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How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life?
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I haven't read any posts on how the fire and smoke is impacting training for athletes living out west. Is it impacting your workouts? If so, how bad is it? I'm reading and hearing that breathing the air out there is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Does the mask help with the smoke too? The pictures on the news look like excerpts from all the disaster movies I've watched over the years. Good luck!
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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Near Seattle, we have just been staying inside for the last 3 days. Even working out inside, I seem to have a sore throat. (could be mental though)
The other issue is visibility, Saturday I saw the visibility reported at 300 feet. (I am not sure of the standards of measuring) but quick math says a car going 60 MPH would have about 3.5 seconds best case between seeing you and an impact.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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It's bad here in SF bay area. I've been strategically avoiding smoke for weeks but for the last week it hasn't been possible because it's bad all day everywhere. Didn't ride outside for a week and then rode yesterday with a mask but by the end of 3 hrs the mask was wet from sweat and impossible to breathe through. There are no races coming up anyway so a week doesn't matter much but it's getting old.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [lanierb] [ In reply to ]
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lanierb wrote:
It's bad here in SF bay area. I've been strategically avoiding smoke for weeks but for the last week it hasn't been possible because it's bad all day everywhere. Didn't ride outside for a week and then rode yesterday with a mask but by the end of 3 hrs the mask was wet from sweat and impossible to breathe through. There are no races coming up anyway so a week doesn't matter much but it's getting old.

Also in SF Bay Area (mid-peninsula). I won't workout outside if the PurpleAir numbers are over 100, so this past week has been a wash. This basically sucks as I'm losing fitness and gaining weight. In past years I'd just go to the gym and workout indoors, but that's a no go due to Covid.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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In Portland, I have been riding indoors mostly since the pandemic began anyway since a friend of mine, a pilot who is one of the most attentive and careful cyclists I know was forced off the road by an inattentive driver in the spring. So no big change there, plus since I discovered zwiftpower, I have been enjoying virtual racing.

But what I have been having trouble with is running. I like the occasional treadmill run for short and intense workouts, never liked doing longer or slower runs on them. Along with that, I live in an apartment building so the treadmill I have access to is in our small gym and others are working out at the same time, even if they're limiting numbers, which is always a chance for spread. So I am limiting my running until the smoke clears out.

I wasn't really training for anything up to a couple weeks ago when I decided to sign up for the new OYO Portland series. Was just beginning to ramp up my mileage which would be a bit annoying but on the flipside, I still have a place to live that is not under threat of fire, so I can't complain.

I live on the river looking out at it, since Tuesday we have been barely able to see across the river, which is maybe 350m. Yesterday is the worse I think it was when we couldn't even see the water from the 3rd floor, much less any outline of the opposing bank. This morning the color has changed slightly, it is a bit less orange but still as thick as it was throughout most of last week.

As for masks, they're designed to keep shit from you from falling on other people, so the regular masks just don't do a thing. When we moved here we were advised to purchase a handful of N95 masks for the smoke potential but we just never did that and regretted it slightly when the pandemic began and even more so now. Not that we would use N95s to exercise but we have dogs that need to go outside and my wife comes back in coughing and with watery eyes. I have been trying to take both of them out when I can but I wear hard contacts (by medical necessity) so I do feel it a bit as well.

It does look like hell out there so you can believe the pictures but as bad as the smoke is, there are worse things happening at the SE edge of town and I hope they can contain the fires soon.

