Friday, August 15, 2014

I have asthma. I am an athlete.

Hello, I’m Bianca. Some of you know me already. Many others don’t.
Right now I’m training for my second marathon, slated to happen on November 2, 2014. I live in Texas and it gets incredibly hot. This summer, we’ve been lucky and it hasn’t been as bad as it typically is. That isn’t to say that it hasn’t had hot days. Those hot days really affect me. I have had fits of frustration and anger in the middle of my runs. I don’t like having to stop mid-run.

I have asthma.

What does that mean? What is it like? Well, for me, it is like not being able to get a breath. Imagine having a coffee stirrer straw in your mouth, then go out and sprint, breathing only through that straw, not using your nose. Sometimes, attempting a deep breath isn’t possible. Sometimes, you get the deep breath, but then the coughs start. Always, the next day the lungs are sore. I have a love/hate relationship with my inhaler. My inhaler lets me run. It opens the pathways and makes me feel strong. But the next day, my lungs feel like they’ve taken a beating from the inside by a gaggle of angry parasites throwing tiny stones. I arch my back several times, trying to pop it and open the chest cavity. I lace my shoes, and hit the pavement again.

I am a runner.

I have the same questions as many other people when running. We run around like hormonal teenagers, shifting moods in an instant. Why am I doing this? What is the point? It is so hot. It is so early. It is so cold. No, it is really early! Look, people are just getting home from their nights of revelry. My feet hurt. My feet are covered with blisters. My feet are covered with thick callouses. My knees hurt. I love these tiny bags of ice. Oooooh…a sale on running gear. This sports bra is fancy. I love the way these purple leggings feel. This unicorn tank top really allows great air flow to stay cool. I LOVE my purple spibelt. Oh wow, deodorant DOES work when you don’t have Glide. These socks are so fun. These socks suck, they give me blisters. No, these shoes give me blisters. Puff…I love my inhaler. My spibelt really does fit my inhaler, phone, chapstick, travel glide, and bloks wonderfully. Ahhh…my body hurts. It’s so early. Meh, it’s only 6 miles. Gahhh….4 miles again? I hate hills, they suck. Oooh, yaaay hills, they make me stronger. Fartleks? giggle Speed work…noooooo!!! Oh goody, speedwork day! Is it raining outside? I will wear my trail shoes. Where are my yurbuds? I need my yurbuds! Dangit, I don’t have connectivity to Spotify. Download your running mix from Spotify. Oooh, a running skirt? Is it in purple? I will never forget my glide again. Those shorts suck. I chafed so hard. Oooh, are those shorts in purple?  I wish my inhaler came in purple.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, you get the calm. You get the clarity. For me, it is like the world hits pause and all I hear are the cadence of my steps, tick-tick-ticking against the ground below me. My mind’s eye joins my seeing eyes, and I can pay witness to all of the splendor my maker has created before me. My lungs work. My legs are strong. My demon-voices leave my brain, replaced with the memories of cheers from my loves. My heart is happy. I give gratitude for I am able to run when others cannot. For them, I offer up my run. For them, I consider so much. Then I see my babies, my two daughters who look to me for guidance. I run for them. I see my Beloved. I run towards him, chasing him. He never gets so far ahead that I can’t see him. He somehow knows the wheeze and will slow. Quietly. Slowly. He waits for me, patiently, gives me an encouraging look. At the end of the training run, I get the high five reward. During races, each high five I get reminds me of that reward high five. I keep going. Each “Go Bianca” I think of my mother, my best friends, my sister and brother, my father, my daughters, my family, my friends. I keep going. My lungs hurt, my legs hurt. I keep going. Sweat stings my eyes, tears will stream down my face. I keep going. “Bianca fight never dies” is what I tell myself…even when I have to stop and walk. I keep going. “Hills are made for conquering” is what I tell myself…even when I have to pause at the top to catch my breath. I keep going.

I keep going. I keep going. I keep going. I am an athlete. I keep going.

(me on top of my favorite rock-hill in Central Park in Manhattan)

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This runner has an amazing write-up for running with asthma: http://www.lifesawheeze.com/p/running-with-asthma-101.html
I’m raising money for Robin Hood again! As of today, I’m $15 shy of $2000!!! I’m so humbled. Feeling generous? https://www.crowdrise.com/RobinHoodNYC2014/fundraiser/biancasias
Leave me a comment with a word of encouragement. I will carry your words with me in my heart when I run. And may literally carry them with me in a printed out piece of paper to keep going.

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