Running With Asthma


Asthma “Cured” with Long Distance Running
Showing off our medals after the Columbus 1/2 marathon

Showing off our medals after the Columbus 1/2 marathon

I recently ran (September, 2009) a 1/2 marathon in Columbus, Ohio with my childhood friend, without the use of Advair, Singulair, or Albuteral.  This was a first.  I had weaned myself off all the medication during this past summer, 2009, because I was feeling so much better from two things: First, all the running.  The key for me seems to be steady, long distance running that is providing the healing.  The more miles I log, the better my lungs function.  As a disclaimer, lest you think all I do is run, let me say that I log on average about 15-20 miles per week.  Not very much in the grand scheme of things.  When I run I try to do between 4 and 6 miles on weekdays and longer on the weekends.  Consistency is the key.

The second component is mental stability.  A mother of an 11 year old girl wrote to me recently about the medication her daughter is being prescribed during cross country and track season and wondered if I had any thoughts.  Here is my responses to her: “Again, I’m not a Dr., but I will share with you my experience with this. First, looking back at my childhood, I can see that I had EIA and did not know it. My ’symptoms’ began showing up in PE class in middle school. (Asthma is hereditary and my dad had regular allergy induced asthma as a child and grew out of it in his teen years. My asthma seems to be exercise induced.) While running the required 1/2 mile at the beginning of class, in the required time frame, I “couldn’t keep up” and thought I was just out of shape. Through high school, I wanted to be on the cross country team but when I practiced, I was immediately tired. Like, I had to stop and walk within the first two minutes of running. I walked and jogged the rest of the way but I mistakenly thought that I couldn’t do it; I wasn’t good enough. Interestingly enough, this is the same time frame when my parents began having problems with their marriage. I did not know it at the time, but, my 13 year old brain translated their problems into a self esteem issue for me: I’m not good enough. EIA is REAL. Please do not hear me as dismissing symptoms or that it is all in the head. But, what I am now exploring in my own story, is the possibility that my feelings of not being good enough shows up, to this day, in my running. Running is something I want to do, but it is a competitive sport that puts me in an arena where I am constantly comparing myself to other runners. Can I keep up? Can I do what my coach expects of me? Can I beat my time? Even this very second as I type, my lungs are tightening just thinking about it. I will be posting more on this topic in the near future so keep reading the posts. But, let me also answer a few questions for you. Encourage your daughter to run consistently all year long, not just during XC or track season. The reason is that once a person stops running for a few weeks or months, the body then needs to start over again with the new season. Any momentum is lost and needs to be regained.  If she wants to be competitive, she needs to be consistent throughout the year. She needs to keep her base miles, her foundation, really strong so that when she begins a new season of competition she will have a steady base to use as a spring board for improvement. There is a lot of mental stress that will occur if she has not been running and then all of the sudden begins a new season with the expectation of doing better than last year. Her lungs and her brain will go into shock with this new responsibility.  If you read through my posts, you will see that every year I participate in a 7 week 5K series. Each year I improve my PR by about 4 minutes or so but this is only because I run all year long. If I were to keep starting and stopping, I would not have this kind of improvement. If she is serious about wanting to run, and is having symptoms, you should take her to a pulmonary specialist who has patients who run. But, in my experience, two things have become the cornerstone for my improvement: consistency and mental strength. Self esteem, self image, value, self worth; these are all huge barriers to any sport if they are in the negative category. If your daughter keeps running, she will learn mental strength and mental toughness. Running has a way of putting these into perspective real quick. Again, thanks for writing and please keep reading as I work through this myself.”

2009 has been a year of upheaval and tremendous growth at the same time.  I don’t want to hear that my asthma is in my head rather than exercise-induced.  However, I also cannot ignore the fact the my mental strength is getting stronger and stronger and my asthma and my running are getting better and better.  I cannot ignore the evidence that physical and mental healing are happening at the same time.  They seem to be going hand-in-hand.  The reason I put the word “cured” in quotes is because I don’t know if I am.  I don’t know that a person can ever be “cured” of asthma.  Remission, maybe.  I will keep exploring and keep running and keep posting to let you know what I discover.  Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing. (Since this posting, I completed the LA Marathon in 2014, med free)

–Tara Schiro is the author of No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live NOW AVAILABLE http://www.amazon.com/No-Arms-Legs-Problem-happens/dp/0986305308 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com



Training Run with Asthma

So I was starting to feel a little cocky about my running, thinking that I just about had this exercise-asthma thing licked.  I’ve lowered my medication, again, and I can run a long distance, so I’m thinking I’m a ‘real’ runner, right?  I got a huge dose of humble pie last week when I ran with another one of the mom’s during our kids’ swim practice.

