Friday, March 25, 2011

[28] Call Me Running Nose

Having suffered seasonal as well as household allergies for as long as I can remember, I am constantly looking for ways to alleviate by congestion. When it comes to running, steady breathing is especially important, and the last thing I want is to worry about a runny nose. Typically, I have waffled among over the counter allergy relief medications (preferably ones with 24 hour coverage), but the brand name versions tend to outclass their generic counterparts (both in effectiveness and price). While a Whole Foods a few months back, I picked up some Breathe Easy Tea by Traditional Medicinals, in a vain attempt to try something a little more holistic in regard to my nasal congestion. Unlike my other teas, this one tends to take a bit more preparation time: requiring 10-15 minutes steeping time while covered. I do like that it suggests adding honey to enhance the benefits because it is a tad on the bitter side. Taking a look at the supplement information, I found so many different herbs included in the mixture. It may take some getting used to, but until I can stomach three cups a day without honey, there will be some enhancement. The packaging is strong (coated on the inside to retain freshness) and informative (includes definitions; good for reading while waiting for tea to steep).

Polling my friends, I was surprised how many of them have recommended using a neti pot. Until they suggested using one, I have absolutely no clue was a neti pot actually was. I love swimming, but one thing I always hate is getting water up my nose, so the prospect of intentionally irrigating my sinuses by using a miniature tea pot or watering can is a little unappealing to me. Looking at images of how to properly use one, I couldn’t stop laughing. One cannot look sexy when marketing a NP. I’m sorry. Even the most attractive models just look silly with a spout shoved in one nostril and water dripping out the other. Dr. Oz recommended it on Oprah, but is that enough for me to rush out to the stores. Something about a ‘nose bidet’ just makes me chuckle which would make product execution tricky.

Meb wins the 2009 ING NYC Marathon (©New York Daily News/Associated Press)
Another option would be nasal strips. I’ve seen professional athletes like marathoner Meb Keflezigi rock out the breathing strip in the New York City Marathon and retired NFL Receiver Jerry Rice, but it makes me curious as to what Joe Schmoe Runner would look attempting the same fashion choice. Yes, it is intended to be a functional piece in sports, but its effectiveness has me puzzled. Maybe it is my fair skin, ease of burning, and personal vanity that would prevent me from employing such a device in public. Maybe I will give it a try at night sometime and see if my breathing improves.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. The world comes back alive after the smothering cold of winter, but with it pollen, dust, mold, dander, and just about every other possible thing to make my nose miserable make considerable comebacks. I want healthier, non-drug alternatives to help with my allergies. I remember reading in Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet that cleaner, holistic eating results in healthier body function without the need to use medications. I have borrowed her book twice from the library, but I am getting closer and closer to buying it. I would rather have the NOOKbook version of it. However, it isn’t available in electronic format just yet (though I am happy to see that B&N finally has an electronic format request system). For now, I will keep religiously reading Alicia’s blog for all her tips, tricks, and recipes.
In the winter months, I had to contend with running with a runny nose, and I was at a loss for what to do. Do I stock up on tissues and hope I can dispose of them in a trash bin while on the run? Do I slurp it back and spit it out when no one is looking? Do I wear a layer I am not too fond us and use my sleeves? Do I swallow it back and allow it to fester in my system more? Sorry for the disgustingly vivid description, but this has been an issue I’ve been wrestling with since I’ve started running. I want to respect the world (and when racing the runners) around me, but I want suggestions that require little thought without being thoughtless.


  1. Zyrtec-D has been working wonders for me. Also, I swear by the Neti Pot.

  2. I haven't used Zyrtec-D in a while. Maybe I'll pick it up again (along with the Neti Pot).