Big Brick

I embedded the details of my Sunday brick in the post above.  I can't figure out how to embed in the post properly yet.  But I think the duration of the workout (hopefully) speaks for itself. Of course, it was yesterday's workout -- not today's.  I was so busy powering through a five-hour brick and rushing to a neighborhood potluck dinner and then rushing to my buddy TJ's house to catch the finale of The Pacific (best one of the series) that by the time I got home...I had zero energy to blog last night.

I apologize to both of you who read this blog daily.

I'm back now, with a vengeance.  Actually, it's just a quiet night at home and an off-day for training.  I didn't get one last week so today's is most welcome.  Though my legs feel like lead after climbing 5,663 feet on the bike in Malibu, swimming a mile in 57-degree ocean water and lightly jogging a couple miles after the bike. I hope I don't sink to the bottom of the pool tomorrow morning with our Fortius team swim!

I learned a few things during yesterday's epic day of climbing Encinal and Piuma canyon roads.  They were probably more powerful observations as they were occurring in the heat of the moment, but at least 24 hours of rumination  can distill things down to their core.  So here goes:

-- Hill climbs are getting easier.  As you can see by the speeds involved, Mike, Karen, Frank, Richard and I weren't going too fast up any of the hill climbs. But, outside of the latter part of Piuma, my heart rate remained low and steady.  I never felt winded, except at the top of Piuma as massive blankets of fog rolled over the mountain peaks directly overhead, sending headwind blasts directly in our path.  I think the best way to build stamina on the bike is long, slow, and steady hill climbing.  Rinse, wash, repeat.

-- Cycling is a dangerous sport.  Two friends of mine, one of them being Anat, went down in accidents this weekend.  Neither accident was their fault nor could have been prevented.  Anat crashed on Pacific Coast Highway, which further gives me the jitters because of the number of people who crashed their last year.  I used to think that road was among the safest and most scenic.  Now I realize it's probably safer up steep hillsides than down by the ocean. Please, ride with caution on PCH.  Don't follow too close.  Watch the car doors.

-- Ocean swimming gets more and more enjoyable with more and more practice.  Many of my friends don't understand how I can enjoy ocean swimming.  There are the creepy crawly critters, for instance.  The polluted water.  The tides.  The seaweed.  The sand.  You know what?  Once you get past the surf, it's calm.  Once you channel out the cold, it's comfortable.  Once you accept your peaceful insignificance in the giant ocean, swimming is a total joy.  It's rhythmic.  Hypnotic.  And something I never thought I'd say a couple years ago.  Further, if you're training for an Ironman with a large open-water swim, I suggest swimming in some really cold water at some point before your race just to be mentally prepared.

-- My friend Karen is really improving on the bike!  After Frank bowed out of the climb due to mechanical problems with his shifting cables and Richard went home due to a bum knee, Karen braved riding alone behind Mike and me.  And she not only did so admirably, but Karen outright powered up Piuma -- only .25 miles behind Mike and me at the summit.  On the steep descents, something she's admittedly uncomfortable with, Karen kept up.  I was super proud of her and impressed.  It's really nice to see improvement happening right before your eyes.  Karen's one of my favorite triathletes because she embodies the spirit of the sport.  She's tenacious and flat-out battles through anything.  I can relate to that mentality and have that much more respect for it as a result.

There's much more I could write but I'm shutting it down for the night.  I've got another busy week ahead and a 6 a.m. date at the pool.  Good night everyone!

192 days and counting.