We started out at a pace that was slow for her and fast for me.  This compromise turned out to be a major disaster for me.  It was only a 10 minute mile.  But, I had to quickly remind myself that “I can’t” run that fast right off the bat.  During the Santa Barbara 10K my average pace was about 10:37.  My fastest mile ever was 8:50, but that was for one mile and then I had to stop.

So here I am, running too fast for the first mile, not wanting to slow down and look like a wimp, not wanting to stop and look like a complete failure, and not being able to breathe.  My lungs made the decision for me.  I had to stop and walk after one mile! Then we started the slow ascent up the hill and my lungs completely rebelled.  “Hello up there, did you forget we have asthma?” they chided.  My running partner finally agreed to run ahead without me.  She ran up the hill, down the hill, and back up the hill without so much as an extra breath. And there I was, walking, gasping for air, and wanting to sit down in the middle of the sidewalk.  Shameful.

Shame on me for not honoring how far I’ve come.  Shame on me for getting too cocky and thinking I was ready for a big run.  Shame on me for not enjoying the journey and being so competitive.  Shame on me for being embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up. And why am I pouring shame all over myself?!

The next day I ran with one of the fathers on the condition that we run ‘really slow’ and he agreed.  He doesn’t run very far anyway.  The first mile was an 11 minute mile and every mile after that was between 11 and 12.  I ran a total of 5.5 miles.  I felt so good!  Great even!  I had so much energy afterward which continued throughout the weekend.

So what’s the takeaway that I need to hear?  I have exercise-induced asthma.  I can run, and I’m getting stronger, and my average pace is improving; I need to remember this.  I need to be okay with being slower than other runners.  My pace does not invalidate my efforts.  It is okay that other runners can run 7 or 8 minute miles and I can only do 10 or 11 minute miles. It is okay because I’m out there participating.  I am a runner.

–Tara Schiro is the author of No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live NOW AVAILABLE http://www.amazon.com/No-Arms-Legs-Problem-happens/dp/0986305308 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com



Run Marathon with Asthma

The first words I associate with running are “I want to,” and the second set of words to come in rapid succession are “I can’t.”  It took me awhile to honestly recognize this. When I’m running my regular trail, I often look at the hill in front of me and say to myself, “okay, I’m going to run up today instead of walk,” and then the next thing I find myself saying is, “I can’t.”  I can’t because my lungs will close.  I can’t because I won’t be able to breathe.  I can’t because I have a disability.  I can’t because I’m not strong enough.  I can’t because I have exercise-induced asthma.  I can’t.

Some of the most recent comments left on the home page of this web site deal with “I can’t.”  The lady in the military says that her superiors think she is lazy and not trying hard enough.  Another lady runs with her husband and can’t keep up.  Another lady wants to run a full marathon but as soon as she hits a certain mileage, she’s suddenly symptomatic. The words “I can’t” are so powerful.  When others say we can’t, we mistakenly believe them.  I seriously doubt that the lady in the military is lazy.  She wouldn’t be there if she were. But we believe the lie, that we can’t.

Last month my husband and I ran a 10K in Santa Barbara, CA.  It was so, so gorgeous. It was 10 miles along the coastline; 5 out and 5 back. The weather was picture perfect: clear, 58-65 degrees, little breeze.  I had so much fun taking in the scenery, thanking God that my body could participate in the run…and then the unthinkable happened. I posted a PR. I would have to go back and look up my official time but I think it was about 1:48:21.  My average speed was a 10:46 mile (remember that when I started running my average speed was a 15 minute mile!). I remember feeling so good as I was running.  No anxiety, no pressure, just enjoying the run and taking it all in.  I can run well.

This past Sunday my husband and I ran to a historic park behind our neighborhood.  It is exactly 4 miles, out and back.  The 2 miles to get there are up a slight hill (I’m guessing a 2-4% incline). It is the first time I ran the whole way up the hill without stopping. Upon our arrival, my husband said, “let’s go another mile; I want to show you the canyon.”  “I can’t,” said the peanut gallery in my head. But we pressed on and I watched my Garmin like a hawk.  As soon as we hit the mile, and not a second after, I stopped and said, “That’s a mile.”  “The trail I want to show you is just up ahead, let’s keep going.” “I can’t,” said the peanut gallery but we kept going, at a walk.  Finally, the trail was close but there was a bigger hill to get there so I said no and we turned around. I believed the lie that I couldn’t.

