Life By the Drip

Posted: August 7, 2012 in Injuries and Owies, Swim
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You may remember by this point in my training last year that I was suffering from and, hence, complaining about an acute case of Swimmers Sinusitis that I developed from all the chlorine I had been huffing in the pool during my morning workouts.  How did spell relief back then: N-E-T-I-P-O-T.  That’s how.  Oh, that, and more open water swimming as a regular break from the pool and its magical mucus-inducing headiness.

But this year has been completely different and not necessarily in the good way either.  I haven’t experienced any of the real problems that I did last year in the pool as you might expect, despite spending more time at the YMCA doing seemingly endless laps.  No, my problem has been completely flip-flopped this year to having difficulties in the open water instead.  Just fucking fantastic!  It just figures that this would all start as I’m spending more time at the International Flatwater Center as well, what, with my longer swims with the coach on Tuesday morning at ‘stupid o’clock’  in the morning (5:30am), as well as one or two opportunities a week to just get in and splash around with my girlfriend’s seven-year-old daughter as I’m trying to conquer a fear of the open water and, hopefully, a budding interest in the sport I love.  Either way, where I experience no issues while actually swimming, that night I inevitably turn into a cross between Ray Romano and Fran Drescher as my nose inevitably begins to leak like a mofo; and I’m talking gallons of grossness here too!

It begins approximately 3-4  hours after I get out of the water and from there it’s a quick downward slide to total Snot City.  By the time I hop into bed with the squeeze at night I’m full on clogged up and it’s nearly impossible to breathe at all leading to some rather uncomfortable and restless sleep.  And, lord knows, I need me my precious Zee’s!  I can only imagine what it’s like for my girlfriend having to sleep beside something that must sound like an asthmatic walrus.  I can just bet that that’s going to get old real fast and I’ll end up on the couch downstairs and that’s totally unacceptable in my book.

The greater problem is that the ‘ol Neti-pot solution I used last year just isn’t working, like, at all.  After all, you just can’t flush out what you can’t get saline solution to flow through.  It’s rather like trying to get water to flow through a knotted up garden hose.  No amount of huffing or puffing is going to get through floodgates open I can tell you!  In the meantime, I’m going through entire rainforests worth of Kleenex.  By the time I finally get a break from swimming after the Ironman there will inevitably be entire tribes of indigenous people in Amazon left completely homeless in the wake of the massive clear-cutting needed to keep me from avoiding a near-drowning.  What the hell is going on?

As it turns out, I am more likely suffering from an influx of pollen out on the water this year.  Each spring, summer, and fall, tiny particles are released from trees, weeds, and grasses.  These microscopic particles of pollen hitch rides on currents of air and, although their mission is to fertilize parts of other plants, many never reach their intended targets.   Instead, they enter human noses and throats, triggering a type of seasonal allergic rhinitis called pollen allergy, which many people know as hay fever or rose fever (depending on the season in which the symptoms occur).  And, as luck would have it, the province of Ontario is suffering from one of the driest summers on record and, as such, there has been a build-up of this pollen on the water as there just hasn’t been enough regular rain to wash it away.  In fact, we have one of the highest ‘pollen counts’  in decades.  So while I’m out there doing my workouts, I’m probably swimming through a literal mine field of plant spunk.  Awesome, right?  Just look at this list of possible airborne nasties I’m likely snorting up: Click HERE.

Holy shit!  My poor sensitive sinus cavities don’t stand a chance!  But what do I do about it since I’m still not really excited to do down the whole nose plug route yet either.  I’m pretty confident that this is not a good look for me:

Image lining up with this guy at the start of your next Triathlon!

But, then again, I may just have to suck it up and borrow the kids nose plugs for the next month or so, otherwise I’ll be forced to, well, ‘suck it up’ in other ways I guess as a result.  There not really any other choice as I see it since what I’m really not willing to do is begin self-medicating with Benadryl, Claritin, or God knows what else, at this point in my training.  That, to me, would be a real recipe for disaster.  So looking like a complete and total pansy ass, unfortunately, seems to be the lesser of two evils here as opposed to my suddenly having the overall energy level and efficiency of a hypoglycemic wombat during my swim workouts.  Not Winning!

  1. Lately, I have been taking a tsp of local honey produced within short distance of the open water I swim in as a way of introducing the local pollen into my system for the purpose of building an immunity and it’s working!

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