The reason

A good 50 percent of me, a solid 75 percent of the time, thinks I'm absolutely insane for attempting to run. Let me paint you a picture: I spent much of my adolescent years visiting doctors around Jersey for asthma treatments. I coughed, wheezed and sniffled through third grade until the present. But here I am, staring asthma in the eye and saying: watch out, respiratory disease. It's on.

Monday, April 2, 2012

There is a voice...

There is a voice, an unrelenting, obnoxious voice, that lives inside my head. It mocks me, saying terrible things like,"You can't" and "Why do you even try?" Sometimes I have the willpower to ignore the voice. On my best days I give the voice the middle finger.
But there are times when I succumb to its power. Unfortunately, in the past month or so, I've fallen victim to its insults more often than not.

For years I was told I should not run. People with authority (my doctors, my parents) told me not to run.  And because I was young and scared and sick, I listened.
My chest hurt. My breath crackled like Rice Krispies cereal. My cough stopped traffic. Really, I had to listen to them.
The problem is, I didn't just listen to them; I internalized their every word.

It's been years since I was told by my doctors and parents that I should not run. Those real, live voices have stopped. But somehow, the sum of their powers remain in the form of The Voice.
A voice that does NOT SHUT UP.
It's like I'm waiting for permission. I want to hear a doctor say, "It's OK. You can run. Go ahead, your asthma won't hurt you."
'Cause with every thud of my sneaker hitting the pavement, I become more and more certain it will.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'd like you to meet a pal of mine.

Love may be fleeting, friends may come and go, but a good inhaler...that's forever.

1994 - present,and still going strong <3
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was eight years old and since then, I've had an albuterol inhaler with me at all times. During my elementary school years, it was my mom's job to hold on to it. When I started carrying a purse, the inhaler was housed in the inside zippered compartment. It's been tucked in my sports bra for long walks, shoved into my pocket during standing-room-only concerts.

Most of the time (thank goodness) my inhaler remains locked and loaded. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have needed, completely out of the blue, to take a few puffs for relief.

My asthma symptoms tend to creep up on me, rather than attack out of nowhere. In this regard, I'm very lucky. Usually only very specific triggers bring on what my friends call "the death rattle."

Anyway, my albuterol inhaler has been a constant in my asthma life. I'm currently prescribed Alvesco as my maintenance medication, but I've also been on this, this, this, etc. I've made my rounds.


After all these years, I know my asthma. I can recognize every creak and rumble in my chest, and usually diagnose and medicate myself properly. In other words, I got this shit.

But here I am, taking on something entirely new to me, both mentally and physically. I'm feeling different sensations in my chest. The sensations are so foreign that I can't properly calibrate them. Is this typical for people who run? Or is this my asthma saying, "not so fast..."?

I walk/ran last night at my lovely new gym. My brain got as much of a workout as the rest of me. Should I be doing this? Does this feel right? Am I wheezing? Shut up, brain.

I'm off to the gym for another mind/body workout...with my inhaler in tow, of course.

Side note: I want this shirt for my next 5K.


Monday, January 30, 2012

But they look so happy...

I just spent 30 minutes looking at photos and times from races that other people ran. I'm not a scientist, but I'm almost positive that thinking about running and looking at photos of running are not ways to become a runner.
The competitors look happy in those photos, or at the very least, not miserable. And damn, their legs look good.
Later today I am scheduling an appointment with a new pulmonologist. I have been putting it off for way too long. I should know better by now.
Stay tuned.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Owww.

I let two months go by with little more than the occasional walk as my workout. I think I ran once in Verona Park, maybe.
In the briefest of updates, because I'm beyond  exhausted, I joined Platinum Fitness last week. I made my first appearance there tonight, and owww. My sides are cramping up like crazy and I have lower back pain. Do any other 25-year-olds get lower back pain? 'Cause I swear, sometimes I think I was born in 1936, not 1986.

Anyway, Platinum is a super upgrade from my previous gym. There are TVs built into every machine! (My excitement over this just reaffirms my 1936 theory). I feel so fancy.

So yes, there is pain in very many parts of my body. It seems that even if I only skip a week of workouts, I lose a LOT of ground.

Perhaps this problem would be rectified by, you know, not skipping a week of workouts. And really really not skipping two months.

I'm restarting my Couch to 5K plan from the very beginning. I think that's the best way to go.

One final OWW, and goodnight.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Yeesh

I wrote up a whole post about the 5K, apologizing for my lack of updates, blah blah, etc.etc. The entry disappeared sometime during the transition to my new job. Maybe it's for the best. Onward and upward, I always say! (I really don't.)

