Saturday morning, starting earlier that I normally have to be at work, I rode 13.1 miles on my bicycle, and ran two miles. Consecutively. A “brick” is two or more back to back workouts, meant to give a better idea of how race day feels. This activity is aptly named, as my whole body feels like a brick the day after. That may have something to do with drinking and dancing late into the evening, but that’s a bit off topic.
The brick was a tri-group activity, so nearly twenty of us plowed down Southern, and then did a diaper-ly jog around Cooper-Young in our bike shorts. Our body fat challenge started before the brick, so we all had our weight and body fat % taken. Mine was exactly what I expected, and I’m relieved not to care very much. Do I want to be healthier? Yes. Am I obsessed with the numbers? No. I’m proud to say that is my first time to weigh in these four weeks. I find the daily lose-a-pound, gain-a-pound monitoring to be unhealthy for me, both as an activity and a topic of conversation. Avoiding that is yet another thing to add on the list of “benefits of tri training.”
Some friends were saying they were nervous about getting weighed and measured, which I mistook for being nervous about the impending workout. Because I was nervous! Again, I had some wackadoodle nightmares and stress dreams the night before. Maybe this is a silly overreaction, but this is just way outside my wheelhouse! These group workouts also give me some social anxiety. Others in the training group have built companionship from half marathon training, and I am wholly on the outside. I am lucky to know a few ladies in the group and I am super sad when they are not around for the workouts. It’s mindblowing how much energy and encouragement you can get just from having someone next to you.
My ride went pretty well, with an average speed of 14 mph. We were being timed by our coach. That really psyches me out, but I held up to the pressure better than I did on the swim earlier in the week. I noticed some of the others taking a shortcut. Maybe they didn’t mean to but it pissed me off! I lost my bike computer within the first five miles of the ride (and thankfully my friend found it later when we went back to look) but because I was so time-focused I didn’t hesitate and kept going. I’m not great at operating my computer anyway, aside from, you know, flicking it off the side of the road. Once it was gone I just focused on shifting and how I felt on the bike. Usually, the less numbers are involved the better off I am. We got held up by a train, so the other coach rerouted some of us around the U of M campus. Fellow trainees who didn’t get the detour complained that our route was significantly shorter, but I mapped it out and it was only 2/10ths of a mile less!
I rode close by two other ladies. We passed each other back and forth, depending on who caught a light or who climbed better on a given hill. That fueled my competitive drive, but in a fun and positive way. The camaraderie was pleasant. One of the ladies, Melanie, I had never met before. She told me and Emily, the other lady, that we were great climbers. How nice! That was immensely encouraging and I gave her some tips on approaching hills and how to prepare for them.
Speaking of encouragement, Emily and I finished the bike ride and then stayed together for the run. She is, I believe, the only other person in our group who hasn’t previously been trained to run. We commiserated about that, alternately chatting and breathing heavily. Running in bike shorts is rather hilarious, especially through a bustling Cooper-Young on a Saturday morning. Fortunately, my vanity about exercise clothing comes in distant second to my comfort-level, so bike shorts forever and may the haters be damned. We agreed that had either of us been alone, we would have started walking at some point. Instead, we finished the two miles at a slow jog. It was super tough at first. I got a familiar rocks-in-my-calf feeling that truly sucks. But ohmigod it was amazing to finish that workout! Our run pace turned out to be 11:26 per mile, which is quite a bit faster than I’ve been moving on solo workouts (yes, I am wicked slow). How cool!
My transition from bike to run got timed, too. It was a staggering 1:13, just to take off a helmet, blow my nose, and hook up my headphones. Dang.
Completing the brick felt so incredible, I can only imagine my exhilaration when I finish my first race.