Running with Asthma

Jacki Arevalo runs Big Water and Little Water Trails, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.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.

Andrew Jensen running the Great Western Trail in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah.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.

Mindy Campbell and Andrew Jensen running in the foothills above Salt Lake City.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?


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