During the past week, I’ve realized how lucky that I am that I discovered running. Through it, I have learned to control my asthma rather than let it control me.
I wasn’t born asthmatic. I didn’t develop it until I was an adult – almost 30 – and that is what made it especially frustrating. I was strong and healthy, I was running well until one year when I had one case of bronchitis after another. After many trips to my doctor and testing, I was finally diagnosed with asthma.
I could handle it. Peter Maher, world class marathoner, was also asthmatic and he became my inspiration. But my asthma was triggered by cold and exercise. Needless to say, living in Canada and trying to be fit were not exactly great for my health.
Eventually, I couldn’t follow Maher’s example anymore and I had to give up running during the cold winter months. Instead, I cycled and worked out indoors; I hated the treadmill and stayed away from it. Each spring, though, I returned to the road carrying my puffer with me.
After delivering my second son, I decided that I had had enough of giving into asthma and grabbed it by its horns. I was determined to run year-round; if Peter Maher could do it, so could I.
And I did. For the past two years, I have been running in hot and cold weather. Yes, I am using my puffers beforehand but I am running and staying strong.
Tonight, while cycling indoors, I felt my lungs start to tighten and realized that I hadn’t taken that precautionary step – a puff before getting on the bike. Even though I stopped to grab my inhaler, I didn’t finish my workout as I just wasn’t feeling well.
Then I realized how grateful I was to have learned to control my asthma. Yes, it took years, but I can once again do the things that I could do when my airways were clear. In fact, now, I can do some of them better.
Running – my desire to run – has helped me reclaim my health. Running has helped my friend control her diabetes. It has also helped other friends control their weight and cope with stresses of life.
Running – the best medicine there is. I’m thankful that I re-found it.