brick


And here we are… Monday.  Weekends just go so fast.  I love my job, but I also love spending time with my family.  But alas, here we are… Monday.

Today’s plan involved me making up the moved swim workout from Sunday as well as getting in the scheduled short run today.  I decided to get up early, attack the short run, then head straight to the pool for my short swim workout.  I guess I made it into a sort of short reverse brick workout.  A simple 26 minute run, followed by a short 26 minute swim.

I hope one day to be able to finish a full 5k in the allotted 26 minutes, but today I set a goal of running at a 10 min/mile pace for the scheduled time.  I once again took to the Upper Neuse Greenway for my morning run.  It was actually quite beautiful today.  There was a gorgeous sunrise to watch as I ran to the greenway, then a perfectly quiet paved trail to run on (only a few bunnies out that early).  Then on the return, there was a beautiful rainbow hanging out over the trees.  I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the day.  Heck, I even hit my goal for the run.  Not too shabby.

Then it was time for the pool.  I am sticking with the meter pool, rather than yards.  I need to continue to improve my swim fitness, so going that extra 9.x% each length couldn’t hurt, right?  My goal for the swim was to control my pace… slow things down a bit so I could go a longer distance.  Today was really just getting the kinks out, because my workout tomorrow morning is back in the pool and for double the time.  So after my 26 minutes were up, I packed up and headed home.

All in all – it was a good morning.  I love the sunrise run – the calm path to run on – and an empty pool to swim in.  How much better can it get?

And why is this titled “Bricks in reverse”?  Well, a normal brick workout would have a swim followed by a bike… or bike followed by run… but doing the disciplines out of order caused me to think of me doing the brick in reverse.

Loving it!

Today’s workout:

Plan: 26 minute run & 26 minutes in the pool

Actual: 22:04 run (@ 10:03) and 26 min in the pool (950 meters)

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Please see my previous post about my trip to the zoo to see what else I did this wonderful holiday weekend – but in addition to the trip to the zoo, I also got in a couple of workouts.

My Sunday – workout

My first came when we arrived at my in-laws house.  I changed clothes and jumped on my bike for a 20 mile ride on the roads between Clayton and Wendell, North Carolina — oh… and it was HOT.  My training plan had me down for a 90 minute ride, but I didn’t want to hold up any dinner plans should my ride take longer than 90 minutes, so I planned to ride an out and back ride – 10 miles out, 10 miles back.  This would guarantee that even if I rode slowly – say 15 mph, I would still be back at the 90 minute commitment… and if I pushed it, I would be back sooner.  That seemed to make sense to me, so I jumped on the bike and took off.

The ride was hot.  Very hot.  Like 87 degrees hot.  And sunny.  Very sunny.  Like no clouds sunny.  My pace on the out portion was pretty good, although I did have a mile or two where I was feeling very drained and zapped of energy.  Remember, this ride is coming in at 2pm after spending the morning at the zoo (in the heat) and the lunchtime hours in the car driving to the in-laws house.  So, I definitely wasn’t my usual self.  But, I pushed on – telling myself how happy I would be if I didn’t cut the ride short.

Finally my Garmin watch indicated 10 miles, so I slowed down, pulled a U-turn and headed back.  I was drinking a lot of water and some Gatorade to keep hydrated in this heat, but I wasn’t sure if I was over doing it or falling short.  I haven’t ridden in this level of heat before, so it was all a learning process.  I tried to listen to my body – but sometimes it is hard to interpret.

As the miles clicked off, I felt a little better.  I started to focus on just a good solid cadence – and staying in aero as much as possible.  This seemed to help a lot.  I started to feel good and strong.  I pushed things hard those final three miles.  I wanted to finish strong.

I did.  And I felt great!

Sunday’s workout:

Plan: 90 minute ride

Actual: 20.05 miles (1:10:10)

 

and now on to what I did on Monday…..

