MIKE MC BRIDE COMPLETES BOSTON MARATHON!!!!
21555 Michael A. McBride 55 …. Toting an 80 pound cart of air
OFFICIAL TIME: 7:31:36
COLORADO MAN TO BE THE FIRST COPD OXYGEN PATIENT ALLOWED TO RUN IN BOSTON MARATHON!
Mike McBride, COPD sufferer and oxygen user is running in the Boston Marathon on Monday April 20, 2009.
We at Everything Respiratory want to congratulate Mike on his efforts
and will be following his preparations for the run. You can
follow along too by staying in touch with this website. We will
be giving weekly updates (located at the end of this first article
giving you Mike’s background). Let’s all wish Mike luck and good
Below are a few questions and answers
where you can familiarize yourself with Mike and his journey to become
the first COPD/Oxygen patient to run the Boston Marathon.
We will be following Mike’s training leading up to the run and hope you
will come along with us as we follow his progress and cover the day
Q: Tell us a little about yourself -- education, career, etc. -- and when you were first diagnosed with lung problems.
grew up in Golden, Colorado (home of Coors Brewery). My father
managed and owned a portion of a pretty good-sized drug store. I
attended Western State College in Gunnison, CO (frequently the coldest
place in the nation) and graduated in 1976 with a degree in Business
Administration. I have had 2 career paths: 1) I started working
in the Title Insurance industry (the people that perform closings on
real estate). When it became apparent that someone was going to have to
die or retire before I could move further up the food chain, I went to
work for Mountain Bell Telephone. I actually got to use my
collage degree, since my job was to conduct cost studies for various
types of equipment and file rates and tariffs with the public utility
commission. After 11 years I took early retirement and returned
to the Title Insurance industry. In February of 2007 I started
another career path, and went to work for a law firm that specializes
work for the oil & gas industry.
many jobs in title insurance Industry, serving as Regional Vice
President for North American Title Company with responsibility for
several states. I have been President of 3 smaller subsidiary
companies for United General Title (which is own by First American
Title, the largest title insurer in the US). I have stepped way
down in scope, but not necessarily in responsibility. I really
like my current job.
was first diagnosed with COPD in late February 2005. I was
admitted to the hospital with some an unknown lung ailment. It
took a week and half to make the diagnoses of emphysema/COPD and that I
had bacterial pneumonia. (I was told about 2 weeks later, that
when they admitted me, they were not sure if I was going to be alive by
morning, that’s how serious the pneumonia was.) They treated the
pneumonia with lots of antibiotics, and then I developed BOOP. It
seems the BOOP also did considerable lung damage before we were able to
shut down my immune system enough to stop the BOOP (the doctors have
used the term COP mostly inter-changeable).
type of lung disease are you suffering from, and how is it being
treated? How have respiratory therapists been involved in your care?
have emphysema/COPD. I was one of those strange animals that
would workout 3 to 4 times a week, and smoke on the way home. I
am currently on Spiriva and Foradil, oxygen therapy and EXERCISE.
I quit smoking whilst I was in the hospital and I’ve never looked
back. I started walking when I was still the hospital.
I can tell you exactly how many laps of the 4th floor at University Hospital it takes to equal a mile.
I have not had a respiratory therapist involved my care. I have good
health insurance, but for some reason it doesn’t extend to respiratory
care. The insurance company didn’t seem to mind paying $95,000.00
for a 10 day stay in a private, isolation room, while administering a
bunch of test, but they would not pay for pulmonary rehab so I could
learn to stay out of the hospital.
goodness the respiratory care profession make lots of information
available over the Internet. I was able to take much of that
information with me to my local YMCA, where I enlisted the help of
several of their trainers to help me build and maintain a
workout/exercise plan. I am currently working with Nancy
Lamberston, the wellness leader at the “Y” who is helping me train for
the Climb Chicago and the Boston Marathon. It’s an American Lung
Association event hosted by the local chapter in Chicago. I will
be walking up 360 flights of stairs; 180 floors, 4 building; 2,340
steps. I am very excited about doing that on March 8. That
is about the time of year I received my original diagnoses.
latest goal is to participate in the Boston Marathon on April 20.
