Sunday, August 30, 2015

A week of running and the allergy plague

Allergies are so annoying.  I miss the blissfully allergy-free existence I had for my first 4 or so years in WV.  Now they are worse every year.  I ran out of Claritin a few weeks ago, but had plenty of Zyrtec left, so I switched to that.  This Tuesday my nose started running like a leaky faucet.  I went to CVS as soon as I got off work and picked up Claritin.  Sadly, not soon enough.  I got a sore throat.  And then my nose stopped dripping and got stuffed up.  And then the cough started.  Of course, this coincided with the first week of my full teaching schedule at school.  Teaching PE on Friday was...hard.  Any time I had to talk for more than about 5 seconds, and any time I had to raise my voice, I went into a coughing fit.  Hooray for whistles.  Anti-hooray for the fact that I chose activities that required explanations and question-answering.

Thanks to being sick, I messed up my running/sleep schedule this week.  I ran first thing in the morning on Monday and Tuesday, but it was chilly in the mornings this week, and on Wednesday there was no way I was dragging my allergy-ridden self out of bed to run in 50 degrees.  That's just asking to get sicker.  I took Wednesday off.  Thursday I had to drop my car off at Ford in the evening so it could get new parts installed on Friday morning.  I jogged home from Ford...the 6 mile wandering way, not the 1.5 mile direct way.  It felt really, really, glorious to run in the warm, sunshiny daylight after so many dark, cold, skunky runs.  I was hoping my car would be done by lunchtime so I could pick it up in my planning period, but it wasn't.  I didn't get to pick it up until after school, and didn't get home til 4.  I wanted to bike, but I had to be at a school picnic at 5, so there wasn't enough time for anything but a bike sprint and I was not in the mood for that.  I finally got on the bike today.  Not so much because I was in the mood for it, but because I needed to get on it before I forgot how.  I can't let myself give up the bike quite yet.  I just don't want to bike so much now that I am running a lot.  I like running so much more.  But my new bike should get here and get built sometime this week, and I'm guessing the shiny new bike will help me want to bike more.

This week : 
M : run 5
T : run 5.1
R : run 6
Sa : jog 1.5, race 3.1, jog 0.2
Su : bike 23

total miles run : 21
total miles biked : 23

Thin Mint Sprint

I was on the fence about this race all summer because of my foot, but this week rolled around and my foot was feeling good so I decided to go for it.  Partly because they said every finisher would get a box of thin mints, and I happen to love thin mints.  Unfortunately, this week's allergy flare-up hit my lungs the day after I signed up.  That had me more worried than my foot did, but I had already registered so I stuck with it.  If I cough up a lung, I must not really need that lung, right?

I checked the weather Saturday morning and it said it was about 55, so I was expecting a pretty cool race.  I decided shorts and a short sleeve shirt would be appropriate.  By the end of my warm-up, I was rethinking that decision.  It felt more like 75 than 55, and it was really humid.  One of my racerback running tanks would have been much more comfortable.  I almost decided to run home and change since I had plenty of time, but I decided it wasn't quite worth the hassle.

I took my dose of Serevent around 8.  I was on the fence about using the ProAir inhaler before the race or not.  I had meant to try a faster run at some point before the race to see if I would need the rescue inhaler or not, but since I was sick, that didn't happen.  In the end, I decided to use the ProAir right before the race, rather than struggle to use it in the middle of the race while sprinting.

The race went pretty well.  I didn't start out quite as fast as I normally would, but I knew there was no way I was going to pull a super fast time with being sick and not being in race shape. I settled into the fastest pace that I felt like I would be able to hold.  I was in fourth place overall for most of the first mile, then slowly picked off the two guys in front of me.  My friend Denver was the first place runner, and I knew I would never catch him.  I beat him on this same course back in March, when I was the one in better running shape.  It was his turn in this race.  He ended up beating me by about 2 minutes.  I finished in 20:40.  Not a bad time after all my slow runs and lung trouble lately!

my heart rate was through the roof...not sure if that was because I was running so hard, 
or because of all the asthma medication in my system...

I got my box of thin mints for finishing...and then I got 12 more boxes of girl scout cookies for winning my "age group."  For some reason, they didn't give awards to overall winners, just age groups.

I gave one box away before I went home and took this photo.
As of right now, 5 more boxes have been given away.  
I'm keeping all the thin mints for myself, I'm not attached to the rest...

receiving my giant box of cookies...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Trial by Fire

I had gotten above 6 miles in my runs several times, and my foot was feeling pretty good.  So I wanted to know if it was ready for more mileage.  I ran 9.5 miles.  It wasn't ready.  Haven't run since that long run, but I am going to try a short(er) run tomorrow morning and see what happens.

