Friday, October 28, 2022

Why I use Galloway - Spirometry results

I wanted to capture in my blog my issues with my breathing which dates back to January of 2018 when I got fairly sick and had a cough that was deep and hurt. After three or four days of 100+ fever, I finally went in to get it all checked out. The Dr did the normal checking, first listened to why I had come in then he looked at my ears and he asked if they hurt, I said not as much as my lungs and head. He said I had an ear infection, based on the ear he put me on antibiotics. A week or so later, I felt good enough so I went for a run and of course did a lot of coughing. We then went down to Florida for a vacation and when I tried to run with my wife I had to stop and walk after a minute of running as the cough and breathing basically stopped me from running. I recovered and tried to catch up, repeat, repeat, repeat. After we got home I tried to ramp my mileage up but the cough and breathing plagued me so I just did the Galloway run/walk but kept the running to no more than a minute. I also had a follow-up Dr appointment and he said it could just take a while longer, I asked if I had had pneumonia, he said probably but did not confirm it as with the ear infection he was giving me the same antibiotics he would have prescribed if I had it. 

I proceeded to run a few marathons over the spring and summer but my breathing and coughing never went away, only by using the Galloway method was I able to get through. I am sure my coughing was a bit bothersome to my fellow runners but I was able to finish. After Grandma's I was thinking I should get it checked out again as I had just had a brother die of lung cancer and a second brother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Over the summer and fall I was seen by many Doctors (Heart was ok) and finally saw a Pulmonary Dr who checked my lungs for nodes and tested my lung capacity. Based on my lung capacity results they put me on a maintenance inhaler (Arnuity Ellipta) as she expected my results for my age to be at 120% not below average even a bit and advised me to use the emergency inhaler (Albuterol) before I ran as she said I did have mild asthma, after a month on the maintenance inhaler, they retested and the results were only a bit better so she took me off of the maintenance inhaler. We discussed Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causing acid reflux and/or Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) since I wasn't having heartburn all the time as other possibilities and that sometimes it can take 6 or 9 months for fully recover. So she suggested using the emergency inhaler, taking a PPI and Singulair. 

For a while I thought all was improving but I noticed that things were getting worse so I went back in May of 2019, was retested, my results were below normal so they put me on Breo Ellipta, a different maintenance inhaler. I was also tested for VCD which was inconclusive and the person doing the test didn't think I had it but gave me some vocal exercises.

I know I may have posted some of this in the past but that wasn't the intent of this post, it was to document my Spirometry results and to show my current numbers so that I can track them more easier over time. 

So fast forward to 2021 and my plan was to get retested so I could be off of the inhalers. Here are those numbers:

So when the doctor saw that I was at 74% for FEV1, she said she did not want me off the inhaler. I was then retested in September of this year and here are those results:

My doctor was happy to see that I had improved from 74% to 85% which is now considered to be normal with medication. So progress but I am still not pleased as I would like to be normal without the maintenance inhaler and to be able to run for miles without the walking breaks. And this last table are the results of all of my lung function tests

So overall they may not mean a lot to anyone but I now have a place where I can find things faster. 

As to my running, I will continue to use the Galloway method as without it I am not sure I would be running, more on that later...........

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Twin Cities Marathon 2022

For this year's Twin Cities my only goal was to finish. I still had the taste of last years race and I wanted to get it behind me. 

Since I am behind on my posting on races, here's a quick summary of my 2021 prep for TCM events:

  • Knee surgery in mid June
  • Resumed running in mid July while doing PT
  • Ramped up mileage starting in late August into September
  • Ran the 10k/5k on Saturday before the marathon - the weather was very humid, temps in the mid 60's
  • Dropped at mile 18 breaking my Ultra Loony streak as I was having breathing issues and knee pain (humidity had drained me)
This year my training had gone a bit better having done Grandma's virtually in June but it wasn't until after that race that my knee pain got resolved. I then continued to add in distance and worked on refining my run/walk pace splits to where by the time October arrived I thought I was ready. My only concern at all was the 6 hr cutoff as you lose 15 minutes getting to the start although they do claim to keep the finish open to allow for that. It was still stressing me out though. Hopefully by next year, I will add more margin so that this cutoff becomes a don't care.

The day arrived and although the weather wasn't perfect (blue sky, almost no clouds and tempes going from 52 to low 70's) I was able to finish my 17th TCM, 70th marathon and 52nd marathon in MN just past my 65th birthday, I saw a lot of old friends along the way which made the day even better along with great support from my wife, my oldest daughter, granddaughter and future granddaughter and text support from my youngest daughter. 

Only issues were no electrolytes for a few aid stations in a row and of course this was the first time I was counting on it, oh well no harm done. I used the Galloway methodology, my splits were 20/40, run/walk through mile 18 and after 18 I allowed some extra walking to avoid the overheating. My breathing was pretty good throughout with no significant coughing issues. It was interesting to my HR stay higher than normal (Avg - 134, Max 150)  but I think that goes to the weather and the pace I was trying to hold for most of the race.

