more than just another bike blog

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Could somebody give me a new lung....

I'm puzzled. Okay, so here's the background.

I had exercise-induced asthma as a kid, but since I didn't really do anything athletic until my senior year in high school, it wasn't an issue. The doc gave me an inhaler.

I also had some allergies. My mother's medicine (PBZ) seemed to work for me, so the doc gave me a prescription.

I started smoking at age 21 so breathing was always an issue.

When I started riding and quit smoking, I didn't seem to have persistent breathing problems so I didn't bother talking to a doc about either allergies or asthma.

Flash back to March. Had the occassional feeling of possible allergies (tired, headache, wheezing). But nothing terrible. Then last Sunday in Bakersfield, I thought I was going to die. I couldn't expand my lungs or take a deep breath. I had been taking some Benedryl for potential allergic reactions to the Bakersfield flora & fauna.

Same situation yesterday.

Woke up this morning still wheezy. Didn't take anything (maybe I'm allergic to Benedryl?). Went on the ride, felt okay until I started climbing OLH. Couldn't breath and HR through the roof (consistently in the 160s and low 170s). Had to stop and catch my breath about a mile from the top.

So, what the heck is going on?

Do I have some type of respiratory bug? Since I didn't have problems during the week (just at the race last Sunday and again yesterday), this doesn't seem likely.

Have I acquired allergies? Again, no problems during the week. Then again, I don't ride as hard in training as I do in races.

Do I have exercise-induced asthma? Since I was still wheezy this morning when I woke up, I doubt that's it.

Not exactly sure what my next step should be. I'm not crazy about self-medicating, but I feel like I need something to help. Went to the drug store after my ride. Claritin is popular but I'm a bit reluctant because of the caution of interactions with thyroid. Bought a bronchial asthma inhaler. Took a couple of puffs about an hour ago and I'm still wheezy. Damn! All I have to say is my legs feel great and this sucks! Should I make an appointment with my GP? Or go directly to an allergist?

Anyways, had a good ride even if I thought I would die on OLH. Legs are damn strong and it felt great to do a longer ride. Thank you! Climbed Old La Honda and lots of other smaller climbs and rollers. This was a good solid ride.

Ride stats -- 4:57:05 -- 66.7 miles -- 13.6mph avg -- 38.6mph max -- AVG HR = 136 -- MAX HR = 173. Note about OLH: HR was consistently in the 160s and 170s (high zone 4 & zone 5). I'm usually able to spin up a climb in zone 2 or 3. Even though I was spinning nice & easy, my breathing screwed up my ride. Bummer.

Weekly Stats (May 24th - 30th)
-- 14:35:53 -- 199.75 miles -- 3 chiro appts, no massage, no pilates, one race (Monterey Circuit Race -- DNF).

Oh, and I realized I never blogged Kern County and last week's training.

Weekly Stats (May 17th - 23rd) -- 13:40:25 -- 200 miles -- 3 chiro appts, one massage, one pilates, four races (Kern County Women's Stage Race).

Saturday, May 29, 2004

You pay your money & you take your chances.....

Darn! One of the worst parts of today is that I've been mentally preparing, feeling excellent physically, spent hours yesterday cleaning my bike, doing laundry, prepping food, packing, etc. Drive all the way to Monterey, warm-up, and blammo! It's over in 18 minutes.

So, I've been having some allergy-type wheezing since early spring. Last week in Bakersfield it was even worse, so I took some Benehist. And on Sunday, at the circuit race, where I thought I'd do really well, I couldn't breathe. I somehow thought it had to do with the elevation.

So, preparing for the Monterey allergans, I took a Benehist last night and another one this morning. Feeling good. Found the perfect hole shot at the beginning of the race, got Shaun on my wheel and pulled her up the first three hills. Then it hit me. I couldn't breathe. I hyperventilated up the fourth hill while the field swarmed me and I just couldn't get back on. Dammit! Now I'm starting to wonder if the Benehist caused me to have an asthmatic reaction.

Rode another lap alone, within view of the pack, but I just couldn't slow my breathing. Puked at the top of the last hill on the second lap and decided that was it. 18 minutes of racing.

I know, first year racing is a learning process, but this really pisses me off. I'm just starting to feel like I've got climbing legs. I had really high expectations for this race. And it was over just like that.

