It had to happen at some point; I bonked on Saturday’s long bike ride. At least, I think I did. I felt queasy, somewhat disoriented and exasperated. Andreas, from Ultrabikex Studio, tells me often: the good thing about an IronMan distance is that you have plenty of time to get into trouble, adjust, and change strategies. Saturday was good practice.
I rode with a friend and we were on mile 91 of a 100-mile ride followed by a one hour run. Instead of taking our usual route we took some back roads to avoid Miami drivers, who by anyone’s standard are crazy. It’s a neighborhood I know decently well but with roads that curve and lead you back to where you started. We were riding slow, looking at street names, thinking when the heck were we going to get to Starbucks, and it all was irritating me more than it normally would. We finally caught our bearings, and I knew how to get to the oasis that Starbucks provided. I felt my hands tremble, my head spin and I realized: this is a bonk – I must stop now.
Once there I ate a bagel and a coffee cake, drank some water and magically life began to return to me. We were there about 15 minutes, and when I checked my watch those curvy, slow, exasperating roads that I thought added tons of miles added only two.
I have been taught to look at my workouts and learn from what went wrong. Saturday, the bonk day, was hot. It followed a hot 13-mile run on Friday so I certainly did not go into this ride fresh. I also tried out a new nutrition strategy that I don’t believe worked for me.
I usually ride with Accelerade in my water bottles. I switched to Perform because that is what is available on the IronMan course, and I wanted to mimic the race as much as I could. I don’t think Perform did the trick.
I don’t usually eat solid food on my long rides, the Accelerade and gel tend to do the trick. However at the 45 mile pit stop this Saturday I felt hungry; I needed something more than a gel to keep me going. I went for a high calorie banana nut coffee cake. That satisfied my hunger a bit. And then at mile 91, with my bonk, I felt I needed to eat again.
I am guessing I started my ride with a calorie deficiency from my run the previous day. So between the heat, and not having the protein in Accelerade things compounded into this bonk. I am also guessing if it were the actual race, this bonk would come while I was running the marathon.
So I need to double-check what foods are available on the race course and then try to work with those. Good thing I still have about three massive workouts left to try a different strategy.
I’ve written before how a bad workout would lead me into a negative train of thought of how I won’t be able to get through this thing. Thanks to my friends, and readers who send in messages, I’ve learned to let go of that. This wasn’t even a bad workout. I did what I had to do at a good, solid pace. I did not finish the ride struggling and even had a decent run. Andreas was right, this distance affords you the time to bonk, recover, go on and still feel good about what you did.
As to the rest of the week, it was consistent and I hit most of my trainings. This is how it went:
Monday: SWIM. More like a recovery swim. I am still not taking the swim seriously …. what’s wrong with me???!!!???
Tuesday: Double duty. RUN: Mile repeats in the morning. I ran my fastest mile ever and it felt awful and awesome all at once. STRENGTH: Killer arm/chest/back with Mike at Fitness Together.
Wednesday: BIKE. Spinning class. A change of pace from the Ultrabikex computrainer but not as efficient.
Thursday: Double duty. SWIM: a decent but yet again shortened swim. STRENGTH: Mostly core workout with Brian at Fitness Together.
Friday: RUN 13 miles. Began at 9:00am but by then it was already hot. Struggled but got it done.
Saturday: BIKE: 102 miles. RUN: 4 miles. This was one of those just get down to business and knock off a brick. Mission accomplished.
Sunday: Ideally I was going to swim but I was tired, my body was tired and I gave myself a rest day. Spent the day with the family at the beach.
How was your training week? What do you do to avoid bonking?