A Fun Allergy Update

Well I have a quick (well maybe not super quick) update on my allergies, and I hope that my next post on this topic is a ‘I am feeling so much better!’ post.  I finally got all of my ‘safe’ products two weeks ago, hooray for amazon and a few other online sites  and thought I was ready to go and set for the month of being compliant. However, that Friday after doing more research on one of the substances I was allergic to, Balsam of Peru (BOP), I realized it was in much more than just products listed on the little handout I got:

  • Fruits that contain peel of citrus fruits (ex: juice, marmalade)
  • Candy, chewing gum, mints
  • Cough medicine and lozenges
  • Ice cream
  • Cola and other spiced drinks
  • Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, curry (ex: ketchup, chili sauce)

Easy enough right? I don’t consume any juice/jam, I’ll quit gum, drop the ice cream, I have quit drinking soda and just avoid those few spices in baked goods, ketchup and chili sauce.  I was very very wrong.  Vanilla is in a lot of stuff including most chocolate, almost all of my nutrition products (it also goes under the name ‘natural flavoring’), my beloved fig newtons, Larabars, and even my favorite sparkling water.  On top of that there are actually more spices than just the four listed (I guess I should have known with the ‘such as’) it also includes: allspice, basil, bay leaves, dill, nutmeg, paprika.  When I started looking up the ingredients in a lot of my foods at home… so many of them contained at least one of those spices.  So other than using herbs, it’s going to be just salt and pepper for me.  Dining out was going to be tough though (I’ve still yet to eat out in the past three weeks).

The vegetables listed also threw me through a loop, the last one mainly: Asparagus, beets, blueberry, cranberry, huckleberry (I highly doubt I’ll ever eat that in my life though) and TOMATO.  Woah.  Hold the phone.  That is in everything (or it seems like it to me) and it’s one of the vegetables that contains the most of BOP, so it’s the one to avoid the most.  So that omits other items such as pasta sauce and red sauce (adios pizza) which made me really sad.

However, I was about to get more sad.  Under beverages, other than the obvious from my handout, which was ‘citrus juices’, it also listed beer and wine.  Now I was boredline depressed (kidding, kind of not kidding).  Sh*t’s getting real now.  I realize that not every beer or wine will contain it, but for now until my next appt on June 6th I need to try to be 100% compliant.  And honestly after that, I’m not sure if it’s worth drinking to tae the gamble of swollen red eyes and rashes.  Sigh.  Talk about a lifestyle change.

So currently I have tried to clean up my diet, omit any foods with BOP and so far the rashes are better, but not gone.  I’m itchy now as I type this but am hoping that if I am consistent and persistent with only eating safe foods (and using only my safe products for shampoo, etc), it will go away.  I wasn’t going to post this post, but after doing a lot of research I found a few other on the interwebs and it made me think that it might help someone else with the same allergy so they don’t feel so alone, so why not. (Note: I do realize this is a first world problem, things could be much much worse, and all I need to do is just avoid the foods/substances….but man. Pizza has my heart)

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Training Update: IMWI Training Week 19

Well last week I finally got back on track with training!  Also I’ve been watching what I’ve been eating and am also only using my new ‘safe’ products and the rash has calmed down a ton, so hooray for that and training!  Other than working, trying to eat healthy (which means a lot of cooking…sigh), and training, not to much else has been going on.  I did manage to suprise JMR and planted a new bush (Bobo Hydrangea) on Sunday, which was fun and also more work than I thought when it came to digging a hole!  Hopefully it grows/blooms soon!

Isn’t it cute?

Ok on to training:

Monday – Big swim set (for me at least) 3500y.  Woof!  That was tough.

Tuesday – Speedwork that I kind of failed at, just couldn’t hit my planned paces: warmup, 4×800 and cooldown.

Wednesday – 70 minute trainer ride at lunch followed by 2600y swim in the evening.

