Blog: How Severe Asthma Motivates Me to the Start Line

Posted on Apr 9, 2018, by

Bryce Remy, 2017 ThedaCare Half Marathon Participant

“Running a marathon is tough and I don’t have time for training.”

“I can’t do it, it’s too hard.”

“I have asthma, I can’t run.”

I hear excuses like these all the time and let me tell you, that last excuse really impacts me. I do have asthma along with other health issues that make running extremely difficult, yet I’m running in four marathons and more than 30 half-marathons this year.

Hi, my name is Bryce Remy. I’m 20-years-old and when I was a sophomore in high school I passed out while running a race on my school’s track team. When my parents and I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong, they discovered I had the lungs of an 80-year-old smoker!

You can imagine how disappointing and hard this was for me to hear. I was only 16-years-old, and I couldn’t stop wondering, how is this possible? After several tests we discovered I had severe asthma and vocal cord spasms, and that basically, running would make me suffocate.

Instead of confining myself to the couch to live a life of fear – which believe me, was very tempting – I chose to look that fear in the eye and overcome it. I began training and running again, doing smaller distances and using an inhaler to help me prep before each race. I surrounded myself with an amazing support system, that includes my family, who would come to most of my races, cheer me on and bring my inhaler in case I needed it on the course.

Last year I decided to run a full marathon for the first time since I was diagnosed. I chose to run in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon and I was blown away by how much support I received from runners, community members and race organizers along the course, many of whom were strangers to me, but were rooting for me just the same. As a runner I thought it was amazing, but as a young man struggling to breathe, I believe that support is what helped me make it across the finish line.

Since taking up running again and pushing myself, I’ve increased my lung capacity by 450 percent, which means my lungs are now at the level of a 25-year-old non-smoker. My doctors and family are amazed, but for me, I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for the courage to beat my biggest fear and push through the pain to improve my health. I’m grateful for the opportunity to beat this disease and hopefully encourage others to do the same. Lastly, I’m grateful for the support of my family and friends, and the amazing people of the Fox Cities. They make running in a race, like the Fox Cities Marathon, enjoyable and they encourage me to keep me chasing my dream of running and one day, maybe not needing an inhaler to do it.

This year, I will run again in the Fox Cities Marathon and I’m aiming to beat my race time from last year. I know that with the community’s encouragement along the way I can do it, because it’s not about when you finish, it’s about setting aside excuses to make it to the start line and then pushing yourself to be better each and every time.

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