808 > NYC > PDX
2020 Races?: Nope.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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TJ56 wrote:
I haven't read any posts on how the fire and smoke is impacting training for athletes living out west. Is it impacting your workouts? If so, how bad is it? I'm reading and hearing that breathing the air out there is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Does the mask help with the smoke too? The pictures on the news look like excerpts from all the disaster movies I've watched over the years. Good luck!

we are in pretty bad shape where i am. a LOT of smoke, and it's been this way for several weeks. it's been smoke from one fire, then from another. right now it's the smoke from the bobcat fire. we're swimming, mostly. we might be wiser to not swim, but we are. i haven't really felt the effects of it in my lungs, yet.

the one good thing is that the really hot weather is over, and the general trend is to get slightly cooler week by week. but this is going to be nasty for awhile. 2020 is just a cursed year.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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Seattle air blows...but this whiskey-heavy rest week is delicious
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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It's pretty bad, Reno,NV. No direct fires impacting homes etc... but a lot of smoke for weeks now. Training is tough. Indoor pools open here so thats a plus. But all the mountain trails are closed. Indoor training sucks the soul out of me but right now it's a necessity. Driving up into the mountains helps as we tend to have an inversion. But this morning it was thick even at the highest point I could get to on the bike.
This is terribly sad for the Western States and my heart goes out to all those losing homes and being displaced. Covid19 plus fires sure is making for a tough year.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [Titanflexr] [ In reply to ]
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Another in the Bay Area. I've got air filters running indoors with a decent-enough seal to be able to work out indoors to a point, but have avoided higher heart rates to keep the deep breathing down. I find myself surprisingly sensitive to the air quality changes, with a sore throat and headache appearing after harder efforts. Raspy voice and a lot of phlegm. Those all tend to go away after sleeping, which I presume is a response to a lower heart rate? Unsure.

No treadmill, so it's been a lot of time on Zwift. Have had reserved lanes canceled through the local pool due to AQI as well as a canceled open water swim. Having the opportunity to exercise outside (even though I was alone) was a big respite from the shelter in place orders - being actually stuck indoors is really hard.

Complaining / reality aside, I feel so bad for my state and our neighbors. We've all been hit hard the past few years (and in all likelihood, this is a new normal). Hope everyone is staying safe, and I really hope the folks I see exercising outdoors around here take a minute to reconsider the cost/benefits of their activities. Maybe its worth it to them. Maybe they just don't know.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, west and between the two largest fires in Oregon. Our air is worse than Portland. No workouts in a week, today was the first time I actually went outside in the past 6 days (except for a couple of short errands in my car), but just to do some things in the yard. The air is terrible, I wouldn't even think of doing any cardio while its like this. Supposedly some rain tomorrow, hoping that will help.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [tri_yoda] [ In reply to ]
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From the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. About three hours north of Seattle. Very smoky. Did a 25 minute lake swim today. Won't be doing that tomorrow.

http://www.fitspeek.com the Fraser Valley's fitness, wellness, and endurance sports podcast
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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Norcal bay area here, have done all indoor training in the past week due to the poor air quality.

I agree with the above poster though, that unfortunately this will likely be a new normal for the West coast, with at least 1 if not several weeks of air quality so bad that you really shouldn't even walk around outside at all during fire season.

I hope my garage air quality is ok for training (I never open the garage, no cars ever going into it!) but I honestly don't know, and am just risking it since I get no symptoms from doing it. I feel very fortunate right now and throughout COVID to be able to afford a garage in the bay area (for real!) to store my triathlon equipment, as well as fortunate enough to have a good indoor setup for all 3 disciplines that I use a lot despite much preferring to workout outdoors whenever possible.

Did a 10 miler on the TM yesterday, and a 2hr bike the day before that. Tried out Rouvy for the first time on that ride, rode the 70.3 Kona course - wouldn't call it amazing but it was better than nothing. If anything, it proved to me that having other riders on the course for me >>> course scenery - luckily that course had like 30 riders on it to rabbit. I'll almost certainly go back to Zwift for winter season riding as there are so many people to ride with or to pass and I find that more fun/motivating than anything else.

Also am ramping up Vasa erg work for a hopeful Nov Oly race in Napa. The erg is seriously my absolute greatest 'secret' weapon in tri. Even though I enjoy pool/OWS swimming outdoors more, it's so satisfying to do a hard erg workout and realize that I've saved at least an hour compared to the logistics required for even a simple pool swim. And I get better results with Vasa+pool compared to pool, so no argument there for using it!

