Blune Day 16: Lets talk, running with asthma

It is no secret that I have allergy induced asthma. I get the question a lot from people who want to run “how do you run with asthma”? Well folks read on. I wanted to outline ways that I run and help myself keep motivated and my lungs healthy when doing a sport that is literally about your lungs.

Okay, first make sure it’s actually asthma. I was diagnosed way back before I even started running when I was around 11. So I have had it forever, regardless of exercise it is triggered by allergies and things in my environment, certain smells, pollen whatever. It has greatly improved since moving to a gluten free lifestyle and taking probiotics!  I often see this in people who say “I went once and my lungs felt like they were bleeding”. I hate to break it to you but it may not be asthma and you should go to you doc to actually get a diagnosis. The likelihood is is your lungs aren’t used to the running and working hard. If you don’t have asthma this feeling generally goes away once you consistently run. Also, this is from inexperience of starting too fast (which I STILL find myself doing).

Now onto actually running with asthma. I take my blue inhaler before I leave, and usually again after I get back if I am feeling like my lungs are having a struggle. Then, understand that when I run, I go very slowly in the beginning to get my lungs work, think of it as lung activation.

So what do you do when it gets hard? Well folks, running is a mental game. You mentally must keep yourself going, I like to listen to music so I don’t get distracted by my own breathing. Yes this sounds odd, but when I would try to run in my highschool days I never had music and would get so mad that I couldn’t go faster and then just give up entirely. I also have been dabbling into the podcast world while running which I love doing because it’s like I’m learning whilst running! Recommendations: the daily, Breaking beauty, full coverage, The Bustle Huddle, The Female Struggle is real! So many good ones!

Also, one key piece of advice at least in my personal experience is run alone. If you have a system, if you have a way that you keep yourself in check, run alone. Sure,  I do races, I would because you are literally just running but in a group and aren’t actually running like partners run, but its tough finding a partner that you vibe with breathing wise or who don’t have asthma or experienced with asthma. My mom runs with her friend who also has asthma so running together makes is good for both of them because neither feels judged by the other. Not that a non-asthmatic person would be judgemental because in all likelihood they aren’t, but if you prefer your system then go for it!

Lastly running with asthma is a great deal more difficult then running with regular lungs. I have great days and bad days. when the pollen count is out and about it can be very hard but when the weather is good my lungs are generally fine and don’t hold me back. The biggest thing to remember as an asthmatic athlete: David Beckham has asthma and he is a world class soccer player. Just because asthma can slow you down it doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong runner, it just means you have to train a bit differently and give yourself the time for your lungs to build up strength.

Happy Running!


Blune Day 8: Lets talk: Doubt

We have all known about the classic runners body for years, slim hips, small chest, long legs. None of which I have. Women are constantly bombarded with images of who is the ideal fitness person, who the ideal runner is, who can run, that only certain bodies can exercise, that if you are a bit on the heavy side you must be trying to lose weight. There is doubt from so many sides of the coin that runners, specifically in this context in which I am writing female runners.

Running isn’t always about being the fastest, sprinting, and being the best. It is a lot more than that. For many it’s a time alone for an hour, it’s a sense of accomplishment, it’s the adrenaline you have from running a race or it’s simply something you like to do with your time. This post is going to outline the doubts that are real in the running world and that should be discussed. People will tell you you don’t look like a runner and you have to remember that spoiler alert: we can all be runners.

My mom who has been running forever, was when one of my teachers said to her “your finally skinny, now you look like a real runner”. Excuse me sir? This isn’t old news, women’s bodies being policed by men. What sparked this post was a memory I had of teachers always telling me I could never run and reinforcing the chubby kid mentality that I had. I read an article in self about a runner who was always “too big” for running despite being an exceptional athlete. She recognized her privilege in the outside running world as being a small woman, but inside the running world it’s a different story.

IMG_1843

Why do I relate to this? Who on a good day can maybe do 7:00min per km? (always working to improve) because I understand this and this is a large feminist issue. Running is for certain bodies. I have a friend who is a lot smaller and faster but that doesn’t mean we both aren’t real runners? This idea of “i’m not built to be a runner” is a myth we all must bust.

I only came to this idea after starting running on my own terms, there was always a rhetoric in my personal life that the only purpose for me to run was to lose weight, and for some it is, but for me running means getting to a career I want, it means a time to myself, it means helping  my lungs get stronger. I am used to people not believing me when I say I’m a runner, but I’m getting more used to meeting runners are who are just happy to meet other runners. Two of the professors in my department run the blog fit is a feminist issue and it is a space to critically assess the fitness world and beautifully write about the being fit and female. The expectations and doubt surround women daily, you wear too much makeup, you’re fat, you could never do that etc. These are the things women hear and absorb through various avenues of life and thus police their every move whether they are aware or not. Yes certain body shapes can give you an advantage but that doesn’t mean you can’t run or call yourself a runner. Running doesn’t have to mean training for a half, there is not set way to be a runner, if you just want to do two runs a week just do two!

