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If there is one lesson from Ironman I think applies to anyone who is any kind of goal-driven, this is the one.
I remember when I learned about the concept of the brick workout. I’ll have to research where the term comes from – and if you know, please send resources! – but the concept is simple. You make one work out from 2 of the disciplines. As a general rule of thumb, a brick is a bike ride followed by a run. Although in the last part of my 10 month-long training, I was making bricks out of everything: lift + run; swim + lift; swim + run; you get the gist. And definitely lots of bike + run.
I did a lot of my training with a team at Lifetime Fitness in Reston. We would meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6AM and go hard for an hour. It was almost always bricks. The whole point of that practice was to go from one thing to the other. Fast. And always out of breath.
In a community of people practicing the same discipline as you. Under the supervision of someone who has done it before. To complete your first Ironman, it’s safe to say you need advice from someone who has done it before. Coach Brian Crow at Lifetime Fitness in Reston was a key one of those for me.
“But Coach, I am all wet and I need to put a contraption of a sports bra on to go running now! That in itself is a sport!”, I would holler from the pool deck as I hustled to the locker room to change. He wouldn’t miss a beat: “Sounds like you need a better solution for race day. You can show us and practice it next week!”. 🙄
Because the transition in itself is a discipline. It’s short, it’s purposeful, it’s routine. It even goes on auto-pilot eventually.
I’ll tell y’all about the bike a lot more, do not worry. But for now, know that everything in my entire training revolved around the bike portion of the event. And specifically in how I would undertake each of the 3 loops up the Beeline Highway. I love the rule of threes.
This story begins the moment I hand my bike to my sister Catherine, my Sherpa and the captain of my cheer squad, after I have completed the 112-mile (180.25 km) bike ride. This finish line, I have imagined a million times before. Just get to T2.
And I am feeling good. I make my way through the parcours that is the transition area, count the 4 rows of bags of athletes’ equipment to mine, spot my number, 1615, grab my bag and continue my way up to the transition tent. I’m hustling Coach! Like I have practiced, I sit down first, then start taking my biking shoes off. While I am down there, I open up the bag to look for the towel that is strategically positioned right at the top of my T2 bag.
Except it’s a neon yellow raincoat. Huh?
Fuck. I grabbed the wrong bag.
I put my biking shoes back on (barefoot only when absolutely necessary around triathletes, trust) and headed back out to the 4th row of bags. I traded the 1617 I had grabbed in my haste the first go around, for the real 1615 and started all that routine all over again.
Except lemme take my time. I’m gonna be an Ironman tonight.