Monday, August 30, 2010


People who train for triathlons know what BRIC work outs are. Since you can't really call what I have been doing "training," it stands to reason that I have no idea what BRIC or BRICK stands for. I simply know the lingo and that with two weeks left before this race, I should be doing lots of BRIC/K workouts.

Practically, it means doing a bike and run back to back to prepare your legs for the state which they will endure during the actual race.

But when it comes to understanding the acronym, and what it stands for, I am at a total loss. My best guesses are as follows:





See the problem I am having here? So when I attempted to preform this feat on Saturday, bike 11-12 miles then run 3 miles, I felt saddened by my stupidity. No, not by the throbbing pain in my knee, the numbness in my hands, or the soreness of my legs, my ignorance made me sad. So this morning, I resolved to be ignorant no longer and so I googled the term.

And the good news is it doens't really stand for anything according to some guy on the interwebs who is in Minnesota racing and writing about triathlons. He seems to know what he is talking about and according to the guy, Brick means:

Some think its origin come from “B”ike and “R”un. Others say the term “brick” only accurately reflects what your legs feel like when you jump off the bike and start running. Still others say the term comes from New Zealand triathlete Mike Brick who perhaps coined the term when he started doing the regimen.

Ok. So it doesn't mean anything. It means I have 13 days to get my tail in gear - my tush in the water and my legs on a bike or run.

It means no more lollygagging.

It means I have to buckle down and get to work.

It means I need more cliches to describe an increased intensity in training.

Encouraging speeches, bribes and other tokens are welcome. If you see my running around Roanoke wearing a bathing suit, yes, a bathingsuit, don't stare or laugh, please. Just ignore me and let me brick in peace.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Now, if you know me, you are aware that I tend to exaggerate sometimes. Whit, no comment. But occasionally something so scary will happen that I have no need to embellish the story - because it speaks for itself.

Like last night.

My puppies and I (pictured here) went for a run. We all needed some exercise and while it was late, I considered my dogs to be good protectors.

We ran from our house to the Roanoke City / Roanoke River Greenway, and headed West. I had planned on a 3 mile run, nothing crazy.

Atticus and Gracie were having a great time - prancing, saying hello to others, trotting in front of me on their leashes...

Around mile 1, we were going down to an area of the Greenway that often gets flooded during heavy rains when the Roanoke River swells... I was watching the puddles to make sure the Dogs were not stepping in any too deep, when all of a sudden, about 6 feet ahead of me I saw this:


I saw what I am quite sure was the biggest copperhead I had ever seen in my life. His head was so big, it was the width of my cellphone. His body was fat in places, but he had a skinny tail - no rattle.

Thankfully, he was heading away from us at the time and my dogs, thank God, did not see him at all. Had Gracie seen the moving snake, I have no doubt she would have gotten close to say hello and make friends. She has attempted this with squirrels, possums, etc.

When I saw how close the dogs were to the snake's tail - I freaked out, screamed, pulled them back and headed in the other way. Thankfully, by the time the snake's head turned toward us, we were long gone - FAST...

For starters, I am so grateful the dogs did not see the snake first. I cannot imagine any scenario where that would have worked out well.

Secondly, I want you all to know that I am a faster runner then I ever realized, I just have to have a huge 2-3 foot snake within striking distance from my dogs to reach optimum race speed.

And last, I would like to say that really really really hate snakes, and I hope I don't see that one, or any other one for the rest of my life. I am still kind of scared and keep looking at the rug in my office. YIKES.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


The crazy thing about triathlons, is that you have to have a lot of stuff... and frankly, as of late, I have been kind of anti-stuff.

For example, I try to take a pile of stuff to the Rescue Mission or place in a pile for our church yard sale in October. This purging of stuff has been occurring weekly in the Ellerman house because we are increasingly aware how little we actually need.

BUT - if I want to safely complete this race, event, whatever you want to call it in 3.5 weeks, I need stuff.

  • I need a bike. Check. Had that for years.
  • Bike shoes. Check. Again, been collecting dust in our basement and are glad to be in use.
  • Running shoes. Check - although I may need a new pair and will go to my local running store this week and ask.
  • Bathing suit and/or Tri-athlon suit. Now, I have bathing suits, but not one I could run and bike in (hello - chaffing) so I had to buy a new one. I considered the whole "tri-suit" thing but my body is just not built to wear a flimsy unitard in public. It's not. I promise. So, I now own a new suit, and a top to wear over the suit for running and biking so I can hide snacks in the pockets, and well, hide the body that is not built for a unitard.
  • Wetsuit. I really think this is unnecessary but the people who claim to know these things, recommend one... and so last night I tried one on. Apparently, it was designed for barbie. No, not a woman who looks like Barbie, the plastic doll. It was teeny tiny. My ankles fit, but everything north of my knees remained uncovered. Ugh. so now I have to rent a wetsuit to wear.
Oh, and while we are discussing perfectly terrible images like me trying on a wetsuit at 10pm in my new bathing suit in my living room with cats and dogs watching in amazement, I would like for you to picture my workout last night.

