I debated on an appropriate title for this post. It had to be as epic as I felt this weekend for completing not one, but two bricks. What better way to pay homage to a weekend of sweated bliss than the world’s most obvious Pink Floyd reference? Corny puns and a great album aside, it was a great weekend.
It’s spring break for most of the southern plains, and while all other college students flock to the coasts, I’m pleased to be home right smack dab in the center of the most landlocked state in the Nation (besides maybe you, Kansas and Nebraska). Supposedly, Oklahoma boasts more “coast line” than any other state in the country (one thing our northern brethren can’t claim). I am quoting from one of those “come to Oklahoma commercials” and a Wikipedia article. Although, I usually take quality over quantity, in which case Oklahoma wouldn’t win. Either way, I took advantage of at least 18 of those miles of coast line during my rides this weekend.
Saturday morning I was out the door as soon as it was light enough to ride. I typically don’t judge this by how well I can see, but how well I feel others can see me. I began my 120 minute jaunt around 7:45 and headed north towards Lake Hefner. There’s a very convenient trail that connects two lakes that surround my house so I hopped on that and rode around Lake Hefner, then I headed south on the trail towards Lake Overholser. All in all, it was an absolutely beautiful ride. If you are interested in the nitty-gritty performance details, let’s examine the graphs below.
The nice thing about triathlon training versus most running programs is that you exercise for a set amount of time, not mileage. This way you know exactly how long an activity will take. Saturday I rode for just under two hours (1:56:55) and got a little over 33 miles in (33.3). I am fairly pleased with this because I feel like there’s plenty of room for improvement over the next 11 weeks to increase my speed into the 20mph range.
For the time being, I’m borrowing my dad’s triathlon bike: a Trek Equinox Tri Series. The bike is a bit on the heavier side as far as triathlon bikes go, weighing in a little over 22 lbs. On flat sections the bike flies, though. Saturday it was a little windy, with winds coming from the south. I noticed heading North I averaged somewhere between 19-23mph, while heading south it was between 13-17mph. This translated to an average speed of a little over 17mph for the duration of the ride. In the graph below you’ll notice, Oklahoma is as flat as they say.
I usually post my mile splits, but when there are over thirty of them I figured a summary would be best. Below, you can see that the vast majority of my ride was spent between 11:51-23.02mph.
After the bike is when things got a little interesting. Although its not my first brick, it was my first after a longer ride. I had set up my transition area prior to leaving and thought, “All I have to do is take off my helmet, put on a hat, switch shoes and off I go. No big deal right? When I pulled up to my house, I stared at my stuff like it was my first time dressing myself. Needless to say, it was an awkward transition and I will definitely be investing in some Lock Laces or Yankz.
Unfortunately, my problems didn’t really stop there. The run was awkward. Why? Well, for starters I felt that I still had the saddle between my legs, so that took some getting used to. Then, I had absolutely no idea how fast I was running. Typically, I’m pretty good at judging my pace based on different cues like breathing rate, surroundings, or how my legs feel. After the transition, though, all of those cues felt off. I didn’t know whether I was running a 10:00/mile or a 6:00/mile. I crested a small hill around mile 1 I looked at my time: 7:54. Good, but I quickly found I couldn’t sustain it. Honestly though, it felt good to run. It felt familiar. It’s an event I’m decent at and can do with relative ease. After my 30 minutes were up I called it quits. I completed 3.6 miles and was pretty spent after the two workouts.
My mile splits are listed below. Compare the average vs. fastest paces. Yeah, I had no idea how fast I was going.
My training program which you can find here didn’t call for another brick workout, but did call for a 60 minute bike and another 30 minute run. I read a post recently on BeginnerTriathlete.com which talked about the origins and the importance of brick workouts. The author submitted that there is almost no benefit to running with fresh legs when training for a triathlon since you’ll never run with fresh legs during the race. With the exception of speed workouts, he suggested the more you can run with your legs fatigued, the more experienced you’ll become in the sport. I thought this was a pretty good point and decided to get both workouts done at once.
Once again I woke up early and went riding. I took the same trail to Lake Hefner and completed about 19.3 miles in 1:12:57. If you don’t have your calculators out at home, that equates to an average of 15.8mph. Why the difference from yesterday? There was a stiff north wind at about 15mph that blew the entire ride. It was windier than Saturday’s ride and much colder. The wind chill was around 30 when I left in the morning. I won’t bore you with more charts and graphs, but the important takeaway here is that my pace was much slower due to the wind. The transition was better than Saturday’s. If I had to rate it I’d say it was at least 25% less awkward (I hope the sarcasm is coming through). I also found that I acclimated to the run faster and was more consistent with pace. Whereas Saturday I averaged 8:29/mile, I managed to average 8:12/mile on Sunday on the same 3.6 mile course. Attribute that to less fatigue, more experience, or sheer luck. Either way, it was an improvement.
All in all, it was a great weekend. I rode about 53 miles in 3 hours and ran a little over 7 miles in an hour. For my first weekend of training, I’m satisfied. Now it’s time to listen to some Pink Floyd. “All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.”