Operation Use Them or Lose Them

Running with my girls

A rare moment in time where Scout (right) was behaving and not tripping me up.

For two clinic visits in a row my lung function has been hovering at my personal best (of recent times). Is it the Orkambi effect? Is it the placebo effect? Is it coincidence? Whatever the reason, I feel supremely satisfied that the hard work I’m putting in everyday to stay alive and well is delivering pleasing results. Given that my lungs are in good nick I have no excuse whatsoever to avoid exercise. In fact, I have a very good reason to exercise. I need to use my lungs or lose them.

So began Operation Use Them or Lose Them. I popped into K-Mart and stocked up on blindingly bright workout gear. Everyone exercises better in fluoro. Fact. I unearthed my Cystic Fibrosis running cap for inspiration. I inhaled the contents of my ventolin and atrovent puffers, tied the house key to my shoelace, pressed play on DJ Beatsmith’s tracks and hit the road.

It quickly became apparent that my fitness level was at an all time low. I alternated between jogging at snail pace, coughing my lungs up, walking, suffocating, jogging, gasping for air, sitting in the gutter, walking, trying to mime to people that I’m actually ok and that they don’t need to call an ambulance, and then jogging again. It was bloody hard. My mantra – “It can only get better than this” – looped in my mind.

Me and my girls

Me, Flame (left) and Scout (right).

Over the next three months it did get better. My jogging got faster and there was more of it. There was less coughing and I no longer exercised in fear of imminent death. At some point I miraculously started to enjoy exercise. I looked forward to it, I planned for it, I didn’t let rain or 30 degree heat scare me back to the couch. I can now run for 25 mins non-stop and I am feeling pretty damn smug. 5km here I come.

Since I have two Kelpie dogs who are built for running after sheep all day I thought they could embrace the exercise endorphins with me. I used to run with Flame a million years ago and she got back into the groove straight away. Scout doesn’t understand the concept however – and possibly never will. She alternates between trying to stop and sniff anything and everything or trying to sprint away from me – neither of which are possible when she’s tethered to my waist. When I stop running it is painfully obvious that I have been doing a strenuous activity. When the girls stop running they look up at me with expressions that ask: “Is that it? We’re done already? That was pretty short Mum!”  They look as if they have been merely relaxing on the couch – not running for almost half an hour. Clearly I still have a long way to go before I can tire out a Kelpie.

This post was brought to you by Podrunner Intervals by DJ Beatsmith. Check them out! I highly recommend them.


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