I wanted to write this post because I get it alot, “how can you run so far”, and I catch myself doubting myself, saying “omg why can’t you go faster” and especially before I began running on my own terms, I was very hard on myself just for not being the ideal runner. To me running is not about your body or how you look, if you only clock a few miles a week then so be it! It’s about consistency and different goals for different things and different goals to fit YOUR lifestyle.

Here are a few fun articles if you fancy a read. If you want me to post more about this topic, women in fitness and running, shoot me a message or leave me a comment!

https://www.self.com/story/im-not-built-for-running-myth-need-stop-perpetuating 

https://www.self.com/story/my-weight-has-nothing-to-do-with-how-good-a-runner-i-am


Let’s Talk Motivation

It’s snowing. It’s raining. It’s too hot. I’m tired. All excuses we all as runners have used before. Lately in my city, it’s been so snowy, and guess who doesn’t plow the sidewalks? The city. They are markers for ankle sprains and sore hips.

I have been missing more runs than I’d like and the reasons have been two fold: I’ve been lacking motivation to put my layers and hit the road and its hella snowy here and they don’t plow. I have been doing more HIIT workouts at home, going to the gym etc, and maybe running 2 days a week and at that shorter recovery runs. I have done a few above 5K.

However, I am starting half marathon training next month (pray for me folks) and I want to try and do as much running as possible.

My first tip: adjust your expectations for the length of your runs. Especially if you live in a city where they don’t plow anything. Even if you just get in 2km tempo run or 4km, it’s still a run, it’s still exercise and it’s still training.

My second tip: adjust your speed. I know, as so many runners know, when you are going slower than usual this is mentally tasking. Its hard, its not easy, I don’t care what anyone says, asthmatic or not, running is difficult. When the terrain is rough you have to slow it down so you don’t injure yourself, yes it’s frustrating if a 5K takes you 5 mins longer than usual but that’s the nature of the beast.

My third tip: enjoy the slight break from running. Add in more HIIT workouts to get cardio and keep your lungs going. Do cardio at the end of your strength workouts. YES none of these replace the feeling your lungs get when running. Also you can hit up the treadmill, but the treadmill is just not my cup of tea. I’d rather hit the storm outside! (and yes I have done this multiple times this winter).

Remember, sometimes not having motivation as a runner can be your body saying slow it down. Maybe that’s not true, but with this terrain my muscles, shins and knees are a lot more sore then when my terrain is smooth and I think it’s good to shorten distance when you are lacking motivation as to not get even more discouraged.

What do you do when you find yourself unmotivated?


Running: the Winter Edit

The main question I get from non-runners: how do you run in the snow? How do you run in the cold? And it got me thinking, how do I run in the cold? I have grown up with a mother who ran in -30 at 5:30 am with a head lamp…so you could say I had an advantage in terms of having someone to go to for winter running advice. But many people don’t have such a person, so I’m here to shed some light on the big bad world of winter running.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Shoes: I hate to break it to you but you will have to purchase a new pair of winter runners if you don’t want to fall and break something.

A hat: you should get yourself a running hat and a headband in case it’s a bit of a warmer winter day. A hat is a must when it’s freezing. You need to cover your noggin folks

Gloves or mitts: keep those hands warm. I recommend the Lululemon ones (as I always do) but you can get great pairs at Marshalls or Winners. My mom got me these ones for Christmas  My friends. Trust me you’ll thank me for this.
FullSizeRender.jpg

A neck warmer and a buff: covering your neck is essential to keeping you warm and also when you cover your face with them it warms the air, which is especially good for those with asthma.

IMG_0601.jpgA base layer long sleeve and a jacket or a vest: depending on the weather I like to wear a vest and base layer long sleeve like this one for the days that are -6 Celsius however say it’s -25 Celsius I will wear my base layer long sleeve, my fleece half zip and my thinner running jacket that is a nice added layer. It really depends on where are you located because where I live it is warmer then where I am from so I don’t need as much as say my mom wears, but the key is layering. Layering and base layers are essential to running outside in the winter.

Lastly: safety and reflective wear: I don’t usually run when it’s dark but even so it’s very important that your are seen! I have a bright orange vest and bright purple pants with reflectors on them in case it gets dark while I run or is grey and overcast.

