The city is putting in a park near our home. It’s going to be great when it’s done, but right now it’s just a big red dust bowl. Just as I ran by that spot, a sudden whirlwind picked up a bunch of dust from the red clay soil and blew it right into my face. I inhaled so much of the clay dust, I think I coughed up an ash tray. Then a bunch of that floaty, white stuff from the cottonwood trees flew into my face to finish me off. Airborne crud is a big trigger for my asthma, which responded right on cue. I tried running a bit farther but the coughing and gasping just became too much, and I folded.
Not even 1/4 of the way, I had to stop the run and come home. A couple puffs from the inhaler and rest is usually my ticket back to life, but it’s not immediate. I have to sit and rest, not exert myself, blah blah blah. This is the part where I need to remind myself to respect my asthma, but don’t fear it. I hit a setback, and it’s frustrating. I’m really trying to “up my game” to the next level of fitness, but it’s hard to do that when I’m sidelined because I can’t breathe.
And here’s the real clicker...asthma is frustrating but at least I can work within some parameters to keep it at bay. It’s nothing compared to some of the physical challenges some folks are dealing with. I’ve been keeping Steve-O in my prayers--he’s still sidelined from riding because of that hip. I have a colleague at work whose MS is a major challenge all day every day. A dear friend of mine struggles with chronic heart problems. Put into perspective, my asthma is pretty manageable and I get that.
It would be wise for me to keep two important insights handy: don’t for one minute take for granted the health that I have, and don’t let the little setbacks set me back. To the extent we can, we go on.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll lace up the running shoes again and give it a go. Tonight, I'm just thankful I'm breathing.