I am the first athlete to gain entry with COPD. I will be in the
mobility-impaired group of athletes. This is really an honor and
I fully expect to be the first COPD athlete across the finish line.
How long have you been using supplemental oxygen and what is your
prescription? What type of oxygen equipment do you use and how has
supplemental oxygen helped you in achieving the things you want to
I have been on supplement oxygen for 4
years. My current prescription is 4-6 liters at rest and 7-18
liters when I’m active or exercise. I live in Denver, so I am lot
more sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and pollution.
So some days I require more, because of the activities require me to
use oxygen at higher levels especially when I race walk. I have 2
oximeters and a heart monitor that I use all the time.
my goal was to keep my saturations above 90 (mine can jump all over the
place some days), but lately I have been trying to keep them at 94% or
above that’s requiring me to use O2 24/7. I have an
Invacare concentrator that I use when at home. The rest of my
equipment is all Caire. I have a large Reservoir that I use to
fill my portables. I have 4 of the newer Stroller models and I
have Spirit 1200 that I use at the office. There is
absolutely no way that I could enjoy the life I do without portable
oxygen. I put it carts, or a backpack and I off and going.
December of 2008 I had a SCOOP Transtracheal oxygen catheter
installed. My hope is that the device will reduce my high flow
oxygen needs when exercising.
Q: Have you always been
active in marathons and the like, or is this something you've taken on
since going on oxygen? Please explain and what are some of the events
you've taken part in while on oxygen, and why do you continue to get
involved in them? How do they affect your quality of life as a lung
I have always been an active
person. I work a lot, and play a lot. But I have had a more
formal workout schedule since 1992 when my Significant Other went back
to college and need the house quiet so they could study. We owned
a condominium in a complex, that had a big racquet club with an
extensive gym and I could use it for free. So I did. That
really helped me when I was diagnosed with COPD, because I already knew
about exercise discipline.
My first “event”
was the Bolder Boulder, an annual 10k event in Boulder CO, that
attracts about 55,000 + people. I completed the 10k in 1 hour 42
minutes and 2 seconds. (the winner completed it in 28
minutes). That was May 2005. I spent most of that summer
hiking in the mountains. In September 2005, I hiked my first
14er, Mt. Evans, elevation 14,235 using supplement O2 that I carried in
a backpack. In February of 2006 I met Lyn Cole and we did the
“Run the Register” and climbed up 47 flights of stairs in the Wells
Fargo Building in Denver. I have been doing that event ever
since. In 2007 I did the “Hustle up the Hancock” in Chicago.
have completed 2 full marathons, Las Vegas and Oklahoma City; 14 half
marathons; 1 ten mile; 1 5 mile; 4 10k the Bolder Boulder; a bunch of
5k. (I can’t remember them all) and climbed 2 14,000 plus mountains.
Grays Peak at 14, 270 and Quandary 14,265, all since my COPD
diagnoses. Generally I walk 15-20 miles a week, and 25+ during
late winter early spring getting ready for the racing season. In
addition I hit the gym 3 days a week.
events such as 10k’s and half marathons, as well as the full marathon
are something I started after being diagnosed and beginning oxygen
therapy. Those events give me something to target my training
toward. They all require conditioning different body parts. 2 of
the half marathons are down hill. The Slacker half marathon is
done in Georgetown Colorado. You begin this race at an elevation of
10,500 feet and come down to 8, 000. It is without question the
hardest race that I do. Downhill, ain’t easy and to make it
harder, 5 miles of the 13.1 are on national forest fire break
When I participated in the
Bolder Boulder the first time, there was a women that set a good pace
for me to follow, when we both were crossing the finish line I thanked
her for setting the pace, and she looked a bit surprise and said
through tears that “she had to lose 95 lbs, just to be able to
participate”, and I said through my tears that “I had, had my own
challenges this past year”, and we both agreed that it was a soul
The Las Vegas Marathon was also
an amazing experience. I am/was lucky to have terrific friends to
help me. It took 8 hours 20 minute 51 seconds to complete all
26.2 miles. I needed to have my oxygen tanks refreshed 5 times
during that timeframe, and there is no way I could have done that
without help. Completing that was an emotional event as
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is
hosted by the most gracious group of people I have ever met. I
got an early start at 4:30 am. It snowed and the wind blew
head-on until we turned around for the 2 half of the race. The
wind should have been at out back, which would have help propel us
forward. Nope, it just died. Still a great race.
mountains are an experience un-to themselves. I had to carry 2
full stroller tanks plus food and water. The backpack weighs 34
lbs when loaded with O2, water and food. When you summit a 14er,
it’s the most spiritual moment I have ever known, next to the birth of
my children and granddaughter.
