Was I Allergic to Running?

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Winter break of my freshman year was boring. In fact, it was so boring that I was actually excited about going to Home Depot with my parents. As a sophomore, I was determined not to sink that low again, so I convinced myself that running would be a fun and wholesome activity. If nothing else, it would stop me from showing up to spring lectures out of breath, conquered by three flights of stairs and a full backpack.

(image from runningwithspoons.com)

So I drew up a training schedule, dug out my sneakers and ran. And it was going really well until, one day, my body rebelled. Some runners wear out knees or twist ankles, but after 1.3 miles, I fell victim to stomach cramps of the jelly-legged, gut-squeezing, throw-up-and-pass-out-hopefully-in-that-order variety. I made it home one heel-toe step at a time and collapsed onto the bathroom floor.

I figured it was a fluke, since I was a healthy nineteen-year-old with no history of health problems. But then it happened again when my friend and I jogged to her grandmother’s house. I’d never met the dear woman before, so you can imagine her concern when I tumbled in her front door, white as a sheet, and disappeared into her lacy bathroom to sit with my head between my knees, barely able to choke out a “Hi, nice to meet you.”

(image from gifsoup.com)

This happened on and off throughout the next semester, until I finally decided that the benefits of exercise weren’t worth playing gut-twist roulette. I quit running altogether. Sure, I wanted to be fit, but there was always yoga, or Pilates or I don’t know… something less risky. Like most human beings, I really hate throwing up.

It wasn’t worth making a doctor’s appointment, I figured, but running was such a quick and easy way to stay in shape. The mystery nettled me. What was I doing wrong? Why did this never happen to any of my friends? If the zombie apocalypse came upon us, was I doomed? 

I recently got a subscription to the online medical service CampusMD, and I realized that I could finally get some answers—even if the answers would remove one rock-solid excuse to sleep in on Saturday mornings. I was able to speak with a board-certified doctor via webcam and describe what was happening, just like I would in a face-to-face doctor’s office. But unlike a physical doctor visit, the whole visit took 20 minutes from logging on to leaving with advice.

Doctor’s visits can take up half of a perfectly good day, and my question was quick. Did I want to spend three hours to learn that my core isn’t in shape like my legs are, and that I should try drinking Gatorade? Of course not! But a quick trip on CampusMD got me those answers, and I’m proud (or maybe dismayed) to announce that I can start my running regimen again, armed with the knowledge I need to dodge those awful cramps. Just in time for the worst of summer’s heat.

(image from howtobeadad.com)

Your itchy eye, nausea or even the strange rash on your elbow are all daily inconveniences that you’d be happier without. If you could see a doctor about it without having to leave your room, why on earth wouldn’t you?

College Magazine is currently offering an exclusive discount if you want to try the service for yourself. Use promocode: collmag99.

(Main photo via Mo Farah Running Away From Things Tumblr)

Lyla Lawless

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