Running as an Asthmatic, Unathletic Human

For so long I had jokingly bragged about the fact that I have never been on a sports team. Technically, I danced for several years but never competitively. 

Back in my younger years during preschool and elementary school, I was painfully shy, kept to myself, and preferred more creative outlets. I sang, studied ballet and tap, took several art classes (that made it painfully clear I did not inherit my mom’s artistic talent), and obsessively read fiction novels. In fact, I was such a vigorous reader my parents used to punish me by taking away my books.

As I continued with most of these hobbies throughout middle school and high school, any possibility of me joining a sport withered away. Ever the perfectionist, I acquired an aversion to trying anything I wouldn’t be instantaneously good at doing. In my head, I had become the antithesis of athleticism and I refused to try it. 

Unsplash While any kind of workout seemed terrifying, running was my worst possible nightmare. Turns out throughout my childhood I had undiagnosed sports-induced and regular asthma. I would often be left gasping for air after only a few minutes of tackling the mile or the pacer during school. I hated that feeling. I hated appearing weak. But at the time, it was easier to avoid anything athletic rather than tackling the actual source of my ‘weakness:’ my lack of fitness.  

It wasn’t until this summer that someone finally questioned my thinking. 

“Why are you so worried about struggling in the beginning? Everyone does when they first start running.”

Admittedly, that someone challenges my thinking fairly often, and is often right. This was no exception.

At the beginning of this semester, I ran to Kenmore Square and back. Turns out, this was the same distance I loathed when I was younger: that monstrous mile. While I took some breaks in between sprints, I didn’t even realize how far I ran until I checked my phone afterward.

It… wasn’t that bad?

Woman running with a sunset in the background Image by skeeze from Pixabay That day I learned an inhaler, self-confidence, and loving encouragement from the person who pushed me in the first place can go a long way— precisely a mile. 

I am still running a mile every other day and, admittedly, I’m beginning to really enjoy it. 

Through running, I’ve explored new parts of Boston I would’ve never seen previously (shoutout to the Riverway). I have felt stronger and healthier. Running has also taken on a form of self-care for me. It is my time in the day completely for me. 

I suppose we could all learn something new from exploring the corners of our personality previously untouched. Especially as we spend more time alone while living through this pandemic, why not challenge yourself and try something new, too?

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