Monday, July 30, 2012

I Fought the Heat and the Heat Won ...

Back in the mid-60's Bobby Fuller had a song titled, I Fought the Law and the Law Won. 

We have all heard it a million times. It has probably been covered by God knows how many other bands. Catchy little tune but the message from this song is that The Law is an immovable force. If you try to beat The Law you will lose. Respect must be given or you will pay the consequences.

Flashback to Saturday morning: I was slouched on the pavement of a Starbucks parking lot, pouring cold water over my head, and flashing in and out of consciousness and this song came to mind.

Except my barely coherent brain had replaced the word, "Law" with "Heat"?

Maybe my brain was a little more coherent then it is getting credit for because the slightly less then clever word swap was rather accurate. Right down to the part that gets to the heart of the original lyrics - Respect ... or lack thereof.

Flashback even a little further on Saturday morning. I am three weeks out from Ironman Mont-Tremblant.   Anyone who has ever trained for an Ironman knows this is the last BIG training weekend and then taper starts. My schedule had on tap a 3hr run in the morning and a 4500M swim to follow. Then on Sunday a 6hr 30m ride with a 1hr brick run. I was ready and looking forward to the weekend.

So Saturday morning rolls around and I meet my buddy Dave at the above mentioned Starbucks parking lot at 4:30am sharp. We have three different loops worked out that will allow us to pass our cars twice to refill our bottles. It was perfectly planned right up until the point that it was not.

The plan was to start early to Beat the Heat. For those new to the blog I live in a Northern Suburb of Houston, Texas. What this means is that the term Beat the Heat is something us Houstonians say but it has no real meaning because no such thing really exists here. It is ALWAYS smoldering hot during the summer (But our winters are glorious).

Anyway, it was already 88* and the humidity was at 96% and the dew point was freaking soaking wet.

We started our first loop in the dark and decided to keep a slow pace, to Outsmart the Heat, another phrase we say that is not possible to accomplish (well, unless a treadmill and A/C is brought into the equation). My sweat rate was incredibly high on the first loop but this was to be expected and I prepared. I normally run with a handheld bottle filled with two scoops of EFS Drink. The EFS Drink has close to 1100mg of Electrolytes which is perfect for replenishing a depleted body on a humid morning. However, I figured since it was SO HOT I would use THREE scoops of EFS drink per bottle, that is like a 3rd more electrolytes - genius, I know. This also meant I had 300 calories per bottle and no solid nutrition would be needed (in hindsight, not so genius).

First loop complete. Grab a second EFS bottle. Start second loop.

On the second loop Dave and I decide it is a good idea to do a couple of reps up and down our infamous 5-story parking garage. By the second rep everything started to feel very labored. The legs felt fine but my head and body felt bad. Real bad.

We then headed over the West Lake Houston Bridge and picked up a little breeze, it felt good and gave me a second wind. But then as soon as we got off the bridge and the breeze was blocked I felt horrible. I had pretty much quit sweating, my head was throbbing, and all of a sudden I had some severe side cramps. I could no longer stomach the EFS drink as the three scoops made it too sweet. Dave gave me what little he had left off his water.

At this point were were about 13mi into the run and about a mile out from the cars and I knew I was in some serious trouble.

We made it back and I grabbed some ice water from the cooler and started pouring it over my head and I knew at this point I was suffering from heat exhaustion and needed to get in a cold shower. My legs decided they no longer wanted to work and I ended up slouched over half in my trunk (with the cooler) and half out. Somehow this ended up slouched on the pavement within a few minutes?

Flash Forward to today: I am recovering from a pretty bad bout of Heat Exhaustion. If you click the link and look at the symptoms I experienced every singe one of them and believe me when I tell you it was not pleasant. The rest of Saturday was spent with a 102* fever alternating between rounds of chills and sweats. Sunday was spent on the couch with a discomfort level close to what it would be like if Mike Tyson had a 12-round boxing match with your internal organs. And today was back at work but probably only operating at around 50%.

The good news is that each day has got substantially better from the last and I am hopeful to be back doing some light training by Wednesday.

The morale of the story is to be careful out there. I've lived in Houston for 8 summers and have trained for triathlon through the last four. Due to all this time training I became comfortable and let my guard down. My ego and lack of preparation had led me to believe that a battle with the heat was mine for the taking. The Heat Won ...

Oh, By-the-way, Bobby Fuller was from SE Texas. Coincidence? I think not.

Thanks for Reading,



  1. Yikes - that is scary! Glad you are fighting your way back from the lost battle. Definitely don't do THAT again.

  2. Funny, we are having a heat wave here...90 degrees and zero humidity. I'd take that anyway over your Houston heat. I bow to you in unworthiness training in Houston. (I lived in Lafayette for grad school). Best of luck recovering from the heat exhaustion and good luck with taper

  3. I had a bit of that this past Saturday's 10 mile run. It is like the 3rd time in my life that it has happened to me. I am still a bit off kilter from it today. I am hoping to get back on the road tomorrow. Take care... hope your recovery goes well.

  4. This shit will kick your ass man. Last week I came home after lifting (in the AC at the gym mind you) and climbed right into bed and fell asleep for a couple of hours. After waking up Karen (who worked from home that day) had a conversation with me and explained that we spoke before I went to sleep. Don't recall that first conversation one bit.

    This lifting session was the second workout of the day and I had not eaten enough to fuel back up. I could feel the lifting was becoming a struggle and fought through it the entire time until I finally called it quits with a headache.

    As you say the morale of the story is to never be too comfortable with your circumstances and continue to follow the laws that govern our bodies.

  5. And I thought this shit only happened to old men..
    The beauty of your race is you will probably need a down jacket all day.
    It is going to be real interesting to see how conditioning in Houston does come race day... my thoughts are it will be good for an hour

  6. SIU!!!

    Don't worry, yet another reason we need to have our compound up North... we can't run from the zombies during the day down there... we can run in 100 degree weather up here all the time, for some reason it must be more bearable up here?

    Glad you are feeling better, never got heat exhaustion bad but I have felt sick from the heat in the past. Sounds like you were borderline stupid!

  7. Dang, dude. And you're USED to that heat.....

    Sheeesh. You are tough.

  8. Yikes... that's some scary stuff. Glad you are okay... and that you were with someone! :)

  9. Dude, you must be my brother from another mother. I am 2 weeks recovered from the exact same thing( I was 8 miles from a phone/car in the woods when the sh*t hit the fan.

    Hang in there, it will get better.


  10. Just discovered your blog, and love reading race reports! I'm training for an Ironman myself ( and will enjoy reading your experiences. Sorry about your DNF a few weeks ago!

  11. Glad to hear that you're recovering nicely!!!

  12. First off, I enjoy your blog. I am new to the sport of triathlon. I experienced heat exhaustion for the first time last week: an experience I do not want to have again. I live and train in East Texas. Being that I work full time, I only have the evenings to train. That heat is brutal and will catch up to you if you are not careful