I felt bad waiting in the checkin line to my local community pool last week (has online lane signups, which I really like) and hearing literally everyone else bemoaning their lack of swim access and deterioration due to COVID and now fires.
Last edited by: lightheir: Sep 14, 20 16:52
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [tri_yoda] [ In reply to ]
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I’m in the SW suburbs of PDX. Pretty much the same. No workouts for the last week. This week isn’t looking great either. I’m spending my free time now sealing off my otherwise drafty home. The smoke infiltrates from everywhere. Good times!
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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SF here.
I go outside everyday for biking or running regardless of the AQI as I really feel depressed if I stay inside. It never really bothered me except when I do track workouts.
My wife on the other hand is much more affected and swaped running with yoga.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Feel for you guys. Living in Canberra, Australia, this was our nightmare not so long ago (more than two months in Canberra of bad smoke conditions, limiting outside activities in the heart of our summer) which seems like a distant memory now having gone through the pandemic, but the next bushfire season for us is just around the corner too!!!
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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lightheir wrote:
I hope my garage air quality is ok for training (I never open the garage, no cars ever going into it!) but I honestly don't know, and am just risking it since I get no symptoms from doing it. I feel very fortunate right now and throughout COVID to be able to afford a garage in the bay area (for real!) to store my triathlon equipment, as well as fortunate enough to have a good indoor setup for all 3 disciplines that I use a lot despite much preferring to workout outdoors whenever possible.
Hey lightheir- just a heads up: I have a PurpleAir outdoor sensor on my house as well as a handheld air quality sensor. My AQI outside has ranged from 170-400 over the last week and indoors it has been <50 in rooms with air filters and up to 100 in rooms without. Last Friday I took the handheld out to the garage and it was 350! There are no cars in my garage and all doors were closed, but it's a typical CA garage with those little ventilation holes all around just below where the roof meets the walls, and I guess the smoke was wafting through it. You couldn't tell by sight.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [lanierb] [ In reply to ]
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Yeouch! Just can't win!
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [lanierb] [ In reply to ]
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lanierb wrote:
lightheir wrote:
I hope my garage air quality is ok for training (I never open the garage, no cars ever going into it!) but I honestly don't know, and am just risking it since I get no symptoms from doing it. I feel very fortunate right now and throughout COVID to be able to afford a garage in the bay area (for real!) to store my triathlon equipment, as well as fortunate enough to have a good indoor setup for all 3 disciplines that I use a lot despite much preferring to workout outdoors whenever possible.

Hey lightheir- just a heads up: I have a PurpleAir outdoor sensor on my house as well as a handheld air quality sensor. My AQI outside has ranged from 170-400 over the last week and indoors it has been <50 in rooms with air filters and up to 100 in rooms without. Last Friday I took the handheld out to the garage and it was 350! There are no cars in my garage and all doors were closed, but it's a typical CA garage with those little ventilation holes all around just below where the roof meets the walls, and I guess the smoke was wafting through it. You couldn't tell by sight.

What air filters are you using?
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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I live in inner SE Portland. I have had to go use the treadmills at the gym and have skipped one bike workout. I will almost certainly do a 2 hour ride tomorrow at the gym (better than in the garage) and likely some interval work on Wednesday on the treadmill again.

I did a ~20 miler on Saturday (training for a marathon). Definitely not as enjoyable as running outside but I did enjoy having the trays for my water bottle and nutrition.

No matter how much of a bummer it has been, I am still thankful we haven't had to evacuate or been threatened by the fires. Sadly, this seems to be the new normal this time of year. This is easily the worst but I believe we will have a few bad air days each year from now on.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [geetee] [ In reply to ]
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geetee wrote:
lanierb wrote:
lightheir wrote:
I hope my garage air quality is ok for training (I never open the garage, no cars ever going into it!) but I honestly don't know, and am just risking it since I get no symptoms from doing it. I feel very fortunate right now and throughout COVID to be able to afford a garage in the bay area (for real!) to store my triathlon equipment, as well as fortunate enough to have a good indoor setup for all 3 disciplines that I use a lot despite much preferring to workout outdoors whenever possible.