We started running back toward the house, which was  now 3.5 miles away.  The chatter in my head was ridiculous:  I didn’t prepare for all these extra miles, I only prepared for a total of 4.  I didn’t eat enough, I didn’t drink enough; I can’t do this.  We ran the whole way back, except to say hi to a friend coming toward us on his bike.

I can run.  My body is stronger than I think.  I felt completely fine when we got back; great even. It is my mind that is weak.  It is my mind that tells me that I can’t “because I have asthma.”  Whenever someone asks me about my running, I usually start off with, “well, I have asthma…”  Translation: I can’t run as well as you because I have a defect. I can’t.

Yes, I can.  I just have to believe that.  I have to choose to believe that.

I did not pass out after the run on Sunday. I felt good. My mind is trying so hard to hold me back from running because the mind is a powerful thing; more powerful than the lungs.

–Tara Schiro is the author of No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live NOW AVAILABLE http://www.amazon.com/No-Arms-Legs-Problem-happens/dp/0986305308 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com



If You Are Running with Asthma, Keep a Training Log
March 10, 2009, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Asthma

I was about to say that running longer distances makes me faster in shorter distances.  But then a cross country runner responded to my one of my posts and she says she’s getting slower, not faster.  This is perplexing to me.  She says she is running the same as last year but I suppose to really see if she is running the same as last year, she would have to show us her running journal.  By the way, I highly, highly, highly recommend tracking your miles, however few, in a running journal or log.  Sometimes we don’t think we are improving but once we check the log we realize we are light years ahead of where we were last year, or even last month.

So back to the cross country runner.  Maybe there is some new element in the air this year that is causing her to run slower.  Or maybe she isn’t logging as many miles overall that she used to.  Or maybe she lost some of her base over the winter that she isn’t aware of.  Or, maybe, she has just stayed static in her runs and so her body has not been challenged to improve.  Let me flesh this last theory out a little bit with my own story.

It is not news for me to say that in the summer my husband and I run a 7 week long 5K series; one of the miles is through the hills.  I am trying to improve my time (see previous posts on this to catch up if you’re new).  I have run two 1/2 marathons and have goals to run more of them, including a full marathon.  But, I really want to get my 5K down to 27 minutes this season and 24 minutes next season.  So far my PR is 31:31 and my slowest overall time is 46:00 on the same course.

I have realized, and this is true for all runners, not just those of us with asthma, that the more I push my body, the more I improve overall.  Let me tell you why I am pointing out the obvious.  Many people have written to me that “I am doing the same schedule of exercises and I’m posting slower times.”  I can’t answer them specifically because I haven’t met them in person to get all the details and I am not a physician or trainer.  I am a runner trying to figure it out like everyone else.  But, I do know, that in my own training, if I stay the same, I don’t improve.

Last week I came home from a six mile run and I told my husband that it was “one giant suffer-fest.”  I hated it.  Everything hurt.  I struggled.  The chatter in my head was loud.  I really had to buckle down and force myself to keep going.  Why?  Why was it such a struggle?  Because, as the responders to my posts have said, I’m not really doing anything different so why all of the sudden am I struggling?  I’ve been doing 6 mile runs once a week for a year now.

One look at my watch gave me the answer. I have a Garmin that connects to the satellite so it tells me how many miles I’ve gone and how fast.  It also breaks it down per mile.  And therein was the answer:  my first mile was a 9:20!  Coming up the hill I posted a 14:30 mile.  Overall, I arrived back at the house in about the same time as all the previous six mile runs.  But a check with the watch told me I was running two minutes faster in the beginning half of the run than I was a few months ago.

Also according to the watch, my overall average mile had dropped from a 12:00 minute average pace to an 11:00 minute average pace. This is progress people! However, had I slowed the first few miles a bit, I would have had more energy in the last three miles and most likely would not have struggled as much. Too fast at the start = twice as slow in the back half. It should be the other way around.

So here is my adivce for today for those of you who can’t figure out why you are running slower than before.  Get yourself a running journal/log (mine came from Runner’s World with the subscription) or you can make your own on the computer.  It needs a space for every day of the week, distance, time, course, and notes.  In the notes category, put information such as weather, heart rate, temperature, mood, lungs, etc. This is especially key if your asthma is affected by the environment.  You can record the weather and if you struggled that day, put that down as well.  You might see a trend emerge.

