Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Walking Away From a Bad Day

It wasn't an A Race.   It wasn't a race at all in fact, but it was a key workout for me.  Tonight was my Triathlon Club's weekly 20k time trial.  It was also time for me to retest my threshold power to see how much I've improved.  

I got my bike ready the night before and attended to every detail I could think of.  I got my clothes ready, my flat kit, my race wheels, everything.

In fact, here's a new picture of Karma (my P3) with her race wheels.

Things were going well for the first three miles.  I was holding back at my threshold, ready to start hammering when I turned into the wind at about 3 miles in.  I turned, I hammered, things got bad quick.  I know my breath at threshold really well, as an endurance nation athlete I spend alot of time there.  This wasn't normal threshold breathing.  About 5 miles in my lungs were burning, my throat was closing, I was coughing.  Bad news.  My exercise induced asthma was flaring up.  I forgot my inhaler amongst the 1000 details I did remember.  Not good.  I've never had an issue with asthma on the bike before, but I woke up with a cold last night, and perhaps that kicked it off.  Next thing I knew, I was bleeding off Watts and struggling to breath.  I did my best to stay in the box and calm myself, but I finished the race 9 Watts under FTP.

So, I had a bad day, but it wasn't all bad.  I learned some stuff today.  Here is what I learned:
  1.  Racing is about execution.  In training you build your vehicle.  In racing you drive it.  You can only race the vehicle you've got that day.  I did the best I could with what I had today, and that's all I can ask for. 
  2. A bad day doesn't mean I'm a bad athlete.  It's just a bad day.  A series of bad days means I'm screwing something up.  A single day is an outlier.
  3. I can improve my execution by making a to do list for myself and a plan, like I would for a large race.  I forgot to bring my inhaler and take it before I rode.  I forgot to eat my pre-race banana 30 minutes prior to start.  Things that start with "I forgot" can be handled with better execution.
So there it is.  My day didn't go like I wanted...but I'll be back for more.  Until then, the things I learned today will make me faster every time I race.  Hard earned lessons for sure.  Experience is expensive, but it's also priceless.


  1. UGH. seriously suck. I can't believe you had an asthma attack and not only FINISHED the TT, but kicked @ss. I wasn't happy with my race or effort (no real good excuse), but JEEZ, an asthma attack?!? and I'm pretty sure you still SMOKED me. I think it fired an engine b/c I didn't SEE you after mile 5 ;)

  2. I was impressed you could run after that Laura, it was a hard ride for sure. All I wanted afterwards was to sit down and enjoy my inhaler and that banana I forgot to eat earlier.... :) Sorry it didn't go so well for you though.

    And honestly my asthma is only exercise induced and the symptoms are pretty minor. I didn't even know I had it until this winter, when someone saw me struggling after a 5k.

    You're doing a full right? Rev3 Cedar Point?

  3. I stumbled upon your blog. I did a track workout today and had an asthma attack in the middle of it. Haven't had one in a long time so it took me a while to figure out what was going on (my training partner actually made a comment about my weazing during an 800). Anyway, nice job on the 20k.

  4. AWESOME on your fitness achievements -- !!! LOVE IT ALL !!!

  5. @SSB - That's pretty similar to how I discovered I had it to. I had no idea!

    @Jennifer Thank you so much! Laura is a rocking athlete and a huge inspiration to me. You guys are doing great things together it looks like!