On the spinner and dealing with asthma

It’s been a week of trying new things workout-wise, so I decided to give the spinner a try.  Saturday morning was cold (in the twenties) and very windy so taking my road bike out wasn’t an option.  When I’m in the gym I usually use the recumbent bike, but Adam’s been trying to get me on the spinner.  I guess the spinner is closer to what I’d be doing once I get out on the road.  Well, the spinner was much harder than I expected, but that might have been due to the bike positioning.  It felt like I was using muscles I didn’t usually use – or didn’t know I had.  Next time I’ll have Adam help me find the right settings (height, seat position, etc).

With Adam’s guidance, I decided I’d do 40 minutes on the bike then a 20 minute run.  Those were a very long forty minutes.  I didn’t have music.  There was nothing on the TV.  There were no interesting people to watch.  I must have looked at the clock every other minute.  I wish my heart rate monitor was working so I could look at the data and see how hard I was working.  Fifteen minutes in, I didn’t know if I would finish.  The one time I manually measured my heart rate it was around 170 which is the high end of my bike range (running gets to about 183 before I fall apart).

Then things really got tough.  Three minutes left on the bike, my asthma kicked in.  Suddenly.  That’s the worst part – suddenly.  One minute I’m chugging along and breathing deeply, then the next I feel like I’m in a bear hug.  I try to take a deep breath, but get halfway and feel an intense pressure that won’t let me continue.  Without a doubt, my asthma is exacerbated and sometimes triggered by stress (psychosomatic as I learned from my mom).  Emotions play a huge role.  I always keep my inhaler with me while exercising, but luckily I’ve never had to use it in an emergency.  This time I turned down the resistance on the spinner and focused on remaining calm.  I’m fine.  Things are going to be fine.  Stay calm and keep breathing.  At the end of those three minutes I actually did fell fine.  Crisis averted.

After surviving forty minutes on the spinner and the brief asthma attack, I made my way to the treadmill.  I wanted to take it easy after that, so I jogged at 11:30 min/mile pace for my twenty minutes.  I really could have gone harder – those twenty minutes were comfortable and I worked up a little sweat without too much trouble.  Next time I’ll push it more, but those twenty minutes running were just what I needed at the time – a confidence boost.  I needed to feel fine to convince myself the asthma was gone.  I’m still learning my limits, and Saturday was definitely a learning experience.  Overall, I consider it a win.

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