Second, get yourself a Garmin and start tracking those miles.  If I hadn’t had run with the watch, I would not have known that I was actually getting faster.  My overall time was the same on the six miles, 1:08:30, but I struggled a lot more because my first few miles were much faster.  I would not have known this without the watch to tell me. I would have just thought that I was struggling much more than I used to and I would have come to the false conclusion that I was getting worse instead of better.

Record keeping is the first key to understanding how you run with asthma.

–Tara Schiro is the author of No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live NOW AVAILABLE http://www.amazon.com/No-Arms-Legs-Problem-happens/dp/0986305308 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com



Finished a 1/2 Marathon with Asthma
February 4, 2009, 7:35 pm
Filed under: Asthma

Start line for the marathon. I’m in there somewhere…

The short answer is that I finished the 1/2 marathon in November.  If you read my previous posts, I was really anxious about whether I would be able to go the full 13.1.  I did.  The longer answer is that as soon as I crossed the finish line, I went into a full blown asthma attack!  It wasn’t pretty.  The medics came over with a gurney and wheeled me over to their first aid station, but not before I had  my finisher’s medal around my neck.  Priorities!

The reason for the attack? Emotions. I saw the finish line and couldn’t believe I had accomplished my goal. I broke into tears and all I could think about was, “Did I just do that? Did I really run 13.1 miles?” The lungs cannot multi-task. They cannot run and cry at the same time. I pushed forward to run across the finish, as I cried, and the lungs closed up in a nano-second. It was a classic attack: gasping for air, gasping for the inhaler, terrified I was going to pass out.

I ran a second 1/2 marathon in December.  I wasn’t going to sign up because I was afraid.  What if it happened again?  The day before the race in December, my husband talked me into running.  I hadn’t been training, just doing my normal runs.  My goal for the run in November was to finish; this time it was to finish without passing out!

Goal accomplished.  I had a little more fun the second time around, took in the scenery and just relaxed.  However, once I came to the finish line, my emotions started to get away from me again and my lungs threatened to close again.  My husband said it looked like I was running backwards and forwards at the same time.  I think I was because that is what it felt like.

The ambivalence of seeing the word “finish” and then having to run under and across it is uncomfortable.  I suppose that is why it took me so long to add this post.  I’m just not sure  what to think anymore.  Obviously I can run 13.1 miles. Obviously the asthma isn’t holding me back to the point of not doing what I want. But what?

My neighbor said to me it’s all in my head.  The whole asthma thing.  I rolled my eyes of course, because that is what I do when I hear something silly.  He thinks it is my body’s response to some mental blocks of “not being…” (fill in the blank: not being good enough, not being able to keep up, etc. etc.) Okay, whatever. Maybe it is organic as he says.  I don’t think so.  But I’ll keep thinking about it.

I do know that short runs seem to exacerbate my lungs more than long runs; the harder I push up a hill and force them to open up, the better I feel. Metaphor?  The more long runs I do (5 or more miles),  the faster I become and the better my breathing is. One of these days I’ll figure this out; when I do, I’ll let you know.  In the meantime, read Runner’s Word Magazine.  It’s amazing.

UPDATE: Reading this post in 2015 makes me wonder what all the gloom and doom was about. This post should have been shouting with joy that I ran a half-marathon with asthma! I answered the question “Can I?” with a resounding “Yes! You can!” It amazes me how deep the negativity and insecurity was. Why was I not willing to be joyful in a success?

–Tara Schiro is the author of No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live NOW AVAILABLE http://www.amazon.com/No-Arms-Legs-Problem-happens/dp/0986305308 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com



How I Run with Asthma

This post is two fold: A response to Ashley’s question/comment and an update as I train for the 1/2 marathon coming up on Nov 2.  I’m starting to get really nervous!  For the first time, I am doubting that I will be able to go the distance of 13.1 miles.  Here’s why:  It took me two years to build my running foundation so that I could begin to increase my mileage beyond 4 miles.  I began adding mileage about 8 weeks ago.  I was fine with the increases until I did 8 miles.  I’ve done 8 miles two weeks in a row for my long run and my body (and lungs) is rebelling.