Q: What’s the most exciting event you've participated in and why?
most exciting event I have participated in recently is when I testified
before the Colorado Air Quality Commission and as a result of my
testimony and a few other people they tightened ozone restrictions and
increased penalties and enacted the first statewide ozone control
measures. Now that’s a gift for my grandchildren!
am looking forward to the Boston Marathon, coming up in April.
All the athletic events give my exercise and training purpose, so that
when things get boring (and they do!) I have something to look forward
to. I know how exhilarating I feel when I cross the finish
line and it makes all the work seem very small, indeed.
What message do you think your involvement in these events sends to
others on supplemental oxygen? If you could tell these folks anything
about being active on oxygen, what would you tell them?
is a disease that carries plenty of shame. People, me included,
somehow have come to believe that COPD is penance or punishment for
having been a smoker. That is pure BS. I refuse to stay
indoors or hide because I have to take oxygen with me wherever I
go. My life experience says “that I would rather you feel awkward
because you find my appearance distasteful, than me hide indoors and
miss the great and wonderful things God intended for me to be a part
I just heard this evening that the group of
people in Chicago with COPD that were going to go up the stairs at
Climb Chicago event, have decided not to. Some because their
doctors told them they “probably” shouldn’t, and the others because
they saw their compatriots dropping out. It makes me wanna
scream! I will bet that if you took 200 average people and
had them walk a marathon distance, maybe 5 would finish. You take
that same 200 people, have them work with trained and certified
professionals for 3 months and I am willing to bet that 195 of the 200
would make it. Seems like a pretty good payback to me.
Mike McBride’s Marathon Update – 3/10/09
Late last night we got back from Chicago where I had finished the
Climb Chicago event for the American Lung Association. 4
buildings; 180 floors; 360 flights; and 2340 stairs. My time was
1:06:13. I find that remarkable.
I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to finish, but going to a lower
elevation really helped. I was amazed at how much easier it is to
breath at lower elevations. I live in Denver and I only needed to use
half the amount of O2 I normally do with exercise. I was able to
keep a strong steady pace. My O2 consumption was half what it is
at home. I still needed 10 PLUS liter flow to keep my saturations above
The whole feeling has been one of amazement. Amazed that I
completed it. Amazed at wanting to do it in the first
place. Mostly what I feel is gratitude. There is pride in
my accomplishments, but mostly the humbling variety. But there is
some bravado that says “I’m a tough guy……ok world, what’s my next thing
I am not supposed to be able to do?……..bring it on!!!”
Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement; I never could have made
it without them.
Now I need to spend some serious training time getting ready for the Boston
Marathon on April 20. I have this fear, that after all the BS I went
through just getting to compete, I won't be able to finish. I
told the race director the last time I talked with him, that I would
finish even if I had to do it on my hands and knees.
He just laughed. I would have thought by now he'd know how determined I can be.
p.s. I have a strong spiritual relationship with the God of my understanding.
And my prayers are for myself, and I ask for courage to be the man he
designed. That can be a daunting task on those days when I don’t
want to train. When I want to feel sorry for myself, when I feel
entitled and better than. I get angry because I have always had
to do things the long and hard way, or so it seems. The truth is
the hard way is usually the easier, softer way for me; I just want to
warp it around and make it my own. That’s usually when God starts
You can view photographs of me in Chi town at the following link.
We got back from Chicago late Sunday evening. I was all fired up
after having completed the Climb Chicago event. This week has
been hard to back in the swing of things. I haven’t wanted to
workout. I had to force myself to meeting with my trainer Nancy
at the YMCA on Wednesday.
