12th Annual Riverwalk 5 Mile Race Report

Today, I ran the 12th Annual Riverwalk 5 Mile Race in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  According to Daniels, this was my third speed session of the week (either a speedwork or race, according to his instructions), so I chose a race to see how my progress was going with this training session.

I signed up for the race 3 weeks ago, which means I had not had any issues with the asthma and thought I would be able to do this event without a problem.  How naive I am sometimes.

Excuses:
  • Asthma Attack at Mile 3
  • Changing floor at home had me smelling fumes all week
  • Asthma not under control for the past 3 weeks
  • Increase in asthma meds
  • 2 Martinis the night before
  • 3 hours of sleep
  • Obama
  • Insert your favorite here
As you might have read on the threads I participate, my asthma has gone haywire for the past 3 weeks. It's not a coincidence that it has gone haywire exactly when I am starting training for short races.  For the last 5 months or so I have been training mainly on easy and long runs to complete multiple marathons, so speedwork has not been part of my vocabulary since I finished Pfitz 18/70 in November and my plan to complete as many marathons as I could.

The first week of training went well.  However, I started noticing that any speedwork at above 800m or tempo runs caused me asthma attacks.  So I've been doing my miles but speedwork has been sporadic.  I attempt the workout but if the asthma surfaces, I finish the miles at easy pace.

With all of that, here is the summary of the race (finally, sheesh!)

Pre-Race: I wanted to get there with sufficient time to run at least 2 miles.  I've noticed that the first 4 miles of every run has my asthma and my chest congested and wheezing, so I wanted to get away from all of that before the race started.  However, some idiot totaled his car by hitting a police cruiser so most of downtown was a huge traffic jam due to the fact that the whole Broward County Police Department was present.  Poor guy.

So, I get there, and stand at the line to pay for the parking via a machine.  And these two elderly runners apparently have never used a machine to pay their tickets.  I kid you not, the guy read everything on the screen on every screen, OUT LOUD.  And then looked at us to see whether we had understood.  It took me 25 minutes to pay for my parking and then to do packet pickup.

So, I was only able to run one mile.  The mile felt good and my chest felt free of the usual congestion.  I have only used the extra medication for 3 days but I felt it was having some effect.

As usual, I premedicated with albuterol prior to the race, as it has seemed to work in the past.  Naive, again, ha!

Race:

Weather was nice at 76F and 84% humidity.  Don't .  That's better than the 85F with 90% humidity I've been running, so I'll take it as I get it.  As usual, the course is shadeless and it's sunny.  Oh, have I mentioned humidity is my main EIA trigger?  I hate Florida.

Mile 1:  So off we start and I settle for an 8:50mm pace.  I know I am capable of going faster but because of all the issues mentioned above, I knew I may not have that in me today.  The first mile has a hill (overpass) and I do well and finish the mile at 8:55mm.

Mile 2:  This mile felt OK as well, so I speeded up a bit and did the rolling hills of the course pretty well.  Finished at 8:43.

Mile 3:  I can remember it with detail.  I crossed the mile marker, saw the water station, and my chest went BAM!  Congested!  This is how an asthma episode feels like:  I went from running at my usual 90% breathing capacity to what felt like 75%.  I look at my pace and it had gone down to 9:20mm and it feels like I am sprinting in a 5K.  I slowed down more and decided not to stop because I am not supposed to use more albuterol since I just used it 17 minutes prior.  But by Mile 2.50 I'm toast.  I walked for 30 seconds debating whether to use the albuterol and I go: Pluck you, Doc.  I take it out, pump it once, pump it twice, and immediately start running.  I know that after an attack the pace gets more sluggish while the body moves most of the energy on breathing, so I finished the mile at 9:46.

Mile 4: I am still recovering from Mile 3 and push a little but I let the body dictate the pace.  Finish feeling better but still at 9:40.

Mile 5: Now you can tell the albuterol started working because I start passing people on this mile.  I do the final hill like there is no tomorrow, and continue on back towards the riverwalk.  As I head into the final 0.15, I go into the riverwalk and decide to sprint to see how my body reacts.  I start passing 4, 5, 6, people.  I am flying finally and finished this mile at 9:08 with the final sprint at 7mm.

Final Time: 46:33, 15th in my AG (out of 50), lowest I've placed in a while.  Meh.

Overall, I guess I did OK.  The 8K I did a month ago was a little faster than this one by 10 seconds, but it was at 44F and I ran stronger splits today.  So, I guess, it was not that bad.

There is a reason why I hardly ever get asthma attacks during marathons and long runs any more.  They don't hurt as bad as short distances.  It is frustrating when your legs can push so much more but your chest quits on you.  It's bad enough to run at 90% breathing capacity with 2 asthma meds, an allergy pill and a nasal spray. every day.  Imagine when the machine breaks down further, as it did today.

I am fine, don't get me wrong.  I just went out to run and had a nice run. But this was a test of how the asthma was doing and I failed.  I am just writing this because I know there are a lot of people that run with asthma and, that me, test their limits with what they can do.  Hope it helps.

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