There are two types of people who workout. Those that have blown up… and those that will.
This really applies to anyone who pushes limits in anything, really. You go one step too far… You don’t do things in the right order… or (in my case), you take things for granted.
See, I’ve done this before. Blown up on a workout… that is. Obviously I’m not real good at learning from my mistakes so it should surprise no one (especially me) that it happened again.
Again with the vague posting… What the hell is he talking about?
Saturday… I was supposed to hit my distances (bike/run brick) for the half ironman I’ve got coming up in 3 weeks. A friend suggested a route and said she would do it with me and RIGHT HERE was where I made my mistake. Two days before the workout… I blew it off. I took it for granted. I didn’t take it seriously.
And I got smoked.
The workout was supposed to be thus: 62 mile bike ride, followed by a 13 mile run.
And I treated it like a 5 mile training run.
You get what you deserve. I will never do that again.
See, I borrowed (stole) a formula for big distance workout/races from my friend Angie Turner (winner of the St. Louis Marathon) via her coach, Joe Company. Normally, when I do a big mileage training event, I overload the nutrition the day before. Massive amounts of electrolytes (within reason), fluids and carbs. Now I know there are massive arguements out there about this whole process but I have done it enough to know it works for me. At least 64oz of electrolyte based liquids, etc. I had a VERY successful 17.5 mile run with this formula and have done several long brick workouts with it as well.
So why the hell I decided that a 75 combined mile day would be a good to NOT follow my formula is completely baffling to me. All I know is I totally blew it off until 11:45pm Friday night and then PANICKED about it for the rest of the night. With good reason…
Our day dawned too frickin’ early, but cool and slightly breezy (this would be important in about 3 hours). I arrived at the designated starting point and waited for my partner. Not only had I not hydrated/eaten properly the day before but I had scarcely eaten that morning as well. A couple of waffles was all I could muster. Clearly, I had a case of the stupids.
My partner arrived and after some assembly of bike parts and discussion of route, we were off.
I have to say, due to my lack of serious training for the previous week and only one hard effort… I felt GREAT. As we headed up the hill that started the route, all I could think was “hold back, don’t go out too fast”, even though I wanted to charge…! It did not dawn on me until I was about 14 miles into the ride that it was quiet… too quiet… As if I was riding in a vacuum… Like perhaps I was riding WITH the wind… Oh crap…
We stopped in a small town for a little break and I took in some calories (smoothie). Again, the assumption was “surely with the calories (320) I had onboard plus the 300 I took in with the smoothie… I would be good. But as I jumped back on the bike and headed out, the wind hit me in the face. Not bad at first, but steadily growing. I ignored it and put my head down and pedaled. I tried to spin as much as possible and knew I was going slower, but there really wasn’t much I could do. Going straight south into a wind that was out of the southeast was tough. We were heading generally south with a little southwest lean to the route. I had to admit to my riding partner at about mile 48 that I was burning a bit too much.
In retrospect… I knew I was screwed at this point.
I just kept telling myself to hang on because I knew the last leg of the bike would be with the wind. I put my head down and pedaled, dropping my partner temporarily in the process. Realizing this was not good, I backed off and waited for her to catch up. We cruised in the last leg with the wind but I already wasn’t feeling right. I had about 300 calories with me in liquid form and about 44 oz of water. But given the conditions (warmer than I thought, windy and dry) I could probably used at least 24oz more. But I plodded on.
Once we got back to the cars and loaded up the bikes, I noticed something akin to a huge dark cloud moving my way. My lower legs were twitching violently and uncontrollably. A sure sign I was dehydrated and out of electrolytes. With me, this is akin to “drink when you feel thirsty”. By the time I realized I was in trouble… It was already too late to save myself.
As we started the run, my stomach went into full rebellion. Nausea, cramping and dizziness. And this was in the first half mile. Oh crap.
I managed to suffer through the first mile… but this was supposed to be 13! Not long after the mile mark, I just gave up. I started walking and just trying to get the spins under control so I didn’t pass out on my partner, who, for her part was valiantly trying to distract me with all kinds of stories which were a GREAT help, but not enough to keep me from self destructing. In a lull between nausea bouts, I managed to get a Hammer Gel down which I could FEEL burning up as it went through me.
I managed to suffer through 2.5 miles and then just had to stop and sit down at a rest spot on the trail. My partner was worried that I was going to seize up, but what I didn’t tell her was that I had already locked up about 10 miles back. The run back to the car was all about spin management. Lots of dizziness and nausea but I knew that every step brought me closer to the car. My amazingly patient partner managed to stick with me even with my persistent GTFO comments like “I’m good… go ahead”. I was better for it… thank goodness.
So how am I now? Well… I felt like crap on a stick for about 12 hours, all the while pounding down all the liquids I could find and even mixing some Hammer Recoverite for an afternoon snack. After some initial protests, my stomach gradually let me eat again and the cascade from that was obvious. The more I ate, the more I could drink so that snowballed for the rest of the day until I finally went to the bathroom at about 4pm for the first time (yes, that’s 10 hours between potty breaks) since we started. REALLY not good.
I spent the rest of the night feeling like crap but slowly getting better. At the end of the night I managed to muster up the energy to do the dishes and clean the kitchen… a clear indicator I was going to live. This morning I cleaned and mopped the floor in the kitchen… another sign I was going to live (or the apocalypse was upon us… one of the two…).
But I wasn’t sure what kind of endurance I would have or how I would feel about doing another workout. So when a friend posted that he was going to the local lake to get a training swim in, I was reluctant. But the pressure finally got to me and I chimed in that I would be going.
Nothing about this was a good idea to my conscious self. I was tired and still cramping horribly, despite my desperate efforts to rehydrate. I posted to our triathlon list that I was going to be at the lake at a certain time (secretly hoping no one would be interested) and, to my dismay, I got SEVERAL takers
The rain, which thus far this summer has completely eluded us here in central MO, began to pour down on me as I made my way to the lake. So much so that I was sure we would be rained out… Well, not really “rained” out. But surely lightning, or the prospect of it, would scare people off… right?
But NO. The rain abated EXACTLY at the entrance to the park. By the time I got to the parking lot, it was BONE dry… as usual.
But getting there 15 minutes early meant that I could just simply count down the time to 4pm when nobody showe….
Then a car pulled in to the parking lot. It was the familiar, smiling face of a fellow triathlete… ready to go.
Didn’t she realize I was spent? Tired? Pooped?
Without much time to lament, the next person pulled in… on his bike… because HE had ridden 15 miles to get there… in the rain…
I officially suck…
And so it went. I wandered down to the lake, laid out the towel, set up my stuff, slapped on the goggles and got in the water.
…hmm. Surprisingly cool… and refreshing… the perfect temperature… actually. And the water was SO clear! ..and the rain stopped and the clouds broke… and the light shined down… and the angels sang… Yadda Yadda Yadda.
How can I be grumpy and blow off this swim when it feels so good? And it DID feel good. My balance felt right… My power was good… My breathing was good…
How am I supposed to bail on this and go home early when I really wanna stay out here all night?
And so it went. Two full laps. Just over half iron distance. And I felt great. In fact I FEEL great now as well!
Recovery is an amazing thing. And as I slowly increase my mileages and build my tolerance to my own brand of stupid, it seems I need less and less time to recover from my own stupidity. Not that this will keep me from making more stupid mistakes… I’ll just make different ones… 😉