Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good Days and Bad Days

Today I had a great run! I pushed myself to go faster than usual and felt strong throughout the entire run. At the end I didn't even want to leave the gym because I felt so good. But, a few days ago I didn't feel anything like this. I couldn't finish my run, had an attack, and left feeling frustrated and scared about my half marathon plans.

I believe half of the struggle of running with asthma is the mental aspect of it. Asthma can lead to a lot of frustrations. Some days you wonder if you can finish. Some days you feel frustrated that your lungs can't keep up with your muscles. It can make you feel discouraged and self conscious. It's incredibly frustrating when you have a bad day despite all of your hard work and training,when your results aren't consistent with the work you put in. There are some days when running with asthma is the worst. But then there are those days when it all seems worth it.

I've learned a lot throughout my running journey, but the biggest thing I have learned is that attitude is everything. Going into running with a health issue, like asthma, you have to accept the fact that you will have good days and you will have bad days. There are things out of your control. You won't always go farther or faster than you did the day before. You won't always breathe easier. But, if you can accept this fact and keep on going, you will see more good days and you will improve. But how do you make it through those bad days? Here are some strategies to keep you motivated when you're feeling down:

  • Focus on your accomplishments - Think about how far you've come, or the fact that you tried in the first place. Remember, it's an accomplishment just to try. Be proud!
  • Take time to count your blessings - There are so many people who can't run at all. Remember how lucky you are just to be able to run even the smallest amount. There's this really cheesy song I love to listen to when I'm having a bad day and it says "no matter how your sad and blue, there's always someone who has it worse than you. Sometimes you gotta pay your dues. So don't worry just push on through."
  • Get support - whether it's from your family and friends or the online community support is key. Telling yourself that you did great is never as effective as hearing it from someone else.
  • Do something - I always feel better when I know I'm doing something to make sure my run is better next time. Every wheezer has their go-to fix that makes them feel better after an attack. For me it's hot liquids and plenty of sleep. Doing something to help you feel better physically, will help you feel better emotionally. It makes you feel like you're taking control of the situation.
  • Remember tomorrow is another day
One of my favorite quotes is by Walt Disney. He said "it's kind of fun to do the impossible". A few months ago I thought running was impossible, and you know what? Now it's kind of fun. I'm proud of all the wheezers out there, and all the runners in general, for pushing through even when the going gets rough! Keep it up.