Thanks for reading this post ma friends! Happy winter running!


Things I liked and did in November

This is a bit late, forgive me its been quite the month! It just flew by! This month was really good, but also full of assignments, midterms, etc. Without further ado here are things I liked and did in the month of November.

Personal training. Is this a cheesy and weird thing to say I like? I have really found a groove in my workouts with my wonderful trainer (who my bestie refers to as the real life wonder woman). I have finally started to notice small changes in my body. My goal isn’t to lose weight, my goal is to be able to push ups and be trained for specific testing as well as improve my own workouts. My push ups are getting there, I overcame my fear of box jumps, and my running has improved greatly as have my workouts at the gym myself.

Nudestix concealer. This is such an underrated product. It’s so easy to slap on and go, doesn’t get too creasy and makes you look alive. It also conveniently comes with a container and a sharpener.

The lululemon align pant. OMG. BUTTER. BUTT wait for it ER. I fell into the hype folks. I fell hard. I got two pairs of the align crop, they are absolutely wonderful. Stretchy, high waisted, and sweat proof (sort of). The greenish pair I have i wouldn’t wear for leg day, but then again why do we care so much about our sweat? That’s another story for another day. 

My new balance cross trainers. I bought these in September for personal training. When I was wearing nikes (far too thin for my wide feet) my feet would always be very sore after just a 30 min circuit. When I put these new balance trainers on my feet they were the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. Honestly I think because of my lack of findings of good shoes I was avoiding strength training because my feet just couldn’t function. Now, I actually don’t fear having super sore arches or bunions and it’s a blessing.

My fasted 1K. OMG ALL I DID IT. I reached my lactic threshold. I didn’t believe it. I was spent after that. I’m finally seeing improvement and with anyone who is also a runner, you know improving is always difficult.

Lip balms. I don’t know folks, there was a time where I was extremely into matte lipsticks and matte liquid lipsticks but as I’ve grown this year into a busier person I just can’t do the colourpop matte liquid lips, or the Anastasia ones. I do still dabble in my NYX soft matte lip cream and my Too Faced Melted Mattes. But lately I’ve been loving (as I have said before) the Burt’s Bees lipsticks, the Burt’s Bees lip shimmers and this eos shimmer lip balm.

What have you been liking and doing this last month!?


Running Tips for Beginners

I would like to begin this post by saying that I am by no means a running coach, a personal trainer or a kin major. But I am what my mother would call “a serious runner”. I grew up with my mom running all the time, just doing the casual 16km a weekend no big deal.  Every time I would start running with her I refused to walk and it was so discouraging. So when I started my journey with running last year (approximately 7 months ago to be exact)  I told myself, Chrisinda, start with the walk run plan, don’t start heavy because you will be discouraged. I have had friends ask me “how can you just wake up and run” well folks that is easier said than done. I would like to impart to you my tips for beginner runners.

  1. Dang nabbit you must get the proper running shoes. I can’t tell you the importance of the this. I was running in the completely wrong shoes for the first 5 months of my journey. Sustaining injury after injury. I finally went to the New Balance store with my amazing running friend who is just a gem to the world. I FINALLY got proper advice and shoes I can tell you my feet and bunions are happy.
  2. Realize that running is a mental challenge. I don’t care what people say running is hard. You are the only one running. You are the only one encouraging yourself. You are the only one accountable for going. Running is a great mental challenge.
  3. Start slow. I have tried and tried again to start running and never started properly. I always started going 5K right out of the gate. Ma’am this is not the way to go. I advise going on Pinterest and finding a beginners guide to running and then following it. Trust in the process. YES it will get frustrating just doing the “run 1 min, walk 5” 5 times. BUT this will help you build stamina and endurance.
  4. Running never gets easier. I’m sorry. I hate to break it you you. You just get better at running. You get better at coping with your lungs telling you they are tired, you get better at running. Yes it will improve, and you will have good runs and bad runs. That just how it shakes out, at least in my experience.
  5. Rest days and rewards. Take this seriously. My rest day is Wednesday. I mean this is also my 12 hour day at school so I don’t have time to do anything. Rest days don’t necessarily mean doing nothing, you can lift weights, do yoga etc. Usually I take one day of the weekend off and do yoga. What are theses rewards you may be asking? WELL its sounds odd and materialistic but for example, let’s say I set a goal to run 15Km and if I get to that I can “reward” myself with some new running pants or a new purse. I mean hey this isn’t the best thing for everyone but I think that sometimes having a wee incentive is really what can make you feel good while you are running.
  6. Decide a schedule and stick to it. You will realize as you get further into running, a schedule is great and you will be having to explain to your non running friends that you can’t miss one.
  7. That being said don’t beat yourself about missing a run. Life happens, it happens to me all the time. However, if I can help it i don’t like to miss my long run. My long run is something that I really need to do. Both for stress relief and for training for my career.

