People laugh when I tell them that I have weak lungs, but I do. Growing up, I had childhood at least once a year and I’m still highly susceptible to it. In my late twenties, I developed asthma. And, in the past year, I have had pneumonia twice.
But I am still able to run a sub-22 minute 5K and last year I ran a 1:42 half-marathon. I’ve learned to train with asthma by using my inhalers properly.
Before you jump ahead to conclusions and think that my times are a result of using puffers, I’m going to tell you that they aren’t. Research has shown that using inhalers does not give you an extra edge; when non-asthmatics were tested with and without puffers, there wasn’t a difference in their times. Secondly, in days before asthma, my marathon PR was 3:23, which is directly in line with what I am running now.
As I’m gearing up for a fall marathon, I’m worried about one of two things: losing my rescue inhaler, the one I need before running and if I should have an attack and developing pneumonia again in the fall. On Friday, I met with my doctor to discuss the possibility of getting a vaccination for pneumonia.
My GP agreed that the vaccine seems like a good idea. However, it is not his decision to make. He has to put forward a case to the Ministry of Health to prove that I should have it. Usually, he said, the vaccine is for people with chronic lung issues; have bronchitis yearly since childhood and pneumonia in recent years is not enough. So, we’ll wait and see.
He also thought we should change my puffers. There is a new one out which is basically a combination of the two that I am currently using. The difference is in dosage; I use the new one twice daily and I can use it as a rescue inhaler. I don’t need to use it before cardiovascular exercise.
Changing puffers makes me nervous – especially in the middle of the season – but I’m going to try it for a month. I have to trust the professional and show him the same respect that I want parents of my students to show me when I make suggestions. I make not like it, but I’m willing to try it.
So, now I’m armed with enough air to last until the middle of August. As luck would have it, I don’t have any races planned for a few weeks so I can test them out on easy runs, long runs and at the track without fear of penalty. Once mid-August comes, I’ll decide on which type of asthma meds to use. Let’s hope that I’ll have had enough time to make the right decision.