Again, it seems to have been a long break since my last blog post. I was supposed to be writing a race report for the Parris Island Triathlon this weekend, but things have really gone a bit wild in the first 2.5 months of 2020.
To start the year, I woke up on January 1, 2020 with the full blown flu. I had traveled the week before to West Virginia to visit my mom, and maybe during the traveling, I picked something up. All I know is the first week of the year was spent in bed. I had no strength to do anything else, and I’m grateful for being as healthy as I am because this one was a doozy. Luckily, my husband did not get sick, and I was able to ease myself back into training in the second week of January. I’m not sure if this put a kink in any big blocks of training. My coaches are very good at adjusting my workouts when I communicate setbacks to them, and this didn’t seem to interrupt anything.
The rest of January was focused on base building, and I really felt myself improve in my swim. There were a lot of sets with the ankle strap only, which used to be near impossible for me. This month, I found myself being able to do 4×25, 4×50, and 4×75 sets with the ankle strap, no buoy or SIM shorts, and that was a big improvement. I wasn’t feeling comfortable on my bike. January’s sessions were all on the trainer and I assumed my uncomfortableness on the saddle was due to that. With running, I have to continue to focus on bringing my heart rate down, although I think I’ve improved on this greatly since 2018.
Mid-February was a checkpoint week to see if there were any changes from my last checkpoint in December. My swim checkpoint was a HUGE improvement taking 15 seconds off my 400 and 10 seconds off my 200. All those ankle strap only sets are working! Unfortunately, my 4D power test on the bike was not at the level my coaches were expecting. In my December go at it, I blew up so badly during the 20 minutes at threshold interval that I tried to pace it better this time. I thought I did better – I made it through the whole 20 minutes without dropping my pedaling like last time, but I guess my power didn’t come back with an improvement. That was very disheartening after feeling like I’ve worked so hard through a lot of ups and downs this year so far.
At the end of February was my sister’s bachelorette party in Charleston so I had a lot of workouts in the schedule leading up to that to make up for 3 days off of regular working out. Of course, that week turned out horribly with issues with my car, issues with Facebook ads I’m running for clients, and then an old dog with incontinence issues. When it rains, it pours, I guess. When I get overwhelmed like this, I’m grateful for my husband who helped out by cooking dinner while I was an absolute mess. It definitely takes a team to make things work!
March started out great with a big block of training that really pushed me in all three disciplines. Getting outdoors made me feel better on the bike, the intensity was increasing with my runs and I was feeling strong, and my swim continued to improve. This was the lead up to the first race of the season, The Parris Island Triathlon on March 14th. I was looking forward to this no-pressure, sprint distance race to dust off the rust, and feel that racing excitement before heading over to Ireland for my sister’s wedding at the end of the month.
The universe had different plans. On March 11th, President Trump announced that he was halting all travel from Europe into the US because of COVID-19, the Coronavirus. Initially, the UK and Ireland were exempt from these restrictions, but within a few days, that changed. Also in the following 48 hours, all of the schools have been shut down for 2 weeks, the Parris Island Triathlon was cancelled along with numerous other amateur and professional sporting events, church services were cancelled, and people went crazy buying up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
My sister had to postpone her wedding until September 2020. I’ve been able to get a refund for my AirBnb, and I’m waiting to hear back for another hotel reservation. I lost the money spent on the hotel and race for Parris Island. I know these things can’t be prevented so I’m not complaining there. Aer Lingus says they’ll waive fees for changing flights but I’m unable to do that online, and I can’t call their customer service because they’re helping only those traveling in the next 72 hours. I’ve lost the money I spent on Ryanair flights to Scotland after my sister’s wedding.
Everyone seems to be in a panic and the media isn’t helping. People are worried about losing their paychecks if they’re forced to stay home. How do they pay the bills? There are probably thousands of people too scared to go to the doctor due to costs (my husband and I will be in that group if we get sick). The travel bans are affecting those of us who had international travel plans. It’s all a very unsettling time.
But amongst all the chaos, it actually calms me down. All of this is completely out of my control. It forces us and our society to slow down, and so many of our problems are caused by the need for us to always be on, always be working, always getting that next bit of money. It’s exhausting, and it drains me on a regular basis. It’s easy for me to say this. My husband and I seem to live in uncertain times all the time as we’re self-employed so much of the money fear doesn’t affect us so badly because we’ve experienced it many times. Working from home and social distancing is already something we do on a regular basis. We take the “extra” time we have now that events are cancelled and spend more time in our garden, which will be feeding us soon. I take a moment to sit in the yard and listen to all of the busy birds building nests, enjoy the freshly blooming flowers at the beginning of spring, and be grateful for my health and wellness.
There’s no doubt that I have struggled greatly with down times and depression in the past 4-5 months. Some of the things I’ve done to try to turn the tide include doing an online regenerative gardening course through Kiss the Ground (this has been amazing), visiting the Angel Oak on St. Johns Island, and seeing and showing gratitude for what’s around me. This virus somehow isn’t adding to my anxiety because I understand that I can’t stress about something that I have zero control of. It’s 100% surrender, and that feels really good.