Monday, August 22, 2005

Conditioning Woes

Due to the continuing and oppressive heat in the Ohio River Valley, I took last week easy and rode only three days out of seven, far below my normal weekly volume. I knew it was time to take it easy when my lungs felt tight and constricted on every single outing.

Yesterday I did the standard Sunday group ride that I always do, but even though the temperature and humidity were lower than in recent days, I'm still having trouble breathing and keeping my heart rate down. Yesterday my heart rate was around ten beats higher than normal during the entire ride. I had to take it easy on the Glenview hill, where I almost always turn up the speed and drop whoever is with me on normal days. This time, I had to slow to around 14 miles an hour the whole way up (instead of 18) just to keep my heart rate in check.

Mind you, I didn't feel horrible, and my high heart rate didn't translate into any other physical problems that I could notice. I just couldn't keep my speed up on the flats and had to take the one big hill at 60% normal effort.

My first assumption was that the heat was still bothering me. However, it was cooler yesterday than it has been in a long time, and I've ridden very well on hotter days. The humidity wasn't outlandish, either. My second assumption was that the bizarre allergic reaction I suffered over the weekend was to blame. On Friday night my right nostril and right eye began watering excessively, apparently the victims of a pollen dusting or something like that---whatever happened, I sneezed and cried out of the right side of my head for a day and a half. Maybe the short-lived infection also affected my immune system enough to elevate my heart rate during sustained efforts. Who knows?

Today's ride will be long and steady, and the temperature has fallen further---now below 90 for the first time in weeks. The humidity is still a little high, but lower than recent days. If I'm still seeing an elevation in my heart rate and tight lungs/heavy breathing, I might just consider going to see a doctor. Hopefully it won't come to that.