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Dawn Breaks over Brickhead.

Training update: One month in.

My class has been doing extremely well, even if its main features are to expose exactly what I need to work on most. “Everything” comes to mind…

Navigation in particular. Last update I spoke of my aspirations to cycle the Loop in under an hour. This was not the case, not because of lack of speed on the bicycle – that seemed fine. It took longer than an hour because I ended up riding a few extra miles.


This time in Kenai. We left the Sports Center bound for Kenai. Across the Bridge Access Road, conditions were blustery. It was blowing dogs off chains. A headwind, naturally. I had been advised that the main streets in Kenai hadn’t been swept, and with the 5:30 traffic, to duck behind the high school and then connect up to the bike paths later. Things were going well until I got onto Lawton Street. I rocketed past the school, helped by a little tailwind. I could see a long, straight road ahead. What I didn’t realize was the road changed from pavement to gravel a few miles past the school. So, I backtracked, and tried my best to find a path that found its way to the highway and associated bike paths.

In the interim, a few of the others had passed me, and I knew my chances of beating an hour were fantastically reduced, unless I could somehow conjure an average speed of nearly 30 mph. I did happen to go over 10 miles in just over a half hour, with the wind against me, so I at least know that an hour loop is theoretically possible.

This past weekend saw a definite ramp-up in our training, as we participated in a Miniature Triathlon on Saturday. With our last planned indoor swimming slot, we maximized our pool time by swimming for a full hour before transitioning outside to the bikes. I tried to simulate race day fun by swimming an additional 200 yards at race speed after the workout. I ran outside to the bike transition area and found out something important.

Compression shirts are difficult and hilarious to put on when you’ve just exited the pool.

I probably looked like the shirt was eating me alive, as I thrashed and fought to don it properly. I wasted a good deal of time with that bit of fun. The good thing is I learned some helpful strategies to expedite this process. Once on the bike, I did my best to catch the people in front of me. It was a short ride, just from Skyview High School to Echo Lake Road and back. It is a short ride, but ever-so-hilly. I felt cold and stiff by the time I came back into the transition area. This one was markedly improved from the first, as I slipped out of my cycling shoes and into my trail running shoes with relative ease. I even remembered to remove my helmet. It’s the little things, really.

The running was worse than I had anticipated. The brick feeling was back to stay. It wasn’t my heart or lungs that were having the most difficult time of it, it was purely the act of moving my feet one in front of the other.

Limping back to the finish, I had done my first swim-bike-run brick ever. Final thoughts? It didn’t kill me.


200 yard swim: 2:40 minutes
18.7 mph average bike – 4.8 miles
7:17 min/mile pace run average – 1.7 miles

So, aside from the dead legs and shirt-related trauma we’ll just refer to as a “wardrobe malfunction,” I am pretty pleased. I hope I can boost my time averages by a little bit before a real triathlon, but that’s not so likely, as my first is THIS VERY WEEKEND. It’s in Seward. I’m excited.

I think it will go well, provided I don’t get lost. But there’s no chance of that, right?



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