Thursday, September 20, 2012

Semi-Bricked Kind of Life

I was in a quandary the other day about how I was going to fit a running program into my other training - specifically that I have days that I spin and days that I'm on the bike and I have to fit swimming in there somewhere.

In triathlon jargon, a, "brick," is when you practice two of the three disciplines back-to-back. They usually follow the same sequence in training as they do in a race so, a swim session is quickly followed by a cycling session or a cycling session is followed by a run. The idea is to get a feel for the transition so your body doesn't rebel at the start of next discipline. It doesn't work - you will always feel miserable immediately following a transition, but it's the thought that counts.

I did a variation on that when my second scheduled run fell on the same day I teach spin. My day started with a session with my client, then I taught spin and then jumped in the car, drove down the street 4 miles to the WWI Memorial Park and did a run on the same field (Vincent R. Petti Memorial Field) that I did the last time.

My Training Ground.

Yeah, that was my brick. Not much to write about here.

One thing I'm noticing about running for time and not paying any attention to distance is how much easier it is for me to mentally, "check out," and let my mind wander. Without the fear of traffic or the worry of tracking mileage I seem to be easily distracted by.... ummm... all of the voices in my head.

Of course, these runs are nowhere near comfortable (I can't imagine what a comfortable run feels like) and so I'm always calling on those "perseverance" role models to motivate me to the next minute.

I recently read a great article at by Chrissie Wellington and how she managed to win the Ironman World Championships in 2011. For those who don't know, Wellington is the most dominant force in women's triathlon racing. Also known as "The Queen of Kona," her athleticism is far and above most of us mere mortals. This year, her training was brought to an abrupt halt by a severe cycling crash a couple of weeks before the championships. In the article, Chrissie shares her mind-set and how she overcame a lot of pain to achieve another title.

I was particularly moved by her comparison of her injuries to that of the late Jon Blais.  The story of Jon Blais and his determination to finish the Ironman in Hawaii in 2005 while dealing with ALS has been an inspiration to many people, myself included. So, as I'm (barely) running back and forth across the soccer/lacrosse field, I think about Chrissie and how she wouldn't give in to her pain because Jon Blais wouldn't give up and I think about Jon Blais and then I think how dumb it would be of me to give up since I just have to (barely) run on grass for only a few minutes at a time. By the time I finish thinking all of that, it's time to stop and the voices in my head, along with the discomfort, fade away and my almost-brick is done.

Then I go home and eat the kitchen.

If you would like to be inspired by the Blazeman today, watch this footage from YouTube's IronmanTriathlon video and this excerpt from their DVD of the 2005 race in Hawaii.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Return of Shuffle/Jog

To get myself motivated to ride my bike again, I ordered an el cheapo computer for my bike (Blackburn Delphi 3.0) but I still had no inclination to put air in my tires.

The easiest way for me to get motivated to ride is to do the thing I really detest the most - running. So, I picked a race that doesn't exist yet (the Hopkinton Paws and Claws 5K has been tentatively scheduled but not confirmed means there's no sign-up yet) and arbitrarily picked a running program. The idea is that it shouldn't matter what race I do, I should just be able to run a 5K and since most online running programs for beginners are set up as various timed interval workouts, anything that gets my heart rate up would suffice. Googling "5K online running programs" I quickly found one that I could use over at

Instead of going back to my usual flat, closed-circuit road, I headed over to the WWI Memorial Park. Down the park road past the petting zoo, there's a parking lot near a path that leads to three adjoining soccer fields. I've never been a fan of running in the street - the slanting asphalt puts an uncomfortable amount of stress on my knee ligaments - so for this go 'round, I want to try running in the grass or on dirt trails as much as possible.

In order to stay focused on the process and avoid worrying about progress e.g.,how many feet did I run and how many feet per hour was that, exactly? I deliberately ran back and forth across the width of the three fields and the outside boundaries. Running this way instead of running laps around one field would kill the temptation to chart my mileage.

The upshot is that after a year of rarely running, I made it through the first session (run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat 3 more times at my usual shuffle/jog pace) with much less difficulty than I had anticipated. That tells me that the time I've spent on the bike has definitely increased my aerobic base.

So, I'm running again. Now, where did I put that bicycle pump?
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back Into a Routine

It's taken quite some time to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the Hotter 'n Hell Hundred. Getting back to work has helped divert my attention from what happened. Working in a gym, you get to know all of the members with all of their injuries and traumas and it's a little more difficult to feel sorry for myself when someone is talking about their back fusion surgery or shattered ankle. So, onward we go.

I received a comment on my HH100 report from my pal Roy from the Pedal-Pushers which said in part,"...I am already thinking about trying it again next year."

Eh, not so much yet. I'm still reticent about what I'll be doing next year. I didn't even finish putting my bike back together until Labor Day and I still haven't put any air in the tires. In the meantime, it's been raining steadily around here over the past couple of days. In fact, there are flash flood warnings just south of here as some of the local towns have recorded rainfall today of around 3 inches. We've also had high surf warnings in the same area as tropical storm Leslie moves northward.

So, rain on the roads, high surf at the beaches (I wonder if we'll wind up with more beached great white sharks)... I'm getting the feeling that it's a good time to go for a walk. I'm going to head on over to one of the local state parks and tackle a short hiking trail tomorrow. The parks offer scheduled guided hikes and since I know people that have gotten lost in those woods, I figure that a guided hike would be a good way to get acquainted with the local flora and fauna (which is usually nocturnal so it will be mostly flora). The skies are already clearing up and I have a Honey Stinger Waffle and Power Bar to easily get me through the 3 to 4 mile jaunt.

I've been told that this particular park is good for beginner mountain bikers as well so it should be a good scouting expedition.

It would appear that all I'll have to worry about Lyme ticks, EEE, and West Nile.

Ah, the Great Outdoors. I think I'm ready for some football.