The upside of the 98-degree ‘brick’ wall

My sister and I were planning to get together for a run on Friday, but when we realized it was going to be in the 90s, we decided on a bike-run “brick” instead.

I’m not sure when I’m going to do another sprint-length triathlon. It’s cool how many of these seem to be popping up around the area these days, but as with running races, fitting them into my schedule (I work Saturdays)  and budget remain a problem.

I definitely want to keep training for the next one, though, whenever that turns out to be. And on this particular day, the triathlon mindset salvaged a potentially disastrous workout.

Our original plan was for a 12-mile ride and a 4-mile run. The heat wasn‘t much of a factor on the ride, especially since Traci forgot her state park pass and we wound up shortening that segment to 8 miles.

After a quick drink, we headed out on our run. That first half mile or so is always a chore after cycling, so we didn’t think much about our discomfort at first. But by the time we got to the greenway, I suggested we cut a mile off our route in hopes of avoiding the sunniest part of the path.

Traci was irritated by my weeniness and didn’t answer right away. But shortly before we got to the 3-mile turnaround, she agreed the heat was becoming a factor.

From there, it only got worse. By the time we left the greenway and headed back the unshaded mile or so to her house, we were both flirting with chills and nausea. We wound up walking the last few blocks. And no wonder: The temperature reading at the nearby middle school registered 98 degrees.

I don’t know if the heat got to us more because it was a “brick” rather than a straight-up run. I do know that in the couple of years we’ve been running together we’ve typically tried to tough out runs in the heat — and then been disappointed when they ended badly, as invariably happened at least some of the time.

Now, with summer starting, triathlon training gives us more options.  We decided we’ll run the mornings we drop our kids at summer swim team practice, but if we’re getting together for midday workouts we’ll bike or hit the adult lap swim at the local pool. Or some combination of the two. Because there’s something extra satisfying about brick work, even in the heat.

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