Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do our workouts whenever we wanted? And in perfect conditions?
And wouldn’t it be nice if money grew on trees?
I was sitting with my laptop in my running clothes calling sources for an article I was working on Friday afternoon. Outside, the sun came out from behind the clouds. “Wow,” I thought, “Maybe it won’t rain after all.” I should’ve packed up my bike and drove to the trail right then, but I wanted to get my work done first. Basically, I was using my workout as a reward.
So about an hour later, I was on my way to the trail. As usual, I was on a tight schedule, so I just drove to the section of the Cedar River Trail closest to me. A few sprinkles dotted my windshield. The clouds were low, their bellies black. Not a good sign, but this is the time I had for exercise. I would just have to deal.
I got going on the first part of my workout: biking. The Run Less Run Faster book’s cross training workouts always call for the bike portion to be done a stationary bike. I don’t have access to one. I have my mountain bike. Besides, I would rather be outside. The workout called for, basically, a 40-minute bike ride followed by a 10-minute run. I was really excited to try this “brick” workout because it resembles what I’ll be doing when I officially begin to train for a triathlon this summer. (Here’s a short explanation of “what is a brick,” in case you are wondering.)
So, I got started on the bike. The plan was to do two out-and-backs. There’s a stoplight and a road crossing a little over 2.5 miles from where I parked. I didn’t want to deal with waiting at the light, and I didn’t want to get too far away from my car in case something happened and I needed to get back on foot.
The “out” is slightly downhill and so the “back” is slightly uphill. If I thought it was noticeable on foot, it’s really noticeable on the bike.
But I knew I this so I was mentally prepared for it. Besides it’s MUCH harder when I’ve got a kid in a trailer behind me.
Yet I was missing the kid in the trailer right away. Having my son in the trailer behind me is like my biking security blanket. First of all, it gives me a reason to go slower. I just can’t go much faster than 10 mph when I have all that extra weight behind me. Second, because I’m going slower, if I fall, it won’t hurt as bad.
The first “out” was scary. I was going 15-16 mph and there was a slight vibration in the tires that I think is the trail because it went away. But I was constantly worried a tire was going to blow or something and I was going to go flying off my bike. After about 5 minutes, I started to get more comfortable and realized that I wasn’t working very hard, so I changed the gears to make the pedaling a little more challenging. I need to learn what the gears mean and when it’s appropriate to change them.
I also need to check the weather. Just as I was settling into the bike, those black clouds got serious and big rain began falling in sheets. Not your typical Seattle rainy mist, which is what I was expecting. Nope, these were big, cold drops. “Riding a bike in the rain,” I thought, “is a lot like skiing in the rain. It sucks.”
The wind picked up when I turned around at the light to go back uphill. And so it went. Wind, downpour. But I wasn’t going to let a storm ruin it. Admittedly, it was pretty miserable. My clothes were wet and heavy during the second out and back.
When I was almost done with the bike, I saw a strange figure about a quarter-mile up ahead of me off to the side of the slphalt trail — on the grass along side it. But my glasses were half-fogged and splattered with rain. I thought it might be someone on a horse.
As I got closer, and it got closer to me, I saw that it was someone on a horse! They were galloping and the woman’s rain gear was flying out behind her. I wish I could’ve taken a picture. It was awesome. We waved as we passed each other.
I was almost done with this very wet bike portion of my workout. My feet were soaked. My pants and my shirt were heavy with rain. And I realized I’d not packed a hat.
“I will not be deterred!” I exclaimed in my head. I felt like this guy:
(That’s from Caddyshack in case you are wondering.)
Got off my bike, rolled it into the back of my van, took a couple pictures, found a headband (it’ll work), and hit the trail. Earlier, on my first bike “leg,” I’d seen a female runner, but it looked like she was about done. Other than that, I’d just seen the horse lady.
So, yeah. I was the only crazy left. Running in a downpour in heavy, soaked clothes. With no hat. But I shouldn’t have been worried about my head. Nope. Should’ve been worried about my feet. My poor, frozen feet. Well-vented running shoes on a bike in the rain. Not good.
And toes? What toes? Did I have toes? Each time a foot hit the ground felt like an ice block hitting the ground. Brick feet? My legs, tired from biking, felt heavy and slow. Yet, when I looked at my watch, I saw 8:30, 8:24. What the? I did not expect that.
I also did not expect to love doing this brick so much! (So much, in fact, I would do another two days later…)
Ever tried a brick workout? What are the worst conditions you’ve ever completed a workout in?