I am 44 years old and I have struggled with asthma my entire life, but only realized how much in the last few months. I was told since childhood that I had asthmatic bronchitis all through my first five to seven years but had outgrown it for the most part. I never had an asthmatic attack per say and lived a relatively normal life with no symptoms. . . or so I thought.
At the age of 14 in high school physical education, I noticed that I was the only one who could not run the track non-stop. I would run for a short distance and have to stop to catch my breath. I felt that I was just lazy. After all, I was a couple pounds overweight and that MUST be the issue, right?
Fast forward 10 years, I am a mom who wants to be in shape, lose some baby weight and feel in control. My thoughts turned to the running that conquered me in high school, that killed my self-esteem because I lagged behind my peers gasping for air. It was a symbol of my feeling of failure.
I decided to train, and I did. I got better through dedication and miles but always felt that need for air and need for breaks during my runs.
This continued for years. I kept at it and found Jeff Galloway's plan of interval running in 2018 which helped me accomplish my long-term goal of running a half marathon in 2020.
However, in 2019, I decided to visit a pulmonologist and see if there was a reason for my struggle. It turns out that I have severe asthma and didn't know! My body was so used to operating at low lung capacity that I didn't realize it was abnormal! I was put on inhalers, steroids and allergy medications which have greatly improved but not solved my problems. Today, I push on. I run to the best of my ability and want to encourage other asthmatic athletes who just want to GO . . . to realize their potential and embrace the struggle.
We may never be the elites we compare ourselves to, but we are stronger than most in that we push through a deficit that would discourage and stop others. I am thankful for this struggle; it has made me who I am and hope that it is an encouragement to others.
Thank you for giving my story a read. I hope to hear others as they share their journey!