As a child I was told not to run. Being an asthmatic it took several attacks and a couple of visits to the emergency room to get the point across that, no, really I shouldn’t run. It was a time before rescue inhalers and treatment was simple. Be sedate. As you can imagine for a kid this is fairly impossible to do, but I did my best. Anything that put distance between the uncomfortable bouts of my body trying to suffocate itself was welcomed.
When it came to athletics I had a note from my mother excusing me from running activities at school, but when I learned that in order to receive the Presidential Physical Fitness Award you had to finish one mile in a given time I made up my mind that I would run.
After finishing my first mile I was surprised that I hadn’t struggled to pull air into inflamed lungs. The second time I ran faster. The school course was loops around the building. Each time we ran the mile I’d increase the intensity with every lap pushing myself to the point where I couldn’t feel the asphalt beneath my feet. It felt like running in the clouds. I received the award in 5th grade and have not stopped running since.
Turned out that it wasn’t the exercise that triggered the attacks, but certain substances that irritated my lungs. I haven’t outgrown the disease, but have learned how to manage it with the right treatment and knowledge of the possible triggers. Today I rarely run on clouds, but it still feels #$%? good. Anyone want to go for a run?