Success is hard to measure, unless you’re rich. Then, under capitalism, it’s really easy to measure.
A month or two ago, I had big plans to replicate the training I did for the bike racing season of 2013. I went along with this for two weeks, even beating my November / December 2012 times climbing Sunshine—my main training climb that year—but things began to fall apart and I lost motivation to continue with this plan. It was encouraging to see that if I really wanted to, I could certainly get back to that bike form. But to really want to, I’d have to have concrete races on the calendar, which I currently do not. Ironman insists that there will be pro racing starting in August, but I have serious doubts that anything will happen this year at all. Of course, I’d love to do Boulder 70.3, Oceanside, Ironman Arizona, and other events in the fall if they do occur, but I’m not holding out hope.
Therefore, I need another goal other than just maintaining fitness or trying to hit arbitrary power numbers that I used to be able to do on the road bike. Instead, I’m going to try to hit an arbitrary running number: 8:40. My high school’s current 3K record is 8:40:63, so my summer running goal is to beat that. Does it get any more arbitrary than this? Of course! Which is why I also have the goal of sub 6 hours for the Longs Peak Duathlon, which is definitely still on the schedule. Due to snowpack, I think my initial hope of doing this by June is too soon, so it’ll have to take place in mid July at the earliest.
As for the 3K, I did a trial run—pun intended?—two days ago and came in at 9:25, which was 36 seconds faster than I ran the 3K as a sophomore in high school. I started out pretty conservatively, and didn’t have anyone pacing other than Adelaide and Maybellene cheering from the sideline, so I’m confident that with a bit of preparation and a pacer or two, I could shave off 20 seconds within a week. Getting down to 8:40, though, will definitely require more fitness, and speed work on the track. With any luck, two months from now I’ll be able to rub my 8:40:62 success in the face of Henry G., that smug 18-year-old bastard. High school records still count when you’re 34, right?
Even with these meager goals keeping me going, somewhat, I definitely haven’t been training at the same level as normal. Long gone are the weeks of 20+ hours. I’m lucky to get in 12 hours of running and riding lately. So for everyone out there worried that they aren’t doing enough, you aren’t alone. My guess is that most people are doing quite a bit less than they would be in a normal year. I certainly encourage those trying to get something out of 2020 and bettering themselves in the face of adversity (I’m also finally writing my novel, so I’m still trying to consider myself part of this group). Yet, it may be more reasonable, and sustainable, to simply just get through the pandemic without 1) getting sick and dying from Covid, 2) declaring bankruptcy or gaining 40 pounds, 3) becoming an alcoholic child abuser, or 4) becoming clinically depressed. With those things achieved, 2020 (and maybe 2021) would certainly be a success story.