Anyone who has every trained for a triathlon knows the importance of doing brick workouts. I mean the race is a brick workout; it’s just done on race day. I know it isn’t really, but this mentality is how I’m going to get through this first triathlon. You’ve done it in training so just do it again. Wash… rinse… repeat.
However it’s done, swim/bike, bike/run, run/bike/run, etc. – you have to get through your first brick workout at some point and for many people it is more mental than physical. It is for me. It’s also usually done earlier than 2 weeks prior to the race (unlike me), but that’s another story for another time.
So I went out yesterday with my coach, Ben Bartlett, to ride the new 16 mile Celebrating Heroes/IronGirl Columbia bike course. It was a gorgeous day for riding — not too sunny and not too hot. It was also great as there were a lot of people out riding on Sunday. I rode part of the old course last summer on my first bike ride in 12 years. The hills (not to mention my seat post being too low) trashed my quads and almost devoured my self esteem. But I’m not a quitter so after focusing on my marathon training, I figured I better work with someone who knows more about cycling than me. Hence my working with Coach Ben.
After less than 5 months of working with Coach Ben and 10 months after that first ride, I did my first true brick workout. I was able to ride the new course, which has much bigger hills, without any problems (much to the surprise of myself and my coach!). Then I did a 2.5 mile run at a pace. This pace is just a little slower than I the pace ran for the tri relay last June on fresh legs. In full disclosure, it wasn’t right after the ride as we went to the site where the swim start will be set up to talk about the swim course and race day strategy. But it was close enough after the ride to still count. Afterall, I was wearing my running shoes and we jogged down to the lake. I’ll just consider the time in between a long transition. LOL
So, I must say that my self esteem was much better after this bike/run brick workout. On top of it, I feel like my fitness level has held up even though I wasn’t able to workout due to illness and injury for 3 weeks in May. I took a cooler of food with me to the park and after the run I had an impromptu picnic on the parking lot stairs (perfect view of the lake). When I got home, I stretched, did my version of an ice bath (really, really, really cold water), foam rolled, and most importantly used my Roll Recovery R8 and tens stim unit. I think the last two activities really made the difference in not only my ability to be mobile today, but I didn’t have any residual pain, or muscle soreness/stiffness. To go a step farther, I was able to comfortably ride during my bike fit this morning (more on that in an upcoming post). Usually Mondays can be pretty brutal even though they are easy days and my legs feel like lead. It was nice to feel great after a really hard workout. Again, thank you Roll Recovery for an outstanding product. Thank you Dr. Cheryl for getting me a stim unit. I’ll still visit you – don’t worry. And thank you Coach Ben for the reminder to hydrate, stretch, and take it easy.
Last week was a
great AWESOME week. I swam 1.5 miles during my Tuesday workout (my farthest swim ever!) so I’m feeling better about my swimming. I still have some demons to conquer, but don’t we all? I know I can ride the bike course. My coach gave me a solid strategy to tackle the course in a smart way and not end of cooked by or before the end. And I was able to run off the bike. Not fast mind you, but it was still running and it was at 4:00/1:00 run/walk intervals, which I couldn’t do last summer. I still have work to do, but it’s coming together. Thanks Coach Ben for hanging in there and also for believing in me. If you’re looking for a great triathlon coach, I can put you in touch with Coach Ben. He’s reworked my swim, bike and run, and taken my fitness level way up.
I still have a week of solid training and then a week of taper. My family, friends, and coach all believe in me, and finally I do too. The training has finally caught up with the bravado! Regardless of my time at the Celebrating Heroes triathlon, I’m going to have fun. Triathletes are some of the nicest people I know, and the volunteers and spectators are beyond wonderful. I’m so happy to be part of the tri community.