Remember, running isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But I wanted to impart what wisdom I do have about running. And remember, when you run you get to wear fun pants and colourful shoes. Embrace the pants. Embrace the shoes.


My First 10K race

Well folks. I did it. My first 10K race done.

Let’s go back to the beginning starting with my arrival at the park. I get there and line up with all the other 5K and 10K trail racers.  These other 10K people looked rather serious and were wearing trail runners. By golly at this point I knew I made a terrible mistake: not by choosing to do a 10K but by blindly choosing the trail race which in turn was an actual trail.   AN ACTUAL HIKING TRAIL opposed to a well manicured trail like the boom camp trails.

So I begin the race, of course too fast since the adrenaline was flowing. At first it was fine and we did some of the race on the road and I thought “okay not so bad”. However, once we got to the actual trail I knew from that moment I was going to take a lot longer than usual. The other racers were just flying, albeit that was the 5K people, meanwhile I was trying not to trip over everything in my wake.

When I got to the turn around the very nice girl thought I was doing the 5K and pointed me in the wrong direction, it’s all good though. Honestly this was my first race and I wasn’t going for any certain time.  Once I got through the first 5K I knew that this trail was for actual trail runners, meanwhile I have been training on the road, you know nice flat surfaces. NOT THE SAME PEOPLE NOT THE SAME.

Alas, I finished the race. Albeit last in the 10K trail category but you know what? I ran my own race. As my mother says, at any race you just run your own race regardless of those around you. This was a great challenge and it was a great mental one. After missing the turnaround I wasn’t angry, I was focused on finishing and running my own race.

At the end of the day I complete my first 10K race by myself at 22 years old. Maybe that’s not an accomplishment for some people, but with how unhappy my lungs have been as of late, this is something that I’m glad I impulsively signed up for one night in my bedroom and got the chance to have a nice Saturday adventure.


A shoe update

Well, in case you were wondering, running has become a part of my life that is a habit, like brushing your teeth or wearing your retainer or wearing red lipstick, as I said a habit. I wanted to make a post about the three pairs of shoes I have used on this fun journey to discovering how many blisters my toes can get the more I increase my mileage. Supportive running shoes – this is something that all runners need. Running is a very cost effective sport despite the cost of good runners, if that makes any sense. You can buy crops at a an inexpensive cost at winners, on sale at running room etc or even wear a simple pair you found at the thrift store, shoes are not the place to skimp people. My journey with shoes has been quite the time. I have had a hell of time finding the right shoes.

First my foot type: high arches, bunions, neutral foot.

I used to run in Asics back in the day when I ran in the summers with my mom and those hurt my knees. So when I started running this year I was running in the Nike flyKnit Zoom – I started running on the treadmill and had no pain in these shoes at all. But as soon as I began running outside I could quickly tell the cushioning wore off.

Then hit the winter. Yes folks, I still ran outside in the freezing winter, snow, sleet, wind and all. I thought that because the flyknit’s worked out so well that I would order the Free Run Distance shield that were indeed waterproof but after about 2 months of running in them I sustained my injury. Then not being able to walk so I had to take a month off. BRB while I cry and become a nightly foam roller.

Before I left for Europe I went to running room. Ugh. Where do I begin. The guy there: a: told me my arches weren’t my problem but it was my ankles…like okay….sure…i mean they aren’t the strongest but alrighty sir you are supposed to be the expert. (WRONG I WAS). I bought the mizuno wave rider 20 which I am now finding out IS A NARROW SHOE like alrighty. My bunions have never had quite the pain they had in  these runners. Literally, I would run down the street and my bunions would already be in pain. I know I will never be pain free but this? This was just getting out of hand. Even when I used to skate, my feet NEVER hurt this much.

Alas, my wonderful friend took me to her family friend that works at New Balance. New Balance was a brand I had discounted, for political reasons but also because I thought they just made street shoes and never thought of them as a running brand. But the experience at the store was wonderful, I went on this fun contraption that told the lady I my foot type, and pretty much all the information from my feet. Spot on – high arches, bunions, one foot a half size bigger. The woman there is also a bunion sufferer and recommend the best shoes I’ve ever worn.  Honestly. They are ridiculously comfortable. As someone with bunions the mizuno was way to tight on the arch and had minimal cushioning on the front part of my foot. My New Balance are specifically made with cushioning on both the front and back part of the foot as well as ample arch support so the bunion doesn’t absorb all the shock when you run. They also come in wide width – a blessing really.

