I've wished that for a full year. A year that I've been actively running, feet hitting the pavement, the track, the treadmill. Timing each split, charting each time I've been in 5K.
I "run" a 14 minute mile. This has not changed in a full year. I can "run" no more than 4 miles at a time. On a good day.
At first I couldn't run for long because of my asthma. Here's why:
However, I have an arsenal of steroids that I take in fancy succession. When I do it right I can run the four miles. You know, slowly.
This is where I'm confused.
Why can't I run faster? Why do I have to take so many short walk breaks? Why aren't I improving?
Here I am at my first 5K.
I look so happy and proud. I've done my first race and I have my "starter" time. I can't wait to shave minutes off it with each race. Before I know it I'll be running a 10 minute mile. I just need to train more! Yay! Endorphins!
Yeah. That didn't last long. I wrote the following two months later in my lame-o exercise diary (I am a giant dork):
I went running (“running”) for the first time tonight after a ten day hiatus and a week of phoning it in before that. I’ve been working ten hour days and am all tired after to do anything. So I took some time off running.
Weirdly, this past weekend I had the most personal non-physical motivation in a long, long time. I completed my entire to do list on Saturday, spent a lot of time with a friend, and then cleaned out two rooms of the house on Sunday. I didn’t exercise, but I might as well have. I haven’t accomplished that much, been that social, and that self-motivated in months and months.
…months and months that I’ve been seriously working out. I can’t help but notice the correlation: I take ten days off working out and I am suddenly not a slouch who spends all weekend in bed. I don’t know what to make of that.
With daylight saved, all my workout clothes cleaned, and a vow to only work nine hour days this week, I knew I had to start running (“running”) again. Besides, I have my next race in less than two weeks. But I forgot my inhaler and the asthma started a third of a mile in. I was not going to make it to two miles like I promised myself.
In the end, I did one mile in 18 minutes. Obviously, I walked over half of it. I could have done better with my inhaler, but it’s so frustrating to run as often as I do and not improve, to take as much asthma medication as I do and still need an inhaler for running, and to not even have a respectable time.
I usually keep my chin up about my rate—it’s awesome for me and that’s what counts, I meet my goals and that’s what counts—but I have a 5K in two weeks that I wanted to do in 45 and I don’t think I’ll make it. I hate that I can’t improve. That I’ve been running since September and have only figured out how to better manage my asthma. I don’t run faster. I don’t run longer. And not for lack of trying.
I know I need to find a new doctor and get some answers, but I hate being disappointed. I hate the contrast of the way I felt this weekend to the way I feel usually. I hate that working out means absolutely nothing to my body.
The race mentioned was the last I ran. It poured rain, my shoes didn't fit right, and the course was more hilly than I had anticipated. If you think I suck at running on flat, watch me run on incline. My asthma hates incline of any kind. I get winded on stairs, EVEN IF IT'S ONLY TWO STAIRS AND I'M DRUGGED UP. WHAT IS THAT?
I've stopped trying.
I still "run." I still time myself and chart the times. But I have no short-term goals, I have no races lined up, and I don't know if I'll ever actually run faster or longer. I've put away the 10-minute mile dream.
There is one glimmer of hope.
Yesterday I got a call from an asthma clinic. I've been selected as a patient. I go in for a consult this morning. It could just be like every other doctor's appointment I've had.
Or it could be the beginning of the rest of my life.
I'm nervous. I hate disappoint an awful lot.