After 3 days of success stories, tears and losses, the one image that I still can not get out of my mind – the one that stands out the most – is from the opening ceremonies. Three days later, and I am still shocked that Gisele Bundchen was a part of the opening to Rio 2016.
The Olympic Opening ceremonies should do two things: promote international sport and the culture of the hosting country. The first was easily done. All athletes were invited to participate, but some chose not so that they didn’t have to spend so much time on their feet, tiring themselves out and hindering their chances on their day of competition. No matter where you live, watching your national athletes walk into the stadium fills your heart with pride. And if you didn’t see your favorite athlete, your hero, you immediately felt a sense of disappointment. Secondly, even under the tight budget when compared to recent Olympics, Brazilian culture was well represented under Fernando Mereilles’ direction in which he creatively captured Brazilian history, science and entertainment while emphasizing the international importance of the rain forest. But a supermodel? Where exactly does she fit in?
Gisele is Brazilian. That’s it. The Brazilian athletes weren’t singled out so why was she? She is fit and she is married to football player Tom Brady, but neither is a part of Olympic sport. In my eyes, Gisele was there because sex sells.
Is it the low budget that compelled Mereilles to bring her into the opening ceremonies? Was a significant donation made to the event if Gisele strutted her final walk across the stage? The question I keep asking myself, though, is “Aren’t we past the point of using beauty and sex to promote?” Clearly, we are not.
Gisele’s strut screamed, “Look at me. I’m fabulous.” It had nothing to do with sports and it did not represent Brazilian culture. It had no place in an international sporting event.
And by girls, I don’t mean daughters, friends or other women who run. I am referring to the “girls”, breasts, bosoms, or whatever anatomically correct or affectionate nickname you want to give them.
A few weeks ago, I was doing the “mom” thing: hanging out at the park with my friend, Susan, watching our boys run around with soccer balls. For some reason, and I can’t ever imagine why (heehee), our conversation turned to running.
“I wish I could run. You’re so lucky,” she commented. “It must be so nice to feel that freedom.”
Admittedly, I was surprised. Susan is a single mom of two boys who are involved with hockey, soccer and swimming. When she is not working, she is often chauffeuring them from one activity to another and, when she isn’t, you can be sure that it is because she is cooking, cleaning, and looking after them at home. I honestly didn’t think that she wasn’t interested in running or participating in other types of fitness for herself. Until now, the subject never really came up.
“You can run,” I said. “You just need to start slowly. I can help you get started.”
“I can’t. I need to find a bra that fits first. It’s too painful to run.”
Susan continued to describe one of her bras that she duct-taped together. “Both sides were duct taped so the underwire would poke me. Then the underwire started coming through the bottom.” The struggle was real.
Fortunately, finding a sports bra is something I have never had to worry about. I always wear Running Skirts strappy bra, which is comfortable, supportive and cute but, for my Double K friend, that just wouldn’t do. I started to picture previous covers of magazines with running success stories, photos of larger women who have lost inches and dropped sizes after they started to run. What did they wear? I have read about some ladies who double-barrel to give them the support that they need. We talked about designing a bra for her and finding a seamstress to make it. I was determined to find a solution. Someone must have an idea of what works. That’s when I turned to social media.
One of the groups I reached out to was Another Mother Runner on Facebook. I explained the problem my well-endowed friend was facing, and asked if they could reach out to their community. After a few days, I had dozens of responses and it became clear that Susan was not alone. Not only did we have a list of sports bras to select from, we had online sites (Break out Bras, Her Room, Bare Necessities) with great customer service that Susan could turn to for more advice.
Today, Susan headed to the Inside Story , known for its amazing customer service, for a fitting and decide on a purchase. She has narrowed it down to….
As bad luck would have it, the store doesn’t carry any sports bra that fits – period. The sales associate is going to do her best to find something that works. We are also looking at shopping online, a little easier but still a very frustrating process. The Juno bra by Moving Comfort, for example, was highly recommended for big-bosomed ladies, but we can’t find her size. Hopefully, we’ll find something that does the trick and keeps the girls under wraps before the end of the summer and Susan can “feel the freedom” that she is wanting so desperately.
Over the weekend, several messages about a weekend run were flying between a friend and me and, then, they stopped. Silence. Our run didn’t happen. And a few hours after that run that should have happened, I got another message: “Body still isn’t working and kids are being disasters….Maybe it was just not meant to be this morning.” To that, I replied, “Yup, sometimes you just have to wait for the stars to line up.”
