Just what did I learn yesterday? I learned that racing without my Albuterol inhaler for asthma is a REALLY DUMB thing to do. Just because my inhaled steroid meds work well during easy training runs doesn't mean I shouldn't have that rescue inhaler on-hand during an actual race (on a hilly, partially unpaved nightmare of a course) when I am pushing my body and lungs to the limit. I thought I knew this from earlier race/asthma issues, but perhaps I have been in denial or thought my current maintenance medication (Qvar) was more effective than it actually is, at least during a race. In all fairness, this is the first race I've run since I started this medication, so yesterday served as a learning experience.
Here are my mile splits. My official time of 1:29:48 ended up being 1:15 slower this year than last (my PR for both the distance and the course)...and this year those miles felt SO much more taxing:
|Intervals (GPS Interval)|
|Type||Distance||Time||Total Time||Pace||Avg HR||Max HR||Notes|
I should have taken a hit off of my inhaler at about the 3 mile marker, as it takes about 20 minutes to kick in fully. That would have at least gotten me through the last half of the race, when I really started to struggle with my air intake. My lungs were also not helped by the people burning leaves or the farmer driving his fume-belching diesel-powered tractor around at road's edge and kicking up dust.
Last year I recall getting a second wind around the 7 mile mark. This year that was just before I really started to consider stopping to walk. By about 7.5 miles my right lung actually started hurting. This was a first. The lung pain was accompanied by coughing and by the end of the race I was starting to gag on the lovely mucus working its way up from my lungs and catching at the back of my throat. In the future I may try taking a dose of Mucinex pre-race to hopefully loosen that gunk up.
Every other time I have run this race I've had a strong kick for the last mile. Yesterday there was no kick. No gas left in the tank. Instead of bombing my way down that last LONG, gradual hill I just trotted-along trying not to get passed by anyone in the last half-mile. Oxygen is kinda important to optimum muscle function, heh.
I finished 7/13 in my age group...pretty similar to last year's 7/11. Average time for women was 1:30:33, so at least I was on the faster side of average. Average time field-wide was 1:22:56.
I spent the rest of the day with a tight cough and achey lungs. I ended up having to hit the Albuterol again to fall asleep.
Today I feel better...not too tired and just a bit stiff and sore. I did a really easy 3.5 mile run to work out the kinks. That felt pretty good. It was almost 60º out there under clear, blue skies. What a gorgeous day. I'm looking forward to getting out for an easy ride on my bike tomorrow, too. I hope the weather will be just as nice as it's been today.
I still plan to run the race again next year. Hopefully with at least 10 fewer pounds stuck to my butt (20 would be ideal...that could potentially buy me a minute/mile pace increase) and for sure with my inhaler in my back pocket. Never again am I going to let something completely avoidable like not being fully prepared get in the way of a great race.