One thing that has annoyed me about my six-month exercise adventure is that after all this time, after all of this strenuous exercise and training, I'm not really any better at running than when I started. I was sure that after a hardcore fitness regimen I would be in a lot better shape and be able to run much harder and with less trouble. While I'm certainly in better shape than before, I still have trouble running. For all my life, I've never been able to run for extended periods of time. In high school I was running a couple times a week, and while I managed to get to a point where I could jog for half to three-quarters of a mile without having to resort to taking a break and powerwalking (though it was extremely hard to keep going toward the end), that's still not all that good. My whole chest starts to hurt, I can't breathe anymore, and I get a metallic taste in my mouth.
When I was running in high school, I had a specific path that I'd take that would be one and two-thirds miles, starting and ending at home. Generally, by the second half of the return trip I would be utterly destroyed, barely running faster than I could just powerwalk. Sometimes my dad would actually hide up in the trees along the trail, spot me slowing down (or indeed powerwalking, depending on how exhausted I was) and yell at me. Occasionally there were threats involved, like "no computer tomorrow if you don't speed up," as if I were slacking and weren't actually in horrible physical pain. I'm not sure if the intention was for the yelled threats to motivate me through self-determination or simply fear, but neither worked; I simply couldn't go any faster. I knew from experience that once I got to that point where I could no longer breathe properly, pushing any harder would cause me to start to feel that I was going to pass out and collapse. I wasn't going to do that, so any threats were really rather pointless.
It happens on the treadmill too. I haven't been running outside or on a track for quite some time now, but I do use the treadmill once a week or so, and it happens there, without fail. I can set it to do intervals, where the speed changes on a regular basis, and that helps, but if I keep going too hard for very long, I experience the same symptoms and I just can't keep it up. On other machines that don't directly simulate running, like elliptical machines, bikes, or stair climbers, or even doing other exercises like swimming, I don't ever experience this, no matter how hard I push.
I'm in better shape now than I have been for a very long time, and even when I was in an elementary school and was perhaps in better shape still, I still had the same problems. I have a doctor appointment on Thursday and I'll probably bring the topic up again then just so I have something to talk about (I've mentioned it before), but I expect it's something that I'll just have to deal with.