Thursday – 6 mile tempo run in the am (I had a dentist appt at lunch so had to get it done early) that also felt horrible.  My legs just don’t want to get with the program.

Friday – Rest day (man did I feel lazy)

Saturday – 2300y swim in the am with a intense 75 min trainer ride right after

Sunday – 8 mile ‘long’ run… which also felt crummy, my legs just felt weak and shaky during most of the run, no idea what’s going on, I ate plenty on Saturday and had my usual banana for breakfast before my run.  I hope this is just a random fluke or next weekend’s 10 miler is going to be a lot of fun.

Total Training Hours: 7:56… getting back up there!

I also want to mention that I have discovered something amazing….since I can’t use my usual anti-cholrine body wash and shampoo, I’ve started hanging out in the sauna for at least 10 minutes after I swim to try to sweat out some of the chlorine and man does that work!  Once I shower I can’t smell any hint of chlorine on me!  I’m not sure if it’s helping with my hair (I might start putting conditioner in it before I swim to try to help protect it), but it sure is working for my skin!  Also it’s part of my training protocol to get adapted to the heat, so it’s just an added bonus.  That’s my helpful tip of the day for you! 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

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Training Update: IMWI Training Week 18

I’m still alive and still planning on doing IMWI 🙂  But the past two months have been filled with ups and downs and inconsistent training.  Somewhere in there (April 9th) I ran a half marathon, which was definitely not race report worthy since I barely survived, and some weeks I would gain momentum and others I would lose it, especially the last couple of weeks with the whole allergy thing.  So as I said, nothing worth reporting.

Work was semi-busy last week, but honestly because the rash around my eyes was so red and hurt, I really didn’t want to work out until it had calmed down since it burned when I sweat and I had no idea what the pool/chlorine would do to it.  However by Saturday my rashes seemed to be a little more under control so I got in my planned workouts. I’ll go more into detail on the allergy stuff in a different post as it’s quite lengthy.  So, in short, this will be a short post 🙂

Week 18

Saturday: 2 hour trainer ride because it rained allll darn day

Sunday: Swam 2800y in the am and 6.7 miles in the afternoon, and boy was it pretty warm and extra humid.  I won’t even comment on my paces, but at least I got it done.

Ok, that’s all for now, and next week’s recap should be back to a regular training recap with lots of training hours 🙂  Off to the pool to swim 3600y (yikes!)


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A Non-Training Update

So… the training has once again fallen to the wayside due to some life stuff.  At the beginning of this year I developed some weird rashes on my torso and neck, I finally made an appointment with my dermatologist, had a biopsy and they determined it was a form of eczema, and he also recommended getting patch testing done to find out what was causing the eczema to flare up (more on that later).

My neck is just a little rashy (and omg itchy).

After being on 10 day round of prednisone all seemed clear.   Until a week later when the rashes popped up again, but also on my eyelids and eventually causing some serious swelling in my left eye (I have a picture but…man it’s a bad one, so I’ll spare you from that).  Back to the Dr I went, they put me on a another 10 day round of prednisone and things were once again ok (the NP also had me change deodorant).

The rashes on my body were pretty much clear (so I’m thinking the deodorant was the culprit for those) but the ones on my eyelids were out of control.  Fortunately (finally) my insurance approved patch testing, so I had that done last week.  In short, two Monday’s ago they put (for me at least) 125 tiny patches on my back with different substances.

Patches!  They actually look like watch batteries.  JMR thought I looked like a robot.  Also, usually they put them on the top of your back, but mine had a huge rash so they had to be creative with their placement.

