By Dan Van Veen
Perhaps not everyone who is a Marathon Mission fan has been dealing with hot temps and dry weather this summer, but this year, in southwest Missouri, we’re into our fifth-straight day of 100-plus degrees and in the midst of a pretty severe drought — you know, it’s one of those you-walk-on-the-grass-and-it-crunches type drought. And with warmer days come warmer nights, so you know that it’s a T-shirt ringer once a run is done! ☺
One of the things that can make your summer runs miserable is a summer cold. But, many of you know, it’s often NOT a cold you have, but allergies. Me? I didn’t use to have allergies, but as the years have passed, I learned that mold messes with me. Well, I beat that by taking an over-the-counter generic allergy tablet every day during the “mold” (hot and wet) season. It REALLY has helped me and I’d recommend it for runners (unless you enjoy the constant runny nose, back-of-the-throat drainage, and potential headaches). ☺
HOWEVER, here is something I learned this summer. Just because everything is dry-as-a-bone and hotter than vinyl car seats on a hot afternoon, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about allergies – pollen, mold, etc. Now, me, I was thinking, There’s sure can’t be a lot of mold growing now – we haven’t had rain for weeks and the grass is even dead! But let’s just stop and think about this for a second.
What happens when things totally dry out? Most things, such as plants, become fragile, brittle . . . and I’ve been in a number of dust storms as the winds pick up the powder-dry dirt and create a wall of murky brown (like a blizzard, only with dirt). And if you watch your neighbor who mows his/her yard whether it needs it or not, you can see the clouds of dusty dirt flowing from the mower wherever it goes. Even a light breeze or walking across a parched lawn can create small little dirt cloud “puffs.”
BUT what is dirt? Well, it’s a collection of things . . . but the stuff on top is likely all that pollen, dried mold spores, and fine “breathable” things that the soil has not yet absorbed because of the lack of rain. So, yup, I had stopped taking my allergy medication and within four days I was having all kinds of drainage and hacking up stuff – got back on the allergy medication and I’m feeling MUCH better . . . I just didn’t think about mold during a drought!
Now, for those of you enjoying regular rains and the grass is lush (or at least still green), the big thing you’re likely dealing with (as you are aware of the possibility of mold and pollens), is the humidity. Around here it has been very hot, but the humidity has been unseasonably low… but it seems when it’s hot with high humidity, that’s when the summer colds seem to show up.
A few things that I have found that really help with summer colds are: taking a combination of zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D every morning; being sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day — not just after I run — to keep my body “running” at its optimum; and, if I could, I would probably also buy and eat local honey. Unfortunately, honey tends to make me nauseous, but for those who can eat it, I’ve heard from many people how eating local honey greatly reduces the impact of summer allergies (which could be confused for a cold) . . . though, I’d recommend starting to eat local honey in March or April, BEFORE the allergy season gets into full swing.
Well, I HOPE wherever you’re running today, that the weather is relatively cool and the humidity isn’t overwhelming and IF you are dealing with allergy issues, this, in some way, has helped you. : )
Have an awesome run today!