>A fellow BlogHer contributing editor brought this article to my attention: Why (Most) Women Should Not Run. The douche bag who wrote the article claims that because of physics, women who try to run just end up "hurt and saggy instead of cute and little," among other obnoxious statements. Well then. Although I run a few times a week and have never been hurt, I guess I should stop. Physics dictates it, right?
This ridiculous argument did get my brain juices flowing, though. When I was in first grade, I was diagnosed with bronchitis. During that time, I woke up one night gasping for breath. No matter what I did, I could not breathe. It was terrifying. The next day, the doctor said, "Ooops, did I say she had bronchitis. I meant asthma." I was in the hospital for a week, taking oxygen through a mask at times.
My family and I tried not let asthma get in my way. Although laughing hard could bring on a severe asthma attack sometimes, and every fall and spring I was rushed to the ER in the middle of the night when I couldn't breathe, I remained an active normal kid. I took my inhaler when I was supposed to, sometimes other steroid medicines like prednisone, and moved on.
Then in third grade during gym class, I ran the 880 yard dash. I was the third person to finish, and pleased. I was a bit out of breath, so I followed my kind gym teacher's suggestion and sat down to try and control my breathing. After a few minutes, I was not getting better, so I asked him if I could go to the nurse for my medicine. Of course, he said sure, and off I went down the halls of my small elementary school.
I don't know what happened, but at some point in the hallway, things got much, much worse. I couldn't even walk it was so hard to breathe. I crawled. By the time I made it into the nurse's office, I was blue. Long story short, my mom and an ambulance were called, and I was carted away on a stretcher to the ER for the usual treatment: an adrenaline shot.
Clearly, I lived. But the incident has long term implications for me, my health, and my overall fitness and happiness. I was literally banned from running and other strenuous exercise. That was fine with me - I was terrified of having another asthma attack. However, the next year when puberty began its cruel grip on me, I really could have used a fitness regime. I gained weight. I used my asthma as a crutch to enable my adolescent laziness. I gained more weight. I also had my first bouts of depression. Exercise could have helped me through all of this - helping my moods with endorphins, control my weight, and increase my self-esteem. But I stayed sedentary.
Fast forward to January 1998: I was overweight and depressed. I wanted to make big changes in my health and fitness, so I forced myself to join a gym. A first, I just walked on a treadmill or rode the exercise bike. I was still scared to do more, and used it as an excuse to hold back at the gym. But over time, my interest in exercise increased and I found that for the first time in years, I wanted to run. I started jogging and to my surprise, I found that I loved it. My asthma, in fact, could handle it. Over the last few years, I kept increasing the speed and time on the treadmill and felt great.
Yesterday, I ran 5 miles. Sure, it took me 54 minutes and 10 seconds to do it, but I don't care. I will never win races or (probably) run a marathon. I am proud of myself, and I will continue to pace myself and run for as long as I am mobile. I hope no other women read this asshole's article and become discouraged.