The unfortunate consequence of the crisis
The past 2 months went by quickly and we are all dealing with the unfortunate consequences of the Corona crisis. Those consequences are still unsure, but as time passes things are becoming more clear. Now I can at least say that I scrap my well-planned race plan. 95% of the races I subscribed for this year are cancelled or postponed. And for the 5% left, it is hard to say whether it will happen this year. I think we are all craving for clarity and for our life to get back to normal. Until that moment, I try to adapt as fast and as good as possible to the new situation.
When I received an email that the Ironman World Championships 70.3 were not taking place in 2020, several thoughts crossed my mind. Of course I was disappointed, but it did not came as a surprise. As safety is more important than racing, it was the best decision for the organization to make. The good thing is; now I can stop speculating about the event and I can continue focusing on the things I can control. It doesn't matter if the world championships will take place early 2021 or end 2021, whenever it happens, I will be ready for it. It is fair to say that my training weeks are going quite well and I am running and cycling faster than ever. Luckily I enjoy the feeling of training that much that I don't need a race to be motivated. My motivation is driven by my passion for running, love for discovering new roads by bike and the relax feeling of swimming when your body feels sore. Like every other triathlete, I would love to show what I am capable of in a race, since you can always push harder when there is a medal to be earned. As with the feeling of going out for dinner for the first time in 3 months, that first race and first medal after Corona will feel even more special than before. This crisis really thought me to appreciate the small things that used to be so normal even more.
An update on training
Before the Corona crisis, my daily life was quite busy and I was trying to use every hour as efficient as possible. Swimming at 7AM, running during the lunch break, going for dinner with friends and studying in the late evenings. Nowadays being efficient can be quite a challenge. The lanes at almost every store and the hard time trying to keep distance are frustrating every now and then. Luckily my days are a bit more empty today which doesn't require me to be efficient every minute. Must admit, enjoying my additional spare time is a new challenge for me as well. I love to be busy, to be productive and to be focused on new goals. Goals are less concrete these days, since they are continuously changing. Therefore trying to focus on the small things helps. For example, binge watching Netflix without checking your work mail or phone.
I think I can speak for most triathletes when I say that we are happy that the pools are open again. Sometimes it is annoying to swim with the current adaptations to make the pools Corona proof. But it is for sure better than not swimming at all. In comparison to my swimming sessions before Corona, they are all maxed to 45 minutes, without drafting and sometimes with the amazing feeling to drive home in your wet swimsuit. And not to forget that each session feels harder and slower than before. Luckily there is time to get back to the basics and focus on the water feeling! As the advice is to be careful with training above threshold due to the impact of training hard on your resistance, I currently focus on technique sessions in the pool.
With respect to biking and running, I sometimes simulate 'the race feeling' during training sessions to see what I am capable of. Last week, my coach gave me a double brick session with the description 'as fast as possible'. It was definitely not the same experience as racing. Lots of traffic lights and traffic on the road impacted my speed. But it felt nice to feel 'race nervous' again and to try to ride and run fast! The results were also hopeful. Averaging 35.6 km/h on my 40KM ride made me proud as it was my new personal best. I must admit, my new shiny TT bike definitely earns credits for this. Its aerodynamics helps to ride fast!
Running has always been my favorite part of triathlon, but during this crisis it became a more important part of my life. Running helps to clear my mind and makes me smile almost every day. Luckily my running kilometers have increased since my foot injury last year. For me the feeling of being injury free is even better than the race feeling. Not to forget that I am also breaking my running PRs! The upcoming weeks, I might try to beat my 10K PR of 40:39 and hopefully reach the SUB40 dream!
Apart from the setbacks caused by the crisis, I can say that I am a happy triathlete and progressing very well.
When a race will happen and how it will look like, we don't know yet. But I do know, that I will eventually shine on the WC Ironman 70.3 with my Time Trial bike. And every time I ride it, I feel extra motivated by the fact that it's paid by my sponsors who believe in me. For sure I can't wait to race with my new trisuit with my sponsors on it and deliver cookies everywhere in the Netherlands. But I know that's not really Corona proof. Therefore I will definitely come by to show my new bike and deliver cookies for all of you who supported me. But I have to delay it a bit because safety first! Until that moment, I will keep on training to become the best athlete I can and push a bit harder for everyone believing in me. And for everyone who placed a bet on my finish time for the Ironman WC 70.3, feel free to change your bet by sending me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). As times are unsecure, you have the possibility to change the time until 1 week before the event will take place. Whenever there is more clarity on a new date, I will make sure you will know it.
For now, take care and focus on the things you can control!