Well, at least I'm racing again on Monday so I don't have to keep feeling depressed forever.

Race Stats -- 45 minutes of warmup + 18:41 -- 5.03 miles -- 16.2mph avg -- 34.9mph max -- AVG HR = 154 -- MAX HR = 166.

Still feeling wheezy or I'd go out for a ride now to make me feel better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I'm Almost Afraid to Say This.....

.....but I feel good! Really good. I was still a bit off on the bike yesterday, but when I went out this morning, I felt incredible. Already, I feel stronger and faster and wow! Decided to incorporate a ride into my transportation to the chiropractor, and since the timing worked, I went out with the Wednesday morning ride. The first indicator that I was feeling good was the fact that I climbed Polhemus and the Ralston Bike Bridge fast and almost effortlessly. Wow. Anyways, all in all, it was a fantastic ride. Just a little tiny bit of residual DOMS and NO BACK PAIN! Yes, even climbing.

So, it turned into one of those days you just don't want to get off the bike. Rolled around for two hours before my chiropractor and then another hour + coming home. Decided to ride home via the Alameda and rode the entire way northbound (even the 20% + grades that I haven't attempted in years). Wow! I feel strong and am climbing so well. Isn't it amazing what a hilly stage race can do for your perspective.

Anyways, I've been keeping my journal on my PC but I just suck at blogging. I'll try to update everything today.

Ride stats -- 3:18:37 -- 47.67 miles -- 14.4mph average -- 32.4mph max -- kept my HR nice and low (averaged in zone 3 & low zone 3 with the exception of a couple of the climbing sections when it popped up to the 150s -- low zone 4).

Friday, May 14, 2004

Time Trial Questions for Giana

Hi Giana! I've got a bunch of questions for you regarding time trialling. Here goes (in no specific order):

1. What gearing do you use to start? Assuming a standing start, is it my goal to be in the right gearing from the start or do I shift at some point?

2. From a standing start, do I start seated and power over the gear or standing to jump onto the gear?

3. Should I do the turn-around in the time trial bars? Weeee! I really like the tt bike and practiced turning and cornering the other night.

4. In a 10-mile tt, is there any need to drink? Do I mount a bottle or wear a camelbak under my skinsuit?

5. Since I don't have my PowerTap yet, do I base my pace on HR? How do I know what my target is?

6. I assume I want to keep a consistent pace throughout and possibly build for the second half, rather than start hard and blow. Right?

7. Should I do my warm-up on my tt bike or my road bike? Do you have a suggested warm-up we could use?

Life Sucks

Okay, I haven't blogged this week because I haven't really been able to train this week. I'm tired and in pain and cranky and depressed and unhappy and I just want my back to feel better. Argh! Anyways, here goes.

Monday, May 10th -- Bad pain. Should've listened to my body at Berkeley Hills and pulled out when the pain got so bad. It hurts to sit or bend and I can't even imagine getting on the bike.

Tuesday, May 11th -- Picked up my TT bike and made an appointment with a chiropractor for Wednesday. Giana made some changes to my bike fit. Did the team training but my back still hurts, especially when I sit at my desk.

Wednesday, May 12th -- Worked on my TT bike. Had my very first chiro appointment. I like the doctor but I'm not crazy about adjustments. I wish I could remember everything he said. He did say I've got a handful of vertabrae out of alignment (both cervical and lumbar). He thinks the pain/clicking in my neck is connected to my thyroid issues. Right side is very weak and very stressed and tight (hip, glutes, piraformis, back, and shoulders). Wants me to change my desk set-up at home. Did a short ride on my new TT bike (about 45 minutes) and worked on some cornering skills.

Thursday, May 13th -- 2nd Chiro appointment. I can't tell if this makes me feel better or worse. Also had a very gentle Pilates session (lots of stretching). My body just plain hurts all over and I've got a terrible headache. Coached Canaan on the bike (approximately 40 minutes) and it felt okay, but when I'm off the bike I'm in lots of pain. Taught a bike maintenance clinic in the evening and it really hurts to bend over.