They kept them on until Wednesday, where they took them off and the Dr. did a preliminary reading.  Then I went back on Friday (no showering/getting wet/sweating until then) for a final reading, and the results kind of had me floored.  I was itchy during the week so I was hopeful it meant I was allergic to something causing my rashes, but didn’t expect to be allergic to 15 substances.  Nickel, Gold (adios wedding ring 😦 ), Formaldehyde (it’s in more than you would think), Propylene Glycol (ohmyword…it’s in sunscreen, makeup, soap, lotion, shampoo, liquid detergent….the list goes on and on), Balsam of Peru which is in some condiments like ketchup and then 10 other random ones.  The nurse gave me a handout of information on each substance I was allergic to, then a packet of ‘safe’ products that didn’t contain the substances, and a ‘safe’ list of medications.  Oh my.  I would say it was 50+ pages of information.

I went home and started to read, and the more I read, the more overwhelmed I got.  I was really sad about the wedding ring, worried about my garmin buckle (which I called the company that day and they confirmed it’s stainless steel…phew) and allll of the products I would have to replace and foods I would have to avoid.   I will admit, I moped around the rest of Friday but Saturday I was determined to start the process and headed to the store with a list of safe products, however the only one I could find was a safe deodorant (of three safe ones available).  We were also having my family over for dinner for my mom’s birthday on Sunday so I was a little overwhelmed with that too (we don’t live in filth but we also never have company over, so some serious spring cleaning was needed). I called my mom crying about the dumb list and she told me to come over with it and they would try to help divide and conquer whatever needed to be replaced.

When I brought the list over I think she and my dad understood why I was so overwhelmed.  Basically I can’t eat a lot of foods because they are either contain nickel (ex: lunch meats, peanut butter, all beans, lettuce, salad dressings, chocolate, soy) or has naturally occurring formaldehyde (ex: bananas, apples, grapes, potatoes, spinach, beef, pork, poultry, cheese, cod, shrimp).  It was just so overwhelming.  So my dad agreed it was ridiculous and we would just start small: no wedding ring (it was already off), avoid the foods with the highest nickel content (peanuts, chocolate, beans and oatmeal), replace all of my personal products (ex: detergent, cleaning supplies, soap, shampoo, toothpaste) and go from there.  So with the internet being my hero, I found a replacement for all of the products (VMV Hypoallergenics is the most amazing site ever!!!) and by today, Wednesday, they should almost all be here and by Friday I should be 100% compliant with our plan.  I see the dermatologist in six weeks, so hopefully with these drastic changes my skin will be better by then.

So with that weighing on my mind, I haven’t really cared much about training… BUT I have IMWI that I still really want to do, and my parents are even coming (and maybe my sister too), so I need to change my focus now that the skin issues are hopefully taken care of and buckle down and get back to training.  Thanks to prednisone and probably a little post-predinsone caused depression (unlike some people who seem to lose their appetite, I eat my feelings…alll the feelings), I now have 10+ lbs to lose by September 10th (sounds far away but it isn’t….aaaandd….I have other races coming up and it would be nice to actually fit into my new kit I ordered.

Back in the pool tomorrow am…. I’ll let you know how my ‘homemade’ anti-chlorine spray works (vitamin c e-mergenC+ water), since I’m allergic to my anti-chlorine shampoo and soap (darn you propylene glycol).  All I could find was tangerine flavored packets so I have a feeling I’m going to come home smelling kind of fruity 🙂

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Training Updates – IMWI Training Week 10 Part II

It’s Monday again and back to the grind… but I just wanted to give a recap of the rest of week 10, which included the St.Patrick’s 5 mile race!

I knew the weather for the race this year was going to be much chillier than in years past, however I did NOT expect to wake up to snow on the ground!  Ugh… I was so ready to race in shorts and a tank top and knew that was not happening.  I dug out my running tights (I have had them packed away assuming I was done wearing them for the year, boy was I wrong) and pulled out a long-sleeved top, along with gloves and started to slowly get ready.  I’m not sure what the deal was but JMR and I just weren’t as excited to do this race as in years past…so much so we got up at 7:50a and the race was at 9a…. talk about cutting it a bit close!  We left the house around 8:24 when JMR noticed he was almost out of gas, so with a short detour to the gas station we were on our way.  By 8:45a we were getting close to the normal exit we take when we noticed that traffic was backed up in all three lanes, at least a mile away from the exit.  Ugh.  So we took the next closesest exit only to find out that all of the roads were blocked off for the parade and run route.  No dice.  We backtracked, went back over the highway and tried to take another side street, which was also blocked off.  More looping around… it was 8:55a and JMR said, ‘That’s it, I’m turning around’, but I convinced him to try one more street and hooray! we were able to get to the other side of the highway where the race was and quickly found a parking lot (which was $10!, usually we park for free or pay $5 in a garage…but we were desperate!).  It was already 9a, so after parking we both took off for the start…which was about .75 miles away, good grief.