That’s the message that I have had to tell myself for the past week. This summer, I have been building mileage towards a fall marathon. My initial goal to run Quebec City fell apart because of my son’s soccer schedule so I quickly planned other options. I really wanted to marathon in Victoria, B.C. for several reasons. I use to live in Vancouver, and I have been itching to go back. The timing worked because it was over Thanksgiving Weekend so I would have an extra travel day. Finally, one of my training partners, Kelly-Lynne, is aiming to run the half in Victoria. All signs were pointing to the west coast.
Then, last week happened. I had been waiting for a few weeks to hear back from my employer about whether I could take an extra day, and I needed to confirmation before the end of the month so that I could book my flight. Well, I am still waiting and the seat sale is over. Secondly, while my two boys really want to take an early school break, my husband isn’t thrilled about making a long distance trip (3400 kilometres, or 2200 miles) for just a few days. Lastly, my feet are starting to hurt. For the past few long runs (22+ kilometres), I have been getting achy feet. Like most runners, this always happens to me during marathon training, but this time the pain is different; it’s sharper, and it lasts a lot longer. It’s the kind of pain that makes me think that I am setting myself up for injury, and I don’t want that to happen – especially if I do decide to run Boston in the spring. And, I certainly do not want to make the long and expensive trip to run in Victoria if I am not feeling 100 percent.
All summer, my training has been going well; it has been great. My mileage has increased the way I wanted it to, and I’m feeling power in my legs that I haven’t had in a while. But the stars weren’t in line for my flying to Victoria in October, and I need to follow the stars.
Did this upset me? Yes, of course. But there is always another marathon. Whatever the reason, this one was just not meant to be. Meanwhile, I’ve slowed down a little and had an easy 10 days of training to rest and think about some different goals for the fall – maybe a little track, a bit of trail racing, cross-country, some road racing, or some pot-pourri of all. And who knows? Maybe the stars will realign themselves and I will find that other marathon.
My husband, Dave, has volunteered with the Run for the Toad 25k/50K trail race for a few years. It’s one of the biggest trail races in Ontario, and several runners from other parts of Canada and the USA fly in to participate. Dave has been wanting me to run it but the race always seems to conflict with my other running goals.
A few weeks ago, Dave asked me to participate in the training run weekend. Basically, the event organizers organize a day of running on the trail loop (12.5K) so that their volunteers can practise for race day in October. I ran the training event two years ago so running it again to measure where I am in my training made good sense. But this time, I decided that I wanted to cover 25K and use it as part of my marathon training.
“Are you crazy?” Dave asked. “It’s a tough course. It’s like running 30K on the roads.”
“I’ll be fine,” I told him. “I ran 22K last week and the week before. I have water stations and company to run with here. I’ll be okay.”
One of my training partners, Kelly-Lynne who eats trails for breakfast, decided to join me. She knows the course well as her cross-country team trained on it when she was at Western University. Her plan was to run 12.5K and, if she felt good, she would run more.
The run started at 9:00 and temperatures were going to climb to the mid-30’s. I am fine running in heat but not when the sun is high. We knew that we needed to slow the pace down, to run something comfortably so that we would finish and feel good. My marathon pace is around 5 minutes/kilometre we thought 5:00 to 5:30 on this course was reasonable. Like any other trail, though, you can’t really pace yourself other than by the “what feels right” pace. So that ended up being the plan: run, talk, run and have some fun.
The hills: they were the challenge. Within the first 3 kilometres, I told Kelly-Lynne that I didn’t remember the course being as hilly the last time that I ran it. Ture to the nature of hills, though, every hill that went up also went down. Some of them seemed to climb forever and others seemed to go up at a 90 degree angle (especially Skeleton Hill, towards the end, which was a complete calf-buster). But the hills were doable as they were hiding under a canopy of trees.
For me, the toughest part of the course was dealing with the sun. I was able to deal with the heat but when we came from out of the trails into the open, under the hot sun with no cloud coverage, I started to feel nauseous. As soon as we got back into the shade, though, the sickness went away.
