Taking Things for Granted, Pandemic, and Routine
I’ve been training and racing for triathlons for about a decade now. Over those ten years I’ve been able to set the rhythm of my life to the Houston area running and triathlon schedule. January is marathon spectating and IMTX/Texas 70.3 training ramps up. February brings maybe a half marathon fitness test and increased swim volume. March is peak training and probably a tri camp. April we start racing/spectating in Galveston and The Woodlands. The summer is for sprint tris. In the fall I may go long (70.3 or 140.6) again. Sometime halfway into that decade the area’s youth triathlon/multisport and summer swim schedule started to filter in. Most recently the area year-round swim schedule was added. Basically, at any given time our lives revolve around racing, training, and coaching. Travel races revolve around where would be a fun place to spend a week with friends before or after.
Sometime around Spring Break this year all that disappeared at once. No racing for anyone, no structured training for the kids, my training moved primarily indoors and/or training solo, no school activities, no anything. Suddenly a calendar that had a swim, bike, or run activity outside the house on a daily basis was wiped clear. This has resulted in one of those situations where you don’t really appreciate certain things until they aren’t there. It’s resulted in a lot of emotions across a wide gamut for a lot of us, and those of you who know me know how well I deal with emotions.
· I miss the sunrise from a parking lot full of bikes and people ready to roll.
· I miss the subtle head nod acknowledgement of a fellow swimmer at 4:30 AM as we get into the pool WAY under caffeinated. Yes, I miss swimming. This should tell you where we’re at here.
· I also miss the smell of chlorine. Fucking weird.
· I miss getting to know WAY too much about someone on a 6 hour training ride.
· I miss the nervous excitement of transition at 5:30 AM on a race day.
· I miss team happy hours.
· I miss coaching youth triathletes. It’s so easy to get jaded by adult athletes who attach status to certain affiliations or race results. Kids just want to go fast for the sake of going fast.
· I miss helping kids through their fear of open water.
· I miss having 50+ surrogate children with whom the fact I have the maturity of a 12 year old isn’t a problem, it’s a plus.
· I miss the stress of watching the Ironman App and wondering if your athlete is on their power and their nutrition.
· I miss standing on a pool deck and watching your kids and their friends set massive PRs.
· I miss the down times, sometimes hours, between your kids’ events.
· I miss post-race beer at 9 AM.
· I miss slapping your friend on the ass as you pass in a race, and God forbid vice versa.
· I miss knowing what the next day, week, month will bring. I’m not your typical type A triathlete, but I resemble one more day in and day out.
· I miss routine.
These are just a few of the things I miss off the top of my head. To be honest I just want my life back. I know that I used to complain about how ridiculously over scheduled we were. I also know that we probably don’t come out the other side of this with our lives looking like they did in February, much less a year ago. I can’t promise I won’t complain again, but I have a pretty deep appreciation for all the things I didn’t know I took for granted.
You may ask yourself “What’s the point of this piece Scott?” I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media that would lead me to believe that many people are for lack of a better term mourning the loss of their day to day lives. We’re all experiencing emotional stress, some of which we may never have dealt with before. I mean hell I miss people. I’m a snarky, sarcastic, introverted asshole (self admitted) and I miss people. I’m dead inside and I’ve been near tears several times over the past couple months. It’s a REALLY odd time. Find a healthy outlet for what you're feeling. This post is part of mine. Find what works for you. Exercise is another of mine; which reminds me I need to get on Zwift and virtually ride with a whole bunch of people I don't know to keep a claim on what little sanity I have left.