Hill training, brick sessions and bike rides—these are the keywords that the multisport gurus have been advising us newbies for the upcoming hilly duathlon. And while I did my first brick session weeks ago (with a four-minute transition), I thought I should do a serious brick session with quick transition times, mimicking the duathlon’s. So here’s how my brick training went, as told by my running shoes and the MTB, and some bits from yours truly.
Digitaldash: Pre-brick thoughts
9:30pm—I finally make it home.
The aircon’s not doing its job. It’s sooo hot in the room, it’s like a sauna.
So much for my brick plans: I told myself I should be done with my first ever “serious” brick session by this time, but I haven’t even started yet.
Karen’s strumming her guitar. Madz says the key signature is too high. Meldz roomhops.
The room’s finally cooling down. Ahh, perfect. Can I just stay here and move my brick session some other time? I can finally crack those knock-knock jokes to these girls tonight…
Loony’s thought bubble:Pre-brick session
At 09:45pm, I’m ready to pound the pavement.
Debut run for the week: Oh, this spells excitement!
But instead of heading for the door,
She lazily sits on the floor.
Her room mate has taken the guitar out;
I can sense a bed vs. running bout.
And Mac displays a word processor.
Boy, am I glad, she decides to run and more!
Digitaldash: On the first run leg
10:02pm—All right. Let’s do this! No other night but tonight. I hope I don’t fall asleep while brickin’. Ironman watch reads 10:02pm! No way am I gonna finish this thing before midnight. Waaah!
Five minutes on the road now. And hey this feels good. My left knee is feeling a lot better after that looong rest.
Note to self:
Two loops of the 2.75km route for the first run leg = 5.5km
11 loops of the same route for the bike leg = 30.25km
Last run leg = 2.75km
Geez, I’m sleepy. Perhaps I can cut the bike distance short? I don’t think I can spin 25kph… Just thinking about biking after this run makes me feel tired already.
I am exhausted. I really am. My brain cells were deep-fried at work and I ran my errands. But I just have to do this brick session tonight—three-fourths of the days leading to April18 are already marked with activities.
I want to sleep. Haaay.
One 2.75km loop down. I wonder what my pace is. I am super speedy bagal that I’m lulling myself to sleep while running. Or maybe I really am sleepy…
Last few hundred meters. Yay! Now, slow down for an easy transition.
5.5km run leg: 33 minutes, 55 seconds
Loony’s thought bubble: First transition
This is the easier transition, I’ve been told
By Bowerman who’s now retired and old.
She wears the helmet and drinks from the water bottle;
Unlocks the bike, and she’s now in full throttle.
First transition: 1 minute, 18 seconds
Nameless MTB’s thought bubble: Bike leg
I’m special, but that kid riding me, she doesn’t even know. She’d trade me for any other shiny and squeaky clean bike. Talk about RPM, gears and cadence, and she can follow; but mention watts, derailleur, swaying, bobbing and you’ll lose her; I could see her nose bleed, I swear.
She knows I’m a hardtail, 8-speed, but that’s all she knows about me. I’m a mystery to her, you know. She knows not my bike soul and value. She doesn’t even give me bike showers. At last Sunday’s hill training, I could feel my green frame blushing from embarrassment; there were two other MTBs and a roadie—and I was a grubby piece of MTB with deflated tires. Thanks to those guys with well-maintained bikes, they inflated my tires and now I guess she’s enjoying the ride…
She shifts to a higher gear, consciously bends her elbows and begins her lap count with a song:
This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my hand.
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.
She sings that all the time, because she always forgets her count (She’s never invested on a Cateye, hence, her crude way of counting)…
This old man, he played two,
He played knick-knack on my shoe…
She takes off her left hand and shakes it off. She does the same with her right.
This old man, he played three,
He played knick-knack on my knee…
This old man, he played four,
He played knick-knack on my door…
We’re at 5. She increases her cadence, and she shifts to a higher gear. Wow, this is a new experiment of hers: she’s treating me like a manual car!
This old man, he played five
He played knick-knack on my hive…
We have the roads almost to ourselves. This is good. Other intersections aren’t busy, too, because the gates are closed. But it is getting creepy…
This old man, he played six
He played knick-knack on my sticks…
Oh, I thought we have the roads to ourselves, but here’s one guy walking his dog this late… And his dog runs after us. Waaah! She screams.
