Only four years after she started focusing on distance running, Upper Marlboro resident Tracy Rivers will run her first marathon this weekend.
Rivers, 45, although active in her adult life was diagnosed with asthma as a child. Following a serious asthma attack in her 20s, she has worked with a doctor to help control her symptons and now after training for weeks she'll run the Marine Corps Marathon Sunday.
She'll be one of the 28 runners from eight states representing the Team AANMA or Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics—a national nonprofit dedicated to ending death and suffering as a result of asthma, allergies or related health issues.
According to the CDC, nine people die everyday in the U.S. from asthma and more than 25 million people have asthma in the nation.
We asked Rivers about her experience with asthma and why she's running.
Patch: Why did you sign up to be a part of Team AANMA and run the marathon?
Tracy Rivers: I have had asthma since childhood this was a perfect match for me and to partner with them to run my first marathon is icing on the cake.
Patch: Do you feel like having asthma affected your activities as a child? If so, how?
TR: Yes it did. My mother would not let me participate in any activity that involved running. Since I was not on a bronchodiltor to control my asthma my activities were severely limited.
Patch: Tell us a little about your struggles with asthma and how you've overcome them.
TR: Before I started to use bronchodilators, I struggled whenever I had an asthma attack. I was scared to lay down because my breathing was extremely labored. To overcome that I drank warm Coca-Cola which helped me to calm down. When I took an over-the-counter medication I found myself in the hospital and the only remedy for that was an IV drip of Vitamin K. Last but not least, Dr. [Mehmet] Oz demonstrated a technique where you put your tongue at the roof of your mouth and breath deeply this will slow breathing down.
Patch: Do you have a goal/time in mind for the marathon?
TR: I would really like to finish in 4:30 no more than 5:00.
Support Rivers and the AANMA, by visiting their website.