Sunday, August 22, 2010

Still Itching

Good God! I do not wish an allergy like this on my worst enemy! I’ve been itching like mad since Tuesday, and 5 days later it’s still almost unbearable. By Thursday I felt a bit better but looked worse as the rash had now spread literally all over my body, including a few angry looking marks on my face, which did get me some attention at the office. Those marks have died down somewhat, but the itch remains, and the antihistamines seem to have stopped working.

I still don’t know what caused it; Niamh’s mum said she sprayed some starch over the bedclothes while ironing them, which could be the problem, but there’s no way of telling for sure if that’s the case. I have slept in a different bedroom the last few nights, but in order to recover I reluctantly took Niamh’s advice and returned home to Caragh Lake today (Sunday), where I’ll spend a lonely week on my own while the rest of the family are on their holidays. When I went back into the offending room to pack my suitcase, I could sense my entire body starting to tingle. That may or may not be a purely psychological reaction, but it shows that I really had to get out of that place.

I have slept almost 10 hours per day over the last 3 days. On Thursday and Friday I went to bed immediately after returning from work and was asleep within seconds, staying like that for a couple of hours. Normally that would mean I would be unable to sleep at night, but not so this time; I slept solidly until 7:30 on both occasions.

That meant no running on Friday, but in all honesty I was not feeling up to it anyway. My feet are also slightly but noticeably swollen, which had me a bit worried about my weekend runs. It might be taper time, but there’s still a bit of running to do.

For Saturday I decided to drive the car to the little car park at the foot of Bray Head and run up to the tower and back again. That way I would never be more than 10 minutes away from the car in case my foot, or anything else, got me into trouble. The road featured climbing a bit over 400 feet on a bit more than a mile on a dirt road, and then the same in return. The first out-and-back took a couple minutes more than 20 minutes, and I figured I would end up doing 5. However, I managed to speed up with every loop, and by the end of the fifth I was still well under 2 hours, so I did a sixth one. Since my singlet felt really uncomfortable rubbing against my raw skin, I took it off. It may have looked horrid and God knows what the few other people thought, seeing a topless runner (bar a HR strap), covered in red bruises running up and down that mountain, but that’s not my problem. The main thing for me was that the run went well and I felt good. I still slept for 3 more hours immediately after coming home.

Emboldened by that good run I did the Valentia loop on Sunday, basically following the cycling section of the Valentia Triathlon, but going the other way round and from a slightly offset starting point. Again I took off my top after a couple of miles because it was really uncomfortable, but running under the warm sun without water made that a good choice anyway, apart from the way I looked. I had forgotten about the relentless 400 feet climb towards Gheogean, but I survived. The loop was only a tad longer than 11 miles, just over 18 km, confirming that the triathlon's cycle leg had been a bit short, and I added a good bit at the end, again to get over 2 hours. Since all my long runs had been at such a slow pace, I ran a bit faster today, but was surprised just how tough sub-8 pace felt. This used to be my cruising pace not so long ago, today I had to work hard for it, albeit on rather tired legs and not feeling particularly well.

With the ultra less than 2 weeks away, the mileage is declining rapidly. I’d love to feel good about recovering from the heavy mileage of the last few weeks, but feeling good is not on the agenda at the moment. But safely back home in Caragh Lake, I’m optimistic I’ll be back to normal in a short while.
21 Aug
14.22 miles, 2:08:18, 9:01 pace, HR 152
22 Aug
15.54 miles, 2:00:14, 7:44 pace, HR 160


  1. yikes thomas - great running but either get yourself to the doctor or get an allergy test asap and get to the bottom of that itching.

  2. Hoping you get this all sorted out soon. Since I'm away for the next 2 weeks I'll wish you well on your ultra and that you don't do yourself harm. Good luck!

  3. That sounds more than a simple allergy. Hope the return home does the trick and you can finish off the ultra training relatively pain free.

  4. Ouch! I hope you're back to normal service soon.