Switching Gears Again

On consecutive Thursdays USA Triathlon (USAT) announced the cancellation of the two USAT Duathlon National Championship races I was targeting to compete in this fall. Here I’ll share what that means to me and how I’m pivoting to other things. Maybe there is a nugget in here that can help you as we have all had to switch gears in some way this crazy year of COVID-19…and/or send me a consideration as I continue to move forward and figure things out.

In last week’s blog, Racing Deja Vu with a Chip, I shared how I learned the Standard (Olympic) Distance 2020 USAT Duathlon National Championship was canceled three weeks before the scheduled date of October 17. The cancelation was sent two days prior to my final tune-up race in Crystal River, FL last weekend. I was satisfied with my race but found myself a bit deflated later in the day as news of the championship cancelation sank in…in addition to the two world championships canceled earlier in the year.

With three weeks remaining to the race I really thought it was going to happen. The race was moved from Alabama to Arizona earlier in the season to enhance our chances of racing and as we continued to draw closer most of us were feeling better and better about racing.

By Sunday evening after the Crystal River race I switched gears in a sense as I still had hopes of racing in the 2nd national championship, the Long Distance 2020 USAT Duathlon National Championships, November 15 in Miami, FL.

With the race site located in Miami and the challenges they have been facing with high numbers of COVID-19 cases I didn’t feel good about the chances of the race happening but at that point I didn’t want to make assumptions. With the standard distance race being canceled this gave me an additional three weeks to focus my training for the longer distance. I wrote my plan and off I went into the week.

Thursday morning I received another email from USAT indicating the championship in Miami was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. This again was not a surprise but it did take the air out of my balloon…whatever air was still in there. Four “A” races this year canceled…

Believe me I thought I would be one of the fortunate rare people actually having an opportunity to race one of their “A” races this year so I’m no different than anyone else. We are all dealing with losses of things we love to do and many are dealing with much greater life challenges with health, work, no-work, children at home while figuring out school, and the list goes on…

The context here is simply dealing with the loss of something I love to do and honestly, I’m still processing this final cancelation and what I do next. My original plan for the year was to close out the duathlon race schedule in Miami and then transition to my off-season. In preparation for the final race I scheduled a tune-up, The Great Floridian Triathlon, scheduled three weeks earlier on October 24.

I’m still going to race. I don’t race long distance often and need the additional experience for the championships next year. If I race well, there is also a chance it will improve my national ranking for the year. Even with these two reasons, I found it difficult to train this weekend with an edge and motivation I had just a few days earlier.

Thankfully I had two things working for me. Saturday I had a long solo workout in San Antonio, FL and Sunday I was meeting some teammates for a workout. The Saturday plan was to run three miles, bike 57 miles, and run another seven miles. So this was a long day to not be motivated but every time I do a workout in San Antonio it is satisfying in many ways.

First, the scenery is so different than most of my workouts. The rolling hills with farm land is simply beautiful to experience. Second is the workout difficulty. There is no way around not working hard. Hopefully this doesn’t happen often but if you are not feeling it on a specific day and riding the somewhere flat you could back off and take it easier than other days. Not in San Antonio. The hills will not allow you to coast through a workout.

This was an odd morning as my legs felt quite good on both runs but felt like lead on the bike for the entire 57 miles. Thankfully I had the beautiful landscape and time to simply be outside helping me grind through the bike effort.

Sunday morning was the opposite. With the heavier load during the week and doing the Saturday San Antonio workout, my long run Sunday morning was a grind the entire way but the ride was better and most of that was a result of the intensity (thankfully) being much lower. I had a blast with teammates horsing around however as you can see in the picture collage above.

However, when I left and began thinking of the three week build up to The Great Floridian Triathlon it felt more of a burden than excitement. It’s in the context of losing the remaining “A” races that was leading to the feeling…I’m hoping…

Moving Forward / Switching Gears Again

This has been pretty fluid with the back-to-back weeks of cancelations impacting my schedule. Here are a few things in place and what I’m considering as I move forward. I’m open to other inputs too if you have any…send me a note.

  • Continue to train for The Great Floridian Triathlon – I really want to have some success in the long distance format as the experience in the Miami championship last year is still a challenging memory. This motivation should hopefully kick-in shortly…it better!
  • Begin an entirely new approach to my off-season training program. This I’m really excited about with a desire to add muscle resulting in a stronger bike output without losing speed on the runs. This will now begin after The Great Floridian Triathlon with a couple new resources to help me progress.
  • Have fun in a different way by competing in a relay at Challenge Daytona December 6. I will be responsible for the bike portion while the swim and run will be handled by the super speedy, Dylan Nolan. We won the relay at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in 2019 and could not attempt our defense this year with the race cancelation…so we determined this would be a great race to do together.
  • Start plotting out my run race schedule. I love dividing my year into chunks with one of them dedicated to straight run racing. The run races:
    • give me great data points for my duathlon races (pacing)
    • get me faster
    • satisfies my craving for competition
    • help me learn about myself (in more ways than just running)
  • Begin planning out my 2021 duathlon schedule. I hope to race in two national and two world championships but with COVID-19 we will see how that plays out. I will plan as if they are on however…no assumptions…
  • Do a couple fun excursions by year-end…stay tuned…
  • Coach the team – I LOVE coaching and will remain active in the team group practices, races and 1:1 sessions. Helping others is proven to make us happier and healthier people.

A few take-aways

  • Be prepared and don’t make assumptions until something is official; this helps to stay motivated and the worst case is you are prepared, learned some things about yourself in preparation and in this situation at least I got really fit
  • Flex to new opportunities and maybe find a new way to enjoy the things you love to do; I took my bike on a road trip to get a change of scenery while continuing to train my butt off
  • “Action sets mood” – Take action in some way when not feeling it; When you take action your mood follows in a great way; use your friends, family, circles, classes, experiences or whatever to propel you forward
  • Explore and/or learn new things; I have a new adventure I stumbled on a month ago that I’m continuing to pursue, keep things fresh and get me fit in new ways…exciting and more to come there. Challenging our mind and doing fun things has to be a part of the equation!

    Add Health to Your Life

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