This week : 
M : run 6.3, bike 17.9
T : run 5.3
W : bike 24.1
R : run 9.5
F : rest
Sa : bike 30.4
Su : rest

total run miles : 21.1 (goal 20)
total bike miles : 72.5 (goal 50)

I upped my running mileage goal for this week since last week went so well.  I lowered the bike mileage goal mainly just because school has started up and am not guaranteed to find the time to ride much more than 50 until my indoor trainer gets here.  I just ordered it on Friday, but it is back-ordered, so it may not be here for a few weeks.  

In other news, I also ordered my new bike!  I am looking forward to riding a nicer, lighter, faster, and better-fitting bike.  And prettier of course.  Sadly I was unable to get a blue bike because apparently the "in" color is red.  But it does have a bit of green on it, which is my second favorite color.  And of course I ordered blue bar tape to go on it, and a blue saddle bag.  It will be pretty snazzy looking once it is built.  

I had an appointment at the car mechanic's for after I stopped in the bike shop to order my new bike stuff.  I knew it was going to be a rather expensive visit, but I was thinking somewhere around $500.  As luck would have it, all of the parts and labor for the various problems with my car totaled over $1000.  About half of the stuff was done on Friday, the other half will be done next Friday after parts come in.  Life gets more expensive every time I turn around.  But this visit involved all new brakes and rotors, so I shouldn't have to worry about that again for a long time... I am going to be optimistic and assume that after this round of repairs, my car will run wonderfully and problem-free for awhile.  
I'm thinking maybe it's a good thing that my foot is saying it's not race-ready, because I should be paying for my bike and car right now, not for race-travel...  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Twice as many runs as rides...!

This week:
M : run 4.7
W  : run 5.2, bike 24.5
R : run 6.2
Sa : run 3
Su : bike 20 (last 13 w/Jessica)

run total : 19.1
bike total : 44.6

Low bike mileage this week, but I was feeling a bit burned out and needed a break.  But, I am happy to say that I ran two days in a row for the first time in a very long while, and it didn't seem to cause any problems!  

During Wednesday's run, an old guy in a big truck pulled up along side me (it was about 6:15 AM...almost light out), and told me I had better watch out for the crazies who would attack me.  He told me to be careful, and then drove off.  I have no idea if he was joking or not. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good : I can breathe again!
The bad : Oxygen access is depressingly expensive!
The ugly : I'm looking for a new bike and it's hard to find one that is pretty and semi-affordable.

So, my appointment with the pulmonologist finally happened, after 2+ months of waiting.  He talked to me for awhile, then had me do a bunch of breathing tests with a nurse.  One of them involved me walking up and down a hallway with her checking my oxygen level on the little finger thingy every time I passed her.  Since the air conditioning was frigid, my cold fingers kept messing up the reading.  She tried having me hold my hand under hot running water for awhile, but it got cold again within about a minute.  So she resorted to just vigorously rubbing my hand every time the number got too low.  We probably should have just done that test outside.  The other test involved various kinds of breathing into a mouthpiece hooked to a computer, followed by an albuterol treatment, followed by the breathing stuff again. The albuterol treatment smelled like my childhood.  After all the tests, the doctor came back to talk about my results.  He said a score of 80 is normal.  My scores were in the 90s before the albuterol treatment, and between 110 and 130 after. I'm glad he believed me when I said I can't breathe when I run, because I'm pretty sure those tests didn't show that anything is wrong.  They probably would have been more accurate if I had ran 3 miles right before testing.

He wrote me an Rx for Severent, which is a long-acting medication that will keep my airways open for 12 hours.  I take one inhalation at least 30 min before exercise, and then I am good to go.  I have to carry my rescue inhaler with me just in case I need it, but so far I haven't.  I used the Severent for the first time on Thursday morning, and it was amazing.  It's been so long since I got to run without feeling the asthma constriction in my lungs!  Unfortunately, one Severent discus costs $84.  I almost had a heart attack in CVS when I saw that number pop up on the screen.  There are 60 doses, and since I am only running 3 days a week, I could make it last quite awhile.  But the instructions are very clear about the fact that the discus needs to be thrown out after 6 weeks, because the medication doesn't stay good much longer than that.  I imagine I can stretch it for more than 6 weeks before it gets too weak to help me, but I'm guessing it won't last as long as I could stretch out those 60 doses.  All I can do is hope that this medicine helps get my lungs back into shape quickly, so I can stop using it before it drains my bank account.

