Harvey Bear

oday was what you could call an “epic” workout day. In fact, I think I just invented a new triathlon workout regimen. It all started at noon with a trip to my dentist for a… root canal. Ugh.

Approaching my dentist office earlier today...

A few weeks ago, I had gone in to get a crown for a cracked tooth. But when my dentist began the prep work, she noticed I had an exposed nerve. So she quickly switched to Plan B, and performed a partial root canal on the spot. Today, I went in so she could complete the job. The good news is everything went relatively well – the root canal of my #3 tooth (upper right) was successfully de-pulped, cleaned out, hollowed-out, or whatever the heck you want to call it...  The bad news is I have to return again in two weeks to get my permanent crown installed.

So after the trip to my dentist, I came home and finished my workday. Then, in the evening, it was time for my weekly “brick” workout. If you’re not a triathlete-in-training, you’re probably wondering, “Now what the heck is a brick workout?”

Glad you asked.

A typical brick workout is a hard bike ride followed immediately by a hard run. The idea is to remind your legs (emphatically) what it feels like to bike and run in succession during an actual triathlon. Basically, it feels like running on Jell-O legs – there’s a whole lot of wobbling and shakin’ going on. Eventually, after a couple of miles, the blood starts flowing, your legs settle down, and everything is cool again. But it’s a very strange experience. According to triathlon lore, it’s called a “brick” workout because it’s a hybrid of a bike ride (“B”) and a run ("R")... B + R = “ICK.” When done properly, it should be a rather unpleasant experience.

Harvey Bear Ranch Park

The question for today was: which is worse — a root canal or a brick workout?

My favorite location for doing a brick workout is the east foothills of San Martin, halfway between Morgan Hill and Gilroy. I like start at a place called Harvey Bear Ranch, which is a gorgeous park situated in a huge meadow roaming with cattle, birds, squirrels, some wild pigs, and who knows what else. I figure if I’m going to suffer, I might as well enjoy the scenery.

From Harvey Bear Ranch, I get on my bike and pedal south along New Ave. for about 3 or 4 miles. Then, I turn west onto Roop Road and head uphill to Coyote Reservoir. When I reach about 7 ½ miles, I turn around and head back.

A brief pause before heading up Roop Road...

When I arrive again at Harvey Bear Ranch, I load my bike on my bike rack and lock it. Then, I quickly change into my running shoes, and voila — I’m off running... sort of. This is when the Jell-O legs usually set in...

But today, for some strange reason, the run segment of the workout was a little different than other brick days I’ve experienced. I had expected to be completely fried from the previous events of the day — the root canal and the bike ride. But what happened? No Jell-O legs! I felt great and absolutely mashed the run! I ran two laps of the rolling looped trail around the ranch — a little more than 4 miles total — and averaged 7:45 a mile. I’ve never done that in a training run – ever. Go figure.

Could this be the future of triathlon training — a root canal followed by a brick workout in the same day? Perhaps there will come a day when somebody else would like to duplicate my regimen and answer that question. But me? I’m content to let it linger into the mists of eternity...

 

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