Friday, May 14th -- woke up at 4:00am to go to the race and realized I was totally stupid to think I should do a circuit race with a big-ass climb so I decided not to go. Back hurts, but seems better than yesterday. Will try to get out on the bike for a while today and assess the situation. Am supposed to have a massage appointment with Suzanne this afternoon but she hasn't confirmed yet.

Monday, May 10, 2004

The week in Review

Okay, so I'm more consistent that a couple of months ago, but still not 100% in compliance with my training. One of my goals for the coming two weeks is to be 100% consistent.

My back feels like crap today and the last thing I can imagine is getting on the bike for three hours. Was planning to ride this morning, but I think I may wait it out and hopefully feel better later in the day.

Weekly Training Stats (May 3rd through 9th) -- 11:28:44 -- 174.4 miles -- one kick-butt race.

Reflections on the weekend

Saturday, May 8th, 2004 -- A Velo Girls win at Cat's Hill. Yippee! Cox pulled it at the line -- photo finish. All our racers did great and I was very proud. After the race, headed out for my pre-race ride. Not knowing the ride options in Los Gatos, I found it challenging to find a good route to do it, but I think it worked out okay.

Ride stats -- 48 minutes -- 11.1 miles -- 13.9mph avg -- 29.9mph max

Sunday, May 9th, 2004 -- Berkeley Hills Road Race -- This was a tough one for me. I felt very strong (legs and lungs) but my back is just killing me and it feels like I'm compressing my sciatic nerve. Need to fix my bike fit and I think I'm also finally going to give in and visit a chiropractor (Jen Mason has a very good one who focuses on athletes and even worked at a bunch of Olympic games).

Anyways, wasn't feeling very awake or alert during our warm-up. But I felt good once we got to the line. Full field (50 CAT4s) and we planned to win. I put myself in great position (and made sure my teammates were in good position as well) during the promenade and when we rolled to the start, I said "it's a bike race ladies," and took off. Spent a little bit off the front (fun) and then was re-absorbed by the pack. I wasn't planning to do that, but it was fun (my short moment of glory). Got to the first big climb (Mama Bear) a bit further back in the pack than I'd planned, but it was okay. Popped off the back (no surprise), but not so far off that I couldn't see the pack or other stragglers. Rode with Gail (Berkeley Bike Club), but she wasn't able to keep up on the climbs and I dropped her on Papa Bear. Thought I'd made a big mistake doing that, but I caught up to Lauren at the beginning of San Pablo Dam Road (yeah). We worked together for the rest of lap one and convinced each other to keep racing. I actually considered quitting (for the first time in a race) because my back was simply killing me), but stuck it out with Lauren. As we began the second climb up Mama Bear, Gail caught us and the three of us pacelined & echeloned for the rest of the race. We told Lauren to cross the line first for mother's day (she's a mom), and Gail and I crossed hand in hand.

It was finally great to be able to race with others during a road race (instead of just time trialling it). Lauren climbs a bit faster than me, but she's not a fast descender, so it worked great. She'd hop on my wheel during the decsents and we were able to stay together.

So, how did I feel? Well, I felt great on the first set of climbs. Actually climbed pretty well (HR in 150s & 160s) and was able to dig really deep to keep my pace up on the hills. By the second time up the climbs, my back was really, really bothering me and my pace was much slower (HR about 20 beats lower than the first lap).

Quick note on the race in general. It was pretty exciting that most of the field was able to stay together for the first lap. Women's racing sure has come a long way. Even on the second lap, there was a core group of about 20 racers in the lead pack coming into the last climb.

Oh, my result. Wasn't last. They hadn't released full results when I finished, but there were a handful of women who finished after us and probably 10 or so women who just quit. I think that's one of the reasons I keep racing alone -- the slower racers don't finish the races.

Race Stats -- 2:59:47 (broke the 3 hour mark)!!! 46 miles. AVG HR = 140, MAX HR = 167

Total Stats for the day (including warm-up & cool down) -- 4:03:09 -- 61.4 miles -- 15.2mph avg -- 40.2mph max

Friday, May 07, 2004

I feel good when I ride.....

.....I feel good after I ride.....but the rest of the time I've been feeling like crap. Very tired and emotionally down and stuffy (like my head is in a fishbowl). Leslie thinks I've got allergies. He says that the adreneline from exercise can make it feel better temporarily (maybe I should just train 24/7).