Nancy had me do a bunch of new exercises, using the SOBU. (It’s like half of one
of the big exercise balls, with a solid bottom) I was doing the
balance lunges. They are so hard, and I was so uncoordinated.
Then she had me on the rowing machine. Row slow pace (2O strokes
per minute) for 1 minute then faster (30 strokes per minute) for 2
minutes. I was having trouble doing that. I could only
speed up for 30/45 seconds. Then I would be so SOB that I would have to
stop completely. I don’t respond well to sudden bursts of energy
that require fast breathing. I can work my way up to where my
heart rate is between 150 and 155 bpm. I can maintain that
for long periods of time. But to go from 125 to 150 quickly is
more than I can handle and it frustrates me.
I got lots of nice kudos for my stair climb efforts and that felt good.
I am still not entirely comfortable in the limelight. They
also filmed an interview. I’m told it will be accessible from the
Climb Chicago website.
The granddaughter was over this weekend. She is growing up way too fast.
The past two weeks have been a blur. My firm sent me to a small
town in eastern Colorado to do research. I work for an oil and
gas law firm that specializes in energy issues. So I do the
fieldwork. I have missed a lot of training the past 2 weeks.
The weather has been totally awful and the wind was something
else. Gust up to 65 miles an hour, and then it snowed. The storm
dumped up to 17 inches of snow in the Denver area Thursday before
pushing east, where 20 mph winds created drifts up to 5 feet deep.
This lack of training time is make me nervous. I have been
staying in shape with trainer session on Monday and Wednesday and
Pilates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The walking I’ve done as been
mostly on a treadmill. I vary it a lot but its still not like
walking on the street.
I have been really short tempered and I know its stress. I have
just not sure what to do about it. Well that’s it for now. My
thoughts are more than a little bit scattered.
April 12, 2009 Marathon Update
These past 2 weeks have been frantic, or at least they feel that way. I have this whole list
of things that need to be finished before I leave this coming Friday.
It’s hard for me to imagine that the Boston Marathon is a week away.
It was snowing today in Denver, and the YMCA was closed because of Easter, so I have
lost another day of training. I am going to trust the race gods are in my corner and hope
for the best. I will finish, I just want to do it with an official
time, and to do that, I have to come in within 7 hours 45 minutes.
I don’t normally have to deal with all the things that are going on. Usually my support
crew is able to meet me every 6-7 miles with fresh O2 tanks, we swap those out and then
they leapfrog ahead of me to the next 6-7 mile stop. I don’t have to
worry about a lot of traffic, usually the biggest hassle is closed
streets. I don’t have to worry about trains not running or whether or
not my equipment is a terrorist threat.
I am excited and bit scared at the same time. Kind of like my first kiss. Only difference
is I only get one shot to get it right.
had Easter with the family and that was a pleasant distraction. And as
if I didn’t already have enough on my mind I received a job offer last
week. I already have a job I
like but it was great to get the offer
anyway. A year and a half ago I was out of work because the company was
sold and I wasn’t part of the deal. (Which is just as well because I
would have not worked for the new owners.) Back at that time I couldn’t
get people to even return an email, and now they are seeking me out.
Strange life I lead.
My start time is 9:00 with the other Mobility Impaired athletes, and I am shooting for a
7 hour finish. There are so many things that way into that time, but I’ll give it my best.
I consider myself lucky and grateful to have so many people supporting
my efforts, not the least of which is my partner. For that I thank the
power greater than myself. I have an interview on race morning with VB
Goudie on Fox TV at 6:45. And Tuesday 4/14 Doctor Radio, Sirius 114 and
XM 119 from 7:30 to 8 Eastern Time.
also want to thank Ron Kadrlik from Caire, Inc., and Kimberly Snyder
from Resprionics. They have been great support and the good folks from
Caire, are actually going to be helping me during the race.
mother died of COPD in 2005. I wish she were still around to see that
you don’t have to live with a cannula and inhaler in one hand and a
killerette (cigarette) in the other.