My Monday – workout

My second workout came on Monday.  My training plan called for a 35 minute run, but I decided to add a brick workout to the day, rather than just a run.  Today I was going to try out my new triathlon suit by doing a 300 meter pool swim immediately followed by a 5k.  These two workouts were to be completed on the actual race course for the Gary Kirby Triathlon this weekend.

I finished my swim in a slow, but respectable time, quickly threw on my Brooks Pureflow running shoes and took off running.  Of course I looked ridiculous being completely soaking wet, wearing a silly tri-suit running the streets of Bedford…. But it was needed.  I finished my 5k run inside of my goal time – so I felt great about that.  I am still slow – but hey… I am running, I am swimming and I am biking more than the vast majority of people in this world.  What is not to be proud of?

Pride is a strange thing… We are taught that pride is dangerous, that pride is a deadly sin.  I am not so sure I buy into that.  I think that people who take pride in themselves treat themselves better than those who leave pride on the doorstep.  I take pride in my physical improvements. I take pride in my dedication to my training.  I take pride in the family my wife and I have created.  I take pride in my work.  How can feeling proud about your accomplishments be a deadly sin?  I guess maybe you can take it too far.

Oh well.  I am proud.

– Adam

Monday’s workout

Plan: 35 minute run

Actual: BRICK: 300 meter pool swim (6:02), followed by a 5k (31:38)

The alarm just keeps setting itself for these awful times in the morning.  Today it was 5:15am.  Although, would you believe that I didn’t need it today?  I actually woke up before the alarm went off!

I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head.  Made my way downstairs and had a cup… looking up, I noticed I was late.  AHHH.  It is was now 5:30 and I needed to be on my bike by now.  Good thing that last night I was smart enough to set up everything for my brick workout this morning.  So, I quickly went to the garage and hopped on the bike and headed out.  Today I was to ride for 60 minutes and run for 20 more immediately after the ride (also known as a brick workout).

It was still dark out when I started moving, but light was quickly on its way.  I headed to the greenway where I wanted to see  how fast of a pace I could hold if I stayed down on the flats of the greenway, rather than the hills of the neighborhood for the full 60 minutes.  It was a bit of a personal challenge to see if I could reach 18mph average over 60 minutes.  Pretty crazy since the fastest average I have sustained to date was just barely over 17mph.

With that, I pushed it – attempting to leave nothing in the tank for my 20 minute run.  I wanted to see just how far I could push it and still get through everything.  At 56:43 I pulled back into my garage and started my transition.  The transition went well – but I almost forgot to grab a drink of water before heading out.  I need that to become more of a habit, as I don’t want to feel like I need a drink before I hit the first aid station during the triathlon.

Now that is FLAT!!

The run took me to the same flat greenway behind our house.  It was a beautiful morning, the birds were singing, the deer were staring at me and the path was empty.  I definitely didn’t have much in the tank after my ride, but I did manage to get in my run without a walk break – albeit at a slow pace.

I made my way back to the house and felt good about getting in such a hard workout before the family was up and moving.  I quickly transitioned from workout mode – to Daddy mode and got the kids ready for their day at school.

Oh – and I hit my goal!  I averaged 18.3mph during my bike ride!  That is my fastest average to this point.  I love seeing improvement!

Not a bad morning.

Today’s workout:

Plan: BRICK – 60m bike/20m run

Actual: 56:43 bike ride (18.3mph over 17.3 miles), 1:51 transition, 17:33 run (10:40/mile over 1.65 miles)

5:20am.  It is dark and quiet at 5:20am.  As much as I dislike waking up early, I really enjoy working out in the quiet.  Today’s workout included a LONG brick workout.  70 minutes of bike, followed by a quick transition to 35 minutes of running.  That is an hour and 45 minutes of hard, full effort exercise.  Yep.  5:20am, it is dark and quiet… but I am out there killing it.