Kelly-Lynne ended up running the entire 25K with me. We realized at the end how well we actually covered the course as our second loop was only 3 minutes slower than our first – not bad with the change in temperature. Also, quite a few runners around us dropped out during the second lap. I think that running an easier pace played a big factor in our finishing, and the smart pacing was confirmed when, in the last kilometre, we passed a few runners who were way ahead of us earlier in the run.
Even though it wasn’t a race, I often had to remind myself of that. I often wanted to pick up the pace but I kept turning the dial the other way, making sure that I slowed down and respected the heat. It worked.
And now I have one more thing to consider as part of my fall racing. After the weekend, I realize that I really do want to race this course one day. Which year? Only time will tell.
When I decided to coach my son’s soccer team, I looked at the dates carefully as coaching is a 14 week commitment and it’s twice a week. I knew that the spring would be difficult as I had other things going on; from June through the rest of the summer, I have more flexibility with my time. My only real need in terms of coaching was making sure that my obligations to the team were over before I would be running the Quebec City Marathon, my marathon of choice for the fall. I diligently counted the weeks of soccer from start to finish and – perfect! Soccer ends the week before Quebec.
I don’t need to marathon in the fall. I BQ’d in Chicago last October and I plan to run Boston. My goals in and out of a fall marathon are to build a stronger mileage base and improve my BQ time. Running in August makes perfect sense as I won’t have to deal with high mileage during the craziness of back to school and registration for Boston is at the beginning of September. The Quebec City Marathon, which has been on my bucket list for years and years, is August 28th.
Hubby and I started to plan a mini-holiday to Quebec City and the province with the boys, possibly travelling into the maritimes. We looked into accommodations. Training was going well. Then, one evening, when going over the snack schedule for soccer, I thought twice.
“Um….why is Festival Day on the 27th?” I wondered. Looking again, I saw that we are scheduled to play on the week before Quebec City. How is that possible? I went back to the calendar and counted 14 weeks again. “The last week ends on the 20th! I don’t get it!” I looked at the calendar again, carefully. The players have a week off at the beginning of August! Why didn’t I realize that? Ugh! There is no way that I can coach on the 27th and get to Quebec City on time to pick up my race kit. Even if we play the first game and I fly, timing would be dicey.
I contemplated not going to the last two games of the season, our weekly game and the Festival Day event. But I always teach my boys that when you make a commitment to do something, you follow through with it to the end. Volunteer work is no different. I made a commitment to my team and the soccer club that I would coach the boys for the season. Had the marathon date been in the middle of the season, I might take off a game. But at the end of the season, it’s a different story. It would look like I quit or gave up on the team. How can I not coach for almost 4 months and, then, not be at their final game? Even if some of the boys don’t see it that way, what kind of message am I sending them? Is it okay for a coach to miss the final game and your trophy day? Not really. So, I am not going to run Quebec City. As I often tell other running friends when they have their own race conflicts, there is always another marathon.
So now the hunt for a fall marathon begins and there are only two conditions; it has to be in Canada, and it needs to be before the end of October. I’ve narrowed it down to Run Victoria (B.C.), Scotiabank Toronto, and Prince Edward Island. Before the end of July, I hope to have worked through the logistics and will register. Meanwhile, my training continues as I work towards building my base and bettering my BQ time.
I love the outdoors. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I run on the coldest days of Canadian winter and in the ridiculous heat of the summer. I’ll do whatever it takes to help my kids find their way outdoors, even if it means wandering around aimlessly while they are kicking around soccer balls at the park or shooting hoops on the street, because they would rather be playing outside. And I think it is great when my friends and co-workers begin a fitness regime that takes them for walks or runs into the trails.
When the Pokémon Go app came out, you would think that I would have been excited about that. After all, it is designed to get people off the couch and exploring the world. Last week, kids came to school, tired but proud of how much they walked the day before while looking for Pokémon. “If it gets kids outside and moving,” many friends said, “it’s a good thing.” In that sense, it is. The intention is to walk and hunt for Pokémon while paying attention to your surroundings. Instead, within a week of its launch, the media released numerous stories surrounding accidents and harm that are a result of the app’s users not being careful.