Once we got to the start, we got stuck behind all of the walkers/strollers/and dogs on leashes and by the time we crossed the mat it was already almost 9:10a.  Oh boy, this was going to be fun.  I did so much zigging and zagging and weaving the first two miles it was crazy.  I was frustrated, however it also our fault for showing up so late that we missed the competitive corrall.  Since the first mile is mostly downhill, and due to adrenaline, I ran a 7:15 min/mile, however mile 2 was a bit slower at 8:06 pace.  I also noticed that when I crossed the mile 2 marker, that I was already .1 over, so I would need to pick up the pace knowing my splits were going to be off.  Unfortunately mile 3 was more than half of a very steep uphill, so I ran that mile at an 8:21 pace, but the last two miles were more flat/downhill and were 7:58 and 7:55…I ended up running .15 extra, so even though my avg pace was 7:55 (my goal!), my official race pace was 8:09.  Bummer. Last year I ran around .7 extra, so that extra bobbing and weaving in the beginning few miles definitely added up.  Lesson learned, we need to get there earlier next year! 🙂

After the race since it was so chilly, we decided to head to the car and head home, in years past we’ve stayed to get an early lunch and also watch the parade, but after the hectic morning and being freezing cold, we thought going home sounded much more appealing.  The rest of the day we weren’t too productive! I did some cleaning, watched some lifetime and cooked dinner.  To be fair it was freezing outside, so staying inside and relaxing sounded like a good idea.

Sunday I got up and rode the trainer for 1hr 30min, the first 30 min was tough because my legs were still fatigued from the race the day before, but then they warmed up and felt pretty darn good the rest of the ridde.  After the ride, JMR and I met his mom and aunt for lunch since they were in town for the weekend for a shopping trip.  Then JMR did some work, I did lots of laundry and that was pretty much the end of the weekend!

This week since my eye is looking back to normal (thanks to prednisone and steroid cream) I’ll be back in the pool, which I’m excited about but also dreading a little because it takes me a while to ’embrace’ swimming, lol.  Also since my pace was better than expected at the race (slower than year’s past, but not as slow as I thought it would be this year), and was closer to my 5k goal pace so far this season (7:50) my coach has me picking up the pace on my tempo and long runs this week, so that should be interesting to see how those go…I’m going to have to give myself some pep talks!  This week’s volume is getting back on track to where it was before the whole biopsy and then eye issues….hooray!  IMWI is less than six months away… yikes!  It really is time to buckle down and get back into a routine.

Happy Monday – I’ll leave you with a picture of what I woke up to this morning… and it’s going to be in the 60’s this weekend….such crazy weather!

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Training Updates – IMWI Training Weeks 8 – 10

Well right now I’m on week 10, but I’ve been slacking on updates so I thought I would pop in to give an update, before a month goes by!

Week 8 was pretty bad… didn’t get in much of a workout during the week due to work being crazy and not having enough energy to force myself to work out late after work, however I did get in my 8 mile run on Saturday.

Week 9 was much much better….

Monday – Made up missed long trainer ride from Sunday

Tuesday  – The LAST power max challenge.  I will admit, I did slack on these in the middle of the month (especially week 8), I just got tired of riding every day and sometimes doing 3 work outs a day.  However, I did get the last one done in the am before work, and also did my speedwork at lunch.