A week ago, I did 6 miles around my house and then 2 on the treadmill.  During the week I tried to do 5 or 6 miles but this was too much. My legs were killing me, my body was tired, my lungs were done.  So I took a 4 day break.  This past Monday, I did 8 miles which included 3 miles of hills.  I felt pretty good the first 7 miles.  The last one was tough so I walked a bit.  I felt the familiar expansion and tightening in my lungs so I just slowed down.  Tuesday, I was exhausted.  I rested.  Yesterday, Wednesday, I did 3 miles around the track for speed/interval training.  I took 1:30 off my PR for a 5K (yeah!) for a PR of 30:00.  But, today is Friday and I’m still paying for it.  My lungs really, really do not like speed.

So now I’m in a pickle.  I need to run today, but, my lungs are still symptomatic from Wednesday.  The 1/2 marathon is only 3 weeks away.  I need to get a least 10 miles under my belt, in one run, before the marathon and the ideal time to do that is this weekend.  But, I have a business trip to attend to.  And, there is also the possibility that since it took me two years to build a foundation, that it will take me another year to properly increase mileage so that I can do a 1/2, and eventually a full, marathon.  The thought is occurring to me that maybe my exercise asthma is not going to let me advance the way normal runners do.  Maybe I need longer than 3 months to train for a 1/2.  Maybe my lungs require more time.  I’m really not sure what to do.

So for now, since I can’t answer my own question, I’ll answer Ashley’s question that she left on the Home page of this blog.  The experience I have to offer to your situation, Ashley, is this:  I was diagnosed with EIA (exercise-induced asthma) in my 30’s.  The Dr. told me this was a typical time frame to develop “adult asthma” as he called.  He told me that childhood asthma, which is typically allergen related, is usually outgrown by the time a child reaches 18.  This was the case with my father.  He was terribly allergic to dust and dander but “grew out” of the asthma.

As I look back, I see that I had EIA as a child but did not realize it.  The only symptoms I had were not being able to keep up in Gym class.  In High School, College, and in my 20’s, I tried several times to run but was immediately tired, out of breath, chest tightened, and so I would stop again not understanding why I was “so out of shape.”  In my 30’s, after having kids, I had slowly and progressively decreased my activity level. Not intentionally, it just became a way of life.  This is when my lungs finally caught up with me.

Not only did I have symptoms with exertion, now I was having symptoms with no exertion.   The day it finally came to a head, I kept saying to my husband how tired I was.  I had to keep taking deep breaths.  “I’m just so tired!”  Every movement was a chore.  I went to lay down on my  bed and I started to pass out.  I quickly crumpled on the floor and each time I raised my head I got light headed. 

Mind you, I am not the type of asthmatic that starts gasping for air like you see on TV.  I melt.  Like a flower. First, I can’t stand up straight; I slouch.  Then I sit down.  Then I can’t sit up straight.  I’m just so tired. And eventually, if I ignore all the signs, I would just quietly pass out. Fluid also builds in my lungs, so my voice changes and I have to keep clearing my throat.  My shoulders hurt around my collarbone area. My chest and back feel like there is something really big inside of me, pushing, trying to get out; like there isn’t enough room inside of there.

So, long story short, Ashley, I think there might be something to the inactivity that makes exercise asthma worse (read previous post, Asthma Improved with Exercise).  I have never seen one medical report to this effect, this is just my personal experience and something that I believe needs exploring.  A friend of mine suggested that it was because the body is more efficient at producing and moving blood/oxygen at higher rates of exercise, or something like that.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that finding the balance between not enough exercise, which causes symptoms for me, and too much exercise, which causes symptoms for me, is very difficult to find.

There are also certain times of the year where my running efforts are sabotaged by allergies.  Spring, somewhere around March, and Fall, October, are the worst months of the year for me.  I’m not sure what I’m allergic to because I’ve been too busy to go get the skin test, but running is harder during these months because of the air.  Smog also hits me hard.  Since I am writing this in October, maybe the air has something to do with me still feeling the effects of Wednesday’s run.

Speed is not my friend.  My lungs hate speed.  I want to run, go fast, but every time I do, my lungs immediately expand, tighten, swell, whatever, and I am forced to slow down.  I really hate that.  So I do intervals.  Go fast, then walk.  Go fast, then walk.  This helps my overall pace, and strengthens my lungs in general, but isn’t as taxing on the lungs during the actual workout.  If I give them lots of breaks, they seem to like that better.