Technology is to be respected and using it while mobile does not give it the respect it deserves. In the same way that it is illegal to text and drive, kids (and adults) need to use sound judgement when playing the game. I, personally, have already seen 3 Pokémon incidents: (1) a grade 8 student, who was walking down the hall at school while looking for eggs to hatch, walked into another student, dropped his phone and watched the screen crack; (2) a neighbour held his phone while riding his bike, dropped it and lost control of his bike when he went up a bump on the curb that he didn’t see, admittedly because he was looking for Pokémon; (3) while running yesterday, I saw a group of 10 boys without helmets on their bikes, eyes on screens and calling out Pokémon hunting-like calls, while riding oblivious to traffic on a busy road: stupidity at its best.
But kids aren’t stupid. They are smart enough to find what they seem to believe are “safer” and “more efficient” ways to catch Pokémon, but they still aren’t respecting the technology in their hands. Today, one mom told me that she saw one boy riding with his phone taped to his handlebars. Another described a scene that takes the search for Pokémon and egg-hatching to a new level; she saw a group of 9 year olds at the park on motorized scooters, going crazy fast without helmets, and obviously looking for Pokémon. It has no longer become a “whatever it takes to get kids outside” game, but a “whatever it takes to collect Pokémon.” My own 15 year told me about the hack that a group of 14 year olds shared with him, a way to change your settings so that you can sit on your couch and capture Pokémon without even having to go outdoors. Perhaps this group of kids actually has the right idea. Yes, it is a hack and we all know that hacking is wrong. But these kids aren’t wandering streets, unaware of what is going on around them, and they are playing from the safety of their own homes.
What this game really needs is a common sense upload, perhaps one which can hatch from a Pokémon egg because it would be priceless. Until the developers come up with one, my kids aren’t really interested in playing and I’ll be following them around aimlessly while they chase soccer balls and shoot hoops.
For the past few months, I have been struggling with my shorts, not running or athletic shorts, but casual day to day shorts. I can wear them to school, running errands, around the house….They are a very practical piece of clothing for me. But as styles are getting shorter and tighter, I have struggled to find shorts that (1) I like, (2) fit the budget and (3) aren’t too tight or too short, but don’t make my legs look like sticks. And they get double points if I can find a pair that are light and comfortable enough that I can wear them while playing soccer with my boys. It has become the impossible task.
On the weekend, I made one last attempt to find one – just one – pair of shorts. After combing through several shops, I gave up, went home and pulled out my yoga shorts. Now these aren’t true yoga shorts because my prudish husband does not like it when I wear anything tight (which, on another note, makes wearing running tights in the winter rather interesting).
These are actually running shorts, which I wore for cross-country but have since crossed the threshold to the yoga studio. I ran into a friend wearing the same style at the grocery store, I have seen moms wearing them at their kids’ events, and many girls are wearing them at school because they don’t violate dress code. Maybe, just maybe, I can wear these casually.
On Tuesday, I put them on when I got home from school. They aren’t too short; my butt is covered. In fact, the backs of the 50+ year old thighs are hiding well under them too. They aren’t tight; Dave won’t complain. They’re stylish. “I’m good to go,’ I thought, and I headed to the kitchen.
“Ooo, look at Mom in her shorty shorts!” the littlest dude called out.
“They aren’t that short, are they?”
“No, they’re okay. Wait! You aren’t wearing those to soccer practice are you?”
“Mom, you are NOT wearing those shorty shorts to soccer! You need to change!”
“I hate my other shorts. I feel like an old lady in them.”
“Mom, let’s think about your age. Your other shorts are just fine.”
I’m glad that I’m his mother, not his daughter. It seems that my son has inherited the “prude” gene and I am still on the hunt for a pair of shorts. Maybe I should buy a pair of shorty shorts and wear those around. Then, no one will complain when I wear these.
I didn’t plan on becoming a soccer mom. When my boys were younger – well, before they were even born – I imagined them becoming hockey players. I would get them up in the morning and give them a bowl of oatmeal before Dad would take them to their 6:00 practices, and I would cheer loudly for them during games. But this never happened. Even then, at no point in my early parenting years, did I ever think that I would become a soccer mom.
When the boys turned 4, each was registered in the Timbits house league, practically a right of passage in town. All of their friends played; I mean, ALL of their friends. But as they got older, and their interests changed, they both walked away from soccer and got into other things.
Somewhere between chasing 4 year old Timbit players and going to High School, the oldest looked into working as a referee. At the end of his grade 8 year, he took his first qualification course, CPR and First Aid, and he spent that summer getting himself to as many fields as he could so that he could work. And he was good at it. My 13 year old could control the field and the parents surrounding it – no easy feat- and that success propelled him to continue reffing during the following school year and summer.
