Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hypothermia

Yesterday I commuted on my bike. The morning ride in was absolutely beautiful. The afternoon was supposed to be pretty nice too, so I didn't bother to bring a jacket.

When I left work it was raining. During my 20mi commute home, it rained harder and harder and the temperature dropped to around 50 degrees. All I was wearing was a short sleeved jersey and shorts. I had stopped and put on an extra running shirt I had, but that was it.

I haven't had hypothermia on a workout in a while, but within four miles from home, it had clearly set in. The world becomes surreal, you recognize that you are cold, but the 'feeling' of cold subsides a bit. You can actually ride a bit faster - I suspect because you don't feel your legs, or at least the neural impulses are traveling slower. At one point I imagined the winds as being warm, ocean breezes. I swear they felt that way. I visualized the sun being out - or the 90 degree heat from the previous night's track session.

By the time I got home, I had lost a bit of coordination and my words were slurred a bit. I got into a hot shower, threw on some warm clothes and crawled under the covers for about 1/2 hour.

So why didn't I sag out? That's a good question. It was one of those rides where I just kept thinking, "You know. I'm uncomfortable, but still ok" until I was so close to home I just wanted to be home instead of waiting for a ride. Moving felt better than standing still.

I think there is some value in being miserable once in a while on a run or ride. It toughens you mentally and you can draw on that in a race. Yesterday though was a bit too far and by no means do I advocate getting hypothermia or heat stroke to 'toughen' up. It just kind of ended up there. And I was dumb for not being prepared. With a good rain jacket, it would have just been 'fun' miserable instead of 'dangerous' miserable.

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