06 February 2011


The simplest and funnest (okay, I give in: most fun...but 'funnest' is way 'funner') method of feeling like you're back in triathlon training mode is to do a brick workout or two. The word "brick" itself is interesting: who came up with it or after whom was it named or...you get it. My best bet, and from looking around, is that it is a more phonetic form of BR (BikeRun). Although, in looking on SlowTwitch I came across this response: "It started back in 3000 BC, when the ancient Sumarians hastily crossed the Tiberius and fled to Larak. During that time the scrolls revealed the term 'Bricanuis', which loosely translated means, 'Do I really have to run now? I just swam the Tiberius'." Posted by furiousferret. I'm not sure if I like the absurd, epic origin or his/her name more, but I'll take it. So anyways, I did an easy swim-bike on Friday: just a 1 mile swim followed by a 21 mile ride (first 25K tempo). It added a little excitement to my normally quite lack-luster swimming sessions.
But the note-worthy brick was this morning: I went over to my friend Coreen's house to catch up and get a solid trainer ride. It worked out great - the trainer most definitely has it's benefits, like bringing together people who normally wouldn't cycle in a group, but each want a good workout. Had I done this solo, it would have been 75 minutes real easy on the bike and then a steady 8 miler at 7:00 pace. Coreen was gonna do some tempo work, and it definitely was a good motivator for me - so made it a much better workout. It's always good to have somebody pushing the tempo with you...it keeps you in check. We did 75 minutes on the trainer with some tempo, some cadence, and some big gear work, with a good sprint with a couple minutes to go. The sprint was to simply get a little bulk muscle soreness in before the run. The only problem with bricks in the winter is you sweat like crazy inside and have to entirely dry off and change in order to go outside. Our transition time was a little longer than 15 minutes, but it ensured we wouldn't freeze on the run so it was fair. I headed out on the run and didn't get any real initial shock of "oh crap here comes the rough part", but it felt fine. I did about 200m going from 8:00/mi to 7:00/mi, and then something hit me - like Ricky Bobby "I wanna go fast" is all that ran through my head. Without care of dodging puddles, slipping on ice, or the cars that were annoyed I wasn't all the way off the shoulder, I just ran!

I dropped it down to about 6:30 immediately, and my mile average was 6:30 so I was definitely well under 6:30 for most of it since the first quarter was slow. I saw the 6:30 (which was within 20 seconds of my mile split of every tri I've done), shrugged it off, and finished with a pair of 6:10's. The 5K was a comfortable 19:24, despite deciding to run on ice/slush/snow for the last 0.75mi. Alas, I am not miserably slow as I had thought after training for the 22 miler. I made it 4.0 miles and then headed back, meeting Coreen at about 4.4 miles. Having some minor leg cramps from the ice and snow, we took the road all the way back (thankfully). I slowed down upon meeting Coreen but realized she was going right about my pace, so it worked out great. Coreen hadn't done a brick since her Half Ironman this fall, so she killed it for it having been so long: she cranked good on the bike, then negative split the run by a decent amount too! Well done for sure. Rounded out the run feeling good at 59:10.

After the run we both took some Generation UCAN. I love the product, so much so that this fall I contacted UCAN and ended up being a small-scale sales rep for them out in Rochester (if you have any questions, feel free to comment, contact, or email me: travis.b.kroot@gmail.com). I really like to have someone "just try it out" and get the opinion from the test with it. Coreen has a lot of endurance work, much much more than I. It was a bonus that Coreen also had battled with other nutrition products' GI distress, to see if this reduced the effects. She said she felt great after taking it! Another happy athlete :).

I love bricks (if you couldn't tell). A lot of people really battle that first 400m to Mile of the run, but when I get off the bike I feel primed...even better than a good 2-3mi warm up for a tempo. The title "Brick.....House!" is for (obviously) doing the Brick workout and (more obviously) for eating like a house for the Superbowl! Definitely did my work to enjoy the game, food, and a wonderful Stone Brewing Company Double Bastard Ale (22oz). Yesss!

Here's to my official beginning of triathlon training. It went great and feels even better. Can't wait for everything ahead of me this season. A brick shouldn't be something to be afraid of, it's just way too fun.

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