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Running Update: No Hemoptysis

Lone runnerLike anyone with CF who is “advanced in years” or “late-stage,” my biggest fear regarding running is hemoptysis. No one wants to feel that gurgle followed by an unknown period of red splatter (or worse). It happened the last time I took up running, so that thought is never far from me.

So far, I’ve slowly jogged one townhome building length. Then two lengths. For a week at a time before progressing. Saturday, I slowly ran 200yds and was really feeling it. Not so much my lungs as my heart. It was really pounding and I briefly wondered if it was possible for a 33yr old CFer to have a heart attack. I slowed my walk to a crawl until my pulse and respiration rate were under control again and then resumed a normal “mall rat” pace back home.

I did the same thing Monday, only I ran like a normal person that time. I made it about 2/3 as far as Saturday – only my heart wasn’t about to explode and I continued walking normally without a major slowdown. Monday afternoon was weightlifting (yes, my arms are really sore now) so I didn’t run yesterday. Instead, I took a very slow walk with my camera and took photos all along the way, 1.3 miles in all. We had to go out in the evening, but my car was in the driveway (we drive the Sorento together) so I drove it down to the parking spaces in the cul de sac two townhomes down.

Thinking we were behind schedule, I casually jogged back home and… I didn’t even cough! I think I’m going into this running thing the right way after all.

The hardest part

Maybe this is just me, but the hardest part for me is remembering my days in track and in PE in high school when we had to meet certain physical feats to pass or get a certain grade. I got an “A” because I could do the mile not only in the required 8 minutes, but in 5:20. I distinctly remember doing the 400 (one lap) in just over a minute.

I have to fight with everything I have when I start a running segment to not run like that. Those speeds are my natural pace because I had to train myself to take long strides to make up for my (lack of) height and push the pace. I have flashbacks of rounding the final turn and pushing with all I have. I have visions of the Olympic runners. I want to feel the wind in my face. I have some imaginary feeling of having 100% of my lungs working.

I’ll resist the urge a while longer.

An “I forgot to publish this” update: I ran 1/8th of a mile today with a 9-minute mile pace, experienced no coughing, SOB, or hemoptysis. I’ll keep it up this week before venturing into longer distances. Your encouragement on my Facebook posts has been a big help, so thank you.


  1. Megan Murray says

    Wow!! I love this post as it is so encouraging and uplifting! I am so happy that you are doing so well with exercise. I use an elliptical (since it’s way too cold in Chicago to be outside during the winter), and I finally got to JUST under a 15 minute mile. The elliptical is harder than regular running for me, but I’m not sure why.  I’m just SO happy for you! 🙂

    • Thanks, Megan. I think ellipticals stress the upper, outer quads more because of the circular movement rather than the pushing movement. You notice the same thing when you go from biking with just pedals to biking with toe clips. I used to keep my seat so high, I had to use my calves to do a full extension for a full-leg workout and used to bike a good 5mi/day when I was a teen in flat NW Ohio.

  2. Great job man!! When you start running again, most of us experience exactly what you are going through right now. Just stick with it and good thins will happen 🙂