Wednesday – Trainer ride at lunch and swam after work.

Thursday – 6 mile tempo run and core.

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – 10 mile run.  This was a struggle.  Not sure what the deal was (maybe only having a salad for dinner the night before didn’t help) but my legs felt dead by mile 5.  The remaining five miles were a struggle to get in, and I definitely didn’t hit the planned pace, but at that point I was just focusing on getting in the mileage rather than stressing about pace.  This coming weekend is the St. Patrick’s 5 mile race, but the following weekend I am determined to have a good long run because this one was downright miserable!

Sunday – Long-ish trainer ride with lots of hills!

Total Training Hours: 9:47


Week 10 hasn’t been great, but it’s also race week so it’s a light week.

Monday – So……this stupid rash that I had biopsied has come back after the round of (TWO WEEKS!) prednisone and I woke up with a swollen, red, itchy left eye and 100% decided to skip my swim.

Tuesday – My left eye was swollen shut when I woke up so I made a Dr. Appt as soon as the office opened and was able to see the NP at 10a (phew).  She didn’t think it was an infection and instead just a really bad allergic reaction (what am I allergic to, darnit!) and prescribed another TWO WEEK round of prednisone.  I am going to be so fat by the time this rash (if it ever) goes away.  The rash is also under my arms but it isn’t itchy or swollen, which I can deal with, but not when it comes to my face 😦  Since I had trouble seeing well out of my left eye, and overall just felt frustrated about the mystery rash, I bagged my speedwork session and watched a movie after work instead.

Wednesday – Easy 30 min trainer ride

Thursday – Easy 3 mile run

Friday – Rest Day

And the plans for this weekend…

Saturday – Race Day!  Saint Patrick’s 5 mile run 🙂

Sunday – Trainer ride

Ok that’s about it, Happy Friday!

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Training Updates – IMWI Training Week 7

Happy Monday!  Back to the grind after a low-key weekend, which I’m always happy about…not a fan of jam-packed busy weekends, then I feel like I’m starting the week wiped out.  Other than the usual weekend long-ish workouts, cleaning and laundry (well, it seems like I’m always doing laundry these days with my training volume increasing) and going out to dinner Saturday night I didn’t do too much.  We are having a random semi-heat wave given how the temps are usually in February so I did try to spend a decent amount of time outside.  This week’s volume wasn’t as big as last week since I can’t swim (stitches came out today) and I also missed Wednesday and Thursday’s workouts due to hectic workdays.  That said it still was a good week!

Monday – Max Power Challenge

Tuesday – Speedwork, 12×400 (ouch!) at lunch followed by Max Power Challenge after work (cut the cooldown a tad short due to dinner plans for Valentine’s day)

Wednesday – Trainer ride + Max Power Challenge

Thursday – 6 miles with 4 @ 8:30

Friday – Max Power Challenge

Saturday – 6 miles with 4 @ 8:20 pace.  Nailed this one!  Wasn’t sure how it would go since I missed Thursday’s run and I’ve been struggling with hitting the usual 8:30 pace.  Either our treadmill isn’t calibrated correctly (faster than the pace it shows), or it’s just plain easier to run harder outside (especially in nice weather!).  My first mile was up a hill so I was really pushing (8:19), then some downhill (8:00), then some flat (8:07) and a little uphill and fatigue (8:13). Finished feeling strong though!  Once I got home I ate a honeystinger waffle and hopped on the trainer for the Max Power Challenge.

Sunday – Trainer Ride + Power Max Challenge followed by a 2 mile run.  I really have missed doing bricks!  The two miles (even though my legs were still a little sore from the run the day before) felt great and the weather was beautiful, so it was nice ot get outside after being on the trainer for almost 2 hours.

Total Training Hours: 7:57

Now that the stitches are out, I will be adding my swims back in, my dry skin won’t be a fan, but I do miss those workouts!

Happy Monday!

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