As a diagnosed exercise-induced asthmatic, I will always play that card to get me out of any kind of physical activity. I found out I have asthma while running the mile for the state fitness test in the 8th grade (thanks state of Connecticut). Since then, I’ve had to carry an inhaler on me at all times and caused my parents to be even more overprotective than they already are (only child syndrome). So when it comes to any physical activity, I tend not to do it.
Until I told myself at the beginning of last semester that I was going to lace up my sneakers and head to the indoor track in my university’s gym. I originally started with just walking the track, going about every other day after my final class of the day got out at 3:20. It worked out pretty well because on those afternoons, my boyfriend was at football practice, so I had some alone time.
After a couple weeks, I started to start a pattern: walk a lap, run a lap, walk a lap, run a lap, etc. And with this method, I was able to do about 1.5-2 miles around 30 minutes, with a 17 minute mile. By October, I got down to about a 12-13 minute mile, using the combination or running two laps and walking one and repeat. I stopped around Halloween and didn’t run again for the rest of the semester. School work was piling on, and I began to spend afternoons in the library working on Communication Research literature reviews and fiction stories for workshop.
Although I stopped halfway through the semester, I was still pretty proud of myself for going 2-3 times a week by myself and actually running. I think part of it had to do with living with three athletes (one tennis player and two lacrosse players) and dating one, too. They were all either at practice or fall ball or games, so I was the NARP (non-athletic real person) among the group. And I wanted to be more fit. I’ve always been small (a proud 5’2”), so it’s not like I needed to lose weight; it was more of building endurance and working on my asthma.
Over winter break, I rode a stationary bike in my basement about every other day for a few weeks, biking five miles and then doing some core stuff. Since my boyfriend was done with football season in November, as a senior, he wouldn’t have to do spring ball and workouts. We planned to go to the gym twice a week, and once we got back to school, we did it for a few weeks… until we became busy with our university’s Spring Event (Fluffy’s coming this year) and he works the women’s lax games as their penalty boy.
So that’s when I started to go running by myself. And ended up running a 9:51 mile. I ran all six laps and wasn’t dying after. All while wearing my “I Hate Running” tank top from PINK. And as of tonight, I ran 1.5 miles in about 20 minutes on the treadmill and wasn’t dying.
I never thought I’d have enough motivation to go running, let alone running over a mile. My goal for the end of the semester is to run two miles, no matter what the time is. Sure having a lower time is better, but as long as I’m not having an asthma attack, I’m totally okay if it takes me a half hour.
Running has given me a way to escape for just a little while and be able to clear my thoughts. I’ve found a pretty good running playlist that keeps me going, and I keep telling myself that every little bit makes a difference.