I didn't do anything spectacular this week. I didn't log a ton of miles. I didn't run any long runs or do any speed work. I didn't run any races. But I did finally catch my breath, and along with it, my motivation.
I've spent more than a year feeling unmotivated with running, posting disappointing race recap after disappointing race recap, because I was constantly dealing with asthma and continually frustrated with seeing no improvements despite putting in work. I'm goal-oriented person when it comes to running, but I got to the point that I just stopped setting goals because I knew I wasn't going to hit them. But I finally found my mojo this week. And it's all because a doctor finally listened to me and got me the help I needed.
- Monday: Barre class
- Tuesday: Easy run - 3.12 miles (8:51 pace)
- Wednesday: OFF
- Thursday: Barre class
- Friday: Easy run - 3.12 miles (8:09 pace)
- Saturday: Easy run - 3.01 miles (7:56 pace)
- Sunday: OFF
Total miles: 9.25 miles
Total runs: 3
Total yoga/barre/strength: 2
I've been on my new asthma meds for about three weeks now, and they are really starting to kick in. My doctor told me this medicine is a game changer for a lot of people like me who have allergy or exercise induced asthma (yay for me, I have both!). I was skeptical since I've been struggling for so long and was really quite depressed about it, but I knew something needed to change because my current meds weren't working. These new meds? They are a game changer. So much so that I had no idea how sick I really was until I wasn't anymore.
I knew I had been starting to feel better over the past few weeks because running wasn't as much of a struggle, but it wasn't anything I hadn't felt before after coming off an asthma flare up. But on Friday, things just clicked into place. I started easy and gradually picked up my pace. I wasn't paying attention to my pace in general since it was an easy run overall, but I thought based on how I felt that I was running about an 8:45 in the last mile. Then I looked at my watch and saw I was running sub-8. Sub-8! In 80 degree weather with 80% humidity!
For the first time since I can remember in most of my running history, I could breathe like (what I assume is) a normal person while I was running. I was breathing deeply and getting air in. All the way in, not just sort of in or halfway. Deep, full belly breaths and no need for my inhaler.
I was so happy at the end of that run that I just broke down and cried. It took me a good 10 minutes to settle down. I have been so sick for so long and I didn't know how bad it was. I was frustrated and depressed because I was constantly sick.
Saturday's run was even better. We went to Charlotte for the weekend and I went out for a humid, hilly run. Man, I miss those hills. And normally, in that kind of weather and on those hills, I'd be a wheezy, nasty mess. But this time, I wasn't. I was able to stay strong up the hills and breeze down them, repeatedly. And my overall pace was sub-8!
Not only do my lungs feel better, but the constant pressure and congestion is gone from my head. I'm not in pain anymore. I had gotten so used to that that I didn't even realize it was there anymore (until it wasn't).
Unless you've experienced this kind of thing, I'm not sure I can even explain it well enough. But it's like I have a new lease on life. I can push myself when I work out now because I don't have to be scared I'm going to crumble into a wheezing mess. I can run in the humidity without feeling like an elephant is sitting on my chest while I'm sucking pudding through a straw. I don't feel like I'm walking around in a stuffy, painful fog anymore.
And I no longer dread running. It's been so hard for the past year and a half or so, plus the time I was pregnant, since I had a lot of asthma problems then as well, because while I love running, it was also such a struggle. It made it hard to look forward to it and I certainly lacked motivation to really try. But this week, it came back. And oh, how I hope it continues and these meds really are my game changer.
I feel like a totally different person and I'm definitely a totally different runner. I'm forever grateful for the doctor who finally listened to me and switched my medications. It took at least six doctors and several years of dealing with this to get it straightened out. I've been walking around taking really deep breaths just because I can. Because breathing is amazing. And breathing while running, means improvements (and PRs) are really possible again and maybe my next race recap won't be the same disappointing one I've been posting for over a year.