Friday, July 6, 2012

Boot Camp Baby!

I am soo excited because . .

I have decided to try out a boot camp fitness program at the local rec center. I think it will be a good compliment to the running and cycling I have been doing.

It is super cheap - only $5 for each drop-in class. I will start next Saturday. What could be better than that you ask? I convinced my mother to go with me! I love the feeling I get when I get others to join me and start their own fitness journey!!

Anyone have any tips for boot camp that I should know before this adventure begins?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Momma said there would be days like this . . .

Today was not the best run. My head was in the right place, but my body didn't cooperate. It was still pretty warm out when I headed out - around 89 degrees. Cooler than it has been. But 10 degrees warmer than my run last Friday (which rocked)!!

At 1.8 miles, my legs just pooped out. I literally had nothing left. So, I called it a day and walked on home.

I am pretty sure I didn't drink enough water before this run. I also had the weirdest thing happen. When I got home, my throat started burning on the left side and sort of feel like it was closing up on me. Hopefully, it is just a fluke and nothing to worry about. I tend to worry, when anything funky starts happening with my throat! I'll keep ya posted!

What did I learn from this run?
  • Wait until it is a tiny bit cooler out to run
  • Drink more water
  • I CAN run fast (just not for very long)! I ran my fastest pace ever (8:25)
  • I may have not made my goal of 3 miles, but I ran the hill (again), I will never walk a hill again. I have proven I can do it!!
  • I will not give up and I WILL be back running the road again tomorrow!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Unexpected discovery!

In order to figure out how to overcome the shortness of breath I experience upon exertion, I thought it would be a good idea to understand what exactly it is about having a paralyzed vocal cord that causes me to feel this way when I run.

Truth be told, I did NOT expect to discover what I did. According to an article on, unilateral vocal cord (fold) paralysis (UVFP) does not have the physiological impact on pulmonary function that I thought (or feel like) it does.

Consider this:
Patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) often report shortness of breath or a feeling of running out of air. Very little negative physiological impact upon pulmonary function actually occurs in patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP); however, because of the glottal incompetence, they experience significant air wasting and, thus, experience the sensation of shortness of breath and running out of air during speech. In addition, glottal closure is required for individuals to create positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP).

Now I know this is just one article, but wowzer! Who knew?? For some odd reason, it makes me feel better to know it may not be a physiological limit after all. I feel like it gives me a whole new direction to explore.
Sometimes answers bring to light more questions. And this answer brings to mind a few more questions to seek as I continue on my journey:  
  • How do I compensate for the "significant air wasting" to reduce the sensation of shortness of breath? (This is first for a reason!)
  • Right now, how is this "significant air wasting" adversely affecting my running performance?
  • I know I have poor glottal closure and glottal closure is required for individuals to create positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP).
  • What, if any, affect does PEEP have in running situations?
  • Can I improve or find compensation techniques to create PEEP? 
  • Do I even NEED to create PEEP to run well?

For now, the only PEEP I am certain I understand are these little guys!

I feel like the yellow PEEP in the middle, similar but oh, so unique in my own way!

As always if you have any suggestions or thoughts I would LOVE to hear them!!

Feeling a little blue . . .

And wondering "Am I the only one out there?" I have posted in several running forums looking for other runners who have a paralyzed vocal cord.

Results - big, fat, goose egg!!

I am hopeful that I am NOT alone on this journey!! It would be a blessing to learn from others who are dealing with the same things I am.

That being said, I know that I am never completely alone because I have a supportive hubby and daughter who see me through thick and thin. I love them both more than words can say!!

Me and my girl!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Training recap

Had a great week of training last week! I am hoping to do it again this week. I am fighting a little GI bug. . .so will have to see how it goes!!

"A positive attitude brings strength, energy and initiative!"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Running is 90% mental . . .

Lately, I have been reading up on the idea of what part your mind and thoughts play in the sport of running.

So, I decided to test out the theory that running is 90% mental. Do my thoughts REALLY effect my performance? This test was far from scientific, but validated the theory (at least in my own mind)!

I concentrated on positive thoughts

- I can do this
- I feel great
- My legs feel light
- My breathing is steady

. . . And it worked!! I ran hills without stopping (first time EVER), my breathing was less sporadic than normal and the kicker is . . . I ran it 1 minute faster than my first 5k race!!!

While, this may seem like no big deal, to me it was huge!! Talk about "runners high" . . . Yeah I felt it baby!!

I can't wait to get out there and do it all again!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

So what is vocal cord paralysis anyway?

There are many different types of voice disorders. There are two kinds of vocal cord paralysis: bilateral and unilateral.

I have unilateral vocal cord paralysis on the right side. The paralysis was a result of a PDA ligation (heart surgery to close a valve) when I was 7 days old. I have had this voice since I was a baby. I was "officially" diagnosed by an ENT (Otolaryngologist) a couple years after high school. Up until then, I knew my voice was different, but didn't really know why.

So, what are the symptoms and what is life life with a paralyzed vocal cord? According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology symptoms include:

So, how do these typical symptoms translate into real life?
Both paresis and paralysis of voice box muscles result in voice changes and may also result in airway problems and swallowing difficulties.

Voice changes: Hoarseness; breathy voice; extra effort on speaking; excessive air pressure required to produce usual conversational voice; and diplophonia (voice sounds like a gargle).

Airway problems: Shortness of breath with exertion, noisy breathing, and ineffective cough.

Swallowing problems: Choking or coughing when swallowing food, drink, or even saliva, and food sticking in throat.
(More fun facts can be found at

My personal experience may be differnt from others with VCP, but here is a very brief look at what I experience on a daily basis:


  • Hoarseness - often asked if I am sick or have laryngitis
  • Breathy - soft, not clear/crisp, you can hear the extra air passing through
  • Extra effort on speaking - Often when talking to more than one person, especially in social settings (ie restaurant, on the street, mall, etc.) Voice will feel strained.
  •  "Gargled voice" - I often get excess mucus accumulation in my throat. I take guafinesen on a daily basis to combat this. (Drinking water helps too)
  • Laryngospams - Or vocal cord spasms - no fun what-so-ever. This happens randomly and when I don't take the guafinesen daily.  
Airway problems:
  • Shortness of breath with exertion - this what makes running a challenge
  • Noisy breathing - will sound wheezy at times
  • Ineffective cough - really only have a problem with this when I am ill
Swallowing problems:
  • Choking or coughing when swallowing food, drink, or even saliva, and food sticking in throat - luckily I have only had limited problems with this. The only problems I have had were mostly related to a medialization implant that extruded into my airway. (Another story for another day!) Had the implant removed and not has as much trouble with it since.
I think every person who has VCP deals with it in their own way. I have been through six surgeries. The first one to "fix" my cord and make me sound normal. The other five have been to "fix the fix".

I have tried pretty much every to "fix" medically available at the present time. I am at the end of the line. I am to a point in my life where I am working to not only accept but to EMBRACE who I am and how I sound. I believe God gave me this voice for a reason.

I am determined to acheive great things. Things I never thought possible before!