December 1st marked the Renegade Runners two year anniversary....and if there's one thing Renegades are good at (other than running of course) it's celebrating!!! Thanks go out to Kirsten, Heather, Alice, Ellan and Jeff for their help with the event. Everyone received a special award and we were able to FaceTime with Patricia to present her award as the first inductee to the Renegade Runners Hall of Fame.....a great time was had by all!
We'd like to recognize everyone who finished off the racing season in November. Congrats to John on a gutsy performance in the NYC Marathon.....sounds like it was an awesome experience! Carol managed to squeeze three Turkey Trot races into the month and did a great job with age group placings in all of them!!. Several Renegades competed in the Mo' Run on a blustery day near the end of the month....Kirsten and Lonna in th 5k, Alice and Lynn in the 10k and Terry and George in the 16k. Kirsten was overall female winner in the 5k, Alice was 2nd female in the 10k and Lynn had a new PB. Congrats to ALL on their strong performances!
Also in November, we welcomed our newest Renegade, Elizabeth Campbell. Elizabeth will be training for Around the Bay with us.
After a bit of a break in training, things have already started to ramp up. Thanks to Terry for leading the group in Arkona.....at least part of the group will be headed there once or twice per month, leading up to ATB and Boston for John.
Thanks also goes out to Terry for providing this month's technical talk. Just below the photo gallery is Terry's info on Breathing. It's an important subject that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves....Terry's input is a must read!
That's all for now but on closing I'd like to wish each and every Renegade and their families a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
Breathing is something most athletes and certainly non-athletes, take for granted. As an athlete with asthma, I have been taking short-acting and long-lasting inhalers since I was diagnosed with asthma in my mid-30s. As I have gotten older, I was finding that my athletic performance was more limited by my breathing. Wheezing while I ran and cycled had gotten worse and asthma attacks after the finish line of races had become a regular occurrence.
I’ll tell you my story in the next few paragraphs. But in case you don’t have time to read them, it’s a great time of year to start nose breathing. It’s cold and only going to get colder, and nose breathing (especially breathing IN through your nose) helps to warm and humidify the air. So give it a try.
On Aug. 30, 2015 I was competing in what was supposed to be my last Ironman in Muskoka. The 4 km open water swim went pretty much as planned – although you never quite get comfortable swimming with 2500 of your closest friends. I cycled the 180 km bike ride on a challenging, hilly course in my most optimistic time of just under 6 hours. Then the marathon: 2 loops of a hilly, out-and-back course. I started off feeling great but my breathing started to deteriorate after about 10 km and I was wheezing continuously even when I slowed to a walk. I was having one big, long asthma attack. And my Ventolin inhaler was not helping. My wife later told me that my face was grey when she saw me at 21.1 km. Learning point: I asked my wife to tell me on the spot if I look really bad at future races!
There were medical volunteers on bikes patrolling a few kilometers each on the marathon course. 2 or 3 of the medical volunteers were tracking my progress (or lack of) as I went through each of their zones a total of 3 times. I was having severe GI issues as well, probably due to inadequate O2 in my blood stream. A couple of kms before km 31, one of the medical volunteers told me I was to stop at the next portable medical facility and they would give me oxygen. I was really suffering at this point so the oxygen offer was welcome. I stopped and after 30 minutes on O2 the wheezing had not gone away and my blood O2 level hadn’t returned to normal, so I decided to pack it in – my only career DNF. I also didn’t want to further burden the medical volunteers. By the time I had been driven back to transition, my breathing had pretty much returned to normal.
Immediately after this event, I did some intensive research on breathing. My main sources of information came from this website:
and this book: The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown (now available at the downtown library).
I discovered that my mouth breathing was causing me to over-breathe during my cycling and running. And over-breathing was hindering how efficiently I was using O2. Too much volume, too little efficiency and made worse by my asthma. The main symptom of asthma is that you don’t fully exhale all of the air you breathe in. So during the Ironman, once I got beyond a certain point, there was no way to recover without intervention. More mouth breathing, more volume of air in, less O2 absorption, lower amount of air exhaled – big problem!
To understand the theory of over-breathing, it’s important to note that carbon dioxide in your bloodstream is needed to release oxygen from the hemoglobin in your blood. This is detailed in the book The Oxygen Advantage. So when you breathe in a lot of air through your mouth (too much), you can’t make use of the O2 since carbon dioxide in your bloodstream is too low.
OK so that’s the research and that’s the theory for what they’re worth. In my own situation, I was able to convert to nose breathing fairly quickly: at this point I’m breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. I find that nose breathing has reduced wheezing while I run and bike and I no longer have asthma attacks after finishing a race or a tough workout. I was able to complete ATB, Ironman Lake Placid and 2 Half Ironman races this year with no severe breathing issues and certainly no asthma attacks. (and the Sarnia Mo’Run). I have been doing some of the breathing exercises recommended: see Buteyko Breathing Method in the book or online. But I haven’t been doing them regularly enough – not unlike ‘core’ after running.
Next question is what’s in it for you? First off here’s the disclaimer: if you have health issues related to breathing or your heart, then don’t do anything too crazy without consulting your doctor. If you do have asthma or you are getting older (!), there may be some opportunity to achieve significant improvements in your breathing over time.
My main suggestion is that you take a few hours to read the book or at least Chapter 3: Noses are for Breathing, Mouths are for Eating. Then think about how you breathe during normal daily activities to see if you mouth breathe in some situations where nose breathing may produce better results e.g. climbing stairs, walking, doing core, etc. Next try some of the breathing exercises e.g. breath holds. Finally and gradually, try breathing in through your nose when running. You may need to switch back and forth until it becomes natural. And, I find nose breathing to be even more effective when running in cold weather.
If you have questions, I’d be happy to discuss.