Advice you didn’t ask for. 

I was living in Trois Pistoles for a six-week French immersion program and decided that going for a run/walk early in the morning was a good plan. It was until the itch began one morning. It was swift and terrible. I’d never experienced anything like it.

I scratched my legs. I ran faster. Bad moves. I stomped my feet. Worst move in the world.

Over time, I learned that if I didn’t run or walk for more than 10 minutes, I wouldn’t get to the itch phase. I also learned that if I pushed through and experienced some itchy and, consequently, welt-y days for about a week, my body would adjust and I’d be itch-free. The key was staying active–not walking or running for two weeks inevitably led to itching. If, after two weeks off, I didn’t want to experience the torture, I’d use the Elliptical. But who wants to be gym-dependent? Not me.

Yes, two weeks. I guess that’s how long it takes my body to lose its whatever-it-is-that-keeps-me-itch-free.

For years, I couldn’t figure it out anymore than that and I didn’t want to hand over a co-pay in order for a doctor to tell me something I could potentially figure out via my web surfing skills. I probably could have saved a bunch of time. (I once WebMD’d my symptoms for something-or-another and narrowed my diagnosis down to Meningitis. I know I’m not alone in this area of crazy behavior.)

A few years ago, a running buddy friend suggested taking an antihistamine a few minutes before running. “Maybe it’s allergies,” she said. It worked. But who wants to remember to pop pills 15 mins before a run? Was the relief worth the extra work?

You must understand: I don’t take pills unless it’s somehow a requirement and pre-run antihistamines felt optional even if they produced a desired result. I’m the person who audibly reflects on her day and throws in how, “I’ve had this huge headache.” To which my husband responds with, “Did you take some pain meds?” My answer…”No, I figured I was hungry so I finally ate. It’s a little better.” So is the allergy med really what I need? Maybe I need an EpiPen.

True story. I was trying to “power through” the itch one day while running on a treadmill at the gym. I just knew that if I kept going, the itch would eventually stop. Right? Eventually. Well the increased intensity yielded greater itching which spread up and down my legs and up my stomach until I literally felt as if my breathing was restricted and that if I didn’t stop, I’d pass out.

It freaked me out. I stopped. I vowed never to “power through” ever again. And yes, I wondered if maybe I had a condition that necessitated much more than maintaining a regular walk/run routine.

Finally, some months ago, I discovered that all I need to do is stretch. Yup, that’s all. I’d been living off the school of thought that stretching after exercise is more important than before. This was convenient since I often feel so rushed to get out the door and start walking. Stretching beforehand slows me down whereas the post-stretching can coincide with eating a bowl of cereal. How efficient.

But folks, know that the pre-stretch is worth the time. I was reminded of that yesterday when the itch began about 1/2 a mile from home…

 

 

This post is part of my desire to write 500 words each day for a month. I began on June 20, 2016. The primary goal is writing daily. The secondary goal is writing something of great depth. If I only achieve the primary, I’m perfectly fine. 

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