Sept. 22 2010 12:00 AM

What makes her run From asthmatic childhood to Capital City River Run


There are as many reasons for running as there are runners.

“I wanted to lose weight.”

“I heard it was great for relieving stress.”

“I just wanted to see if I could do it.”

For me, it was about survival. I was diagnosed with asthma after a bout with bronchitis when I was 6 months old.

On Sunday, I will join some 3,000 other runners at the Capital City River Run in downtown Lansing.

The River Run, now in its 18th year, includes both a 5K and half-marathon run, or 13.1 miles. I’ll be running the latter — yes, running.

The whole thing. I hope. My asthma symptoms could flare up at any time — often without warning — and there’s no telling whether I’ll run 10 miles or just walk two when I head out the door.

But the excitement of new sights, new trails and, of course, the thrill of running an event is enough to keep one foot moving in front of the other.

It’s fall, it’s our state’s capital and the scenery promises to be compelling enough to take my mind off of the blister forming on my right heel, or the fatigue setting in as I round Mile Eight.

I’m not alone in this thinking. Race codirector Dick Miles says the route itself is much of what draws runners to the
River Run. The half marathon takes in the beauty of Michigan State
University, the Lansing River Trail, Scott Woods, Hawk Island Park and Potter Park.

“In my opinion, we have as good an urban half marathon course as can be found anywhere,” Miles said I don’t live in Lansing, so for me, half of the fun of the race will come from seeing the city in a whole new way. Runners from as far as Ohio, Illinois and even California will also get a fresh experience.

And that’s really why I run: to experience life. I spent my entire childhood telling myself that I couldn’t run, couldn’t play sports, couldn’t live life without my asthma quick-rescue inhaler.

Now, I run without it, and I notice things that other people miss while driving by in their cars.

A run around the neighborhood might mean I get a glimpse of a new restaurant that I want to try. A jog around the track at Kensington Metropark promises swan, crane, snake and deer sightings.

And 13.1 miles throughout the streets of Lansing will give new perspective to a city I have worked and played in, but never really seen.

I want to see the world — not on TV or through a car window, but by the power of my own two feet.

That’s why I run.

(Jessica Carreras is a freelance writer from Westland. She has used her own two feet to run the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, as well as numerous walks to raise funds and awareness about HIV/ AIDS and autism. You can reach her at