Tell me that I can’t do something and it’s a pretty sure bet that I’ll find a way to prove you wrong. That’s pretty much the way Ive been feeling these past couple years, only it wasn’t other people telling me I couldn’t do things, it was myself. I swore when I finally crossed the finish line at the Boston marathon back in 2011, that I was done torturing myself in the name of fitness or for the desire to do what healthy people can do. With 8 marathons under my belt, a body that’s getting older and lungs that can barely get the job done, I figured what’s the point of pushing myself to keep doing these races. Ah, but the one thing I forgot, is that regardless of the challenges I faced as a breathing impaired athlete, I actually loved what I was doing. Why should I stop doing something that I really enjoy? Well, I promised myself that if I ever recovered from this most recent exacerbation that I would attempt to do one more marathon, just to see if I can still do it!
The one I currently have my sights on, is the Portland marathon on October 5th in Portland Oregon. Considered one of the best marathons in the country for both runners AND walkers, its one of my personal favorites and was the very first one I ever did. If Im lucky, this will be number 3 for me. It’s also a Boston qualifier ( but we wont talk about that right now). The biggest challenge I face right now, is getting in good enough shape with just 12 weeks to work with. Ive never trained for a race that fast before, but Im pretty sure I can do it. Im hoping that my previous experience will get me to my goal fast, but if I have even one bad exacerbation or hospitalization, Id have to withdraw because there’s no way I could recuperate fast enough to start all over.
If you don’t know me you’re probably asking yourself, how is it that this dude, who supposedly has super bad lungs, is able to train for marathons in the first place? I admit it sounds a little strange for someone with severe lung disease to do marathons, but remember, I don’t run them, I walk them! Id love to run, but I physically can’t. I don’t have the lung capacity to run more than 100 feet max, and even that could shut my lungs totally down. When it comes to marathons I put one foot in front of the other and I repeat that sequence at a brisk walking pace appx 42 thousand times. I still have to cover the same 26.2 miles that all the other participants do, I just do it a lot slower. Having said that, there are usually people on the course that are slower than me. If anything, what makes my situation somewhat unique, is that Im actually used to being short of breath, so exerting myself doesn’t scare me as much as it would someone who is not used to it.
Now, I’m not saying that this type of activity is totally risk free for someone like me or for people with various health issues, but it’s not risk free for a totally healthy person either. I could easily throw myself into a really nasty or even fatal exacerbation if Im not careful, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Heck, people drop dead from heart attacks or end up in the hospital all the time during and after marathons, it’s just the nature of the game. The key to reducing injury, is to prepare and train properly and that’s what I try to do.
Hey, a lot of people thought I wouldn’t live to be 50 , but here I am about to turn 60. And Im absolutely sure it’s because of this crazy walking thing I do. As Ive said before, I believe that anyone with lung problems, whether it be asthma, emphysema or whatever, given the proper training and self motivation, can walk at least a half marathon. And the training required to complete such a task would have the added benefit of making one’s health better overall.
So here’s to #9, wish me luck :]