My ride started out with me riding 20 minutes through the neighborhood, on roads I am very familiar with by now.  I stayed on the neighborhood streets because they are fairly well lit – and when riding, I prefer to be able to be seen.  After the sun came up, I headed for the Upper Neuse Greenway multi-use trail.  This was perfect for today.  It was empty at that time of the morning and allowed me to push my pace on nicely paved flat trail.  Also, while riding along the river, you have the opportunity to see some wildlife.  Today’s ride gave me a nice view of several deer, a beautiful fox, a large black snake and a red tailed hawk.  Not a bad set of sightings on one ride.

After my time on the Greenway, I returned to the neighborhood to finish my 70 minutes.  I was really pushing to finish with an average over 17 miles per hour (would be my fastest workout to date).  At the one hour mark, I saw that I had traveled 16.94 miles, so I knew I was close.  I really pushed it hard for the remaining time in the saddle and hit my goal.  I finished the ride with an average of 17.1 mph.  Now… to the transition.

I quickly put my bike on the rack, pulled off my cycling shoes, threw on a pair of running shorts (over my cycling bibs, since no one wants to see me run in those).  Switched shirts, put on my running shoes and left for my run.  Total transition time (including waiting for the garage door to open) – 1:29.  I will be much faster than this during  a race, since I will not be changing shirts, nor will I be pulling on running shorts.

To the run… I took off at a nice pace, my body wanted to go faster, but I knew I had 35 minutes of punishment still to go, so I held back.  My left foot had a strange hotspot right in the center of the foot for about the first 1/2 mile.  I was a little concerned, but kept moving.  I then had a small side stitch pain, but again… kept moving.  After about 3/4 of a mile, my body was OK with me running and allowed me to go the rest of the time relatively pain free.

My run is still slow, but I am doing it.  I got my 3 miles in (well, actually 2.98).

I feel great that I was able to get in 22 miles this morning.  That is my longest early morning workout to date.  I am proud that I didn’t let the snooze button ruin a good morning.  I am happy that I didn’t short my workout (by much).  I am glad that I still made it to work on time.  All in all a good morning.

So, by 7:30, I had already finished 1:40 minutes of exercise – traveling just shy of 22 miles and burning close to 1800 calories.  Yep… 5:20, it may be dark, but it is great to be able to accomplish so much before most people roll out of bed.

– Adam

Today’s workout:

Plan: BRICK – 70m bike/35m run

Actual: 1:06:38 bike ride (17.1mph), 1:29 transition, 32:13 run (10:48/mile)

Brick number two is in the books.  I was pumped up to get my workout in this morning.  I had no trouble getting out of bed at the crazy early hour of 5:20am.  I was a little afraid that it was going to be raining, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it dry, albeit with some serious humidity in the air.

My brick called for an hour ride, then a quick transition to a 10 minute run.  Simple enough, right?

I do most of my riding in my neighborhood (Bedford) since it is close and since it hosts a sprint tri every year (my first one will be the Bedford Tri).  I normally ride the loop from the race — over and over and over again.  Today I wanted to try something a little different – so instead of doing my normal loop, I continued straight, all the way to the end of the neighborhood (about 3 miles).  I then looped around, heading back the way I came – turning onto my ‘normal loop’ a couple of miles later.

The addition of those extra couple of miles to my loop were great.  For one thing there is a long steep hill that I could practice my climbing on… but even more so than that, on the return leg, I got to fly down that hill at 38mph.  Talk about fun.

After doing my revised loop a couple of times, I was nearing the end of my 60 minutes, so I did a short out and back, before pulling into the garage for the transition.

I shed my cycling jersey and my shoes, I slipped on (over the cycling bib) a t-shirt and some running shorts, then put on my Brooks running shoes and off I went.  My transition went fairly well.  I did have something in my running shoe that I had to get out (mental note to check shoes before I set up my transition), so that slowed me down.  But all in all, I did fairly well with it.

