I had great plans for weekend that was. It culminated in my third fun run for May, the Maitland River Run. It was a smaller event but I’d been looking forward to it.
When I arrived I had to go and collect my bib, and was given this plastic little chip thing. It had holes in it so I assumed it was to be pinned to my shirt with the bib, which I did. I wasn’t too sure where everyone else had pinned their chip, nobody else seemed to have it hanging from the outside of their bib – maybe it goes under? Anyway. I sat in the sun trying desperately to get warm – these winter mornings have surprised me for the 38th year IN A ROW now. As I sat I watched two men squat down together, surprisingly tying their shoes at the same time. Maybe it was some pre-race routine or maybe it was an official event? No idea. I watched with interest and then realised what they were doing.
As I tried to unpin my chip subtly and then transfer it to my shoelaces like everyone else had already done, I had a moment of realising the variety of the people around me. Kids, adults, young, old, runners, walkers – and me. I didn’t hear any grouching or grumping or judging or tantrums (my own would come later – wait for it!). People who get outside and do stuff – they’re a good group of people to be around. I’m too
shy socially awkward to have actually engaged anyone in conversation, but I did some smiling, which entertains me – to the uninitiated, we must look so strange baring our teeth at each other by way of greeting.
It was a 4km course that I was about to trot along. It was after about 1.5km that the shit hit the fan. I run down a hill that landed me close to the Maitland River. The air coming off that river was cold. Cold enough that my lungs felt like they shut up shop and were trying to exit via my mouth. I tried to breathe in but everything was closed. Damn you, asthma.
I managed to get myself to the drinks area, (about the 2km mark) where I choked out that I needed a Ventolin. Now, before you raise your arms in horror that I would run without my Ventolin, let me enlighten you as to my reasoning:
- I have done many fun runs and completed hours and hours of both gym workouts and out and about workouts now, never needing asthma relievers while on the course.
- I have an asthma management plan, which I follow, because asthma needs to be managed. You cannot muck around with asthma.
- I had not had any flare ups of asthma recently (thanks to my plan).
- Just 4 days prior, my GP had checked my lungs and proclaimed them to be crystal clear.
There was nothing – nothing – that raised alarms bells for me that this was going to happen. However, I have learned that in Winter, I need to carry a Ventolin with me while I am doing physical stuff outside.
So there I am at the drinks area, 2km away from the finish line, trying desperately to breathe while at the same time telling myself that if I give way to the tears that are threatening, my breathing will get a hundred times worse. I can’t recall all of the events because I was focusing so much on getting air. But a medic man arrived after what felt like a lifetime, and after about 20 minutes all was well.
I didn’t finish the run.
And I can’t tell you how hard that has slugged me.
It feels almost like my lungs turned to face me and delivered a stern “You cannot do this” lecture. Beloved tells me it’s how you get back up after a knock down which is important, not the actual knock down. But to have been working my arse off for the last ten months to still not be “good enough” – well.
It’s been a rough few days.
But I have another run booked for June. My asthma is back under control, mostly. A couple more days will see it right.
Just one of those things, I guess.