Why Belly Fat Is Bad for Your Lungs, and Why Exercise Is Good
McBride, age 55, has climbed the 56 stories of Denver’s Republic Plaza
four times and has hustled up Chicago’s 100-story John Hancock
building. While he may sound super healthy, all the activity came after
a life-changing moment: While hospitalized for a severe bout of
pneumonia in 2005, McBride found out he was one of the more than 12
million Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
from Arvada, Colo., has always spent time in the gym. But he was also a
smoker, one of the most common causes of COPD. It was during his
hospital stay that McBride quit smoking and started walking. He
participated in his first race, the Bolder Boulder, with liquid oxygen
tucked in a backpack. He also plans to racewalk the Boston Marathon
with a specialized oxygen cart in tow.
COPD refers to
a group of diseases that includes emphysema, which is caused by damage
to the air sacs in the lungs, and chronic bronchitis, which narrows the
airways through swelling. There is no cure for COPD, a progressive
disease that is usually attributed to smoking and typically diagnosed
when people are in their 50s and 60s.
physician and respiratory therapists recommended walking to keep his
lungs strong. But even for people without COPD, maintaining a healthy
weight and exercising regularly reduces strain on the lungs and
strengthens respiratory muscles. For patients with COPD, research has
shown that working out may slow the progression of COPD or help keep
the disease in check.
How belly fat can harm your lungs
Having excess abdominal weight may lower one’s lung function,
regardless of a person’s age, smoking history, or body mass index,
according to a 2009 study published in the American Journal of
Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Researchers studied 120,000
Parisians and found that abdominally obese patients (a 35-inch waist
for women and a 40-inch waist for men) had poorer lung function than
their slim-waisted counterparts. (And these were healthy, COPD-free
factor that may contribute to the problem is the inflammation
associated with fat tissue. But excess fat may also constrict the
lungs, making it harder to breathe.
extra weight is work,” says Gail Weinmann, MD, the deputy director of
the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Division of Lung
Diseases. “The more you weigh, the more work it is to carry it around.
It’s like carrying a backpack. For someone who has a reduced capacity,
the extra weight would be like carrying suitcases.”
weight of the fat on the chest wall decreases the amount of room for
the lungs. It also pushes up on the diaphragm, restricting its
movement, particularly when bending over or lying down.
overweight puts a burden on your entire body, says Norman Edelman, MD,
the chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. More oxygen
must be moved around for the excess tissues; this causes the heart to
work harder and places a greater burden on the cardiovascular system.
It is also more difficult to breathe when someone is overweight. Dr.
Edelman says diseases like asthma tend to be more severe in heavier
individuals. (Many people with COPD have asthma too.)
How exercise helps COPD
A small percentage of people diagnosed with COPD lose weight due to the
disease. But this often occurs in patients with late-stage emphysema
and happens over a long period of time, says Dr. Weinmann. It is
attributed to the excessive strain that comes with difficult breathing
over a number of years, and physicians often prescribe supplements to
help patients maintain a healthy weight.
individuals who are able, exercise is important for good lung health.
It has not been proven to heal the lungs of COPD patients, nor can it
turn back the clock, but it reduces weight gain, strengthens the heart
and respiratory muscles, helps deal with shortness of breath, and
increases overall activity, which makes it easier to perform everyday
tasks like walking up stairs, according to Michael Berry, PhD, a chair
in the department of health and exercise science at Wake Forest
University, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“If the muscles of
the rest of the body are well conditioned, the burden on the lungs to
do a task is less,” Dr. Edelman says. “And if the muscles they use to
breathe are conditioned, they are less likely to get respiratory muscle
fatigue, which is one cause of respiratory failure.”
2007 article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care
Medicine found that people who took part in regular physical activity
experienced less intensive declines in lung function than those who did
not. The study, which took place in Copenhagen over a 10-year period,
also found that active smokers who worked out had a reduced risk of
McBride participates in races
because they give him a goal and motivation for exercising, which he
knows is good for his physical and mental health.
I am feeling healthier, I feel better spiritually and I’m more
receptive to people in general,” McBride says. “Exercise gets rid of
the ‘Why bother, nobody cares, what difference does it make?’ feeling,
which does sometimes happen.”