I have allergies. There I said...er, wrote it. They're nothing I'm proud of, but they smack me down every year or so in the Spring and Fall. I used to take Claritin and pills of that ilk like a child to a bowl of candy. Nothing really seemed to work that well. I'd lie awake at night trying to breathe out of whichever nostril wasn't filling with fluid like a nasal version of Titanic. Or, I'd shoot spray up my nose to clear up the congestion, only to get mildly addicted to the stuff for a month or two a year. The options weren't good.
Then, one day I was speaking with a friend who suggested that I purchase locally-produced honey. He said that if I took 1 tablespoon a day, that my allergies would clear up. While I understood the odd rationale behind the witch-doctor-like proposal; that locally-produced honey would contain local pollens, thereby assisting the immune system in building up defenses, I just didn't think it would work. Well, three days later, all symptoms of allergies were gone. And even without taking honey the next year, all symptoms were gone. Not even a little sniffle or eye-watering. So a week ago, when I came down with a ferocious allergy attack, I ran out to the local co-op and purchased the most local honey I could find - from a little burg called Iola, Kansas. And guess what... three days later every symptom and manifestation was gone. Completely. Finito.
I heard a piece on NPR or KPR from an expert talking about how this cure is a wives tale, but I now know so many people who have been relieved of their symptoms through this that I believe the 'expert' to be wrong. And I really don't think that I had a placebo effect. Because the first time I tried honey as a cure, I had no belief in its efficacy whatsoever. My friend, Mark Robison, who initially suggested the treatment to me is vegan, and informed me last night that he and his wife no longer use the honey cure (and I have another vegan friend who also doesn't do it). But, if you're not vegan, and suffer from allergies like hay fever, you might want to give local honey a try. The worst-case scenario is that you'll just have a tasty treat while supporting a local business.
I am pretty fortunate that the allergies, which I am now over, never interfered with my running. Other than doing a few well-placed farmer blows over my shoulder, running continued unabated. I knocked out a 31 mile week, taking Saturday off for some tennis (An aside here; we were the first people to play on the new tennis courts at Lawrence High - pretty cool). Most of the runs were uneventful, except for one. I did an 8 miler on Wednesday. The wind was, well windy. It averaged 20 mph, with gusts up to 40. There were wind advisories for all counties surrounding us, but not for Douglas County. So I set off on a route that I believed to be mainly perpendicular to the wind. At the two mile mark, I knew I was going to be screwed. At a 'T' intersection, I had the choice of going into the wind for two miles, or with the wind for two miles, and then back into it for my return. I opted to delay the inevitable and cruised along a slight downhill route with the blow at my back. And so, dear reader, when I turned around after two miles, I got a full force gale right in my face. And it really sucked. It was 2 miles of uphill into the wind. For the first time ever on a run, I actually thought of just stopping and walking, because I wasn't going much faster than a British chappie out for his daily constitutional. But I soldiered on. It seemed to take forever. I couldn't even get my MP3 player to go up loud enough to cut the wind noise out of my ears. When I finally turned out of the bluster and gusts (after what seemed like an hour), I could've cried with relief. That evening became a 2 ibuprofen experience, because for some reason, my right knee (who I take along on all of my runs) began swearing at me and the only way I could calm him down was with the anti-inflammatory painkiller.
Yesterday, I ran my normal 10 mile route backwards. That sounds funny. I should write that I ran it in the opposite direction than the one I normally take (for the record I was facing forward the whole time). It was such an incredible day. Out on the edges of the country, where this route goes, there are a few runners, but mainly cyclists. I was passed by a couple of friends I used to spin with around the Kansas countryside. And as much as I love bicycles, I didn't regret that I was a pied rather than on two wheels. I only saw a couple of other runners out near the dam. I didn't go too into the zone on the run, but was never taxed. And I didn't need any ibuprofen or ointments for any muscle or joint issues when I was finished. It was just a good, solid run on a beautiful day.
First Finally: I saw The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo over the weekend. I'd recommend it with a couple of reservations. If you want to see it, be prepared for a 2.5 hr experience. It also has some pretty serious adult themes - rape, incest, serial-killing, torture, and fibbing - so leave the kiddies at home. I have one friend who read the book who took us to see it. I have another friend who read the book who refuses to see it. After seeing it, I understand why.
Finally Finally: Rafa continues his tear on the clay courts in Europe this season. Yesterday he beat David Ferrer in a rain-delayed match to win in Rome (his 5th time to take home the trophy in that tournament). The new guy to watch however, is Ernests Gulbis of Latvia (I believe), who smacked down Roger Federer in the first round of the tourney, and took Nadal to three sets in the semis. It was a pretty darn good showing for a relatively fresh face on the tour.
See you next week.