An event cancellation email arrived this week. It wasn’t the first this year; it likely won’t be the last – but this one hurt. Spartan scratched the rest of their 2020 season, you see. They had already scrubbed quite a few races – but they also held some in the last month. We still had a trifecta on the books, including one race which was going to be our 2020 1DOS management retreat.

That race was going to be a major test, one we’ve been training towards for over a year. Now, suddenly, it’s gone. Am I shocked and surprised? No, of course not. Spartan has to be smart about their business and the health of their staff, volunteers, and racers (not to mention the PR hit if they keep going and hot spots follow their events around the country).

Mourning Has Broken

I want to take a pause here and make it clear – in no way does losing out on these races due to the pandemic compare with losing loved ones to COVID. It pales next to spending 25 days on a ventilator. It’s not the same as losing one’s job because of the shutdown. This is a first world problem, and I know it. Still, the uncertainty we live in has an impact on mental health and the drive to keep going, keep working. So bear with me!

When I got the email, I was pretty upset. While I recognized in the grand scheme it could be much worse, this was a big hairy goal that I had dedicated a lot of gym work and road time to – not to mention hills and Oggs. That goal, that dream (which is what a goal really is) kept me pushing forward when things got weird in 2020. It gave me an endpoint; yes, life is crazy, but that day is coming and I need to be ready. Now… it’s gone. When you suddenly lose something that is a big part of your daily life, there’s a hole in your soul left behind. So yes, I was a little crushed by the finality of it.

The next morning, though, found me at the gym like usual. I had two choices – be bummed and half-ass (or even GASP! skip) my workout, or take out my frustration on the weights. I went with option two… I walked away sore and tired, but felt better. The weights weren’t any worse for wear, either, despite my best efforts. (That was a little disappointing, to be honest. They could have cried a little, at least.)

Fear Factor

One of my favorite quotes is, “I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t.” There’s a level of fear to this journey; that’s part of what has driven me all along. For a long time I didn’t allow myself to take a rest day, because one day can become two… so I just kept going. I was afraid of what would happen if I paused. Now it’s so ingrained that a full rest day feels… off.

Suddenly not having that target race, that overarching goal to build for… that was a shock to the system. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about taking a break. I just didn’t think about it for long. The vision of who I want to be, and yes, the fear factor, got me up and moving.

However, I work better with a goal in mind. Sure, I can look at 2021 (I have had that dream in mind for a while now) but I needed something sooner – I needed to get a win. My partner Amy and I set some targets up – among others, a daily workout plan and a race in September that may still happen.

Roll With The Changes

So if you’re tired of the same old story

Oh, baby, turn some pages

I’ll be here when you are ready

To roll with the changes

Kevin Cronin, REO Speedwagon

When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange

Who you are and what you’re gonna be

The Brady Bunch Kids written by Billy Meshel / Chris Welch / Raymond Bloodworth

Change is a part of life – but in 2020, change has been a constant to an extreme level. In this world, mourning the loss of a dream is healthy. Feel the feels – then rearrange and get back on track. After all, if you’ve done everything you can to prepare and something outside your control interferes, your options are to scream at the universe or get back to work. (Well, maybe a little of both…)

When your mourning loses it’s “u” (go ahead, I’ll wait…) and the sun still comes up, you’ll be glad you jumped headlong into the next thing.

Cover photo by Sander Dalhuisen on Unsplash