by Dee Ann Webster
My key races for 2020 were supposed to be the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon, Escape the Cape Olympic distance triathlon in June 2020, Ironman Mont Tremblant in 70.3 June 2020, Ironman Maine 70.3 In August 2020, and Ironman Maryland 140.6 in September 2020. I was hoping 2020 would be the year of my first full Ironman. I did 5 half-Ironman distances from 2018-2019. In 2019, I felt ready to take the leap to the full distance in 2020.
When races were initially cancelled starting in April and May, I felt sad, but I had hope for the fall races. As more races got cancelled, and the pandemic got worse, I realized that big races such as Ironman realistically won’t happen. I deferred all of my 2020 races to 2021.
As soon I realized my full Ironman would not happen, I toned down my training and the intensity. I still bike and run 3 days a week, and swim at least once but reduced my mileage significantly, especially the longer bike rides. I have a tendency to overdo things and burn myself out, so I decided to take this as an opportunity to reduce my mileage and enjoy exercise for what it is, a huge stress reliever that provides me with happiness.
I have a running background. Before triathlons, I would just run. I loved running all kinds of distances, but the marathon was my favorite. After 16 marathons, a few injuries, and running the 2018 Boston marathon with its torrential downpours and high winds, I decided to take a break from marathoning and give triathlons another go. I had done sprint and Olympic triathlons from 2010-2012.
In August 2018, I wanted to try the half Ironman distance, and the Ironman 70.3 in Maine was it. The feeling I got crossing that finish line was unlike any marathon I had ever run. I was hooked. Less than one month later, I signed up for and did the Ironman Atlantic City 70.3 and loved it!!! The 70.3 distance was 10 times better than any marathon I had ever run. In 2019 I did 3 half Ironman distances. By the end of 2019, I was ready to move up to the full Ironman distance, so I registered for Ironman Maryland 140.6 scheduled for September 2020. I registered way back in November 2019 (long before coronavirus) for Ironman Maryland 2020.
I am really disappointed in how Ironman handled their cancellations and postponements, as these races are not cheap. I paid $300 at minimum for each half Ironman distance and $850 for the full distance. I am happy I was able to defer all to 2021. I just hope that Ironman doesn’t go bankrupt after all of this. Then everyone would lose all of their registration fees for deferred races from 2020 to 2021.
Throughout this whole pandemic, I have found a renewed love for running again. I found two really good friends that I train with on a regular basis. We are currently training for a marathon. Granted our marathon was cancelled, but we decided to stay positive and keep training anyway. The training is the best part of marathon/race journey in my opinion. I love working out. I won’t let cancelled races stop me or deter me. I need to workout on a regular basis. It is my main source of joy and happiness. Hopefully we will find some marathon in 2020. At this point we are willing to travel to complete one. If not, 2021 is going to be jam packed with deferred races from 2020.