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How I Ran My First Half Marathon Despite A Lifetime Of Asthma

Running had made my health situation almost perfect. Whereas I used to suffer asthmatic attacks five to six times in a year limiting me from living a full life, it came down to may be one or barely one in a year with much less intensity.

I have been running for a while, about five years now. In 2021 my son began to encourage me to participate in a half marathon. His argument was that if I could do a 10K, I should be able to complete a half marathon without great difficulties. I was skeptical.

Most of my life I have been exactly the opposite of sportsperson. A wheezing asthmatic since childhood, I don’t remember running being a part of my life ever. I have rarely gone without an attack for two months at an end. Wheezing was so much a part of my life that I had hunched posture as far as I could remember. I have tried allopathy as well as all kinds of alternative treatments and Yoga. Things improve a bit but never a remarkable change.

Then towards the end of 2016, I overheard my friend/ colleague PGK talking to another friend/ colleague JD about running and apps and diets etc. JD is an accomplished runner. The app part really got me intrigued. I checked the app store and found a fitness app suitable for first time runners.

This app is perfect for beginners and starts off with a combination of walking and running and slowly builds up stamina and endurance. These were just baby steps but they soon led me to a 5K. Very soon I was able to do a 10K too and running became a part of my life. I continued to run as and when I could while working and even when I left my job to do a full time post graduation, somehow getting things together and finding time on weekends for running.

Running had made my health situation almost perfect. Whereas I used to suffer asthmatic attacks five to six times in a year limiting me from living a full life, it came down to may be one or barely one in a year with much less intensity. I was feeling the healthiest that I had ever felt in my entire life. 40’s were indeed my 20’s as far as health was concerned.

Then the pandemic happened, and I couldn’t go out to run, but…

Then the covid-19 pandemic happened during my last semester of PG. with lock-downs, mounting coursework, housework etc. it took a toll on mental as well as physical health etc. Once my PG programme was completed in mid of 2020, I heard from my sisters that there are fitness videos available on YouTube.

This hadn’t occurred to me! I soon started working out at home and as and when the lock-downs were lifted would step outside for running. In the meanwhile I checked out other stuff such as posture correction, strength training, exercises for shin splints etc. and kept working on something or other everyday. Then in January of 2021 I contracted Covid.

I didn’t suffer too much during the disease, but I wasn’t able to run even 2 months after recovering as I would start wheezing soon after. I stopped running but persevered with walking and the other exercises. Since, I wasn’t working at this time, I spent at least 90 minutes a day for my workouts. I was able to run again within a few months.

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Recovery, and registering for the half marathon

At this time my son encouraged me to register for a half marathon. To me this seemed like a mountainous task. I wasn’t keen at all as it takes a lot of sacrifice to be even a decent sportsperson. One has to abstain from a lot of things and be consistent day in and day out.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, he was able to convince me and I went ahead and registered. I kept up with my training and running my 5Ks and 10Ks. One day I went cycling and returned with back pain. The only thing that I was able to after this was walking. Two months passed and I was still not able to run as I was worried about injuring my back further. I finally went to an acupuncturist and was running within no time.

My son who is doing his post graduation abroad returned in the meanwhile for Christmas break. The half marathon I registered for got postponed due to resurgence of the pandemic and the participants were instead asked to do a virtual run. I was determined to complete the run on the said date as I soon had to join my new workplace and I wasn’t sure of the time that will be available to me once I started working again.

On the day of the run I woke up at 4.00 am and me and my son set off from home at 5.00 am or so. I running and he cycling beside me. I kept a steady pace and he did an excellent job of a motivator and fuel/water provider. He set the route and I just followed him. Finally, I hit the 21.1 km target and my son made me run an extra 100 metres as a victory lap.

I would like to focus on how my body could recover

More than the exhilaration of completing the run I was amazed by how fast my body recovered after the run. I did experience some pain but the pain vanished in less than 24 hours.

In life most times we give in to the situation. I was that person as far as my health was concerned, accepting that asthmatic attacks, poor health and a really bad posture are a part of my life and I have to live with it. Forget a half-marathon, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I could run. So, if you think you can’t run, I would say you can! So run for it!

Image source: fotomania_17 from Getty Images Free for Canva Pro

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