I AM sorry though. This blog, during the best of times, has held me accountable for my actions (or inactions, as the case may be).
Rather than bury my head in the sand with embarrassment, I've decided to buck up and write about my first 5K, which I ran-ish on Oct. 15, and try not to give myself such a hard time.

The Summit YMCA 5K: in a word, ouch. In a few words, exhilarating yet painful.

We arrived early, which is so not my style, but my friend Rachel insisted. She and her boyfriend also insisted on eating these chalky energy balls and ingesting some sort of Gatorade goo. Yum.

Rachel's chalky ball.

I snacked on a granola bar, downed a whole lot of water and surveyed the situation.
My first thought? These people are RUNNERS. Look at them stretching and warming up in their special running gear. I felt like such an amateur. Which now, looking back on it, I should have because I am.

 (Patience is not one of my virtues. What, I'm not a marathon runner after four months of running?!? How can this be?)

I jogged across the town green a few times. With each stride I felt a tiny bit more confident. I had my new sneakers, my fluorescent fanny pack (with my inhaler tucked inside) and my iPhone. Rachel's boyfriend made me feel better by assuring me that he would finish in 40 minutes, without a doubt.*

We gathered at the starting line. I went to the wayyy back; I did not want to get trampled.


Gun shot and we were off. The first mile wasn't easy. Without realizing it, I ran a lot faster than usual, probably because of the pressure of everyone else speeding off into the distance. As a result I had to walk before I finished the first mile. I KNOW I can run a mile. But whatever.

Stopping at the first water station took some serious concentration. I wanted to keep running while hydrating, like everyone else seemed to be doing, so I slowed down to a very cautious jog and carefully extended my arm in preparation. I swear, it was as if my limbs were no longer a part of me. I watched my arm float haphazardly in the direction of the small white cup of water, grabbed on for dear life and threw back the liquid like a shot. Most of it ended up on my shirt. I still claim it a victory.

I experienced a lot of side stitches during the race, which only happened occasionally in training. And man, those hills were hard.

I was one of the last to finish, which was embarrassing, I'm not going to lie.  I wanted to hold up a sign that read "asthmatic running, don't judge me" or "I just started running a few months ago!" Crossing that finish line did feel damn good though.

(My lovely friend Rachel ran the last few yards with me. She rules.)

Immediately after I finished, I felt like shit. No other way to put it. My chest hurt...a lot.The first time I had experienced pain like that after running. My parents were so proud, congratulating me and what not, and I just looked at my mom and grabbed the water bottle from her hands. Took me about 10 minutes to feel normal.



My goals for the 5K, cited from my last entry, were as follows:

1. Finish.
2. Don't get passed by walkers. 
All smiles.

Done and done. There weren't any walkers, by the way. I was banking on them to give me the feeling that no matter what, I would not be last to cross that finish line. I wasn't last, but I was damn close.

*He lied. The boy finished in 31 minutes. Grrr.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What was I thinking...

Tomorrow, I run (or jog or run/walk or some other combination) my first ever 5K.To some people, this might not be such a big deal. But to me, this is huge. Well, huge...and terrifying.My good friend Rachel and I decided to sign up for a 5K months ago, and thank goodness we did because if I had a choice, I'm not confident that I would be at the starting line in Summit tomorrow.

(I'm noshing on some sort of Chex Mix right now. I don't even like Chex Mix.)

I'm trying to stay positive and remember that not too long ago I couldn't run a mile. However, it's much easier to be negative and joke about crossing the finish line after the race volunteers have finished cleaning up. Man, my pessimistic self is a RIOT.

In an effort to make that side of me STFU, I have broken down my expectations for tomorrow into two goals. They are simple and, I hope, absolutely doable.

1. Finish.
2. Don't get passed by walkers.

OH, and I'm going to think about the people in Colorado at the Red Rock Ampitheatre who ran on this:


If they can do that, I can do 3.1 miles...right?



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grumpy

In case you couldn't tell by the title, I'm grumpy. I'm also embarrassed and angry with myself.
I haven't run in a week. I feel completely under-prepared for my first 5K on Oct. 16...I'm nervous. I really don't want to finish last.
I hate to make excuses (because oftentimes they are not good ones), but unfortunately, I have some good ones this time.
I was sick for Rosh Hashanah (Happy New Year to me). My grandmother passed away in August; my grandfather, her husband, passed away in September. Two funerals and many nights spent with my mom while she was sitting shiva. Family drama at the funerals, too. It was really something special. Does anybody have a family without drama? I wonder what that would be like.

What a downer of a post.

I'm just very frustrated with my current lack of motivation. My mind is cloudy and my thoughts are all over the place...except on running/exercise/my general health. Shame.