Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Running Is Ruining My Lungs :(

As I’ve mentioned before in earlier posts, besides being a runner, I am also a singer. I am in the prep show choir at my school and we’re nearing the end of a great, successful season. It’s so much fun and so exhilarating to perform in front of so many people. Plus having an incredibly talented group of people and an amazing director makes it even better. We’ve won our first four competitions and we have one more competition this saturday. Here’s a video of our show!

But now that track season has started, I’m out running in the cold everyday, breathing in the cold, dry air. The weather hasn’t been awfully cold lately, but still in the upper 20’s to 30’s range. When I run in the cold a lot, it tends to hurt my lungs and give me a cough, but it usually isn’t too bad. But lately this past week, my lungs have had lots of problems and I start coughing every time I breathe deeply, laugh, or sing…which is really bad when you’re in show choir and have to sing and dance and breathe deeply all at the same time. It’s hard to have good breath support when you can’t breathe in deeply without having a coughing fit! I suppose I could be getting sick, but I’m pretty sure that it’s all just from my running in the cold. I was looking up ways to try to stop and prevent this, and came across a few websites with some helpful tips. And even if you aren’t a singer, some of these tips might be helpful for you too if your lungs are sensitive to breathing in the cold air! Here’s a few of them!

♪ Try to breathe in only through the nose and out through nose and mouth. This gives the air a chance to warm and moisturize before hitting your larynx and lungs.

♪ Scarf & hat. 70-80% of body heat-loss happens through neck and head.

♪ Cold air is usually very dry and requires us to hydrate more than normal.  Remember the rule: Half your body weight in ounces of water daily. 150 lbs. = 75 ounces of water . . . at least.

♪ A warm drink will help warm areas around the larynx, but remember: caffeine is a diuretic and can dry you out. Staying with decaffeinated drinks (still some caffeine there), or better yet no-caffeine drinks is better on singing days. Something like “Throat Coat” tea is filled with interesting flavors and very good for singers.


I’ve tried breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth more when we’re doing shorter, easier runs, but it’s nearly impossible when we have harder, faster days. I’ve been drinking lots of tea and bringing it to practices, which helps a bit. I should probably drink more water throughout the day, but it gets hard at school. Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit soon or I can figure out how to get my lungs to be happy again!


Why Don’t I Wanna Run???

Looking at the side of my blog, I was reminded that the start of my track season is a shockingly short fourteen days away. FOURTEEN DAYS!!!! as in ONLY TWO WEEKS!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! D: I am so unprepared, feel so out of shape, and lack the motivation to change that. I think back to July, in the weeks leading up to my cross country season. I was so motivated, I ran every single day, and I was determined to have a good season. But I look at myself now, wish I was faster and more in shape, but I don’t really feel like getting my shoes on to do anything about it. We had a track meeting with our coach on Friday, and it shocked me how close we are to the start of our season. It was kind of like a cold slap in the face. But with the disgustingly freezing cold weather that we have right now and the ice covering the streets and sidewalks, running outside would likely literally slap me cold in the face. Why am I lacking the motivation and excitement for the upcoming season that I had back in July?? Why don’t I feel that same urge to get my shoes on and run? Why don’t I care that I’m not in the best shape or ready to kick some butt in a few weeks? Why don’t I care that I’m probably not going to start my season out at the top of the team and run varsity right away? It’s true that I prefer cross country over track, but that’s all just a mental thing. I know that if I don’t do the right things, I’m not going to get to go to state like I want so badly. I know that I’m not going to get the varsity letter that I’ve been dreaming of since last year. I know that my body takes a long time to get back in shape. I know that in May, I’m going to regret my lack of preseason training. But it is so much easier to stay inside, sit on the couch, watch some quality High School Musical or The Amazing Spiderman or How I Met Your Mother, or look at Pinterest and all of its inspirational and motivational quotes and ideas that are supposed to make you want to get up and get active. Like these:

Need to say this every morning.... .  40 Things to Try When You Don't Want to Work Out. I NEED these!  You will never regret at workout

I especially need to listen to this one:

But no. I ran once this past week, five miles on Friday. That’s it. I should probably go running after school today. After all, track season starts in fourteen days and the more out of shape I am now, the harder those first few weeks are going to be. So my goal for this week? Twenty miles. I’ll keep you posted on how close I get to that goal. It’s quite a big leap up from the five miles this week. Pretty wimpy compared to my cross country preseason training. But like Pinterest told me, the difference between my body this week and next week is what I do for the next seven days. I can’t make up for my insufficient running for the past few months. But I can start running more now, I guess it’s better late than never!

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My frenemy the treadmill

Eww. I hate treadmills. Or do I love them in disguise? A disguise where I am a really really really good actor, so good that I even almost start believing that it’s true? I was in the school play the past two years, maybe some of my acting skills carried over? Maybe?

Anyways, it’s winter….which unfortunately means cold, snow, ice, painful breathing in the frigid air and numb extremities (aka I CAN’T FEEL MY NOSE OR MY FINGERS OR MY LEGS ANYMORE!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!) But I still gotta get my miles in! I can’t let myself get so out of shape like last year! So what do I do? Do I take the constant runny nose and the icky cough? Or do I embrace my dreaded treadmill and stay inside for a few miles? My running buddy wants me to get a membership at the gym, where about 10.5 laps is the equivalent of a mile. None of these sound like ideal choices to me, but what else can I do? Decisions. Ugh. I’m the worst decision-maker in the world.

I ran about 3.5 miles today, just around my neighborhood. The weather wasn’t great, but with a few layers, the wind didn’t bite quite so much and I stayed relatively warm enough. But then tonight the snow started falling and we’re right in line for a blizzard to bring the Christmas spirit in. School has already been cancelled for tomorrow – PARTY!!:) but really, this just means it’s gonna get harder to find a place to run and the motivation to get me to subject my poor unwilling body into submission to run longer than four miles.

I have a treadmill at my house, which is nice once in a while, so I can get in a mile or maybe two at night or on those -20 degrees with wind chill days when a run outside is impossible without getting frostbite or hypothermia or something like that (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, I could probably run outside without dying). But when I try to do a whole, for-real, quality treadmill workout involving more than a mile or two, I just can’t do it. I get so bored. I was running on the treadmill yesterday, and after half a mile, I just kept pushing the faster button. Faster. Faster. Get me off this thing because I’m so bored and I’m getting nowhere. Faster. Faster. I’m running at a 6:30 minute-per-mile pace. Faster. Ugh. Finally I gave up. I quit after a mile and a half. It’s embarrassing, I know. I’ve looked for ways to run good treadmill workouts. I haven’t yet found anything that can keep me going. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

On the other hand, if I didn’t get so bored out of my mind, treadmills are great. You can stay out of the cold. You don’t have to go anywhere. If you’re not feeling it, you can stop anytime without worrying about being five miles away from your car. There are pros, there are cons. Maybe they work for some people. I’m just not so sure that my dear friend Treadmill and I were meant for each other.

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Julie Yip-Williams

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