Running With Asthma

October 15, 2013|Posted in: Health, Mind, Running, Workouts

As all of my friends, families, and any readers of my blog know – I love working out and specifically love running.  I have run numerous races including 4 half marathons and 3 full marathons.  Well here is something some of you don’t know: I have asthma.

I developed asthma while in college (in undergrad).  This sounds crazy, I know.  I had no idea this was something that could develop later in life but it did.  After breaking out in hives ALL over my body and numerous trips to the doctor including a fun little ER stint, tests revealed I had some pretty serious allergies and asthma to boot.  I am not one that enjoys taking medication of any kind but at one point I was taking over 10 pills every day to keep this stuff under control.  Luckily, I didn’t have to stay drugged up that long.

When I first found out I had asthma I was scared of running outside.  Extremely scared.  I stayed inside on a treadmill (with my inhaler in tow) and that was it.  After a few years, I finally built up the courage to try running outside.  My doctor informed me that asthma is not something that should limit you from doing the things you love.  You have to be careful with it, yes.  It might mean you take a few extra puffs of your inhaler, yes.  But there are ways to live with asthma as a “normal” person.  I was determined to find my way.

I figured out the right mix of medication that works for me.  And now, here I am today… stocked full of these:

asthma stuff

The epi-pen is always one that gets people.  And for the millionth time, all you Pulp-Fiction-watching-people, no – you do not stab yourself with an epi-pen in the heart.  (It’s actually in the leg if you want to know.)  🙂

All kidding aside, asthma is nothing to mess around with.  An average of nine people die of asthma every day, 3,300 per year.  That’s pretty significant in my book and makes me realize I can’t take my asthma lightly.

Having an asthma attack is a very scary and terrible feeling.  It’s basically as if you cannot take in any deep or long breaths.  This, naturally, puts you in sort of a panic so you start getting more rapid, short breaths.  Not enough oxygen gets into your lungs doing this so you feel light headed and dizzy among other things.  That’s the best I can explain it to someone else.  Afterwards, the soreness in your chest sticks around for hours.  It feels as if someone has sat on your chest for a really long time.

When my husband and I were dating, we went out for a run where I began to have an asthma attack.  He said he had never heard that wheezing before from someone.  I think it might have scared him more than me at that moment because I knew I had an inhaler nearby.  I think that day he realized how serious this was and that although I am not an advertiser of my asthma, it is always with me.

My point in all of this is to mention an obstacle that I have overcome and still managed to do things for my body to stay healthy.  I know exercise is extremely important when it comes to your health and although I have a pretty good excuse to NOT exercise, I won’t let that happen.

There are far worse things that I could be dealing with so I also don’t say this to get pity from anyone.  I am very lucky and very healthy.  But asthma does create some issues and nuisances that should not be overlooked.  I have had to figure out my way around it.  This means I have had to quit during a run or at the gym simply because I can’t breathe.  It has happened in a race and made me feel awful because I couldn’t perform how I wanted.  But luckily, I have a number of races to show my success:

Cara running


Chicago Marathon 2011 3



If there is something holding you back from exercise, remember that you are probably stronger than you think.  While there are definitely times when you should hold back from exercise and not push yourself, most of the time the positives of exercise far outweighs the negatives.


*Note: these are my own opinions and experiences with asthma.  If you have asthma, exercise is something you should talk with your physician about.  I am not saying everyone with asthma should run a marathon nor do the exercises I do.  This is simply my story, my experience, and a small battle in my life I have been able to overcome (or better manage).

I want to encourage you to follow along in my health journey through what I learn and experience. I hope there is something you can take away from Fit Busy Female that inspires you to start taking control of your health and feeling better every day.

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