Fast forward to the fall of 2015. The Littlest Dude (TLD), entering Grade 5, decided that he wanted to play soccer. Since the club was short of coaches and I was going to be there anyway, I decided to coach his team. Within weeks, it became obvious that TLD was committed to the sport. We registered him for another season, and I agreed to coach again. When the Summer League opened, TLD wanted to play again – but he wanted more than a weekly house league; he wanted to play in the developmental program, which runs twice a week.
This year, it seems, I have officially become a soccer mom. I am often helping my oldest with travel to his games or back home, since games can end late. As TLD’s coach, I am committed to working with his team two nights a week. And now, as he has eyes on trying out for Rep soccer in the next year, I find myself spending almost every afternoon taking him to a field, at his request, so that he can practise shots and play with his friends. In an average week, I am making an average of 11 trips to any of the different soccer fields in town.
Honestly, I don’t know how this happened. As a parent, I introduced my boys to different activities, hopeful that they would find one that they liked and would stick with it. When they were younger, I told them, “It doesn’t matter to me what you do, but whatever you do, do it well.” My oldest son chose music – played the piano, sang in a choir, played percussion in the band – and he was good, really good, in all. He took swimming lessons and he ran cross-country, but that was really the extent of his interest in sport; his throwing himself into the world of soccer was a bit of a shock. He refs, helps coach his school’s Senior team (grade 11 and 12) and mentors new referees. My youngest? He loves athletics but he never had any real desire to get involved in any kind of competitive sport. Out of nowhere, something clicked; he constantly wants to play and, like so many boys his age, he wants to be one of the best.
I like to think that my own racing and training have somehow rubbed off on my boys. They have seen me throw myself into my running – especially during marathon season – and chase my own goals. Secretly, I have been hoping that they would follow my footsteps, especially since they didn’t follow Dad’s path to the rink. But they haven’t. For whatever reason, at different points in their lives, both of them simply seemed to wake up one morning and throw themselves into soccer. And they do it well.
Spending my time taking them from one field to another is a good problem to have.
My last minute registration for the vrPro Canada Day 5K sums up my whole year: busy! I forced myself to take a break from running over the winter, which ended up being 8 weeks instead of two, and re-building my mileage has gone slower than I expected. Throw in a hectic work schedule and life with boys, and it has been difficult to find time to train the way I want, let alone race. I have spent the past 5 weeks looking forward to increasing my training to the next level, writing about my running thoughts that are percolating, and start racing. Last week, after receiving the umpteenth email reminding me that online registration closes on Wednesday at 6:00, I looked at my watch and said, “It’s 5:40. I still have time.” Yes, the time was right so I registered. Easy as that.
I needed to throw myself back into the racing scene without putting much pressure on myself. The Canada Day 5K fit the bill. It was a low-key event on a quiet holiday, close to home and I have a history of running well there. Then, on Thursday night, I learned that there were 600 runners registered; suddenly it wasn’t a small event anymore.
On Friday morning, the oldest dude played “the good son card” and dragged his almost 16 year old behind out of bed to cheer me on at the race. (And, yes, he earned big brownie points as Hubs and the 10 yo were still sound asleep when we left.) I was nervous; my stomach was a mess and I wasn’t sure how I should pace myself, other than as fast as I can. I was glad to have my son’s calm presence, even if it was tired calm presence. We got to Burlington before 7:30, I got my bib and shirt, and ran into my friend, Beth, who is a significantly stronger runner.
By the time we were toeing the line, I realized that there were many other fast runners and a very competitive Masters group. In fact, I noticed more greying masters at the front of the line than I did sub-masters. I started to play with numbers. “Sub-22,” I told myself. “Go out at 4:20, you can do this.” I had my eye on Beth, who would run sub-20, two other women who were in my time range, and a handful of men whom I could pace off of.
The out and back course had everything from concrete, to stone and to sand. Within the first 5 minutes, the clouds opened and that meant we were running through wet sand between 2k and 3k. I don’t know how much it slowed me down, but it definitely did. Beth was out of sight before I hit 2K, I passed the women I was worried about by the 2K mark, and I’m not sure what happened to the men that I was following for a while; suddenly, they were – poof! – out of sight. In the last 2K, I chased two kids – around 12 years old, I think. After I passed one, I kept encouraging the second so that he wouldn’t slow down and I had someone to follow. In the last 200 metres, I was quickly reminded that kids are able to turn into the extra gear much more easily than I can; he jumped forward and finished about 15 seconds ahead of me.
