A Storm’s Brewing

Asthma sucks. If you’ve been reading you’ll know that I have asthma. Getting my lungs to cooperate with me is an ongoing battle that results in some pretty bad runs. But, there are good days and ok days and lots of other days in between the bad ones.

Sometimes, usually in the summer, I can just feel the asthma attack coming. I wake in the morning with a little hitch in my breathing. “Tight” is what my doctor calls it. Things just aren’t working right and I know that sooner or later it’s going to result in an episode of some pretty bad breathing. It happened this week on race day. I regularly run in a local cross country race. It’s a great race with lots of friends and a fun course. Unfortunately, it’s also plagued by some pretty wicked weather. On this particular race day I woke up breathing slowly. My lungs just weren’t as motivated for the day as I was. I took my usual morning meds and things didn’t improve. All day, I knew an asthma attack was coming. Maybe not a proper, full-on attack, but I could feel something building.

I had a decision to make. In the past, I’ve had good luck triggering a mild first attack to get it out of my system and then running later. Usually, I can get a little wheezy, recover, and then run well. I’ve never had a two-attack day. It’s a strategy I used a lot to perform well in races when I was younger. I didn’t really care about the outcome of this race. I wasn’t planning to race race – just have a good time with friends. And there I was, ready to trigger an attack to run well in a casual, local race. The whole thing suddenly seemed silly. If I didn’t care about my time and was only running for fun, why would I need to run well – and why would I trigger an asthma attack to do it? I decided to take my chances in the race.

While I was running, feeling worse and worse, I had the sudden realization that I do the little trigger an attack routine mostly so other people don’t see it and worry. Sometimes I really care how I do and I want to run well. Mostly, I want to avoid the concern/pity I get when I am clearly struggling to breathe. Any time I have an episode of bad breathing, people engage in the concern/pity questions – even people who’ve seen me had multiple attacks and who know I have asthma. Did you bring your inhaler? (No – I never do. Ever. Never have.) Are you going to be ok? (Yes. Always am.) Did I remember to pre-treat? (Of course) And, the worst one – Bad day for you, huh? Sigh. I get it. Asthma is distressing. But it is what it is. Sure, sometimes I imagine what it might be like to just run, with no 30-minute nebulizer routine, but that isn’t going to happen. Mostly, I just want people to accept my poor breathing with minimum distress – the same as we all accept that one really sweaty guy in every group run. It’s just his way. I have a little trouble breathing sometimes. That’s my way. It always passes. I appreciate the concern, but I’m really ok. Really.

Product Review (and Giveaway!): Tasty Bite Foods

I love to run and I love food, so I was happy to have the opportunity to review a selection of Tasty Bite packaged foods. The nice people at Tasty Bite sent me a selection that included channa masala, pad thai, lemongrass ginger noodles, and a selection of rices.

Read on for your chance to win a great prize pack from the folks at Tasty Bite.

I tried the channa masala first. Channa masala is an Indian dish of slow roasted chick peas with spices. I tore the corner off the bag, popped it in the microwave, and microwaved it for one minute. In just a minute, I had a tasty meal.

Channa masala

The channa masala was delicious and honestly as good as what I can get from the Indian place near my work. The dish was vegan, gluten free, and Kosher, perfect for runners with dietary needs. It was also crazy easy to make. Just one minute in the microwave in the package it came in. It doesn’t get easier.

My husband loves pad thai and was eager to try a pad thai he could not only eat out of the bag, but could prepare in one minute. He claimed the pad thai packet and made it himself. It didn’t look like much…

Pad Thai

but it was very tasty. The spiciness level was just right for me – it had a hint of spice, but wasn’t overwhelming. My husband loved the pad thai so much he bought an entire case immediately and took it to work for meals on the go.

Next, we tried thai lime rice. It, too, was ready in a minute in the microwave and was fluffy, evenly cooked, and delicious. I honestly have no idea why I would make rice any other way. The rice was prefect. I couldn’t believe it came from a little packet.

Overall, I loved everything I tried from Tasty Bite. With dozens of choices that are vegan, gluten free, and Kosher, there’s something for everyone. Tasty Bite packets use no preservatives and stay fresh for 18 months in the packet without cooking or refrigeration. Tasty Bite packets are easy to make – most need just one minute in the microwave and come in microwave-safe packets – and a great choice for busy athletes. The packets don’t need refrigeration and are easy to transport. With prices ranging between $2 and $4 per packet, the meals are also a great bargain. I admit, I would love to be able to eat whole foods I prepare at home for every meal, but that isn’t always possible with my busy life. Tasty Bite is a great solution!

Tasty Bite is also a company whose mission and vision I can support. The company began in 1985 with a commitment to community and sustainability. Here’s a little description from their website:

As part of our commitment to our employees, we provide amongst the best health insurance available in both the US and India.  We have a scholarship fund for the education of the children of our factory workers.  Tasty Bite has a disaster relief program, where food is moved to provide relief in the case of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunami and the earthquake in Haiti.  Tasty Bite also has unique programs in energy and agriculture.  Today, 80% of the energy used in the Tasty Bite factory comes from renewable sources such as sugarcane byproducts and food and crop waste.  Also, the Tasty Bite farm is used as a demonstration farm to educate community farmers on high yielding, sustainable agricultural methods.  As we work toward delivering great-tasting flavors of the world to you, we strive to make a difference in our own community as well.

I love it! I company with a conscience that makes great tasting food that’s easy to make. I’m sold. And you will be, too. If you would like to try Tasty Bite for yourself, enter below to win a free prize pack. The entry is open to US residents only, sorry international folks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter the giveaway through the handy Facebook tab on the DrRachelRuns Facebook page.

Note: I was not compensated for this review. I was provided with free products to review and entered into an agreement in which my review could be independent. The opinions expressed in this review and my own.

My Car, Myself

As I was driving around the other day, having just finished one workout and on my way to the other, I was struck by my car’s chaotic state. As I work my way through two-a-days and lots of excellent workouts, my car gets a workout. This is my backseat –

My car, myselfSwim bag, yoga mat, bag of dirty clothes, three pairs of shoes, a jacket, a new Lululemon purchase (Fluffin Awesome Vest), and empty bottles of water. It’s a messy thing to be an athlete.


The Need for Speed

Lately I’ve been feeling the need. The need for speed. Hehe.

It’s been nearly two years since my knee surgery and I’m feeling slow. I was once fast. Ah, the glory days. In those not-so-distant memories, I sprinted along, comfortable in 5k races, but never venturing longer than 10k. After reinventing myself as a long distance runner, having knee surgery, and battling through recent illness and injury, I feel ready to pick up the pace. I feel comfortable with my base mileage. I feel confident in my rest/run/yoga/cross train schedule and with my support team of massage therapists, athletic trainers, and chiropractic care. I feel strong. It’s time to work on speed again.

I’m no stranger to training or to hard work, but speed is a different sort of pain for me. I like going fast, but I don’t like the way going fast feels. I’m quite happy to trot along, admiring the scenery and chatting with friends. I don’t mind the physical pain, but speed workouts make me miss the easy days of long, slow miles. But, to run faster you have to run fast. And run fast I will. It’s time to get to work.