Anyways, I woke sleepy again this morning. I don't usually set my alarm (I just wake up), but I've been setting my alarm, waking up tired (even after 8+ hours sleep) and going back to sleep. This was the third day in a row I wasn't feeling so hot. Morning HR is still super-low as is my resting HR. Moving slowly all day.

Decided I would just do an hour to see how I felt. Felt good. Climbed a bit and took it easy in general, including a little bit of tooling around (Crystal Springs, Skyline, Trousdale, California).

Wondering if my bike fit is off (or maybe it's my body). I feel like I'm really using my quads a lot and not able to leverage my glutes and hamstrings as much. Going to take some time in the morning and work on this to make sure I'm in a good place.

So, in general, I'm feeling faster and stronger. However, I don't feel like I'm progressing much on my hills. Patience, I know.

I'm actually looking forward to my high-volume week next week. I've planned out my schedule so I can work all my training in without conflicts (or excuses). Hopefully the extra time on the bike will help me kick out of this.

Ride Stats -- 1:23:21 -- 17.8 miles -- 12.9mph avg -- 32.6mph max

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Wednesday, May 5th

Hmmm. Still feeling down or slow or depressed. Resting HR is still low. But, I feel good on the bike.

Did a short, very easy ride this morning. Needed to make an appearance at the Wednesday morning club ride and ride with a client for a bit.

My calendar said to do the Wednesday night fast ride (yeah). By the time 4:00 rolled around I was cold and tired and not in the mood, so I drove out to Canada & 92 and rode around for a bit to warm-up (you know it's a serious ride when you warm up first). Rode really well, and was able to hang with the team until that stinker on Olive Hill when Kim & Susan dropped me (but I was ahead of the rest of the group). Hadn't done this ride in a month and I can definitely see improvement. Hard, hard, hard, and my hips and glutes were burning, but my HR was good.

Morning Ride Stats -- 1:08:05 -- 16.2 miles -- 14.4mph avg -- 25.6mph max

Evening Ride Stats -- 2:02:41 -- 34.5 miles -- 16.9mph avg -- 35.1mph max

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

LT Intervals

Tuesday, May 4th -- Looking back at my journal, I realize I've only really done one set of LT intervals since I began training with Giana in March. Anyways, my resting HR was incredibly low all day today (as was my energy). I know I didn't eat or hydrate properly yesterday and I've had a hard time sleeping the past week. I fall asleep super-early and then wake up a couple of hours later. I sleep a lot, but keep waking up through the night, so it doesn't seem very restful. So, this morning, my HR is 39. Thirty-fricking-nine! My waking HR is usually about 42-45 and I don't recall ever seeing a HR in the 30s. But then, the stranger thing is it's hovering in the 40s all day while I'm working. And I had too much coffee today!!! Maybe this is why I've felt so down -- my heart is too slow.

Anyways, had my coaching session with Canaan and spent about 30 minutes riding with him at a very low/moderate pace (for me) -- averaged just over 11mph. Decided to try the LT intervals at Pacific Shores Center (1.3 mile loop on the bay). Figured it would be one of the few places I could get a perfectly sustained effort for the intervals. Of course, there's wind, but since it's head, cross, tail, and cross, I figured it would all average out.

30 minute progressive warm-up, then I started my first interval. Felt good and a glance at my computer showed that I averaged over 20mph. I guess I could calculate watts since I know my pace, gearing, grade, weight, and an estimation of the wind. Nah! Too much work. Anyways, the effort felt good and I tried to keep it as steady as possible with the changing wind and one tight turn. AVG HR = 153, MAX HR = 161. Did a 10 minute recovery in zone 2 and then took five minutes to ramp back up a bit. Second effort also felt good although at this point I could tell that my poor nutrition/hydration from yesterday was affecting my training. AVG HR = 151, MAX HR = 159. Attempted a short sprint at the end just to see what I could do. Not much, but not terrible. Did another 15 minutes of cool-down then some cornering drills at Chesapeake Drive.

In comparison to my other LT Intervals (March), I was able to achieve and sustain a much higher, consistent HR. Progress.

Ride Stats: 2:02:48 -- 33.39 miles -- 16.4mph avg -- 28.1mph max
(these stats include 30 minutes with coaching client)