Monday, June 20, 2011

Got My A$$ Handed to Me, and It Was A Good Thing.

I had my first real "failed" workout this year. I call it failed because compared to every workout or race I have done so far this year, I have never ever had to stop because my legs would go no further. I had the energy; I wasn't overly thirsty. My legs were just DONE. How done? Well the areas of my legs circled in green below is where they were DONE.

I am kinda torn right now. Did my legs stop because A) They were shot? or B) Did they cramp up? The only muscle "cramp" that I have ever experienced has been in my calves. It has happened once in the pool, a few times on the trainer, and a few times in the middle of the night. Don't you hate it when that happens? I don't know what a quad cramp feels like. I for sure know what spent quads muscles feel like.

So let's play "solve this crime."

Here is the evidence:
  • I rode for 4 hours.
  • Then I ran for 2 hours.
  • On the bike I had 100 oz of liquid, 80 of which was Infit with approximately the same amount of electrolytes as gatorade.
  • On the bike I consumed 7 Gus + 300 calories from the infinit = 1,000 calories total
  • Wasn't ever hungry on bike and had to force down a Gu a few times because I just wasn't hungry
  • It was 85 degrees and bright and sunny on the run. Large sections had no shade.
  • was never hungry on the run
  • I felt like an ant under a microscope due to the sun
  • After 1 hour I got back to my car and considered quitting
  • the 2nd hour was prolly the most painful hour of my life

So which is it? From my experience, it felt like my legs were just taxed and done. But can a muscle cramp feel the same as shot legs? Ooooorrrr, did the heat just zap my entire body? I ran a 1:47:37 down in the Galveston HIM in April in similar conditions (85 + 100% humidity and sun) and went a LOT harder on the bike. So the heat will zap me, but has never brought me to a complete halt.

When I finally got back to my car, I didn't feel right....I didn't feel human. A little humor always helps! So I tweeted:

Droopy eyelid, anyone?
I looked like shit and felt like shit. So I tweeted again.

So instead of dwelling on this forever and letting it eat away at my soul, I am going to look at the positive of this instead. IT PUT ME BACK IN MY PLACE!

I texted my coach about what happened, and he responded with:
"It was humid and u have been hittin it hard - chalk it up as an off day Jon and don't weight it too heavy."

See, last weekend I felt like Superman. My confidence was WAY too high and I was starting to think this whole Ironman training thing was a walk in the park. Boy did I go negative in the Karma points department! I lost respect for this distance and it came back and smashed me in the face with an aluminum baseball bat.

It made me scared again, which I think is a good thing. It will make me hold back and respect the Marathon.

Speaking of Lake Placid, I will be up there for 5 days starting Wednesday! This is my coach's annual training camp. Rule #1: CHECK THAT EGO AT THE DOOR!!!

So stay tuned for some Lake Placid reports. Word on the street is that we are climbing Whiteface (on the bike). Bring it! (and I expect to have my A$$ handed to me again)

Afterall, I AM training for a FUCKING IRONMAN!


  1. I would have a tendency to believe it is just miles on the engine that forced that tired feeling. I don't think it's cramping b/c you fueled plenty and I think it is just the toll of the workouts plus the heat/humidity.

    Our HR goes up about 10bpm in this heat/humidity so you are working harder for the same results and I think that taxed you.

    Yes, being afraid of the distance is a good thing. I certainly agree with you on that.

  2. So you're saying that after 6 hours of intense exercise, after weeks and weeks and weeks of intense exercise, in the blazing heat your legs said "fuck you" and stopped? Hmmm. That's just weird.

  3. hahaha!! Beth's comment above is perfect!

    I looked the exact same way as you on Sunday morning but for a completely different reason!

  4. I actually think that the takeaway from your experience is really important. Sure, it sucked, and no one likes to have crappy workouts, but they happen and like you said, it reminds you that you're human. Being afraid keeps us from doing anything *too* stupid :)

    (also, that workout sounds hard as shit, so props to your legs for making it through)

    Can't wait to hear about LP training camp!

  5. wow this is going to make you even stronger for the ironman!!!! It is kinda funny since this weekend I did in my triple brick and dies as well... I just could not finish the last 6 miles of the last run and basically crapped out.... I was just about to write a post how I died this weekend nutrition was my death.

  6. I agree with it being an off day, I would file this one under mental toughness. Most people would have quit earlier, you didnt.

  7. Ha, I love it! It sucks while it's happening but you're going to look back on this as a key moment in your training. I think you could've saved a lot of energy on this post by simply using that photo of your face with the caption "I'm training for a fucking Ironman!" Keep at it - you're doing great!

  8. Sometimes our bodies decide for us when we don't want to that it needs a break. Glad you were able to chalk it up as a bad day and move on!

  9. Well, I think your legs needed a break. You're pretty intense, and I think it was time for a break. I liked the looked wasted.

  10. dude... your legs are cut... :-) and yes, that's why you do 6 hour workouts... to train... and to learn... good work

  11. in the wise words of Kanye West: that that don't kill us only makes us stronger.

    you're having a champ training cycle and you are going to kill it at Lake Placid. End of story.

  12. First off, have an awesome time at the camp, that sounds really cool!

    If I remember correctly you smashed a sprint tri recently right (rhetorical question).

    Your legs are rebuilding most likely. Its a great feeling to know your current limits. Be patient and let them heal up, the speed work trashes your body pretty hard man.

  13. The beauty here Jon is that you just had your 'off day' ... during training...exactly when you want it to happen. Means you'll have a great race day!!

  14. I am definitely not a triathlete (I'm mainly a runner but got into swimming recently due to an injury right now) - but I would guess your legs were just too fatigued after 6 hours of activity. You trained really hard last week, and combined with the heat and a tough workout this week your body just needed a break I bet.

  15. Read this.....

    You remember Kate, well, on Saturday she got married on the top of Whiteface after she and Victor raced up there. She wore her veil under her bike helmet.

  16. Sadly, I've had the droopy eyelids a time or two.

    Chin up... you know my thoughts!

  17. Brains!!!!! (oh wait... Guuuuuuuuu!!!) haha

    I know exactly how you are feeling. It is just a down period in the endless ups and downs of IM training. Nevertheless, it still sucks.

    Take a break these next couple of days - I'm going with your Z1 idea I think. You'll be nice and refreshed for your training camp so you can get your ass handed to you all over again. :)

  18. Someday's we just don't have it. That's just part of sports, but 6 hours of work is 6 hours of work. Plus, the stress on the body is only increased in the humidity. Keep up the great work.

  19. always love your analytical process toward tough workouts that work you. I just get down on myself and freak out. You take it in stride and logicallly understand its part of the ups and downs. great work

    another LP!!!

  20. If it were a quad cramp you would know it! I've had them in soccer while sprinting; they take you down like a ton of bricks. Sounds like severe muscle fatigue to me. Quad cramps are super painful and will not let you continue AT ALL.


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