That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Saturday, May 14, 2011

She's a brick......OUCH.

First of all....I took a little bit of a hiatus from blogging, since I spent a few days out of town for a wedding, then came back to the post-vacation-return-to-work craziness. But here I am....

More specifically, I went to the Outer Banks, where there is a BEACH. And I got to RUN on the beach!! And I found out that running on the beach is hard!! (Yes, it may seem obvious, but when you're usually hundreds of miles from anything resembling a beach, you tend to not know these things.)

The interval thing is slowly but surely working, I think. I feel an awful lot like a baby learning to walk. Holy crap....running is HARD. I'd forgotten that. Now I'm up to 5/1 jog/walk intervals, and I find myself REALLY looking forward to that one minute. It's hard to believe that a couple of months ago I was running 15 miles straight and finding long runs to be (mostly) relaxing. And it's a little discouraging at times. I mean, I want to train for a marathon, and right now, a 5k would be a struggle. When does running start to NOT feel like I'm killing myself?? When does it feel like second nature again? When do I get my pace back? Arrgh.

And you know what else is hard? Training for a triathlon. :) I'm learning many new things about cycling that non-cyclists are not aware of and generally invoke an eyebrow raise and a "wtf?" from those who do not cycle. One of the biggest ones - and my current nemesis - racing requires cycling shoes. Cyclists actually clip their shoes to their pedals. That's right, you're attached to your bike. And they make it look super easy.

So, I got my cycling shoes, which were free because I signed up for the bike shop's rewards program and had plenty of points from buying my bike to get some gear. I was quite happy with myself, because I found a pair that was not only on clearance, but in a world where shoes are built primarily for function, so consequently most biking shoes are U-G-L-Y-you ain't got no alibi, I scored a relatively cute pair.

Function, appearance, and frugality all in one!
I figured out how to attach the cleats to the bottom, and took them to the gym to practice clipping and unclipping while riding a spin bike, which happen to have the pedals that match my cleats. (There are different kinds of cleats/pedals, which I'm not even going into right now!) It was surprisingly not hard, and I practiced for a while until I felt like I got it.

Thursday's workout was supposed to be another 30 minute jog/walk. I had time to combine it with a 30 minute ride. Then I thought, "Why don't I make it a brick??" (A brick would be a back-to-back workout to simulate what it's like to go from one to another in a triathlon.) Then I thought, "Hey! I want to try this clipless shoe thing!"

Get up in the morning, get ready for a workout. Triathlon is making me miss the days when getting ready for a workout involved throwing on the nearest clean-ish running clothes and heading out the door. Now I've got to get dressed, put on calf compression sleeves (<3 them, btw), strap on the garmin, put on arm warmers (because you dress like it's 20 degrees warmer for running, but do the opposite for cycling), make sure my hair is in a low enough ponytail so as not to get in the way of a bike helmet, but a high enough ponytail that it's not all stuck to my neck because I *hate* that, grab water bottle, bike shoes, socks, running shoes, road ID and spibelt with phone in case I wipe out and have to call someone to scrape me off the bike trail....holy crap, I feel like I'm going on vacation.

I put my shoes in a bag, decided to drive over to the bike trail in my flip-flops (because I was not going to make my first clippy attempt anywhere that I would be in traffic or stopping at lights), and oh yeah - grabbed my wallet just in case someone decided to pull me over during the less than two mile drive over. Grabbed husband's truck keys, left him a note that I stole his truck (as he slept like normal people do in the morning),  drove up to the apartment complex bike garage to sling my bike into the back of the truck, and off I go.

Oh, those shoes made me nervous. But it looks so easy when other people do it, and I'm smarter than a lot of people, so surely I can get this bike shoe thing down. I walked my bike over to the trail and stood there for a minute analyzing things. Then someone passed me, and I realized that my dumb butt was right in the middle of the trail. So I moved to the right side. Still standing, I swung my right foot over and after a few tries, the satisfying "click". I'm in! Attempted to push off, get left foot in, and....WHAM. WTF? My bike was on the ground. In the process, I had managed to jerk my right foot free so I was standing over the poor bike. Try again...this time, much the same, except I ended up on the ground, too. Luckily, I landed mostly on one butt cheek, which is sufficiently padded so it didn't really hurt. (Plus I had aimed the fall toward the grass and mud.) I kept trying, but I couldn't get that left foot in without falling. When it looked like my choices came down to either fall repeatedly, or get a ride in, I decided to back up a step and try one biking shoe, one running shoe.

Returned to the truck and....I had forgotten my running shoes.

So I went for a short ride in one bike shoe and one flip-flop. I didn't get too many weird looks - I don't think people really pay attention to feet. And I could totally tell the difference with the bike shoe - it felt way more efficient and fun to be attached to the pedal.

Back to the truck, went back home, grabbed running shoes, did a short ride on the bike, but I still had my bike legs, so I think it was a successful brick attempt. I think they call it a brick because it feels pretty much like running with bricks attached to your legs. But, although it felt slow, my pace really wasn't off from its norm at all. I was SERIOUSLY tired by the end of the run, though. I'm gonna blame that partially on the brick, partially on the injury, and partially on the fact that Cincinnati has decided that it's August now and it was much hotter and more humid than I bargained for. I came back SOAKED in sweat....but the morning had been a pretty good workout.

Got some advice from a tri forum, and I think I'm ready to attempt the shoes again sometime soon, even though I can't be convinced that they're NOT out to kill me (and my poor bike!!)

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