 

You best believe I will be purchasing another pair for my winter running. Advice for anyone interested in running: go to New Balance. This has been by far my BEST experience looking and purchasing a pair of runners. Whatever your feelings towards the company, their employees know their stuff and are WILLING to listen to you.

 

I hope you enjoyed my kind of review/advice on runners and that this can help you pick the best pair for you.

 


A Wee Running Update

Well folks, its been a hot minute since I have written on here about running. Well, in March, March 4th to be exact I got injured. The outer part of my foot was so sore I could hardly put weight on it. I waited a week, ran again, re-injured my foot even more. I waited another week, ran again and re-injured it again. At this point I could hardly walk. I was hobbling around like a potato and rubbing my foot on a golf ball twice a day, stretching and foam rolling. Which thank goodness cured my injury but at this point I knew it was time for new runners. But as one would guess this happened at an optimal point in my life, exams were coming, I got a cold, one week turned into three, by the time I got new runners it was time to prep for Europe and to be honest I was slightly demotivated as I knew the first run would be a wee challenging, to say the least.

Alas, after my European adventure and a week of the post travel cold and jetlag I got back on the horse (or the sidewalk I should say). WELL my allergies are angry as it is, my lungs are angry that I have allergies, and my bowels are getting used to a healthy diet again so yah know. The first run wasn’t bad but it wasn’t awesome either.

Now, when I had the injury I did workout. I did upper body strength, endurance workouts and body weight training. BUT nothing compares to the motion of running for my lungs. Running is one of those sports that to me is hard. Its harder than doing a 3 and half minute free skate, its harder than synchro, and its hard to stay motivated because there are literally no external consequences. You are literally the only person who knows you didn’t run.

Its hard. That is what I will say. My lungs are the type that MUST at least twice a week run so they don’t lose full ability to run at their fullest capacity. As you may or may not know,  running has a totally different effect on my lungs than biking, circuit training and the 30,000 steps we did a day in Europe!

My first week back and up to now have honestly been really hard. Little did I know, after reading some Pinterest blogs, that running in the heat can take your body weeks to get used to. So I don’t feel too bad that my time has slowed down by a full minute.

I have now started a new Nike running plan on my sophisticated app because frankly, its pretty boring to the same monotonous run day after day so these include benchmarks, recovery runs, and long runs. Ah exciting times I lead in my life. It’s the little thing folks. I hope everyone has enjoyed this fun update and stays tuned for some more.

ps. featured image is my new mode of running transportation the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 runners in the fitting shade of blue

 


De-Stressing During Exams

HELLO HUMANS. I have seen on social media several people several stressing over exams and studying at all hours, and worrying about their marks so I wanted to do a blog post outlining a few ways that you can destress.

Find a hobby that is actually fun. No don’t go to the gym if that doesn’t make you happy like people tell you to do, try something else. Try colouring, trying reading a book (and a gasp because who reads for pleasure nowadays), or just try  a new fun makeup look! My personal fave hobby is the art of the crochet, currently I’m making a toque with a pompom. My other hobby is pool but you know since I don’t have a pool table the art of crochet will do.

Take a step away from studying. Okay, I get it many folks study ALL DAY for like 8 hours and need certain grades to get into certain programs. I mean if it works for you then by all means continue doing you but for me I find I do better on exams if I don’t study all day leading up to the days of the exam and all day before. Yes I am in a different, more concept based program, but I find that studying 2-3 hours a day and planning out which lectures I want to study makes me retain the knowledge better. So I suggest (obviously I’m not a professional) to take a step back from studying and also to take a look at the bigger picture. YES grades matter for many programs, but when you are older, and in an actual career its not going to matter if you got a 65 in a class, what is going to matter is that you actually learned something that you can apply to your future.

FaceTime your pet. Okay so not everyone has a pet they can FaceTime, some of you might be pet-less, others might have a pet at school with them (lucky butts).   But I find that FaceTiming my wee Buttons is so amazing, because her very virtual presence puts me at ease and I JUST LOVE HER SO MUCH. Again another picture of my cat.

buttons

Have a pamper night. I’m not going lie I have recently gotten very into face masks. I used to think they were a sham but honestly they are so relaxing. I did an at home facial recently and it was the best damn decision I made all week. I recently got the Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Anti-stress mask that is an amazing refreshing mask!

And remember fellow students, exams are not representative of your intelligence and your worth, you can get through this.