Imagine my basement, typical unfinished basement. A bike on a stationary trainer. Me in my new bathing suit and shirt, bike shoes, socks, sitting on said trainer sweating like I am in a sauna, trying to peddle. How can a machine that is perfectly still, be so painful to ride? How can a bike that is not actually going anywhere, make my heart rate go through the roof? How can I still be so sucky at bike riding after 4 months?

Apparently, I haven't been doing it enough... and that is why the bike and trainer won last night, and I stumbled off in an exhausted defeated state.

So from now on, every night - 30 minutes on the trainer. At least maybe by the end of this I will suck less and be able to ride in this event. And, maybe, it is slightly less embarrassing to be riding a bike in your basement in a bathing suit and clip shoes, then it is to be wearing a wetsuit in your living room.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


There used to be a waiter at a restaurant here in Roanoke that would always respond to your order, by saying "Awesome."

Did he really think me ordering a Millet Burger was awesome? Did my order or the way I expressed it, inspire awe in this perky guy? I doubt it but the word is used in lieu of many other expressions these days, like Great, or Outstanding. I however, will attempt to use it in this blog, as it was originally intended.

I went for an awesome run on Sunday. No, my performance did not inspire awe, nor my ability. It was where the run took place that was awesome.

3300 feet above sea level, on a gravel road, atop a mountain due west of my home, Potts Mountain. The temperature on Potts Mountain is usually 10-15 degrees cooler than the temp. down here in the valley. So please, if you will, imagine a cool 73 degree morning, bright blue sky, isolated gravel road, with the most beautiful lush green trees, wildflowers and rock formations on either side. Imagine with me, the quiet that exists in such a place with no cars, no airplanes, no sounds but for my feet hitting the gravel in rhythm, and the occasional buzz of a bee flying by my head in curiosity.

My running companion was a lovely purple butterfly. It flew beside me, in front of me, occasionally landing on the grey gravel a few yards ahead. Perhaps my bright red running shirt and pink shorts were as shocking to him, as his bright purple wings were to me. Either way, we ran/flew together for 40 minutes, quietly watching one another moving forward with purpose.

His home, apparently, is one where black eyed susans, daisies and Queen Ann's lace grows naturally at the road's edge. Mine is typically one where cigarette butts and trash are found in the same location. His is one where the day is defined by the location of the sun, and mine where the day is often defined by an alarm, or calender warning sent by email.

It was an awesome run because I finished encouraged, excited, oddly rejuvenated. So hopefully before this whole triathlon is done in 1 month (from tomorrow) I will get to go back and run with my new friend. And thanks to a great website on Virginia butterflies, I now know his name: Limenitis arthemis astyanax. I will call him AL for short.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I took vacation last week. Not from training, I mean, who would ever want to take vacay from biking and swimming and running? Not me, I assure you. No way.

I took vacation from my vacuum. My job. Email. My cell phone - and I went to the beach with my hubbie's people. Very nice people by the way.

We stayed on an island with flat long roads and bike paths. You see where I am going, right? Lots of extra time to train for this great event which will take place in a little over 4 weeks.

Day 1 - Biked 32 miles. Flat Tire at Mile 26. Not awesome. Husband kindly fixed flat and we went home.

Day 2 - Biked 8 miles - ran 1 mile. This was a poor attempt at a BRIC work out.

Day 3 - Ran 4.2 miles - it was hot and gross and not pleasant. Hated every step of it.

Day 4 - Biked 31 miles. Flat on Mile 28. Hubby / mechanic was no where in sight so I started to walk. Walked 1 mile, and mechanic arrived. He had been on a longer ride and thankfully not passed me yet on the way home. Fixed flat. Rode home.

Day 5 - Ran a few miles - not too terrible.

Day 6 - did nothing. Best day of all.

Day 7 - came home, strapped bike to the top of the car - and wouldn't you know it, Tire was FLAT by the time we got home.

The good news is maybe I am not to blame for all the flats. Afterall, if air can do it, my bum, weight and legs can't be totally to blame? Can they?

Have 4 plus weeks to figure out my equipment problem - because lets be frank about this. Am I really gonna stop and change a tire mid Triathlon? No way. I will just stop - leave my bike and hobble back to base with my bike shoes on, ask for snacks and call it a day.

Now, that would be a bad ending to months and months of work.

So, I will speak to my mechanic (ie - husband) and hopefully no more flats. But just in case, I will watch this handy dandy how to video on the interwebs - complete with how to change a flat advice.