So far, the cycling has been kicking my butt. Running always kicks my butt. The thought of doing the two back-to-back has been daunting, to say the least. In fact, running off the bike might be even scarier to me than the open water swim!!!
This morning I decided it was time to try a "brick" workout, which is triathlon terminology for doing two of the sports consecutively, especially a bike-run combo. Daunted as I was, I started with a very tiny brick, definitely more Lego than cinderblock, if you get what I'm saying.
20-minute bike ride, followed by 20-minute run.
The ride felt good -- I'm getting more comfortable shifting gears, and the overcast sky made for pleasant riding conditions. Towards the end of my 20 minutes, I realized I was going to have to finish my workout heading straight uphill! I live at the top of a pretty steep hill, and thus far I have been avoiding riding up it (in fact I just RAN up it for the first time last week!). In order to get the full effect of running off the bike, I would not be able to spend 5+ minutes walking my bike all the way up the hill, so I had no choice but to ride it. I gritted my teeth, shifted into the lowest gear, and just kept spinning my legs until I finally made it up the hill! Yay!
I parked my bike next to my house and did my little transition: helmet off, fanny pack off (shut up), phone out of fanny pack and quickly switched my workout from bike to run on MapMyFitness, grabbed water bottle from bike, and took off!
Wow...running off the bike feels weird. I expected it to feel weird, and still I was like "Whoa...this is weird!" (I think maybe the adrenaline shut down the part of my brain that thinks of words...)
I felt like I was missing something, and I mean that in two different ways:
1. Having taken off my helmet and fanny pack, I literally felt like I was missing some gear, even though I had the same things in my hands I usually run with (water bottle and phone).
2. My legs felt like they were still supposed to be pedaling something, and going much faster! It was similar to the feeling of walking around in shoes immediately after ice or roller skating -- suddenly you are so much slower and getting much less distance from the same amount of effort.
What I liked about the brick was that my legs were already warm for the run! Even though I usually walk a little to warm up before I run, it still feels like it takes a while for my legs to really get going. Coming right off the bike, I still had to settle into my stride, but it felt very different to settle down from frantic pedaling than to try to power up from a plodding walk.
I did make one mistake. The ride up the hill left me quite out of breath, and I didn't give myself enough time to catch my breath again before I took off on the run. I'm not sure why -- it's not like anyone was timing my transition! I was just in such a hurry to get out there and see how it felt that I didn't bother to make sure I was starting out feeling okay. Since the overall goal of this endeavor is not to die, I need to pay more attention to what my lungs are doing, as breathing is sort of essential to life. Or so I've heard.
Once I got over the general weirdness of how my legs felt, I was able to focus on how tired I felt. OMG, I was exhausted. Somehow I managed to keep up a really good (for me) pace, but it was hard. My thought process throughout went something like this:
"OMG this is so hard. This hurts. I can't do this. This is insane. Why does anyone want to do this on purpose? It's seriously insane!!! I am insane!! But not insane enough. I cannot possibly be this insane. This was a bad idea. A really bad idea. I should not do this. This is insane."
And then it was over, and I was still alive, and my thoughts shifted to this: "I'm done! I did it! Awesome! That wasn't so bad!! But....the race is 5 times as long on the bike and nearly 3 times as long running....there is no way I can do that. No way at all. Maybe in a year, but not in less than 4 weeks. Not possible. Good thing I haven't registered yet -- there is still a way out."
I got home, did a few quick stretches, then grabbed the computer and registered for Iron Girl Columbia. I knew if I didn't register immediately, odds were good I was going to chicken right out.
So there you have it -- I'm officially registered and committed to doing this race. I'm stuck now. I've gone all in. I'm doing a sprint triathlon on August 17th.