finally conditioned myself to the point where I’m now able to walk incredibly long distances at fairly fast speeds. The problem is….every time I add the “speed ” part into the equation, I end up suffering the debilitating consequences….(hence, today’s yellow zone)
You would think that with a PR of 1:55 for a 10 miler , that I would easily be able to walk a sub six hour marathon ….right? Not true ! for the above reasons. Just like everything else in my life , it’s not quite that (insert pun) ..straight forward.
That’s why I’ve set a goal of 7 hours to finish the Eugene marathon. I know it sounds awfully slow, but that’s almost two hours faster than my previous finish time. If I can pull that off, I’ll be one happy asthmatic.