Running with asthma


Happy Halloween.

Since I was a child age 10, I have always had allergies and a bit of asthma. Throughout childhood and young adult life, my allergies and asthma did not impact my lifestyle that much. I was able to participate in various outdoor activities without any real issues.   My symptoms were not bothersome, so I was able to make do with over the counter medications and occasional puff of an inhaler before exercise.  

At the age of 40, my asthma and allergies took a turn for the worse.    I was referred to allergist/ asthma specialist in Boston.  I was sent to see Dr. Johnson Wong an allergist-immunologist who is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital.  At his office, I had a physical exam, skin prick test, also called a scratch test, to check for allergic reactions to many different substances and a lung function test.  Entering middle age, I had developed adult onset asthma that was triggered by multi allergens.   I had strong reactions to all pollens, cats, molds, let just say “all nature”.


I am 48 and my asthma is a daily issue.   I am currently taking prescription control medications that includes inhaled corticosteroids, Singular, Zyrtec and I am on allergy immunotherapy injections. However, my asthma can be exasperated by colognes, perfumes, fragrances, extreme cold or hot weather, humidity, and being outdoors in the country during high pollen seasons.

Sometimes, my asthma can get the best of me. I have been forced to walk most of a half marathon or a marathon due to breathing struggles, yet I always cross the finish line.   I do not believe in quit, unless I am truly sick.  Also, asthma flare ups can occur while I am not exercising. Recently, I walked out of a High Holiday Jewish Rosh Hashanah service, because I was surrounded by the people wearing perfumes, colognes and who knows what the “heck” else to avoid an asthma attack. This fall I had a little attack at an apple orchard and a country concert as well. I keep my inhaler close by and all is fine.

I love running and the happiness it brings. I am a very slow runner, but my passion for the sport is big.  I have completed many 5ks, Half Marathons and Marathons.   Crossing many finish lines has given me tremendous amount of confidence.  I love the feeling of accomplishment.  I like doing something hard and getting rewarded for my efforts.

When I run, I always feel the love from other runners.  Yes, I have been passed by 5-year-olds and 90-year-old geezers, but I still receive the same medal(bling) as all finishers.  With my respiratory issues, I realized I can’t go very fast, so I accept that many runners will be better than me.   Throughout the years, I learned to stop comparing myself to another runner. I am grateful for all my successes and I am very blessed to be given the opportunity to run in many races and I will be doing many more.  

In closing, due to my slow running, I tend to be on the course when many people are already done. For this reason, I get a lot of attention from the photographers – fewer runners to get their attention.


I have caught the running bug. Running is my obsession.

Ps…   My training technique is the Galloway Method of Running.  The plan is a run/ walk training plan. This allowed my lungs to recover more and his technique has changed my running for the better.  I feel stronger and I am able to have a lot more successes with my races. I do most of my runs indoors on a treadmill where there is a nice control environment.