Off Topic Thursday: When Your Big Race is Cancelled

25 Jun

I’ve had a Langston Hughes poem stuck in my head since last Thursday. It’s called Harlem and it’s short and sweet:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I got the email that USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships was canceled for 2020. My race was scheduled for August 8th and the city wouldn’t guarantee the event could go on as planned so USAT canceled. I’m still reeling a bit from what that means. In short, the event I’ve been training for 12 times a week since April 20th is no longer happening. I felt crushed and hopeless for a few days and I’m only now starting to gather my feet back under me and figure out where I go from here.

I still have four triathlons scheduled for this summer: one in mid-July, one in early August, one in mid-August, and one in early September. The first three are sprint distance (about an hour and twenty minutes) and the final one is an Olympic (just under 3 hours). They’re all smaller, local races. Nothing big like Nationals. So I’m honestly not as driven to train for them as hard. I was using this Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide which offers plans levels one (easy) to ten (intense) and had been at a level 8. In light of the smaller events, I’ve decided to drop back to a level 5. I should be able to make a strong showing at this lower level and it will give me more time for things I enjoy during this unusual lockdown period. I picked my plan up where I need to be for the later date and I’ll keep pressing forward. This plan is 9 workouts a week so I’ll be getting a lot of my time back!

I’m also considering a race I had written off before. I’ve done two 5K swims in the past and I adore them. There’s something about open water swimming that is so peaceful to me and I’m looking forward to the training involved for a distance event. With so many pools closed, lakes are almost the only option. Right now, there is supposed to be a 5K race on August 16th. If I start now, I should be able to be trained up for it by then. It might not be my best showing, but I’ll enjoy the journey.

At this point, they’re not offering refunds. I paid about $300 for the event. The only options are to defer to either 2021 or 2022. At this point, I’m thinking 2022. I wanted to back off of triathlon a bit after this year. My husband and I are looking to buy a house and I want to get more involved with swimming which means backing off the running and biking.

So what happens to a dream deferred? Right now, it’s sagging like a heavy load. The registration feels like a burden at this point and I’m almost dreading the training I’ll have to do to get back into this shape again. It hasn’t quite dried up, since it would still be fun to finish the race and compete in such a large competition. Maybe I’ll revisit this question later. I have until September to decide what to do. For now, I’m trying to retrain my focus and keep moving forward.

Until next time, write on.

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11 Responses to “Off Topic Thursday: When Your Big Race is Cancelled”

  1. Gee Jen June 26, 2020 at 2:31 AM #

    Sorry for your disappointment ☹️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whatcathyreadnext June 26, 2020 at 5:25 AM #

    Oh, I can completely understand your disappointment given how much preparation you’ve done. However, it seems to me you’ve already identified a few other options which is all you can do when events occur that are beyond your control.


    • Sam June 26, 2020 at 7:06 AM #

      Thanks. Honestly, I’m wishing I could get a full refund and put it behind me at this point.


  3. smellincoffee June 26, 2020 at 12:21 PM #

    Sorry to hear! Were you able to keep up with training and such as normal before?


    • Sam June 26, 2020 at 1:12 PM #

      Yes and no. It was too cold to swim at first (I live in Michigan) but after Memorial Day, I was able to swim in lakes. Not many pools are available so I’m more dependent on lakes right now. I have an indoor bike set up so that was no problem in bad weather. I am ok running outside in almost any weather so that didn’t stop me either. I can’t wait to get a treadmill so weather isn’t a factor!


      • smellincoffee June 26, 2020 at 2:43 PM #

        Good luck! I’ve tried jogging on a treadmill and had to revert to doing laps on my gym’s small track. We’ll need treadmills with VR before I can enjoy using them for PT, I think!


      • Sam June 26, 2020 at 3:07 PM #

        Look into Zwift Run. I use it for biking and it’s great!

        Liked by 1 person

      • smellincoffee June 26, 2020 at 3:23 PM #

        Thanks! I should’ve known we’ve already made something like this. This century moves too fast for me to keep up!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Meeghan reads June 27, 2020 at 6:11 AM #

    Sam, I’m so sorry that your big triathlon was cancelled. But at the same time, I hope you get lots of enjoyment in the time you spend on other things now you’re cutting your training back some. I’m sure you’ll also do amazing in the 5k swimming if you decide to go for it. 💕


    • Sam June 27, 2020 at 7:12 AM #

      Thank you! I’m looking forward to the training.

      Liked by 1 person


  1. Challenge Update, June 2020 | Taking On a World of Words - July 2, 2020

    […] Not sure what to say here. The race was officially canceled a few weeks ago. I put up a post about it if you want to read my thoughts. I’m a bit bothered by this and don’t like […]


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