Family Brick

This only barely qualifies as a brick, but I did technically ride a bike and then go for a run, so I’m counting it.

The family and I loaded up the car with all of our bikes, all four of ‘em, and headed to a nearby bike path.  Our kids are still learning how to ride, so the flat, protected area was perfect for them.  

We saw some amusing sights along the way, including a goat corral where goats were being used to help eliminate some poison ivy.  Apparently they love the stuff.

As it turns out, their names are Ruth, Bader and Ginsburg.  Not even kidding.

After we got home, I went out for a longer run, even longer than my run earlier in the week.  I had already begun to think past my third triathlon to next season.  I knew I would have to start extending the time I spent on the roads, both in my shoes and on the wheels.  No time like the present to start that process, I figured.  I had a couple of weeks until triathlon #3 so I wasn’t too worried that I would affect that performance.

A frustrating thing was that my Fitbit Ionic crashed on me during this run, so I wasn’t able to record the GPS data or heart rate, and had to manually calculate my pace after the fact based on the times that I left and returned, and by knowing the distance of the route using Strava.

  • 5.20 mi Distance
  • 51:00 Duration
  • 9:48/mi Pace

That was really a bummer because the stats help motivate me, and this was the longest run I’d done so far in this training program.  I wanted the numbers and the route, as a milestone entry in my log.  But I had to settle for a manual entry.

Challenges

Training continues to chug along.  So far I haven’t missed a day since the Toronto debacle, and I managed to do a couple of the “optional” workouts to boot.  I am starting to get over the “I haven’t exercised in forever and it’s horrible” hump.  It doesn’t feel quite as awful to get out there, particularly to ride my bike(s).  I’m really starting to get into mountain biking, which is an interesting diversion from road biking and a completely different challenge.  It’s a good strength workout for me currently, and always makes my body feel destroyed all over – mostly in a good way.  As an added bonus, when I get back on my road bike, it feels like a rocket ship by comparison.

My biggest challenges right now remain my foot, and my weight.

My foot (specifically my right one) suffers from plantar fasciitis, which is literally a big pain.  It started about a year ago, and when it first hit, it was so bad that it was difficult to walk at times.  Running was definitely out of the question.  I got through what seems to have been the worst of it, but it still rears its head occasionally and makes running an extra challenge.  I think I would be a lot further along in my running progression than I am if I didn’t feel like I was getting shot in the heel every step.  When it’s bad enough, it cramps up my whole right side, all the way to my upper back.  It’s not a fun time.  

Besides therapeutic doses of ibuprofen, the one thing that seems to really help it is this ridiculous boot that I wear at night.  It’s a splint, pretty much like this one, that immobilizes my foot and performs kind of a passive stretch.  It works wonders; when I wake up in the morning, I often no longer even feel the pain, whereas before I sometimes couldn’t stand on my foot because it hurt so badly.  It doesn’t stop it from reacting to runs, particularly on hills, but it helps a lot.

The other thing going on is my weight.  It’s not changing.  At all.  And I don’t really get it.  I’m not eating more; I’m pretty sure I’m eating less.  I’ve made some changes like no stand-alone cheese snacks or added cheese on anything, and I’ve given up cereal for breakfast and I’m only eating oatmeal or eggs.  Nothing drastic, but after 3+ weeks of regular exercise, compared to virtually nothing before that, I thought I would have lost something by now.  My only real theory is that all the cycling I’m doing is building muscle, which weighs more than fat, so I might be dropping some fat but adding muscle.  

To make matters sort of worse, I got this smart scale and it immediately told me I had gained five pounds compared to my previous scale.  It seems accurate relative to itself, so I guess that’s all that really matters, but it was a bit discouraging.  I am liking the features, though, and the ease with which it logs my weight over time, integrates with Apple Health and Fitbit, and even provides me with all sorts of other crazy stats just by apparently smelling my feet.  I don’t put a lot of stock in the secondary stats but it’s interesting.  

We are going camping this weekend as a family so it’ll be another challenge to get my workouts done, but we will be on a lake so I can try my first open water training swim, and we’re bringing the bikes.  We’ll have to see if the weather cooperates, is all.

Day 2 – Swim

Time: 11 minutes

Distance: ~150m

Weight: 271 lbs

My primary venue for swim training is going to be an Endless Pool, at least for the foreseeable future. In some ways, this is convenient. It’s at my parents’ house, so I can use it whenever I want. They keep it warm, so I can train at any time of year without a wetsuit. It’s free and easy – I just have to drive there and hop in.

It’s not going to be the same as open water, of course, which is where I’ll most likely be swimming in my first tri. It also doesn’t have a distance gauge on the current generator, so all I have to go on is my watch.

I’m using the Fitbit Ionic, which has a swim exercise function and tells me its estimate of how far I’ve gone. I don’t really know where that comes from, though. My height, and how many times I move my arm, I guess?

So I’ll call that a rough estimate, and focus on time. According to some past tri results I’ve looked at, it seems like I’ll need to be able to swim for 15-20 minutes without stopping to cover the distance of a sprint triathlon. If I can do that, I should be in a good place to compete with triathletes who are 30 years older than me.

I’m ok with that. I’m here to finish.