Hey lightheir- just a heads up: I have a PurpleAir outdoor sensor on my house as well as a handheld air quality sensor. My AQI outside has ranged from 170-400 over the last week and indoors it has been <50 in rooms with air filters and up to 100 in rooms without. Last Friday I took the handheld out to the garage and it was 350! There are no cars in my garage and all doors were closed, but it's a typical CA garage with those little ventilation holes all around just below where the roof meets the walls, and I guess the smoke was wafting through it. You couldn't tell by sight.


What air filters are you using?
I have some old Alen A350 air filters in our bedrooms and they are awesome. Inside the actual bedrooms the AQI drops below 10 even with the door open to the rest of the house.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [lanierb] [ In reply to ]
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My thoughts go out to everyone effected by the west coast fires!

I'm in Vermont and it's very hazy this morning. NPR/VPR just confirmed the haze is from the west coast fires, over 3,000 miles away. Crazy!
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [lanierb] [ In reply to ]
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lanierb wrote:
geetee wrote:
lanierb wrote:
lightheir wrote:
I hope my garage air quality is ok for training (I never open the garage, no cars ever going into it!) but I honestly don't know, and am just risking it since I get no symptoms from doing it. I feel very fortunate right now and throughout COVID to be able to afford a garage in the bay area (for real!) to store my triathlon equipment, as well as fortunate enough to have a good indoor setup for all 3 disciplines that I use a lot despite much preferring to workout outdoors whenever possible.

Hey lightheir- just a heads up: I have a PurpleAir outdoor sensor on my house as well as a handheld air quality sensor. My AQI outside has ranged from 170-400 over the last week and indoors it has been <50 in rooms with air filters and up to 100 in rooms without. Last Friday I took the handheld out to the garage and it was 350! There are no cars in my garage and all doors were closed, but it's a typical CA garage with those little ventilation holes all around just below where the roof meets the walls, and I guess the smoke was wafting through it. You couldn't tell by sight.


What air filters are you using?

I have some old Alen A350 air filters in our bedrooms and they are awesome. Inside the actual bedrooms the AQI drops below 10 even with the door open to the rest of the house.

My bad...I meant to ask whether you used stand-alone air filtration units, and if so which one(s).
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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I'm also in the Bay Area. Given that this was our fourth year of smoke and wildfires in a row I finally broke down and bought a treadmill. It arrived just in time for me to use it for my virtual Boston Marathon, with an air purifier and a fan.
I see lot of cyclists still out on the roads, even when the AQI was in the unhealthy range. Maybe I'm overly cautious, but I'm not willing to risk my long term health even though I'd rather do my workouts outside. My understanding is that the super small particles can get deep in the lungs and into the bloodstream, and can be a hazard even when you don't smell smoke. I know we don't yet have a lot of research on the effects of exercising in unhealthy air, but until we do I'll err on the side of caution.
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [70Trigirl] [ In reply to ]
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70Trigirl wrote:
My thoughts go out to everyone effected by the West Coast fires!

I'm in Vermont and it's very hazy this morning. NPR/VPR just confirmed the haze is from the west coast fires, over 3,000 miles away. Crazy!

South Jersey

Last night's sunset & this morning's sunrise were both pretty spectacular, and I feel terrible about that

"Isn't RandMart the old punk rock dude who had the crazy ex? Then this post checks out"

Stop-Think-Consider-Do
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Re: How are the fires and smoke impacting your workouts/life? [TJ56] [ In reply to ]
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Philomath, OR; about two hours south of Portland. It's been awful here since last Monday evening, haven't done any training and have barely left the house. Trainers are in the garage, but even that's not super awesome air. Already changed my in-house air filter after only a month of use, and it was dark gray (and it's a MERV 13 filter). Hoping it's clearing up this weekend, I really need to get outside (even for a walk!).

- John
"Have courage, and be kind."
https://www.strava.com/athletes/OtterJohn667
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