Here are a few pictures from the day. 

This is my view from corral 3 waiting on the start

Heading to the finish, then seeing my wife, daughter and granddaughter and onto the finish line

Friday, July 1, 2022

Grandma's 2022 (Virtual)

 My 2022 Grandma's did not go quite as planned, originally we had gotten a hotel in Two Harbors and we were looking forward to experiencing Grandma's from that perspective. The plan was to run my 20th in person Grandma's to go along with my 1 virtual Grandma's, so was this going to be my 20th or 21st, no matter to me as each one I have loved including doing the virtual one in 2020.

So how did this one change to a virtual, long story short, my wife had a right hip replacement in early April and because they discovered a torn glute muscle that they reattached it slowed her recovery. So I decided to not go to Duluth as Karyn's hip was too big of an unknown and Grandma's allowed me to switch to a virtual marathon, maybe next year I will get my 20th in-person Grandma's. 

So back to the Cannon Valley trail on the only day that looked doable based on the weather as we wwere in the middle of some hot days which was the same day as Grandma's, June 18th. Although I got an early start the temp was 60 when I started and 77 when I finished, blue cloud free sky, light wind. I did 20-40, run-walk splits as I expected my knee and the temp would get to me, which they did but I knew I had time so just kept working through it. I did slow over the last 6 miles as the heat without much shade was definitely taking a toll.  

I would be remiss to not say that I actually do enjoy running a marathon alone especially on this bike trail, it allows me to just focus and process my surroundings without the distraction of people. I know many would find it boring but I enjoy the difference and these pictures help explain why.

This first one was taken a few miles into the race and if you zoom in you will see a few deer. For the day I saw almost a dozen deer, 6+ turkeys and a bald eagle around mile 23.

The next two show a few views of the river then an open field and the last one is the bald eagle but again you will need to zoom in.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Med City 2022

I went into Med City knowing the day was going to be a struggle. I chose to drive down the day of the event which made for an early start but really simplifies running this event. On the drive down, I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and think about the day ahead as the weather forecast was for 67, overcast and humid at the start, heading to 80 during the race. 

My knee was going to be an issue, since my surgery last year, it has not been right, it may be nothing more than not enough meniscus left to provide the cushioning needed and my weight, running style compressing it or something else, regardless, every running step hurts. Add in coming in under trained at least for long runs and the need to keep the HR managed for my breathing, it was going to be an interesting day.

So with that in mind, I started out doing a 45-20, walk-run split. The plan was to run 13 1/2 minute miles for the first 13, then 14 through 18, then do whatever until it's over without causing additional issues but try to get it in.

For the first 5 miles, all was going per plan and I was really enjoying being out there, then I noticed my phone's battery was draining fast. I have been using my phone to provide my walk-run cadence, my gps tracking and to listen to podcasts. I shutoff my podcasts and sent Karyn a text that my phone may not last the race and not to worry. She alerted me to thunderstorms at home and asked about our weather, upon checking I could see a thunderstorm heading our way so figured I would be getting wet. Then at mile 8, a sheriff informed us that we were going to be redirected to a school just ahead as the race director was stopping the race. I then proceeded on to the school as the skies opened up. I did run a bit harder than normal to get there quicker which my knee and lungs disagreed with but I knew I would have a few minutes to recover and was trying to avoid getting soaked which I almost did.

After about 15 to 20 minutes, they restarted the race, my knee was hurting a bit more and I struggled to get back into a rhythm, my phone had dropped to below 30% battery so I figured it wouldn't even make the 1/2 way point. Shortly after, it hit the low battery mode and I shut off my interval timer. I was now debating do I stop or continue, the sun came out and the humidity was intense, I figured the cloud cover would return but I knew the right choice was to stop as running in heat, no watch, no interval timer, knee pain just didn't make sense. I did talk with the 6 hr pacer and I debated trying to go with him but decided for the previous reasons to not. The pacer was Tom Perri, who was completing his 100th MN marathon, 600th marathon and continuing his steak of completing every Med City Marathon, wow. He mentioned he is also dealing with stage 4 prostate cancer, unbelievable he's still able to run and be so optimistic. Made my decision a bit harder as I was only dealing with smaller inconveniences.

As to the race, it was a new course, we were bused to the Airport instead of to Byron, it had a long downhill (mile 7 to 8) and would loop through Rochester covering parts of the old course. I really liked it. It was also the first time since 2019 that it was going to happen on the Sunday of Memorial day weekend because of disruption from Covid, everything was well done and it was good to see it happen again. Always one of my favorite events.

As to what next, I switched my Grandma's to a virtual race, so I will be looking to get it in between June 18th through July 5th. Exactly how, well that will be a good question. If I can find a cooler (less humid) day, manage the knee, phone and any other variables, it should go ok.


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