But I was happy with my time. I was the 7th female (and Beth was first female!) and 1st in my age group (50-54). I wanted sub 22 and I got it – 21:24. And I won a sportswatch, which I was ready to give to my son until I saw it was pink. Sorry, kiddo!
I’m glad that I got this race out of the way. I got an accurate test of my fitness level, finished ahead of a few women whom I was sure would beat me, and a time that was exactly where I wanted to be. This has given me the confidence boost that I need and has already made it easier to set some running goals for the summer and move me into the fall.
One day, while having a conversation with a gentleman, he questioned, “You run in the winter? Don’t your lungs freeze?”
I shook my head and explained that it is okay to run in the winter. “You just dress for it, that’s all.” I left out what I wanted to tell him – that I have asthma.
For years, I wasn’t able to run in the winter because of my asthma. I’d go out and, within 20 minutes, my chest would start to tighten. Every time I stopped (because, living in the city, you have no choice but to stop at a traffic light), my chest would tighten and I’d start to cough. Often, I’d be wheezing. Yes, it was a struggle. I hated it. And I started to hate winter running. So for a few months each year, I would turn to cross-training indoors (but not the dreaded treadmill).
Fast forward to life after pregnancy. Both of my boys were born in the late fall and, like many new mamas, there were days when I just needed to get out. We lived in Toronto, where I could escape to the gym and park my babe at its child care for an hour. When we moved to Oakville, I became a home workout warrior; all of my fitness started and ended in my basement. This was fine until after I delivered my second child. I needed to physically leave the house. However, it was winter – and I couldn’t run in the winter. My lungs wouldn’t let me – until I woke up one morning and said, “That’s it. I’m going for a run.”
“Are you sure?” my husband asked.
“Yes! I have my puffer. I’ll take my time. I’ll only be gone for 20 minutes.” I pulled on my winter running gear that had been sitting in the closet for years and headed out the door. “I can do this,” I told myself. “I’ll be fine.”
And I was. My run was slower but I didn’t care. I was outside and running. I got back home feeling exhilarated and powerful. “I can do this! It’s time to take asthma by its horns and show it who’s in charge!”
For that and the next winter, I taught myself to run with asthma. I had to run a slower and longer warm up – to open up my lungs – in the same way that I have to warm up before a race. I learned to use my inhaler properly: one puff while getting dressed and another (about 10 minutes later) before I head out the door. Thanks to Running Skirts sub-zero skirts, I could comfortably carry my puffer in my side pocket (puffers in tights’ pockets just don’t work) in case I “got into trouble”. My running partners got use to my heavier winter breathing, the constant running nose and snot-covered gloves. Over those years, I built my winter running distance from 20 minutes to 30K. I was the boss of my asthma.
Last winter, due to my fall and broken jaw, I was forced off all exercise for weeks. This meant I escaped the woes of winter running and all of the laundry that came with it. I thought I was lucky but I was dreading the shock of readjusting to cold weather running. This past week was the first week of truly cold temperatures that southern Ontario runners have had to deal with this winter and I knew it was going to be a shock to my system. For the past few days, friends have posted pictures of themselves running with frozen beards, frozen eyelashes and steam circling their heads. Me? I wasn’t ready to face that kind of running yet and stayed on my windtrainer in the comfort of my warm basement. I was wimping out.
Until yesterday. Temperatures were climbing and now closer to -20C. I was ready. On came my layers and out I went. Within 10 minutes, I was quickly reminded that I have asthma. Yes, I used my puffer and, yes, I took my time warming up. But I could feel my chest tightening, resulting in that same feeling that I had many, many winters ago. “Wow, the air really is a lot thicker when it’s cold like this,” I thought. And I remembered that conversation many years ago. “You run in the winter? Don’t your lungs freeze?”
No, my lungs don’t freeze. But I have to be careful. I have to dress for it, that’s all. I have to use my puffer and I have to do a long warm-up before I run the way I want to. Yesterday, that is exactly what I did and guess what. I got home feeling exhilarated. Once again, I took asthma by its horns.