What I also know is that the pain of pushing through workouts, and forcing my lungs to work harder, is paying off.  My asthma is definitely better with the longer runs.  The only question now, is, is 8 miles my threshold or am I just entering another painful growth stage that I will have to push through to get to 13, or even 26.2 miles?  I just don’t know.  And, unfortunately, I will have to keep running, for longer distances, to find out. I’m probably going to have to suffer through the 1/2 just to see if I can suffer through it.  I hope I don’t pass out on the course, at least not before they take my picture.   No pain, no gain as they say; whoever ‘they’ are.



Asthma Improved with Running

Well, it’s official.  In my last entry I alluded that I might be on to something, that my exercise-induced asthma was actually better with more mileage.  This seems like an oxymoron because exercise asthma basically means I’m allergic to exercise.  But, I’ve noticed a huge difference between running 2 or 3 miles and running 6 or 8 miles. I’ll tell you the real kicker in a minute, but first, some context. 

Other kinds of asthma (“regular asthma” for lack of a better term) is allergy related.  If you are allergic to scents, dust, animal dander, etc., then for the most part, you can remove yourself from the allergen trigger and your asthma will subside; the airways in your lungs will stop swelling and will begin to relax.  Of course, you might need the aid of an Albuterol if the swelling is severe enough.

But, with exercise-induced asthma, in my particular case anyway, since my trigger is exercise, it is a little more difficult to remove myself from the trigger.  For example, if I run, the airways in my lungs react and become swollen, constricting the air flow. Once this happens, as long as my body is still in motion, my lungs think we are still exercising and therefore keep swelling.  So I personally have a hard time running in the morning or middle of the day because I still have to get through the rest of the day: straightening the house, vaccuuming, work, laundry, shuffling kids, grocery, etc, etc.  As long as I’m still moving, my lungs cannot relax and I cannot attend to my duties as mom, businesswoman and wife.  To combat this, I run in the evening and then sleep it off.

On a side note, my husband has prepared dinner many times when I’ve over-exerted myself and helped with putting the kids to bed while I laid on the couch or bed trying to keep myself from moving into a full-blown asthma attack.  God bless him and his patience is this area.  His other areas are not so patient but that’s another story and another blog!

Now,  here is the interesting part.  I’ve gotten to the point that if I don’t exercise my lungs begin to be symptematic.  I’ve also noticed that I am much more symptematic after running 2 -3 miles than I am after running 4-8 miles.  And, here is the real kicker:  I’ve decreased my Advair from 250 to 150.  More running, less medication!  My Dr. wasn’t too sure about me lowering the dosage but I insisted I wanted to try because I was feeling so much better.  I told her I could always go back.  But, 2 weeks later, I’m still feeling great. 

Last week I got myself into some trouble with all the increased running.  I discovered I was overtraining for the upcoming 1/2 marathon.  My legs were killing me.  My body was tired.  My lungs kept up, which was a welcome relief, but the rest of me couldn’t handle it.  This, I’m told, is a classic beginner mistake.  Too much, too soon.  So I took a break.  A funny thing happend.  By Sunday evening (3 days after my last painful run), and yesterday (Monday) afternoon, my lungs felt like they were closing!  Because of all the resting and taking it easy, fluid was building up, my voice changed, I had to keep taking deep breaths.  My lungs needed the exercise to open back up. 

So last night, for my long run for the week, I ran 8 miles.  This included 3 miles of cross country hills.  I did fine!  My body was rested, my lungs sucked in the air and for the first time, I felt like they were actually thanking me for the exercise instead of punishing me.  They want to work!  I like to run, but I guess I will  be running whether I like it or not because if I rest too much, and don’t get enough exercise, my lungs react by swelling the airways.

The key for me, and the hard part because I’m impatient, is to go slow.  I tried really, really hard last night to keep myself at a 12 minute mile because I was going far, but I coudn’t do it.  My body wants to be at a 10 minute mile.  My brain and my heart want to do an 8 minute mile but that’s for the future.  I ran the 8 miles in 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Through the hills I did 12 minute miles so I must have gone faster than a 10 minute mile somewhere along the way.  The Garmin ran out of battery so I will never know.

If you’re struggling with this like I am, there’s hope!  I think I’m going to start my own definition of exercise-induced asthma.  Instead of being allergic to exercise, I’m going to say that my lungs are addicted to exercise and I have to feed the addiction or they will rebel.  This time,  not from exercise, but from the lack of it.




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