11 March 2007

49.1 mile brick - Jeez, that’s like 70% of a half Ironman!

Posted by Brad Hefta-Gaub under: Cycle; Diet; Fitness; Flexibility; Ironman; Living Seattle; Marathons; Run; Stretching; exercise; fixed gear; fixie; food; single-speed; triathlon.

Today was a long day. I had planned on running the St. Patty’s day dash… a short 4 mile run; but events of the week conspired against me, and I ended up not being able to workout at all yesterday (more on that below). But I still had 4.1 hours of “goal hours” to make my weekly goal. So that meant today was going to be a big day. How about a brick: 40 mile bike + 10.3 mile run? Sounds like fun right?

It turns out that on Friday night, we watched “An Inconvenient Truth”, great movie, by the way. And seeing how saving the environment (uh, at this point you could argue it’s about life as we know it), a topic I am passionate about, the result was that my wife and I looked at each other and said… “that’s it tomorrow we go by a new car!” She had already done a ton of research on it, and we had pretty much decided that we wanted to get a Prius, so after a little bit of discussion we decided that we should get rid of my car (more on this later) and keep the “station wagon” for those few times we might need a slightly bigger car, and get a new Prius for our 95% driving machine, which is mostly used for shuttling the kids to and from school. Even though we knew exactly what we wanted, and for the most part had already come to terms with the cost (almost half off thanks to my trade in), the process still took 4 hours in the middle of the day.

Ok, so why my car? Well, my car was the least practical of our cars. It was a two seater sports car… convertible… that I haven’t really been driving very much lately, and honestly I hardly drove it much before. We’ve had the car for 8 years, and only had 40k miles on it. It was in excellent condition, and so we ended up getting a really good trade in value. Yes, I’m a little sad. It was a fun car, but I can now wear the badge of honor that I turned in my car as part of our plan to save the planet. Besides, this week I’ve almost crossed 1,000 miles of cycling for the year, and I had only driven my car 400 miles for the year. So it was mostly sitting on the side of the road collecting dirt and mud.

The point is, no time for working out on Saturday… which by the way, drove me crazy… so even though we did something good, and got a cool new car, at a good price, I was sort of grumpy the whole day. I had to reassure my wife that I wasn’t sad about giving up my car, just exercise deprived. Not to mention, being pensive about having to throw down 4+ hours of training today.

On top of all this the weather in Seattle has been horrible. Massive rain… wind gusts… the works. And of course, daylight savings time crept up on me and made my day start an hour earlier. (uh, yeah, I slept in!)

So I headed off around 2pm… heading north. I knew I had a big day in front of me, so I opted for flat not hills. I was actually making amazing time considering I was riding my fixie and made it to 55minutes with a rolling average of 19.8mph. This has got to be a distance/speed record for my fixie. Plus my effort didn’t really feel that significant. The rain was off and on, not too bad, and the temperature was about 60F. The only real complaint I had was that I was a little overdressed, because I had expected pouring rain.

Then about 2 miles from where I planned to turn around (I was planning for about a 2 hour ride, miles were less important), the wind really hit. I swear it was 25mph head winds at least. I was so excited about my time, it was painful to watch my average drop to 19.3mph before the turnaround. I kept telling myself, “hey, at least the wind will be a tail wind after the turnaround. After turning around at about 1hour, I did get my tailwind, and got my average back up to 20mph in a couple of miles. As I headed home, the rain got worse, but the wind got even more crazy, as it went from tail winds, to head winds again, to cross winds. Right around mile 34, where I face a 3 mile gradual uphill and some really gnarly pavement with roots breaking through and potholes in the trail, the wind decided it would stamp out all that was left of my ego. I slowly watched my average fall to 18.9mph by the time I reached home about 4:03pm.

Rip off the outer layer of my wet cycling clothes, slip on my running shoes, grab my running belt with 20oz of Nuun infused water… and head back out the same way I just came. My goal was to “try to run slow”… although I’ve been having a hard time keeping it slow… my body was half way in between wanting to run fast, needing to run a little slower, and able to run about my average. I ended up running the first couple miles sub 8:00, continually telling myself to slow down. Doing run 1mile, walk 45secs or so. My average pace by the turnaround had reached 8:30/miles, and I felt like I was running slow, but I couldn’t really run any faster if I had wanted to. It was a strange feeling to feel like I was holding myself back as per plan, but really I didn’t feel like I had the juice to run faster anyway… so who was I kidding. I ended up finishing my 10.3 miles with an average pace of 8:56/mile.

When I got home I was spent… my legs were really tired. The more I think about it, this was probably a much harder workout than it sounds on paper. The fact that I did this on my fixie, meant my legs turned over 10,407 times during the ride. There’s no rest, I was working the whole time. Then I ran 10.3 miles… I’m guessing my stride is right around 4′6″, so that means another 12,085 running strides.

So, after 15 minutes of stretching and a shower, I sat on the couch and iced my knees and my feet before dinner. And I ate a lot of dinner! I think I might have the last of the ice cream tonight too!

I feel good.

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4 Comments so far...

Karl McCracken Says:

12 March 2007 at 4:11 pm.

It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one fixated by the wind, and it’s nasty habit of changing direction right at the turnaround point of any ride. Superb effort for the day though - I guess this is why I’m not an iron man (y e t) - that’s some serious motivation.

I thought you were getting your road bike down off the shelf for a ride with Ray & Trevor on Sunday . . . or are they strictly fair-weather riders? ;-)
BTW - My new sprockets arrive timorrow. And on Wednesday night I’m teaching myself how to re-dish a wheel.

sheba Says:

12 March 2007 at 7:43 pm.

congrats on the new car

IronMed Says:

12 March 2007 at 7:54 pm.

congrats on the workout and the car! both are awesome. while i’m not in any position to sell my car, hopefully getting back to bike commuting will cut down on my expenses and harm to the environment. and i get the added bonus of a workout. that’s a real solid workout, don’t kid yourself.

zappoman Says:

12 March 2007 at 11:53 pm.


Uh… yeah, Ray and Trevor and the gang would be “the definition” of Seattle Weather Wimps. You see, as much as people think it rains here all the time, we actually have pretty mild weather throughout the year. It’s rarely “too cold” and rarely “too hot”… so most people in Seattle are used to the weather being nice an “comfortable”… when it rains, these people stay inside. So, no, they bailed… as expected. So I rode on my own and on my fixie.

I can’t wait to hear about your bike building project!

Sheba and Ironmed,

Thanks for the congrats on the car… I’m pretty happy about it… although as Sheba can tell you, I really liked my old car… some people will probably be shocked when they hear it’s gone… as many people identified me with it. After all, it hap personalized plates that said “Zappo”. ;)
But, those plates will move to the new car. So, Zappo Lives! Viva el Zappo!


About Brad

Me in 2002 - 200lbsThis is my fitness blog. Some people who knew me a long time ago may wonder, what the heck I'm doing writing a blog about fitness. Many of them wouldn't imagine that I'd have anything to do with fitness. You see, up until age 34, I treated my body very poorly. I sat around at home, at work, at play. I ate junk food and lots of it. And the result was what you'd expect 5'4" and 200 lbs with 36% body fat. (more...)