As an asthma sufferer since before the age of five, my labored breathing can impact many activities. I remember as a child having yearly asthma attacks and being hospitalized for a week at a time due to my breathing. It's the most horrible feeling in the world when you cannot breathe.
I do not remember a time where I haven't used my medication. I was lucky to have doctors recognize my symptoms and diagnose me early enough to find treatment options. Some people are not as fortunate.
I have a daily steroid inhaler as well as a rescue inhaler to use when I do activities or if something triggers my symptoms. When I have an attack (which I still do even as an adult), I also use oral steroids to bring it under control.
While I know I need these medications to help me breathe, some of the ones I took while I was younger have taken a toll on my body. They have broken down my joint material, making my knees, elbows, and the like practically disintegrate. I do not have discomfort currently, but I know deep down in the back of my mind as I grow older, I will face pain for sure.
While I sometimes think about the days when I won't be able to run, I enjoy my time now when I CAN run and do things I love. These activities include yoga, cross-training, completing more marathons and triathlons, and the like.
I have good days when I can feel like I can run forever, and the only reason I stop is that my legs are sore, not my lungs. There are bad days when I can barely finish a short 20-minute run without using my inhaler and feeling like my lungs are going to explode.
I try not to focus on the bad runs and make sure to keep going so my next run will be better. I remember that any run is better than no run at all, and even if I have to do sets of walking-running, I am still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And when the day comes that I cannot run any longer, I will try to get a good walk in and enjoy some fresh air and the day ahead.