Friday, March 6, 2015

Asthmatic Running

I've always loved running.  I would probably never call myself a runner, because I don't go running regularly, or am able to run for very long/far.  But, it's one of the only ways I've found to relive stress and reduce my crazy anxiety.  I love it, but...

I've often felt frustrated over the years because whenever I do get in a pattern of running regularly, I often don't find myself improving.  I did have a very good year once when I was half marathon training and was increasing my miles every week and it went great.  But now, a couple years later, I was running regularly for six months and not seeing any improvement at all!  Sure, I'm a lot more out of shape, but still?!

The thing is, I have pretty severe asthma.  Not exercised induced specific asthma, but real, go to the hospital regularly for attacks, spent most of age 3 in hospitals, never had my asthma under control until the age of 25 asthma.  I'm allergic to dogs, cats, and dust, all which irritate my asthma even more.  I also have anxiety (read more here), and just recently figured out that I've probably had major anxiety my entire life and it was only because the anxiety started getting out of hand over the last few years that I started to put the pieces togther.  After a trip to urgent care for an asthma attack a few months ago where it turned out I was just having a major anxiety attack, it's made me rethink how many of my past attacks were anxiety and how many really were asthma?
Regardless of how much of it was influenced by anxiety, I still have asthma, and I've always wondered how much it effects my running ability.

I started Googling asthmatic running one day and found that most of my research ketp leading back to people with exercise induced asthma, which isn't me.  However, I found this post very helpful.  I related a lot to this blog post.  The symptoms she describes as well as the lack of being able to stick to running plans ring so true.  So true that one day I will run for miles and miles with no problems, and then when I try again under the same conditions, I will barely get 5 minutes into my run before I'm having a horrible asthma attack.  Or, my lungs will be tired long before my body is.  It's so frustrating!

But I did learn more about the logistics of the 'how' and 'why' I can't breathe while exercising and when it's really cold out.   And I was really intrigued by the idea of interval training.  It's not that I've never heard of it before, but I had a weird issue of needing all my running to be without stopping or it didn't really count.  Totally stupid and setting myself up for failure, but that was just the standard I held myself to before. 

Even more, I am a bad breather while running! Tim noticed one time while running together that I seem to be gasping for breath the entire time, so I tried controlling my breathing, but it wasn't working!  I don't know if it was my getting anxious about not being able to breath, or if it was asthma related reasons, but I couldn't run for more than a couple seconds while controlling my breathing.  
If I'm wearing my running shoes, it's like I'm running?

Anyway, I decided to give interval running a try to see if it helped me improve.

Now, disclaimer, I've honestly only gone running three times since deciding to try it, and not regularly at all (I've had some stuff going on keeping me from being able to work out). 

But, I think it might be helping.  I ran my regular amount the first time, then a whole 1.25 miles more then next time.  This last time I was back as my usual amount, but it felt like a better run, if that makes sense.  I'm really excited to see if I'm able to keep improving this way. 


I find the walking parts really hard.  I'm very impatient with turning the speed up and down on the treadmill.  I feel like I'm wasting time when I'm walking.  I get really bored.  And, it's really hard to force yourself to stop running before you're actually tired.  I think it will be easier to run & walk when it's nicer out and I'm going around Greenlake or around the neighborhood.  

We'll see.  There are just under six months until the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half.  Regardless of how I do with running, the marathon will be amazing and entertaining and fun!  I can't wait!!  Oh, and how fitting is it that it's called the SeaWheeze??  In case you didn't know, it's called wheezing when I'm having an attack!

I'm jumping on the bandwagon of 'maybe blogging about it will help keep me accountable for running!'

I truly do love running, but I've realized that my anxiety gets so bad that it gets in the way of running...even though running helps relive it.  Catch 22 that it's is my goal to overcome this month!!

Tamara and Abbey...I'm counting on your guys to encourage me!

1 comment:

  1. You are going to wheeze right through this training and kiiiilll it. I'm so glad you're finding a way to deal with your asthma (fun fact: I grew up with asthma, so I can relate!) and recognize that anxiety plays a role in it. I'm ready to hear more about your training!!

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