In just under two weeks I’ll line up for another endurance race and my second marathon in 8 months, something that I thought five years ago would not be possible. What is even more satisfying is that I’ll be running with my daughter.
I’ve been lucky enough in the last five years to be joined by family members in 3 races, my wife in last year’s New York marathon, my son in the Sunshine Coast half Ironman, and at the Gold Coast marathon on July 3rd my daughter Sarah will be joining me. This will her first endurance race. Like most new marathon runners, she’ll be nervous, excited and anxious about what lies ahead. Sarah has followed the same training program as I have. A program I’m sure will see her achieve her marathon goal.
Having your family involved in your activity can serve several purposes which are mutually beneficial. It will improve their own level of fitness as well as giving them an appreciation of what you go through with your disease. Building that bond and sharing a common interest also helps with the psychological battles we face with lung disease.
There is undoubtedly a growing number of COPD/Lung disease athletes from around the world competing in a range of events. Runners, triathletes, cyclist and powerlifters are just some of the events that people with lung disease are trying their hand at. We’re not fast but we get the job done. As athletes we know we will not be winning races but we will be winning our own race against our diseases.
We will not be repairing the physical damage of our diseases but we will be winning the psychological battle against our diseases. COPD/Lung disease athletes come in a variety of forms, some race with oxygen and some don’t, some don’t race at all, they just live an active lifestyle. These athletes don’t let age stop them, they don’t let their mind stop them, because they know by keeping moving they’re keeping a better quality of life.
If you are contemplating change, whether it’s an event, joining a walking group or just striving to be more active don’t be shy to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed about your disease, be proud you’re joining the fight. I finished last in many of my early events. It didn’t worry me as my goal was to just finish. Encouraging family members to be involved is a great way to achieve your goals, whether they are by your side or lending moral support it doesn’t matter. You may just inspire each other to achieve things you never thought possible.
There is a wealth of people ready to help either in your local community or online. Your National Lung association can direct you to volunteers in your local area that can help you every step of the way. If you can’t find help drop me an email, I’m sure I can point you in the right direction.
The science is undisputed and Healthcare professionals from around the world tell us a healthy, active lifestyle is the best way to improve your quality of life. So why not do it as a family!