Sunday, June 8, 2014


Rocking the VK!

I knew this was going to hurt, even before I started. This was also my pre-asthma diagnosis race and my lungs couldn't quite catch up for this one.

Up and at 'em at 5:30am, get dressed, get Abby up, fed, dressed, diaper bag packed, Rich up, then Caleb, breakfast, snacks...wait, I forgot to eat. Tried cramming some food down, yuck. I can't force it that early. Oh will do.

Hickory was only 35 minutes from our house and we arrived just in time for packet pick up. This was my first sprint tri in three years and really my first tri (apart from Ironman) since last June and it took a few minutes just to figure out how to set up transition. It's so different for Ironman transition and I guess I've gotten used to have transition bags and changing tents. Anyway,  got the bike racked, and everything set up and was ready to go.

Didn't warm up any before the race, with a teenager and a nearly 2 year time!  Hickory was in water start,  so I positioned myself in front and to the far left. Direct shot to the turn. It was an optional wetsuit swim, but the swim was only 400m and the water was actually pretty warm so I chose not to wear one. In the's go time.

As always, and in T fashion, I took off like a rocket. Will I ever learn self-control? After a couple of minutes I found Leigh-Ann's feet and hung there until the turn buoy and that's when my lungs blew. I drifted off and found myself struggling a bit. All I kept thinking was relax, breathe, relax, breathe. I was glad to see the swim end and then it was up hill to T1. My lungs were on fire. I made it to my bike and was off.

My Kiddie Support Crew
The first couple of miles on the bike are gradual uphill and so my lungs still couldn't quite catch up. Once we made the first left, I kicked it up. I marked my target and mashed down one the pedals. All I kept thinking was "If only there was a long downhill, I could catch my breath and all would be good."  We made another left and it was uphill, but once I made it over the hill, I started catching up on my breathing, somewhat.

My muscles were starting to ache and I felt like I had no strength. It all makes sense now that I know I have asthma. I was in such oxygen debt, that my muscles were struggling to work efficiently. I was building lactic acid and fast. I managed to pull off a fairly good bike and was pleased that given my problems and no speed training in the last couple of months, that I was fourth fastest female on the bike.

When I made my way back to T2, I knew that the hurt locker was about to come again. I rolled into transition and racked the bike. My shoes are not quite broken in, just started using them a few days before the race and it would show. I couldn't get my wet feet into them. When I did, the inserts would roll up underneath my feet. Finally after fiddling with them for what seemed ages, I just said, screw it. I ran with them inserts bunched up under my feet, which made for a couple nice post-race blisters. Transition time = slow!

Out of T2 and up that bloody hill. The long incline again. If I thought my lungs were aching before, there were screaming at me now. I even muttered once, " I am going to have a freaking heart attack." I just couldn't get my breathing under control and the entire run was an all out struggle.

I've never been more excited when I hit the downhill running to the finish. Rich, Caleb and Abby were waiting for me at the finished and I grabbed Abby and we crossed the line together. Relief!

Happy and grateful to have finished another triathlon.

I finished the day with 2nd in my age group. 40-44 women = tough bunch! I immediately made the decision that I would see a doctor the following week to find out why I was still having such a struggle with breathing. See prior blog post...Just Breathe

What I know now, that I didn't know then, is that I raced a sprint tri with inflamed, asthmatic lungs. That would explain the pain I felt and the complete breathlessness. My muscles ached, my back and intercostal muscles hurt so so bad. I was literally in knots from just trying to get air into my lungs. My back, chest, and neck ached for the next 24 hours from just trying to breathe.

If any of you reading have asthma and are also an athlete, then you know what I mean.  Given the circumstances of the day, I am happy to have finished the race as always, and learned that once again, when the going gets tough...I can and will always keep going.

I am now on the proper medications and am happy to report that in my last couple of training sessions, even in the humid conditions, all is feeling better. It may take up to two weeks for the corticosteroids to help with the lung inflammation, but my doctor said that I should see a difference soon. Fingers crossed I'm on my way out of this 8 week hole!

1 comment:

Pamela McGowan said...

Glad you got your breathing figured out. Still a great effort especially with those challenges. And the new kit looks fabulous on you! xoxo

Pam :)