Running With Asthma


Run With Asthma
July 31, 2008, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Asthma | Tags: , , ,

I’m running a 5K race tonight and I’m tired.  It’s hot outside.  The air here in Southern California isn’t that great.  I’m trying not to psyche myself but a part of me can’t help it.  I can only do what my lungs will allow; I’m at their mercy.  But, if I keep pushing, my lungs will do more than I give them credit for.  This is the struggle.  Knowing how far to push, how hard to train.  There’s always the fear in the back of my mind of what will happen if I go too far.  Will I pass out on the trail?  Will someone find me?  I run with my cell phone but not always my inhaler.  On race night I take neither.  On race night I wear the Garmin to track my pace.  On race night the goal is to loose seconds, preferably minutes, off my best time.  Can I do it?

This particular race series is seven weeks long.  We race every Thursday night at the local college.  We start on the baseball field, meander through the campus, and then up and down the hills along the freeway for a mile before heading into the stadium for half of a lap around the track to the finish line.  Official results are printed each week.  My goal is to decrease my time each week.  Last week, the air quality was so bad it sabotaged my efforts and I gained an entire minute.  Am I being to hard on myself?  Why can’t I just run?

Two years ago my time for this series was 45:00 all seven weeks.  Last year I started the series at 46:00 and ended at 36:34.  This year I started at 32:12.  I’m still hovering there with four weeks to go.  I would like to end the season with a 30:something but this would require consistent ten minutes miles and through the hills, well, I’m not so sure this is possible.  My husband thinks I’m crazy to be so concered with times and scores.  He doesn’t have asthma.  His lungs don’t rebel against him.  His mind doesn’t say, “let’s go!” with his lungs laughing somewhere deep in a cavity of obstinance.  It makes me crazy.

I just want to able to go and do what I please.  However, the voice in my head is nagging me to look at the bright side.  Last Sunday I ran four miles without stopping.  This is a milestone.  I went slow, an average of twelve minutes per mile, but I did it.  I am running stronger.  I am running faster.  In my mind just not yet strong and fast enough.  Why am I so hard on myself?  Because I do not like being told no.  If I want to do something, I should be able to do it.  I’m thinking that there is only one brain in my body so if I am in charge of that brain, and I say to run faster and stronger, they why are my organs not listening?  Why can’t I make them behave?

They have a mind of their own.  They do what they want.  They will improve on their timeframe, not mine.  I have to listen to them, not the other way around.  I don’t like this paradigm.  In the January 2008 issue of Runner’s World magazine there was a quote by General George Patton, “If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing.  You have to make the mind run the body.  Never let the body tell the mind what to do.”  I’m guessing he didn’t have asthma.

What will I do tonight?  Will I push to the liimits?  Maybe it is all in my mind.  Maybe I can run faster and stronger but my fear of consequences (passing out) holds me back.  Or, maybe I wouldn’t pass out at all.  Maybe my lungs are stronger than I think but my fear keeps me from really putting them to the test.  Another deep inhale; I keep doing this to see if the airways are currently swollen.  No.  Just nerves.  They seem to be fine.  But I am tired from this weeks runs.  Or do I just think I’m tired?

It is 9:30 a.m.  The run is at 7:00 p.m.  I have to announce the Junior Olympic swimmeet today for a few hours; that will keep my mind off of the race for a while.  But, I will be out in the heat sucking energy out of my body.  Announcing is exhausting; the ultimate multi-tasking job.  Maybe it will tire me out.  Or maybe it will energize me.  9 1/2 hous and counting…

(p.s.  the swim club is doing a live web cast this year of the 5 day swim meet.  they added an underwater camera which is pretty cool.  i’m on today from 11:00-2:00 and again on
Saturday from 8:00-11:00).  www.canyons.org)


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