My New Trick

I got home from Monday night’s run really excited – not because I finished my last long run before the half on Sunday (and, I really doubted until that night if I would get my 11 miles in). I was excited because I learned a new trick.

This is one of many tricks that I’ve acquired to help me run through the winter. As an asthmatic, winter running is hard – really hard. I dread stopping at traffic lights or finishing my runs because that is when cold and moisture hit my lungs; and, when it does, I begin to cough and sound more like a regular smoker than a regular runner. This has forced me to stop running for many, many cold seasons. However, this winter I have been determined to not let my asthma stop me; instead, I have learned to better control it.

On Monday, 6 miles into my long run, I found myself at yet another traffic light, trying to control the coughing fits. That’s when I wondered what would happen if I tried to mimic my breathing so that it matched the breathing when I ran. As I approached the next light, I moaned knowing that I was headed towards another moment of misery but when I stopped, I remembered my plan: one quick breath in, three breaths out.

No coughing. One in, three out. Still no hacking. It was working. The guy in the car next to me probably thought that I was having an orgasm but my breathing was controlled. The light signalled green and I headed towards the next major intersection.

By the time I finished my run, I seemed to have mastered my new technique. I was on a runner’s high, not from running but from what I was able to do when I wasn’t running.

What tricks do you have?

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