In 1993 I had a small(ish) accident playing touch rugby. Thanks to a small collision with a team mate, I landed up with 12 stitches down my head, two chipped front teeth and a broken nose. Fortunately (and to my parents relief), the accident didn’t affect my looks in any way, to the point that you have to look very hard for the scar which is about the only visible indicator of the incident.
However, I remember that accident every single time I get out to run, and I am sure that people running around me find out about it too. Although my nose was repaired aesthetically, it means that my right nostril is always very slighly blocked. If I cover my left nostril, I can’t get enough oxygen in without opening my mouth, which effectively means that I only have one and a half bits of nose to breath through rather than the two which most other people have.
The result is this. 1 – 2 miles into a race, I am breathing through my mouth only, and quite heavily too. I must sound like I am really struggling because I have had people comment before. Because I normally run my training runs with an iPod, I tend not to hear myself. It is only when I am running an ipod free race that even I realise that I must sound like I have entered the race with about two days of training.
Honestly, I am fit. I can finish this race. Please don’t panic – I am not going to collapse and die (even though I might sound like I am). I just need to breathe heavily to get in the amount of oxygen required to complete the run, and seeing my nose isn’t helping me at all, I don’t have a lot of choice.
I don’t know whether this is a real problem or an imagined one (perhaps I am not as fit as I would like to think?), but it is most definitely a problem I have to live with. And my fellow race runners are going to have to live with it too. Perhaps I should wear a T-Shirt which says “heavy breather” clearly across the back. It might help me avoid some of the looks or sympathetic comments about how I am ‘struggling’ but I can get there.
Thank you to iTripped for the image