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Salty Triathlete: Such An Opportunity

If you don't know whether you want to off-season or on-season, it's OK. We don't know either.

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Back at the beginning of the global pandemic, I was so optimistic, so invigorated and full of hope. Which is a sentence you would only say in the year 2020.

Remember back then, that lifetime ago, when we were all so worried about how to maintain our swim fitness for our summer races. Back then, when we had big goals for our quarantines. “Use all this free time,” they said—and we took it to heart. All this time freed up from not, you know, doing things or going places. Learn a new skill, work on your weaknesses, they said. This is an opportunity, they said.

And we all agreed. What an opportunity. Only it turned out our biggest weakness was just getting through a global pandemic with our health and our sanity intact.

We tried to write our novels and learn new languages; we did our swim band exercises religiously and trained exclusively in our living rooms; we taught our kids from the kitchen table and worked from the couch and did Ironmans in the backyard. As if that’s ever a totally normal thing to do even in non-normal times We’re triathletes. We got it done, plus bonus miles.

Then, like that race where you get two double flats and end up hitchhiking back to transition, things just kept going sideways. Now, when it seems like we might finally have a season, we’re hitting off-season—and instead of feeling ready to drink more wine and watch more Netflix, I’m worried there isn’t any more wine I can drink. Can you take a racing break from not racing? Are you still a triathlete if you don’t do any triathlons? Should we start training for next year? (Yes. Yes. Probably?)

If you’re in a weird place right now, you’re not alone. If you’re excited and also tired, you’re not alone. If you somehow managed to overtrain in a season with no races, you’re not alone. If you want to eat all the cookies and start all the base miles and go after all the KOMs—both sleep for days and achieve all the things at the same time, well, uh, when you figure out how, let the rest of us know.

This holiday season may not be a normal off-season, but think of it as an opportunity. For better or worse. Even if the opportunity is just to stop trying to be everything all the time, plus bonus miles. You’ll still be a triathlete, even if you just use this time to chill out. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.