Today I did my first "brick" workout. A brick is when you do at least two of the three sports back to back. I was very motivated and decided that my first brick should be a mini-tri.
So I loaded the bike up along with my shoes and swimwear and headed for the lake.
Today was not the ideal day for lap swimming! The beach was packed. The deep area was awash with people lounging on those floaty inflatable mat thingies, which made the swim into a dodge-em course. Officially I swam 300 yards, but with all of the weaving and detouring I probably added a good 50 yards to it. But the swim felt pretty good! More freestyle than anything, and breast stroke only to avoid other splashers. (there were no other people actually swimming) Then it was time for my first transition.
In a triathlon, there are two transitions. One between swimming and cycling, and another between cycling and running. (Or in my case jog-walking) They are creatively titled T1 and T2.
My T1 today was hampered by a number of things. My bike was locked in the back of the Highlander, and thus needed to be extracted to be ridden. I also had to change out of my baggy beach swimsuit (I'm hoping to get something a little more streamlined for race day) into my brand new pair of cycling shorts. If you have not worn cycling shorts before, imagine a nice pair of spandex shorts that come down to just above the knees. Now imagine a gel filled diaper in the crotch. I felt a little like I imagine the Sweet Pea does when her diaper is full, but it did make quite a difference on the ride! So my T1 time was about what my swim time was. My swim time was 8:30 and my T1 was 5:30.
I jogged my bike over to the entrance to the park and hit the road. Immediately noticeable were two things. One - I felt like I was sitting on a jelly sandwich. Two - I was TIRED! My course would take me a little over five miles. I initially thought about doing it twice, but thought better of it about three miles in. Again a headwind cursed me, but I did have a nice long straightaway with no wind to hamper me, and I made up a little time there. As I came in on the bike for T2, I noted my time was just under 26 minutes. I'm still only cruising around 12 MPH. Ah well.
T2 was much easier, as I rode in my running shoes. So all I had to do was load the bike back in my vehicle and head into the run. My T2 time was all of 2 minutes.
Immediately noticeable on the run was only one thing. My legs felt like JELLY! I hobbled out onto the sidewalk and headed down the road. I don't really know how far I went, as I set my watch to beep every minute. I ran (see hobble-jog) for a minute and then walked for a minute. I was only able to do this twice before I turned around and headed back to the car. All told my "run" was just over ten minutes, and I was panting like a black dog on a sunny day when I got back to the car.
I grabbed my towel again and headed for the water to cool down. The water was still packed, but I just was beyond caring. I stretched out a little then waded into the water, where steam rose in waves off my rapidly cooling body. I floated for a little bit, discouraged by the fact that such a short set of distances just kicked my posterior in such a major way. But as I floated, I realized something very important.
Three weeks ago I couldn't climb the stairs in my house without getting winded and feeling my pulse climb. I just did a mini-tri of 300yd swim, 5 mile bike and ten minute hobble, and while the whole thing took around an hour, it is the most continuous exercise I have done probably since boot camp back in 1992. And as I emerged from the water again, I noted with some pride that my heart rate was down nicely in the low 80's, and I could still breathe!
I don't care how long it takes me to finish this coming triathlon. The benefits from training have been well worth getting involved. Rather than get discouraged anymore, I'm going to see each workout for what it is - much more than I have done in a long time! The road back to being in shape is a long one, but I finally feel like I am well on my way!