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  1. #1
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    Just what IS "track hack"?

    Dear friends:

    I did a race day (three time trials, plus an omnium) on Saturday, and have been coughing non-stop ever since. The constant coughing is wearing me out. I feel like I have this alien "thing" from outerspace adhering to the inside of my lungs like a parasite, and no amount of coughing dislodges it, or loosens it, or brings any relief. It's not so much a scratchy irritation (like dust or a sore throat) as a "thing" growing on the interior surfaces of my lungs. Really deep down, too -- not near the top.

    As if that's not enough nuisance, I've had too many vaginal deliveries to be coughing this hard. I could lose something important . . . .

    So . . . just what IS "track hack?" Is it a viral/bacterial infection? Why does it only show up after an intense effort on the track? Why does it go away when you are racing more regularly? How do you get rid of it? What kinds of treatments are effective and therapeutic?

    Or is "track hack" just a red herring, and the real problem is that I've had the 'flu twice this winter already (once in January, and once in February)? Perhaps I just went back to racing before I was 100% recovered, and now I've just had a set-back of something really ordinary called bronchitis, secondary to having influenza, and not some nifty and exotic syndrome unique to nitwitted and insane cyclists called "track hack."

    the velodrome phoenix, transforming into scrofulous leper
    Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead. -- H. Chinaski

  2. #2
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    medically i don't know, sorry!

    but i always assumed it was that you'd broken down some lung tissue due to effort. i've got it on shorter pursuit type races on the track, and also road and crit races outside of the track.

    http://www.performancecondition.com/cycling/index.htm

    This link indicates it's because you remove a coating from the lung surface. Sounds reasonable.

    --brett

  3. #3
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    See a doctor?

    You probably have parasites

  4. #4
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    I've found mullein to be really helpful for some persistent coughs that I get after cold-weather cycling. It's an herb that you prepare similar to tea - put a heaping spoonful of it into a bag or a teaball (with enough room for the herb to expand), pour boiling water over it, and then cover it with a tight lid and let it steep for a half an hour. (if it tastes bad, add cinnamon and honey).

    Mullein is a gentle herb that supports lung functioning - you can find it in any of those earth-toned food stores that sell bulk herbs. if they don't stock it, they can order it for you.

    If your coughing bothers your throat, pick up some Slippery Elm tablets. SE is a demulcent, which means that it supports mucous membranes - that stuff feels really good on the throat.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  5. #5
    dan bones! goldenskeletons's Avatar
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    what was the weather like where you were racing on saturday?

    a bunch of us were out at kissena for velocity this past sunday in queens and it was ridiculously cold and windy. sharp intakes of cold air like that and constantly raising and lowering your body temp between sprinting and waiting to sprint really isn't the best thing for your body. i'm leaning toward what sideshow bob said and seconding mattio's (queerpunk's) advice.

    the other alternative is that you're like me and completely wore yourself out over the weekend, over exerted yourself and didn't sleep much, so your immune system is a wreck and you caught cold. i've felt like death since monday morning!


    good luck recovering though. report back once you feel better so we know you're ok.

  6. #6
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    I was indoors, at the ADT in Los Angeles. Admittedly, the air in the velodrome is very dry -- they keep it very dry and control the temperature to protect the wooden track.

    However, later in the day, I found myself getting very cold and chilled. It felt like someone turned on the air conditioner, though I can't believe they'd do that. More likely, with roughly an hour between races, and no place to do any warm-ups, my body was cooling down too much and getting chilled between events. By the time I did my fourth race, I was getting pretty tired, having a hard time staying warm, and my knee (which I'd strained in ballet class a few days earlier) was getting really unhappy.

    Most of the votes from people close to me are coming in "overdid it." I'd just barely gotten over being sick in February. I'd done a LOT of ballet and other dancing in the week before the race day. I'd missed a lot of sleep (not for lack of trying, but just having trouble sleeping when I did go to bed). Diving in to a full day of racing after a winter of determined vegetating.

    Gosh. I wish I could just take a week off from life and sleep for 64 hours. I've almost forgotten what it feels like to feel "whole." I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired and trying to heal up from stupid, dumb-ass injuries (spraining my ankle walking the dog, twisting my knee doing turns in ballet, tendonitis in my right heel from improper turnout, etc.).

    vp
    Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead. -- H. Chinaski

  7. #7
    I pedal what I ride
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    if you are worried about it go and get it checked out by a doctor. I had the same thing for a couple of months. Went to my GP and had a CT scan done. Found a tumor on my lungs which is being removed on monday (should give me back a couple of litres of air). Unfortunately I have a secondary in my leg.
    My point is if you are worried get it checked out.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CafeRacer's Avatar
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    Theres a way to prevent it, or prevent it from being as bad, and a way to help it after. First is properly warm up, your lungs included. Shove some cotton balls in your nose soaked in vicks menthol chest rub. While you warm up, and after the pursuit.