Okay, road’s clear now. She’s bobbing. Amorsolo’s taking its toll on her quads, I suppose. She keeps lowering the gear, and then increasing it. She straightens her back and is drinking more frequently from her bottle…
This old man, he played seven
He played knick-knack up in heaven…
She’s losing count now. Seven!!! I feel like yelling. And she almost turns left to the wrong street. Her hydration bottle’s almost empty. She lowers her gear, but her pedals have less power. …
This old man, he played eight
He played knick-knack on my—
What’s that?! Something’s blinking. Who else could be in Amorsolo?!
Oh, it’s a blinking roadie dude from the opposite lane.
Knick-knack on my gate…
Zhooom… And blinking roadie dude outpaces us. Wow. He has taken a U-turn and has overtaken us, slow pokes. She doesn’t seem to mind; he’s a roadie anyway…
This old man, he played nine
He played knick-knack on my spine…
I can’t believe it. We’ve gone this far. I wonder what her goal for tonight’s ride is. She was panting when she came in to get me—I didn’t know she still had that much energy, knowing that she’s—Ouch!
What was that?
She hits my left handlebar again.
Oh, it’s her China-made blinker un-blinking. She presses a button, and it winks again. She clips it back to her top…
This old man, he played ten
He played knick-knack once again…
Blinking roadie dude reappears. We’re not here to go head-to-head, roadie, I feel like saying.
I am guessing this is our final loop. She shifts to a lower gear, increasing her cadence. That’s a sign—she wants the ride to be over soon. Besides, what comes after 10?
27.5km bike leg: 1 hour, 33 minutes, 29 seconds
Digitaldash: On Transition 2
A familiar, tall figure is standing by the gate. Is that a cigarette? Oh, I think I know who that is. Another figure is visible…
Amit: It’s almost midnight. (Geez, Amit sounds like dad.)
Me: Hey! (Inhales) Yeah (Exhales).
Amit: And you’re blinking.
I struggle to carry the heavy MTB and have it securely locked. I get inside the house to get a drink.
Second transition: 2 minutes, 8 seconds
Loony’s thought bubble: Final leg
Kris: You’re not done yet?!
Digitaldash: Not yet. Last run leg! Bye!
Enough of rhymes.
This senseless storytelling is taking its toll on my limited, human vocabulary. Boy, am I just glad that those crooked pedals are off my soles.
Her legs are flailing about—like Woody’s of Toy Story. I glance at our shadow: Bwahahaha! A funny sight!
Her arms are spread out like she’s holding invisible handle bars. She walks.
She runs again. A look at our shadow reveals a much better upper body form, but her legs are spread apart. She’s pounding me harder on the pavement. Ouch.
She walks. She runs. Geez, it’s like a 1 minute:1minute run-walk ratio.
A few hundred meters from our “finishline” and she walks again. And she sprints.
Last run leg: 20 minutes, 30 seconds
I cut the bike leg to 10 loops, instead of 11, because, well, to be honest, the roads were getting eerie with less people and vehicles. There were bats flying above me, a dog running after me (again), stray cats and sounds whose sources I cannot pinpoint.
I woke up the following day (or rather, a couple of hours after) feeling no pain on my knees, but my quads and calves felt the workout.
Assessing the time splits, I wasn’t surprised with my 20-minute 2.75km leg, but I was disappointed with my 18kph average on the bike leg. I thought I was getting stronger, but soon realized my mistake: I had less power and cadence.
It was probably because I kept shifting the gear up whenever I increase my cadence. I should’ve stuck with frequent pedals. Frequent pedaling doesn’t burn me out much, but when I shift the gears to 8, that’s when I’d feel my quads burn—and that’s not a good sign.
And generally, I had less power that night—I was just plain exhausted after leaving the office at 7:30pm and running my errands (went to the bank and to Globe, and dropped by Nike Women and the MAC store only to find out that it’s under renovation). I also wasn’t pushing hard on the bike portion, hoping to conserve some energy for the final run, which didn’t improve much.
Another brick session? Hmm.
Rest matters, too. And I want that 8-hour sleep! 😛