Two non-itchy runs this week, but I still paid a visit to the allergist this afternoon, and the verdict is what I suspected - exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
There was no one food that I consumed prior to each time this happened, so it doesn't seem like it's food-dependent, which is actually somewhat disappointing. If I knew that I just had to not eat a certain food before running, it would be a lot simpler.
Instead, the best course of action is for me to take Allegra before every run, run with others as often as possible, and always, always carry my epi-pen and my phone.
I know that, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't that big a deal. I'm still healthy, I'm still able to run, and this is something that's manageable and may not even happen all that often.
But it still kind of sucks.
What bugs me most is the unpredictability of it all. I set out for a 7-mile tempo run this morning, and it was going great, but nearly the whole time, I kept wondering if that tingly itchy feeling was going to start.
And when/if it does happen again, is it going to be just the hives, or is it going to turn into a full-blown anaphylactic reaction like the first time? The hives are a nuisance, and not something I want to deal with on anything close to a regular basis, but the other symptoms were seriously scary, and I don't really care to experience that ever again.
He did say that the fact that I didn't know what was going on the first time, and likely just brushed off the initial itchiness and continued my workout, might be why it got so much more severe. Then again, it might not. The most frustrating thing about this is that there don't seem to be many absolutes, and that randomness is very unsettling.
I'm going to continue reading as much as I can about it, and although I trust my allergist and feel confident with his diagnosis, I might even go see someone else, just so that I can be sure I'm gathering as much information as I possibly can.
I am also going to start including many more details in my running log, just so that I have plenty of data to analyze if this happens again.
Aside from that, there isn't much I can do. I'll take the Allegra, I'll carry my phone and epi-pen, I'll run with friends whenever possible, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that my body cooperates.
And although I'm not crazy about feeling kind of on edge every time I head out, it's probably a good thing, in that it's forcing me to really be hyperaware of how I'm feeling, so that I can hopefully head off any really serious reactions like the first one.
I'm still very focused on my paces and distances and race goals, and love running all the numbers, but from here on in, every run that doesn't end with me covered in itchy red welts is going to count as one of the good ones.