Jacqueline Jacques, a 42-year-old single mom in Newport Beach, California, hasn’t even celebrated her first “run-iversary.” She started running last spring partly because it was cheaper than liposuction on her thighs. And, as a naturopath who is a leading nutrition consultant to bariatric surgeons, she knows a thing or two about weight-loss surgery. Unfortunately, she also very familiar with running with asthma. Read on to find out more about this race-adverse mother runner.
Best recent run: I was recently in Salt Lake City for a medical conference. It was hard to run there as the city is nearly a mile above sea level and it was chilly. Cold + altitude = bad news for asthmatic runner. But I did it anyway. The day after I got back--to my warm beach city at sea level--I went for a 4.4-mile run. It’s the longest route I currently do and usually it’s pretty challenging for me. That day, however, I don’t know if it was the contrast of how hard the recent runs in SLC had been or if being at altitude for a few days had given me a little extra oxygen-carrying capacity, but I felt like I had grown wings. I finished and actually thought about doing it again later that day. Crazy.
“Convenience” excuse: I hit 42 and realized I was entering that period of my life where keeping the body I wanted (or having it at all) was going to be an uphill battle. I also recognized that waiting to have the free time in my life to, say, get to a yoga class three or four times a week was unrealistic. My current strategy did not fit my life and was resulting in mostly no exercise. When I asked finally asked the right question: What exercise can I do that will fit my life? (rather than following the typical advice of pick something you like because you will be more likely to do it), running became the obvious answer. I can run anywhere. Mostly, I just need shoes. No excuses.
Globetrotter: My life is sort of equal parts good planning, learning accumulated from trial and error, and hard work. On the road, where and how I run is highly variable. One reason running works when you are a business traveler is that every hotel from here to Amritsar, India, has a treadmill (even if some are deadly). You also find great local neighborhoods (many hotels can actually tell you running routes), or the hallway, or the stairs. Eating on the road is actually more challenging that running! I do a lot of business dinners, and you don’t always have vast options. I try to choose the restaurant when I can. If I am going to be someplace for a few days, I am likely to scope out a good market and stock my room with healthy food to eat when I am not dining out.
The line on lipo: Oh, yeah, I hate my thighs! Here’s how my thinking went: "I really hate my thighs; maybe I should have liposuction? I mean why not, right? I live in southern California, people here do that as a weekend activity." Then the voice of the thrifty business woman asks, “Can you really cost-justify that it if you haven’t tried all your other options,” and my inner doctor says, “You really can’t do that until you have at least lost a little weight and gotten into better shape.” So those two won…for now. But truthfully, now that I am working at it, I won’t feel at all bad if I get to 45 and decide that I still want the lipo. I like my legs a lot more these days--but not that much. We’ll see.
Solo operator: Sometimes I think I might just be one of those people who likes doing things alone more than in company--at least some things. I have thought of a million other reasons: I am self-conscious; I am slow; I don’t really like to talk and run and with asthma it can be hard; I like to listen to music (which is not very social). At the end of the day, however, the real reason might be that I can be alone when I run. In my high-pressure life, I am always on--as an expert, a mom, etc. If I can get 30 to 40 minutes to be alone, it’s like gold.
Trying to breathe easy: Running with asthma is a constant challenge for me. I hear some runners talk about how on some days their legs don’t cooperate; with asthma, I have days where my lungs just don’t cooperate. I have to think about it every time I run since I have, among other things, exercise induced asthma (EIA). I have been trying a more aggressive medication strategy lately, but I am not yet sure if it’s working. My go-to routine is to do at least two hits of a fast-acting bronchodilator (albuterol) before I run, then to carry a rescue inhaler with me just in case. I used to use cromolyn sodium until the inhaler form (Intal) was taken off the market.
Favorite new toy: My Nike+ FuelBand is really cool. I like the idea of scoring points and rewards for activity. I’ve only had it for two weeks, but I love ways to compete with and best myself--and so far this little device lets me do that really well. You earn daily point (“Fuel”), but can also get other awards for matching or exceeding your own goals. You also get cumulative points that generate their own rewards. For folks like me who thrive on achievement, my only concern is that I’ll get obsessed with it. The jury is still out on whether I will get more fit by using it, but I promise to write about it at some point.
No races for me: A race sounds sort of awful to me. But I have some friends trying to talk me into one, so we will see. I have not said yes, but I have not said no either. I would love to have someone give me a reason to run one: Maybe I am still seeking that.