Monday, May 9, 2011

I did a brick (it's a triathlon thing)

Never Done: I did a brick

A brick is when you try practicing two sports, one right after the other. I missed Saturday morning biking practice because my neck hurt like crazy and I was just plumb tired, so I slept in -- all the way til 8:30 (woohoo!) Then I decided that was a good opportunity to try biking and then running on Sunday. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but I knew that it would hinge on Decisiveness: One you make a decision, act without hesitation. It was the first time I was going to do a real bike training session on a real bike. [Thousands of blessings to Mich for lending me hers til the one I am borrowing from Kara (thousands of blessings to Kara for shipping her bike across the country.)] I made a promise to myself that I would ride at least two times around the park, and at most three. I didn't want to quit after one time up the hard hill, but I also didn't want to overdo it on my first time. Later I found out that the team did SIX loops around the park on Saturday, but I guess I have time to build up to that.

What is important to say? The first time up the big hill was hard. My breath was labored. I felt crummy. But I got through it, and kept going, and recovered quite quickly, and by the time I came to the start point and had to decide if I was going around a second time, it was easy to stick to my decision that I would do at least 2 loops. The second time around, I played with the gears more, and got to know how they worked more efficiently than the first time around. And when I came to the big hill, it was still hard, but my lungs worked a little less hard, and I got to the top feeling better than I did the first time. When I swung around the loop a third time (these are 5K loops, by the way, and they each took me 15 minutes) I was tempted to knock it off and switch to running, but I remembered the mide (middah) of Decisiveness, realized I was fine for another loop, and immediately went for it.

There was a point when I was actually pedaling along quickly and passing people and feeling smug about it, when out of the blue, a guy zipped past me -- on the same bike I usually ride -- the little Swift Folder with small wheels that I have been so slow on. Zipped past me, I tell you. Now, he might have had more gears on there than I do, but basically, he was nonetheless making a mockery of my weeks of complaints about riding the little bike. I became a little obsessed with him, and tried to catch him, but he was either so fast that he disappeared out of sight, or he got out of the park at Ocean Parkway. (I choose to believe the latter.) So OK, Decisiveness with a little Humility thrown in. I can deal with that.

Third time up the hill was easier still, and I was tempted to go for another loop, but again remembered my earlier decision not to push it, so as I came around to my starting point, I dashed home to stash the bike and start the run.

Oh, the wobbly legs! From the start, I felt like stopping. But I had told myself that if I could run one loop (5K) around the park, I would know that I am ready to do the Pancake Sprint triathlon on June 5. (It's called the Pancake because it's flat as a pancake, and they serve you pancakes afterwards.) But after about 10 minutes, my right calf and foot just cramped right up and hurt too much to run. It had nothing to do with riding first -- it's what I've been trying to get help with for weeks. I stopped to stretch, and then kept going, and within a minute it hurt too much to run again. I tried to run through it, but then I realized that decisiveness cuts both ways, and if I knew in my soul that I had to stop, I should just stop.

I stopped. I felt defeated. I tried not to feel defeated. I started to walk. I decided to look to see if the elderflowers are blooming so I can make elderflower pressé again (made it for the first time last year and it was amazing) when I ran into my Team in Training mentor, who told me, among other things, that the first time you do a bike-run brick, you are just supposed to run for 10 minutes. So look at that -- I inadvertently did my first brick exactly right. And the elderflowers are blooming.

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