I’m Allergic to Running. No, Really.

A strange thing happened on Friday. Well, let me back up just a little bit.

I’ve decided that I want to be a runner. It seems everyone around me runs, and I’d like to at least be able to do so as well. I don’t want to go crazy with it, and I definitely see no marathons in my future, but I’d like to be able to do it for exercise and me time. I really, really suck at it, but that’s another post entirely.


Last Wednesday was the day I decided to start this venture. Before I picked Annabel up from daycare, I headed out on a run/walk/run/walk sort of thing. It was pretty much horrible. I would run for a few minutes and then need a break, sometimes walking longer than I had run. All in all, not a great experience, but by Friday I was ready to try again.

This time I had Annabel with me, which made it even harder. In some ways it was better the second time, but in others, it was even worse. As we were approaching home, I started to feel like there was something in the air. My eyes suddenly felt itchy, so I rubbed at them. That only made it worse, and I really began to wonder if this is how people with allergies felt. I was walking at this point and kept going, but started to feel a little dazed.

My eyes were getting worse and my whole head felt weird. But most strangely, it felt like my eyes were getting swollen. Hmm. I started having the definite feeling that I was having an allergic reaction to something. But what? No new medicines. No new food. I ate an apple with peanut butter before I left, but have eaten peanut butter with no problems all my life. I’ve lived in Austin my entire life, so an airborne allergy seemed unlikely. I called Nathan as I was getting closer to home because I didn’t know what to do. I walked in the front door and immediately looked in the mirror. That is when I saw that my right eye was super puffy. Then I looked down at my arm and saw that bumps were beginning to pop up all over. That is when I really started to freak out. I know that an allergic reaction can lead to throat swelling and trouble breathing, so I was worried that was coming next. I didn’t want to take any chances, so I threw placed Annabel into the car and sped off, telling Nathan to meet us at the urgent care center as he was just getting off work.

By the time we got there, my entire body was covered in a rash, my skin was bright red, and my eyes were swollen. They took me back immediately, and after asking several questions, administered a steroid injection. That kicked in within about 20 minutes and the rash began to subside.

Meanwhile, they couldn’t figure out what had caused this reaction. But me? I knew.

The running!

You laugh, but this is real.

I’ve been saying for years that I’m allergic to exercise because when I walk fast or run, my legs turn bright red, become hot to the touch, and itch like crazy. However, in the past, it’s always been a minor inconvenience and slight embarrassment at most. This obviously was much more intense. So no, I’m not positive that that’s what caused it, but I truly can’t think what else could have happened.

So just to be on the safe side, I’m thinking I should avoid running, or really exercise of any sort, at all costs.

Okay, not really. But I am a little bit freaked out by the whole thing, and I’m not really sure where to go from here. It could have been the peanut butter combined with the exercise as the article above suggests, but who knows! Have you ever heard of this? Have any experience with it? Just want to laugh at me?

Go ahead, I’m all ears!