There's another sort of bonk, however. One that many a Houstonian knows all too well: the Heat Bonk. More accurately, the Heat & Humidity Bonk. Yesterday had all the elements. Heat? Check - between 83-87 degrees for the duration of the run (not July hot, but then I'm not July heat acclimated either). Humidity? Big check. There's a reason the Memorial Park trails have names like Laos and Ho Chi Minh. Poor run management? Check. Didn't feel like I was setting a very fast pace, but that's the challenge in dealing with the heat. You have to pull back on the reigns significantly and from the get-go, because unlike the calorie bonk, it's damn near impossible to come back from the heat bonk. Once you're cooked, you might as well cash it in. After about 2 slightly too fast hours, I was cooked. Every tiny uphill became a mountain, every short stretch of shuffling felt like speed work. A 5-minute stop back at the car (complete with electrolytes, ice water, and a gel) helped only temporarily. As soon as I tried running again, it became obvious there was nothing left. 10 degrees cooler and 20% less humid and I'm sure I could have churned out another couple of hours. But it wasn't the end of April, it was the end of May. And so I staggered back to my car, a little woozy and a bit nauseated. Not exactly a confidence-builder for Rocky Hill Ranch 50K in a couple of weeks.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It's Not The Heat . . .
As I death-staggered through the final couple of miles of my Memorial Day "run," I reflected once more on that most unpleasant of distance running subjects, the bonk. Most of us have dealt with the classic calorie-deficiency bonk before. Whether at mile 19 of a road marathon or mile 60 of a trail 100, the symptoms are pretty much the same - epic energy crash and an inability to do simple things like move forward at more than 2 m.p.h. The solution to the calorie bonk is pretty straightforward as well - get calories. In a marathon, by the time you bonk, it might be too late in the game to fully recover. But in an ultra, there's usually time for multiple cycles of bonk-rebirth.
Posted by Miles at 7:21 AM