I was 8 or 9 the first time I was affected by Asthma. I was in the local park some 200 metres from my house with my younger brother practicing football kick-ups. We were trying to see how much distance we could cover while kicking up the ball when I hit on an idea, I would kick the ball really high and then run, I would only have to touch it with my foot to beat my brothers record.
I kicked the ball high into the air a short distance ahead of me and started running, I only have a fragment of what happened next which I would describe as a feeling rather than an image but the feeling was “something’s wrong”. The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital.
It’s strange to have a gap in your memory, but I am told I collapsed, and someone called for help (in an age that predated mobile phones). At the hospital I was diagnosed with Asthma and had to take the blue and brown inhalers for a number of years.
Asthma seemed to pass during my College and University years and came back when I was around 23-24. I woke up in the middle of the night, not being able to breathe, an ambulance was called for me and I spent a number of hours with a mask on and was told that I need to start taking my inhaler from now on.
In the intervening years, my asthma was (poorly) managed by me. I was susceptable to chest infections and the like but it was bearable my peak flow was typically around 300-350.
About 3 years ago I started running, and would have to take my blue inhaler with me, a few times I would feel out of breath and would need to take it before and after the run, but in general Asthma did not stop my running.
Every few months I would try and see if I am cured, and not take my medication and the symptoms of breathlessness and general wheeziness would come back. Sometimes people see Asthma as a easy-diagnosis.
During this time I would still get 4-5 chest infections a year. During one such period they changed my medication was changed to Fostair. Which by all accounts is a slightly stronger steroid. This has made a big difference, without wishing to jinx myself I have not needed the Blue Inhaler for as long as I can remember, there have been no relapses. I still struggle during the changing of the seasons but it’s managable.
I had my annual Asthma review a couple of weeks ago, my peak flow is up to 620. A figure unheard of for me. I have run a couple of races without taking my Blue Inhaler with me at all, but really this is folly. I *should* have it on me at all times.
In general I think running has improved my Asthma symptoms rather than Asthma stopped me from Running. I feel refreshed and energised, and I think the lungs need to exercised as much as the legs do.