This week : 
M : bike 23.1
T : run 4.3
W : rest day
R : run 4.6
F : bike 35
Sa : bike 30.4, run 3.3
Su : bike 18

bike total : 106.6 
run total : 12.2

My legs were dead on Monday's ride.  Probably has something to do with the fact that I didn't take any days off last week.  My mind says that a 3 mile jog is the same thing as a day off, but it appears that my body does not agree.  So, I skipped Wednesday's bike day.  I felt pretty good on Friday's ride, but then I was up late Friday night, so I was dragging on Saturday's ride.  And even though I went to bed early last night, I was also dragging on today's ride.  I guess taking only one day off after 13 days on isn't enough.  I want to continue with the 4 rides/3 runs per week though.  Looks like I will have to try doubling up on a few days so that I can go back to taking 2 days off per week.  Or I will have to bike less.  Decisions, decisions.

I have been getting up super early in the mornings to exercise before work.  I can do this for running any day, but biking can only happen on days that I don't have to work until 9, because there just isn't enough daylight for me to get on the bike any earlier than about 6:30, and I know that sunrise is getting later and later.  After this week, I won't be able to bike outside in the early mornings any more because I will be at school no later than 8 every day.  I was going to wait til winter to by a trainer, but I'm thinking I might want to buy one sooner so that I can bike in the mornings starting soon.  I'm hoping to be babysitting several afternoons after school, so my afternoon exercise time will be limited.  I was also going to wait til spring to buy a new bike (I need a bike that actually fits me), but at this point I feel like I may as well buy everything I need at once and be done with it.  Then, I can put my current bike on the trainer, and have the new bike handy for the days when I have time to ride outside.  Since the trainer will shred my tire, it seems easier to have two bikes than to have to change the tire every time I ride...But if I manage to talk myself out of buying a bike now, I will probably buy a cheap wheel instead, and then keep the cheap wheel on the trainer, and have my current wheel for outside rides.  It will be way easier to switch out the wheels than to change a tire every time.

In other news, I added a bunch of hills back into my run on Saturday, not sure if it would be worse for my foot or not.  So far, it appears that it was not detrimental.  Hooray!

I want this bike, because it is beautiful and blue.
But I want it to not be $1400+, and I want it to not have hydraulic brakes/shifters.
Because hydraulics are expensive to maintain.

This bike is also pretty.
But it's $2400.
And I probably really don't need an aero's not like I've picked up bike racing. Yet.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Another high mileage week with an adventure in VA

This week :
M : bike 24.2 w/Dan & Denver
T : jog 3.5
W : bike 35
R : jog 3.8
F : 57.2
Sa : run 4.5
Su : bike 32.1

bike miles : 148.6 / 15,141 ft of climbing
run miles : 11.8


Running was better this week.  I kept to a flatter route and kept the mileage lower as well, (also lowered my goal to 10 miles for the week) and my foot felt a lot better.  I've also been careful to only wear good shoes/sandals, and to put my orthotics in my riding boots when I go out to the barn.  I'm sure that has helped as well.  Tuesday and Thursday were both early morning jogs before work.  Thursday breathing was even harder than normal, but it didn't occur to me until after I finished that I had most likely forgotten to use my inhaler.  Saturday I went in the heat of the afternoon and jogged 2.5, ran 1.5, and cooled down 0.5.  


I found out Thursday evening that I didn't have to work on Friday, so I decided I had better plan a ride out of town since I may not get many more chances this season.  I decided to head to VA this time, and parked at the Swinging Bridge Restaurant.  I then rode a wonderful long loop on gorgeous one and two lane country roads.  The ride started out with a 5.5 mile climb to the top of Potts Mountain on 311 S.  Then the descent down the other side, where a baby bear loped across the road in front of me just close enough that I wondered if mama bear would come lunging out of the woods on top of me.  But, there was no sign of mama bear so I continued my ride without mishap.  Physically, I still felt pretty good by the end of the ride.  Good enough to keep going.  But mentally, I was done after about 50 miles.  I really just wanted the ride to end so I could get off the bike and go do something else with my day.  That was a long ride to do alone.  
view from the top of Potts Mountain

 gorgeous country lane

showing some SBC pride on my ride through VA

such a perfect, gorgeous, day

After my ride I was able to change into clean clothes and eat a delicious lunch at the Swinging Bridge Restaurant before returning home. 

some light reading on the table while I waited for my food

an awesome chicken salad sandwich with lettuce, tomato, bacon, and cranberry sauce
fries and cole slaw on the side

I started my ride at 6:30 this morning because I had various things planned later in the day and also needed time to ride the bike and my horse.  It was absolutely gorgeous out this morning, though also about 50 degrees, so I was rather cold.  The sunrise was colorful, the light was golden, and the rising fog was pretty.  I'm going to have to go out at the same time some morning soon with my camera instead of my bike.