I suffer from asthma. I also suffer from allergies. While my favorite season may be spring, with its fresh breezes and bursting flowers, I’m not spring’s favorite human. The cedars and grasses combine with my asthma and make for some narrow air ways.
I’m naturally sedentary. I’d rather curl up with a good book and lose myself in other dimensions than hang out in a gym. In fact, I hate gyms – the way they smell, the way other people look at me, the giant drains in the middle of the shower stall floor, the whole nine yards. But I love the outdoors. I love to hike, to ramble under the trees, along the shore, or under the wide-open desert sky. I’m inspired by the wind’s caress, the sunlight filtered through clouds, and green. I revel in how I feel after a long trek, and I’m even fonder of the buzzing glow that fills me after a run. Unlike the gym, I don’t care that people see me in exercise outfits, that my belly – though shrinking – is still round. I don’t care what other people are thinking because while I’m running, that’s what I care about. It’s the most Zen I get outside of meditation, and sometimes meditation can’t even attain the quiet mind that comes from pounding feet on the hard-packed dirt.
With my favorite season, my running is suffering. I’m running narrow, gasping for air more than usual, especially since I’ve started allergy shots. As the potency of those weekly shots increase, I’m finding a corresponding decrease in my stamina.
This is where I’d usually give up, scream, “F it!” in my mind, and stare at the glowing TV screen until I grew numb. I’m not doing that this go-around. Instead, I have goals in place to keep me going. I have a Fitbit Flex – I named it Marty – that tracks my steps and keeps me motivated. (Thank you, Wil Wheaton, for inspiring me to get one.) It’s so satisfying when I receive that little buzz around my wrist when I achieve 10,000 steps for the day! I feel like I can’t stop until I get that, so even on non-running days (the days I receive my shots), I’m still getting my steps in. Plus a group of my friends and I are going to participate in the Color Run in August, so I can’t slack off now. I need to be ready for that Fun Run. I’m seeing an asthma and allergy doctor, so I’m finally on the right medication for my asthma. Even during the yearly pollen assault, at least I can actually still breathe, and if I remember my Albuterol before I hit the trail, I don’t even run narrow.
The most important part – I enjoy my exercise. It doesn’t matter how you get out and move as long as you do it. For me, it’s going outside and walking or hiking or running. I WANT to keep it up because I love it. I’ll still curl up with a good book, probably all of the time really, but I won’t let that keep me from the outside. No more sitting on the couch, turning into a side of fries!
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