I Am a 40 Year Old, Asthmatic, Half-Marathoner


I have asthma – adult onset, exercise induced.  I am not fat, and not thin – just average.  I’m short.  I was never a runner.  I pronate severely (my feet roll inward when I walk), and have struggled through the pain of shin splints several times.  And a few weeks ago, I turned 40.   Yet despite all this lack of athleticism, this morning, I completed my seventh half-marathon.  It was the inaugural Woodinville Wine Country Half-Marathon.

I haven’t really been training.  Last year, after the Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon, my girlfriends were split on the idea of doing it again.  As it turns out, the decision was made for me – they moved the Labor Day weekend race to August – on one of the weekends when Jon and I would be in Colorado.  I was disappointed, but then I was also kind of ok with the idea of not doing a half-marathon this year.  I haven’t been keeping up with exercise as well as I ought to.  Then my friend Katie asked if I wanted to do the first Wine Country Half in Woodinville.  It was only a month away.  I said, “Why not?”

In that month, I did exactly one 8 mile walk/jog.  And the usual couple times a week 4-5 mile walks.  I didn’t feel prepared.  I figured I would be happy just finishing, and wouldn’t worry about my time.

Me, Jon and Katie, before the race

Me, Jon and Katie, before the race

This morning, we drove to the race, and started a few minutes after 7.  Jon started near the front; Katie and I lined up at the back.  We stood next to the 3 hour pace runner, but I had no expectation that I would do a 3 hour race.  A shin splint was bugging me early on, before settling down in the second mile.

The 3 hour pace runner passed me.  But then I passed her; and pulled away just a little bit.  And as the miles ticked off, I was still just a little way ahead of her.  I began to second guess – she must be setting the wrong pace.  She must be running too slow for a 3 hour finish!  I stayed ahead.  I never really let myself believe that I was really doing so well.

Between mile 5 and 6 I first started to notice the blister on the bottom sole of my right foot – it hurt more when I jogged, but I kept pushing myself to jog for periods of time.  Between mile 8 and 9 keeping up my intermittent jogging was getting really hard.  Between mile 10 and 11, I started to think that my music was really annoying, and the sooner I finished, the sooner I could turn it off!

Mile 11 was the longest mile ever!  When I hit the beginning of mile 12, I looked at the clock and realized the pacer might be right.  I thought I would finish just a few minutes past my best time ever.  I tried to keep up my pace.  In the last tenth of a mile, rounding the curve, and seeing the finish clock, I realized I was really close to my personal record – I could beat it!

I found just enough gas at the end to sprint (my sprint – which is pretty slow) across the finish line.  Jon had finished almost an hour and a half earlier, and he was waiting at the finish for me, to cheer me on.

I didn’t know if I had beaten my previous record until hours later when the official times were posted.  But I did!  My finish time, and my new personal record, was 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 23 seconds.  I trimmed 18 teeny, tiny seconds off my old record.  But in doing that, I also trimmed off a big chunk of self-doubt, the kind that says, “You are 40 now – it is just downhill from here.”  I got this!

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8 thoughts on “I Am a 40 Year Old, Asthmatic, Half-Marathoner

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Fatigue… | Wine and History Visited

  2. Pingback: Ciao 2015! | Wine and History Visited

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