trackshoes-smallI have asthma.  In high school I had an attack so badly I was in hospital for 4 days. This was the first time I heard the word asthma referring to me, but I can first pinpoint my grade 8 gym class to the first time I didn’t feel right.  It was the 12 minute run and we had to run around a track as many times as we could.  The best female runner could do 4.75 laps and I could do 2 something.  I’m not sure how to portray that I wanted to do better, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t understand how someone could enjoy running 4.75 laps and I didn’t even have the strength to walk up the steep hill back to the school after the test.  I remember the sweat, the feeling of being tight in my lungs and my chin itching, (that is my strange tip something is not right) I remember sitting in the class room hours after gym struggling for air, what I didn’t realize was that wasn’t normal.

My dad is a runner, since I can remember he has been running and even on holidays takes his shoes with him so he can pound the pavement.  One summer I decided that I was going to get better at running and I attempted to run 12 minutes with him.  I think I made it 4.  Honestly 4!  I don’t know if I tried with him again, or if I just gave up, but I know I was disappointed.  I think he may have been too.  Of course that was all before I knew what was wrong.

So here I am now, running, working out, and I am a Capoeirista.  How did this happen?

To tell you the truth I believe my asthma got better when I was pregnant with my daughter and more manageable when she was about 8 months old. I saw a Naturopath who helped me with food intolerances and I went to Postnatal fitness classes which was an excellent way to start an exercise regime.   I then started Capoeira and once I could increase my stamina I began running around my neighbourhood.   This empowered me, I felt strong even though my goal was only to make it more than 12 minutes.  My time decreased as my distance and confidence increased.  I took my medication less and less almost to the point that I thought I may be cured.

When my daughter was about 18 months old we took a trip to visit family.  I almost didn’t bring my medicine as I hadn’t felt the need for it in months.  But as soon as we got there my lungs instantly started to tighten.  I only ran once in 2 weeks and could feel the infamous signs of an attack.  I gave up and fairly disappoint went to my Dr. on arrival home. I somehow expected to feel better the minute I landed back in Vancouver. But it was going to take a lot longer to recover from this one and I was mad.  I left his office feeling frustrated and devastated knowing that I will always need to have medication with me.

Once my lungs started to improve, I tried running again this time without the same stamina I had just the couple months before.  I was upset that my body wasn’t working for me but little did I know it wasn’t cooperating because I was pregnant again.  This didn’t stop me from staying active though. I trained Capoeira until I was 35 weeks pregnant and took prenatal Yoga to the day I went into labour (my contractions started right there in class!)  All the while my Asthma improved.

I haven’t had any problems since that trip away.  I take a bit of medication if I start to feel sickly, or if I know I’m going to complete a strenuous work out.   But I think it’s more than medication that helps me along.  I’ve met quite a few people along my journey of health, and all of these people have come into my life when I have needed it.  These people have supported me, educated me and even kicked my arse. Now I take my experience from them and use it today.

These dozen minutes have haunted me for years.. it was not that I was unfit, unhealthy or lazy but I didn’t have the support or knowledge to manage my body.  It took me 15 years after my initial try to actually run for a full 12 minutes.  Everyone wants to feel good, everyone DESERVES to feel good.  Sometimes you just might not know why you don’t feel good.  Start… you just have to start.  And if you can’t do it, give it a couple of days and start again.  Heck, make your goal running for 12 minutes!!


Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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