  9. #9
    Dazzler thiskidgotmoxie's Avatar
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    Definitely go to the doctor. It doesn't sound like the symptoms I had, but I went the doctor and was diagnosed with asthma. Now I have an inhaler and I don't feel like I'm going to die after every race (and for hours after the races finish).

  10. #10
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    Aerobically induced asthma can give off the exact same symptoms the OP described. It's one of the reasons I am worthless in sprints. I'm more a diesel that can keep a relatively high rpm pace for hours...but increase the effort for a short time and I overtax my lungs...causing an attack. An inhaler may or may not be the answer...a good asthma and allergy specialist will prescribe something that may take some time to work before you see results. If you get tested for drug use be sure to bring proof you are on prescription medications...most asthma medications can be abused for athletic reasons...they are bronchial dilators...they increase your body's ability to utilize the oxygen you intake.

  11. #11
    abandoning fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
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    perhaps not related, but when i ran track in college, i would always get a hack when running indoors, and never outdoors. i have never been to an indoor velodrome, but if it kept in the same condition as our tracks, then it has very "dry" air that is abrasive to some people's lungs. many people on my team had similair issues, and the best results for us came with immediately putting paper towels soaked in water over our mouths after breathing was under control. still, it wasn't until outdoor season started that this would go away entirely.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fly:yes/land:no View Post
    perhaps not related, but when i ran track in college, i would always get a hack when running indoors, and never outdoors. i have never been to an indoor velodrome, but if it kept in the same condition as our tracks, then it has very "dry" air that is abrasive to some people's lungs. many people on my team had similair issues, and the best results for us came with immediately putting paper towels soaked in water over our mouths after breathing was under control. still, it wasn't until outdoor season started that this would go away entirely.
    i had the same thing happen to me and my team during indoor season. Something about the air

  13. #13
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    There is a thing called Exercise-Induced Asthma. This could be what you have but I'm not doctor.

  14. #14
    is actually asian 4zn_balla's Avatar
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    if you indeed are coughing and not dislodging any mucus, try mucinex

  15. #15
    Dazzler thiskidgotmoxie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drainyoo View Post
    There is a thing called Exercise-Induced Asthma. This could be what you have but I'm not doctor.
    Yep, this is what I have.

    I don't understand people giving sketchy medical advice on an internet forum, like recommending medicines and stuff. If you have a problem breathing, go to the doctor.

  16. #16
    Senior Member thehugoball's Avatar
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    "There is a thing called Exercise-Induced Asthma. This could be what you have but I'm not doctor."

    I have this too. All started when I began training in cold weather this winter. Sucks.
    Fabiani Professional, Trek 700 Tri-Series, Cascella Track, Nishiki Riviera GT, Nishiki Olympic 12, Trek 850 ATB

  17. #17
    Memento Mori
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    I know it has been almost a month since the initial post, but....If you do think that you might have something that needs to be disloged, mucus, etc.. there are a few other expectorents out there, other than the ones mentioned, that can help. soy milk is supposed to be a good expectorent. also you can use eucalyptus oil in one of those aroma therapy oil warmers, this has worked for me very well in the past to break up things in my lungs.

  18. #18
    old hasbeen
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    I am finding this a pretty strange conversation. Pursuiters cough or track hack is a well known result of short sharp efforts of exercise. Unless you were just rolling around, you are likely to have used your maximal lung capacity and gone almost totally anaerobic more than once. If its a while since you did this last (like start of the season) then you will most likely be causing movement of mucus etc that had been stable for a while.

    AS your body adapts to regular efforts across the season the cough will be likely to go away.

    The odds are that you do not have any form of asthma etc.

    As people suggest, go to a doctor BEFORE you try any of these recommended therapies.

  19. #19
    Senior Member jimisnowhere's Avatar
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    I did this to myself yesterday. On my way to deliver a calc. test I found a perfect motor pacing car and drafted it well beyond my usual effort threshold. I caught another home and did it again. It was "short sharp efforts" as Martin said. Now I'm coughing and the lungs are sorish.
    I can ride the solarcycle with no hands.

  20. #20
    old hasbeen
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    a saddish addendum. even if it IS just from short sharp efforts out of the blue, DO makes sure you look after yourself afterwards. Warm down, get sport fluids and vitamins etc in, get somewhere warm and recover properly.

    Why? My most recent attack of Track Hack (from an event in 5 degree Celcius weather outdoors) turned into a full blown chest infection 2 days later that had me off any bikes for a month.

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