Then the run.  I targeted getting in 1 mile during my 10 minute run.  That would be a good pace for me, especially on tired legs.  Well, things didn’t quite go that well, but they didn’t go bad either.  I ended up getting in 0.96 miles at a 10:19 pace.  Slower than I wanted, but not too bad.  Of course, over a 5k that would be more than a minute off of my goal time.  I need to dig deeper during my run.  BTW, my heart rate increased during the second half of the run to a crazy 160bpm.

I am pleased with my effort.  I think my cycling is improving greatly and my run is where I expected it to be.  I still have a few weeks left before my first race… I think I need to start adding more runs to my weekly workouts.

– Adam

Today’s workout:

Plan: BRICK – 60m bike/10m run

Actual: 56:13 bike ride (16.62mph), 1:36 transition, 09:56 run (10:19/mile)

I have a child who is almost 19 months old.  She loves spending a few minutes every once and awhile watching the Wiggles on TV.  Well, they have a song that I have heard many times over the past few months – and this morning it was stuck in my mind and I couldn’t figure out why.  It has been at least a few weeks since I heard it – but this morning, there it was… on repeat in my mind.  ugh.  There is nothing like getting ready for a workout at 5:30 am with a song that is written for infant and toddlers stuck in your head.  It was terrible.  But alas, I did my workout – even with the song in my head.

Today was my first ever brick workout.  A brick workout is where you combine two disciplines into one workout, back to back.  The idea is that you are able to practice running with tired legs and an already warmed up body and even possibily an elevated heartbeat.   This isn’t anything I have tried before, so I wasn’t sure how my body would react.

My brick was scheduled for a ride of 70 minutes and then a quick 10 minute run.  Unfortunately, I was up later than I wanted to be last night by around an hour, so I pushed my alarm back by 30 minutes and decided to cut my ride down to a 40 minute ride followed by a 10 minute run.  I would push my bike for the full 40 as hard as I could, so as to make sure I had tired legs before I went for the run.

This plan worked well – and even with the cold temperatures (41* when I started) – I persevered and pushed through all 40 minutes of the bike – hitting an average of 16.5 mph.  This average mph appears to be my normal rate right now.  About three weeks ago, I was at a 15.5 mph average, now 16.5.  It would be great to get to a 17-18mph average before my first race in June.  I just need to keep pushing it, spend more time in the saddle – and STOP cutting my rides short!

After the ride, I pulled into the garage, took my bike jersey and helmet off, switched from my cycling shoes to my Brooks running shoes, threw on a sweatshirt (still very chilly out!) and took off.  This was also my first practice at a transition – and while I wasn’t trying to be fast, I definitely wasn’t taking my time.  I finished my transition and was on the road in 1:47.  At least I now have a time to beat during my next brick workout.

My run was strange.  My heartbeat was high – about 10 beats per minute higher than it usually is during my run.  I thought maybe I was pushing it too hard, but my Garmin 310xt watch indicated I was actually slower than usual.   I decided to just focus on a steady cadence and a smooth breath.  After about 30 seconds of that, I was able to lower my heart rate back to its normal rate.  This made me feel good – I was able to recognize that my heart rate was high, put together a plan, and adjust my run to lower the heart rate. — After I had the heart rate figured out, I was surprisingly able to push my pace and still control the heart rate.  This was great.  I hit the 5 minute mark of my run and turned back towards home.  I got home just shy of the 10 minute mark (which means my return split was around 20 seconds faster than the outbound split).

For my first brick workout, I am very pleased.  Things went well, I pushed it hard (although, I probably should have run faster!  After all, it was only a 10 minute run!).  I made it through the transition well.  And I felt like I learned a valuable lesson on controlling my heart rate.  I am very happy.

As for that song that was stuck in my head.  Well, it is a song called “The Bricklayer Song”.  It is funny how the mind works, isn’t it?  Today I laid my first brick in this training program… and I feel good about it.

Today’s workout:

Plan: BRICK – 70m bike/10m run

Actual: 41:50 bike ride (16.52mph), 1:47 transition, 09:38 run (10:28/mile)