Monday, October 15

Resilience and my first ever group run

Yesterday I enjoyed my very first group run. I have always trained solo and ran races with hundreds of strangers. This was a wonderful change from my ordinary routine.

Because I’m signed up as part of the Animal Rescue Leagueteam for the Pittsburgh Marathon (5K, Half, Relay, and Marathon), I have the opportunity to attend informational training sessions along with the rest of the ARL team. Yesterday we learned about the way to build yourself up to run the half or the full marathon. The lady who spoke gave us a great calendar that included suggested mileage (for beginner and advanced), cross training days, and rest days. I was so happy to have this because I didn’t really know how to go about preparing and I wasn’t sure what advice to trust since the Internet is filled with resources for runners. 

After the info session, we gathered into groups setting out to run different distances—one 3.5 mile group, one 5 mile group, and one 8.3 mile group. My friend and I chose to go for 5 miles.
It was a gorgeous fall day—sunshine, blue skies, warm air, and cool breezes. We took off and the group settled into a line that obviously outlined our pace comfort zone. I know right now that I run about 11 minute miles regularly. I’m proud of this, considering I’ve only got one year of running under my belt, but I’m always looking to improve. I just know that speed isn’t going to come overnight…!

After about a mile and a half, I couldn’t get a deep breath. I started to feel drained as my breathing got worse. I’ve noticed that in the past few weeks that running outside has been really tough. Sadly, I think this has a lot to do with the leaves on the ground. They smell wonderful! It’s an irresistible autumn aroma that I look forward to every year, which now seems to be irritating my lungs. 

I had to slow down. Walk. My friend stayed with me and she jogged as I speed walked along the path. I don’t normally run in the city, so I think it’s possible that exhaust fumes irritated my lungs even more. I stopped to use my rescue inhaler. I was sad that I had to stop. I was ready to run! Why can’t I just run? My breathing was shallow and I gasped for air as we walked along. It took a while for my inhaler to work. I feel like I walked at least two of the five miles, unfortunately. 

I began jogging again when I felt that I could breathe, but each time I began to transition to running I found my cough worse, my throat itchy, and my fingers tingly. The tingle in my fingers is a bad sign—I usually experience that right before I get dizzy and need to sit down or I will blackout. It’s scary. I stopped again and sat down on the side of the road. I took some time to catch my breath, but I caught it nonetheless. When we crested that last hill, I did my best to keep my legs moving at a pace my lungs could handle, but ultimately I walked back to the community center where the rest of the group was waiting. 

My asthma was the worst it’s been in years yesterday. I’m disappointed that it’s bothering me so much. I’m going to meet with an allergist on Wednesday, and I’m hoping he will be able to help me figure out the other triggers for my asthma and what I can do about them. I realize that I might not be able to do anything about some of the triggers, which is frustrating. At the same time, I find myself getting angry about pollution, smoking, and exhaust filling the air that fills my lungs. 

The group run was still fun, despite my minor medical emergency, and I plan to do it again next month. I’ll begin my half marathon training in December like the training program suggests, but in the meantime I’ve pretty much racing every weekend from now till the middle of December. I will work my way through this asthma and I will continue running. No matter what.

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