Today was bonk-day.
What is a bonk? It is when you are doing some type of physical activity – usually exercise – and suddenly run out of energy. Kind of like walking through your grandma’s basement and smacking into a steel drainpipe hanging from the ceiling, right into your sweating forehead. It is not “I am really tired” it is more like “I got this, I got this, I gottttt -oh wait, oh crap, I can’t do one more step. Help me crawl back to my locker.”
I had been exercising pretty hard for the past 5 days, normally running 3 miles each morning, followed by a 12 mile bicycle ride and then a 1/2 mile swim. And on the previous day I had done a 3 mile run, 11 mile mountain bike ride at Draper, then 15 mile bike ride at Mitch Park. My legs were pretty fatigued this morning, but I figured I would just work through it.
Started off with my normal 3 mile run at a 10:30 pace – slow for most folks but decent pace for me. Next I hit the stationary bicycle at the YMCA for some interval work. I was trying a new thing called “torque intervals” where I would first do 5 minute warmup ride, then 5 minutes putting out 130 watts of power at 50 rpm, then another 5 minutes 130 watts at 85 rpm, back to 130 watts at 50 rpm, then another 5 minutes at 85 rpm and 130 watts. Basically keeping the same power output but using different muscle fibers – that is the theory anyway. Once I was done with that I did power sprint intervals – standing up in the pedals and putting out 450 watts at 70 RPM for as long as I could – about 30 seconds, then cooling down at about 110 watts, then repeat for 5 times. This would get my heart rate up to 160 bpm really quick! Finally I did 5 minute cool-down and then time for weight lifting.
Hit the weights feeling pretty good and did my normal weights, which were pretty heavy. I spent 20 minutes and was just about done with my normal routine. I was getting tired, my shirt was dripping wet with stinky sweat, and I was in the middle of doing twisting lat-pulls. I was on number 5 of 10 pulls and it hit me – BONK!!! I crashed and couldn’t do another pull. Not one more. Not even one at half the weight. It was like a wave of exhaustion that flooded over me, drowning my legs and arms in thick brown mud. That was it, I was done. I ended up going home, eating a light breakfast, and taking a nap for 30 minutes. That really helped in the recovery. A quick shower and I was at my desk working by 9 am, the bonk in my rearview mirror.