Running Update

It’s been about four months since I started running, and I figured it was time for another update, in case anyone was curious how it’s going. I still don’t go running as often as I wish I did, but there’s definitely been an improvement in my overall fitness. Now I can run at least a 1/2 mile without stopping or alternating with a fast walk, and overall I can keep running for a longer distance if I alternate running and walking. The key is to make sure I never completely stop, so I can learn to recover while still doing a fast walk.

There are two key things I’ve learned about running with asthma.

1. Using my albuterol inhaler (1-2 puffs, depending on how I already feel that day) about 10-15 minutes before exercising. This makes so much more sense because before I would use my inhaler in the middle of the run when I got really wheezy, and I felt like it didn’t help as much. Doing it before prevents a lot of the wheezing before it happens during the run.

2. Don’t run outside if it’s colder than 40 degrees. In Oregon this is most of the wintertime, which is why I’ve ended up going to random step classes and doing the elliptical at the gym (which I can do without stopping for like 15 minutes straight with no wheezing, nbd) during the periods when it’s really cold or super rainy outside. The cold air makes my lungs feel a lot more stiff and limited, so sometimes I’m forced to sacrifice the scenery of running outside for the sweaty machine-filled ambiance of the local gym.

Also I’ve heard about a Color Run that’s going on in different cities around the country this summer, and I think it would be a great run to start out with. It’s a 5k so not very long, and throughout the run you get sprayed with this colored powder stuff (it’s all natural and edible) and it looks super fun! Anyway that’s the update.

True Life: I’m Still Trying To Be A Runner

Here's a super grainy photobooth picture of me pre-run.

It’s been a month or so since I first posted about my new running endeavor. The truth is I haven’t had much progress. My endurance is still pretty limited. I have to run a few minutes on and then a few walking to recover, with some inhaler puffs mixed in. But I have noticed an improvement in my circulation and cardiovascular ability to keep going. Now the only thing that’s stopping me from running longer distances (and by longer distances, I mean more than one mile…ha) is my breathing. My heart rate seems more steady while I’m running, and it’s a great feeling. Now only if my lungs would catch up! I know my first mistake is expecting results too quickly. It will take more time to get used to it. My goal is to reach a point where my body craves and needs exercise out of habit.

I haven’t gone on too many runs with Drew–it’s a little discouraging when his breathing pattern while running a mile is literally the same as if he was sitting on the couch or taking a leisurely stroll. Speaking of Drew, he has set his sights on another ambitious goal, climbing Mt. Hood this spring. As far as mountains go, Mt. Hood is supposed to be a good one for beginners. The climb starts at midnight, and they hike through the night when the ice and snow is more frozen and secure, and then reach the peak at sunrise. The second Drew suggested doing this, I had visions of us taking an epic picture at the top together with the amazing view.

Reality check: someone who’s 4 foot 11 and 90 pounds with asthma probably isn’t going to do well trying to climb high altitudes at freezing temperatures. I guess I’ll just have to wait for Drew at slightly above sea level worrying about disastrous avalanches and icy cliffs. Feel free to join my pity party.

Anyway, back to running. I haven’t been as consistent as I wanted to be. Sometimes I only run once a week, other times I go three times a week. I refuse to run on a treadmill, and the rain isn’t helping. But maybe I’ll just embrace the rain.

True Life: I want to be a runner

Earlier this week I decided that I want to become a runner. I’ve always been terrified of running, and I’ve never even run a full mile in my entire life. The first time I attempted (ahem, was forced…) was one year during high school cheer camp training, and I ended up having to walk half the time. I’ve just always been better at physical technique and dance types of exercise.

Not that I’m about to make excuses, but having asthma doesn’t make things any easier. The last time I tried to run was a couple years ago in my parent’s neighborhood. A huge mistake, considering we live on a giant hill and it was the height of allergy season. It’s so frustrating when I feel like my muscles can do more but my lungs just can’t support it.

Yesterday, I went on the first run of my new endeavor. With my inhaler in hand, I was ready to go. Of course my husband Drew, who has run the Portland marathon, Eugene half-marathon and a few 5k’s here and there (nbd), decided to come with me. This may be a good thing because I need someone to force me to do things like this, otherwise I will just take a nap instead.

I read on (at Drew’s insistence, he doesn’t take running advice from anywhere else, apparently) that beginners and people who have asthma should alternate between a few minutes of running, and then like 1-2 minutes of walking to recover your breathing. All in all, the first run was fairly successful. It wasn’t too cold out so that helped my breathing. Drew says we probably went a little under a mile (I know he was attempting to hold back the laughter at this point). He literally didn’t break a sweat, and he hasn’t even run at all for a few weeks either. Maybe one day I will get to that point! Stay tuned.