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Woman running to overcome

SARANAC - With the goal of being "Fit by 40," Martha Breyette has set her sights to take part in Plattsburgh's first half-marathon April 18.

Although she will technically already be 40 by that point, hitting the milestone April 1, Breyette knows she'll already be on the path towards her goal.

However, it's a goal which comes with many hurdles Breyette will need to get over.

"The last two years have been really difficult," Breyette admitted. "I've had a lot of health problems. I've finally, in the last six months or so, gotten a lot better health-wise."

Breyette has faced the issue of severe asthma, which has landed her in the hospital on several occasions. With the disease, she's also dealt with getting the flu, and gaining weight from the steroids that treat her asthma.

"I would say probably the last year and a half, I've probably been in the hospital 10-plus times," she said, adding a few times her condition has landed her in intensive care.

She has also been dealing with vocal cord dysfunction, a relatively unknown condition where the muscles in her throat are constrictive, and sometimes shut tight.

"Sometimes I feel like I can't get any air," Breyette said. "All the medications that I was trying to get into me, to help my airways, wasn't getting past [my throat]."

However, these obstacles have not dissuaded Breyette from signing up for the half-marathon, and changing her eating and exercising habits.

With the help of Mary Duprey, a fellow coworker at Pfizer Inc., Breyette has been coached on how to build herself up to complete the 13.1-mile race.

"The reality was, how do I get ready for this seeing as how, number one, I'm out of shape, I have put on weight, and I don't know where to start," said Breyette. "So, I went to Mary and she has literally created ... a training program."

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