• Doping For Better Performance!

    I finally caved in.  After decades of resisting the urge to use drugs to improve my performance, I could take no more.  Exercise induced asthma, you win!


    Since the first day I ran last June, I’ve had a bit of trouble breathing while I was at my maximum exertion.  It’s a problem I’ve seen rarely in my life, cropping up only when I was being unreasonably athletic (swimming across Great South Bay, playing soccer, climbing rock walls, and now, running).  I’ve rarely even thought of it as a problem, just another of the many little quirks inherent in being the child of chain-smoking alcoholics.


    Even running, it’s been something I relatively easily overcame through practice.  Once I got my aerobic fitness up a bit, I could run longer and harder without wheezing, which allowed me to increase my aerobic fitness a bit more, so I could run more, etc.  The only time I am really troubled by it now is during extreme temperatures (like during the 104 degree human sprinkler debacle of last August, or my singular attempt at a sub 20 degree run last month), or when I am forced to take a break, and lose some of my fitness edge.


    Unfortunately, winter weather and cold season have visited upon me a “perfect storm”, if you’ll pardon the pun, of combined extreme temperatures and breaks from running (the machines I use indoors are better than nothing, but they just don’t get the job done like a run).  The last few weeks, every one of my agonizingly infrequent runs has been marked by tight-chested wheezing for a significant portion of it.  I’ve slowed down so much that I am literally two minutes off the best times I achieved in the fall, for the same two mile run.


    So, I gave in and asked my doctor for a medical intervention.  I now join the ranks of the nerd, with my very own asthma inhaler, which I am to use before runs until the problem subsides. Of course, deciding when it subsides will involve a painstaking series of trials with and without it in the Spring, but I’m not thinking about that right now!


    I’ve only had the chance to use it twice so far.  The asthma has definitely been seriously curtailed.  My chest isn’t tight at all,  but I’m still slow.  I suppose I’m just going to have to tough it out until the weather improves a bit, and ignore my times until I see whether regular running brings my time back up.


    Does anyone know if asthma medication actually counts as a performance enhancing drug for races?  I’d be interested to know…



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