Who would ever have thought last December that the whole economical and social lifestyle would go completely upside down within a couple of weeks? The Coronavirus or properly named COVID-19 virus has spread all over the world causing death, sick people, lock-down cities, unemployed people, bankrupt companies, and who knows what more… In that aspect, my life has not been so dramatically impacted luckily.
In the Netherlands, the government advises people to work from home, stay at home as much as possible, keep your social distance of 1.5 meters, and no gathering of groups larger than two persons, no (sports) events or music festivals. Besides that, many shops are either closed or only accept a limited number of customers inside, restaurants and bars are closed, gyms shut down, hairdressers and other contact professions have stopped working as well. But the positive is that we’re still allowed to go outside for a walk, cycling and more. This means it’s also possible to train outside and not like in France, Italy, or Spain that you have to stay indoors almost 24/7.
I’m not going too much into politics since I think everybody and every government has responded too late. Some a bit more too late, too ignorant (some still are) than others, but nobody did expect this to happen I think. People still went on vacation to countries that were affected, to regions where infected people came back from, etc, etc. The restrictions for every country is different, for every state it’s different, and at the moment it’s difficult to judge who made the best call… Maybe that conclusion can be made in a couple of months from now, or maybe even only in a couple of years…
All this was developing while I was happily working offshore on a project of 6 weeks (you can’t get anywhere more quarantined than on a vessel at sea I guess) and had my first triathlon race upcoming in a few months.
In the beginning, at very short notice (Ironman) races were canceled but when the situation became more clear, all of a sudden all races for weeks and months ahead were postponed to later in the year or even to 2021.
Of course, I wasn’t happy since I was still hoping for a miracle but reading about all the news around the world, I knew this was the most likely outcome. Actually quite relieved that the decision was made quite early and not just a few days or weeks before race day.
So far, I’ve been able to cancel my flights, hotel reservations, other travel plans, and preparation appointments and I’ve booked the (same) hotel again but have not made my flight booking yet. All the other plans and preparations for my first race in Asia are on hold as well. Let’s see what the situation will be in a few weeks or months and then decide what is possible. Of course, a race for recreational athletes is not as important as the virus outbreak and trying to get control of the Coronavirus, but triathlon has become a major part of my life and it does feel important to me…
What was happening all over the world, didn’t stop me from triathlon training for season 2020 on board of the vessel. Of course, I don’t have that much time while working offshore, but I did manage to conduct proper training on the Wattbike and treadmill. And when the sea state was too rough, an indoor rowing machine kept me busy as well. Together with a special developed dry-swim program from my coach, I could even keep my ‘swim-muscles’ active.
Working out for about 1 hour per day might not seem to be very much (but working 12-15 hours per day as well) but my coach made a training schedule that really was demanding and challenging! The Wattbike is great for proper high power interval and Watt training, and the treadmill helped me with some ‘long’ endurance runs, high speed runs, and interval training. This all next to the weekly bike, run, bike, run training was keeping me in reasonable good shape.
With the occasional port call in Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom, and IJmuiden, the Netherlands, I had some onshore run training as well. It was a bit surreal, seeing the almost empty streets, no people or cars anywhere. For me, this was great, since this was reducing the risk of getting infected but it feels a bit weird.
Coming home mid-April after work, the very first evening I was back on my triathlon bike. Just a short 1:15 hr ride and just a freedom ride without any training program from my coach. The following day I had a 1 hr progressive run and a 2:15 hr bike ride. And the day after, an easy endurance ride of over 3 hours. Yes, it was time to get back into the longer training and building up to a possible first triathlon race… Whenever that may be!
Coming to the triathlon season 2020… Every sports event in the Netherlands has been postponed or canceled until September. Almost all sports events in the whole of Europe, Asia, and Northern America have been postponed actually… My first booked race is still IM 70.3 Subic Bay but I hope the Coronavirus will be gone within a few months and there is a possibility to compete in a few races before the one in the Philippines…
At the moment this is all very unclear! What will happen, how long with we have restrictions and how will life be after this is all gone…
In the meantime, I keep on training and I’m still motivated!