This week was supposed to be taper week ready for Xterra Rotorua on the weekend, my final race of the season and the one I’ve been working towards since January. Instead we are locked down in our homes amid the Corona Virus pandemic, oh and its also my Birthday! Xterra, along with so many other races and events has been cancelled in the efforts to reduce physical contact and flatten the curve. I don’t mind the lockdown rules, as long as it doesn’t stop me having some Birthday cake, we are all good!
If it were a normal week I would be stressing about the upcoming race, packing and planning for the weekend away and hoping that my training so far had been enough. I had been doing great with my training, and seen some real progress over the last few months. Swim times were coming down and my technique improving, clocking an 18:34 1000m TT in early March. Bike Watts were up, smashing the 200W FTP barrier I’d been chasing and I’m feeling well acquainted and loving riding the Liv Pique Advanced. Even my running feels better, with my ‘easy’ runs now matching my early season race pace, and gym work is making me feel stronger for the hills. After the 2W enduro wobble, I had managed to get back on track again, without too much of a fitness loss, just a week or so before the Corona crisis derailed all athletes plans! An email said Xterra would still be on, then 2 days later it was cancelled. It was a crazy week, but there is not much we can do about it now, other than stay home.
Initially I was gutted, feeling like my training had all been for nothing and I wouldn’t get the chance to push myself and better last years time. But then I was a bit relieved. I’d already paid for the race and while loosing $150 isn’t great for anyone, I hadn’t yet organised accommodation or a relief milker. I was looking at taking 3 days off work, at least 2 nights stay and 2 tanks of fuel. The cost of just getting there soon adds up. As mentioned before, I get easily stressed over my financial issues, missing Rotorua Suffer as I couldn’t afford the fuel to get me there. So to have this off my shoulders was quite a relief. I’d ended on a high the week before, finishing first female in our local New Plymouth Mountain Bike Club Champs, and thats a pretty good way to end the season.
So with racing cancelled for the foreseeable future, I am now into my winter training. My plan was to take a week or 2 off from training and get back into it with a solid base phase on the bike. As luck would have it, lockdown is just what I need to get on with my training. I was going to cut out my swimming for a bit and save my dollars, I only really run down the end of my road and back anyway, then with the bike set up on the indoor trainer, I’d only be venturing outside to go to the gym and build my strength. So my plan is still there, just a little earlier than I thought and I’m comprising on the gym and making do with some dumbbells and resistance bands at home.
I am so grateful that amid the chaos I am still able to work and keep a fairly normal routine. I’m not a huge fan of venturing into town and would try and reduce my visits throughout the week anyway. I’m thankful that I love where I live and have access to open green space to play and run, as well as my bike on the indoor trainer. I feel blessed to be able to share my isolation bubble with someone I love and that we have plenty of projects to keep ourselves busy. I understand that for others this is a very difficult and unsettling time. I wish I knew how to calm your anxieties about the unsettled routine, managing working from home with energetic children and the uncertainly that surrounds us all at this time. Even the pressure to get involved with the home workout challenges can be a bit much at times. Here are a few thing that help me feel less stressed, virus lockdown or not.
5 things that help my anxiety:
Mindfulness meditation – I have gone back to mindfulness meditation practise and I feel it has really helped me cope when things get too much. Headspace and Calm are really good apps to try, as well as a range of youtube videos, Spotify playlists and books, so you can pick what suits you.
Exercise – Getting out for that run or ride (locally obviously) and being amongst nature (if possible) is a great de-stresser. Breathe in that fresh air and get the heart rate up. Moving makes us feel good and feeling good makes us want to move more, so break the cycle and get on with it!
Reading – I love a good book and have just finished ‘The Tattoosit of Auschwitz’ which I can highly recommend to anyone. It gripped me from the start and I could hardly put it down for the week it took me to read. I love my kindle paperwhite to keep all my books handy and the soft backlight is perfect for bedtime reading.
Get creative – this is more about challenging your brain to do something else. You could get creative with a crochet project, pallet project or drawing. You could learn a new skill or language. I made a bench from pallets and have a few crochet blankets on the go.
Cooking – I’m not always a fan of being in the kitchen, but when I’m feeling stressed or depressed, I know that good food leads to a good mood. With fast food and takeaway outlets closed, its time to dig out that recipe book and whip up your own deliciousness. Veggie curries and bean tacos are our go-to.
However, I do believe we have something to learn from all this. It is a chance for the world to heal from the wounds created by this busy, consuming life we humans live. Some of my friends are referring to this time as a Rahui, and a time for the environment to recover from the abuse humans put it through.
Rahui – a prohibition against a particular area or activity, typically one in force temporarily in order to protect a resource.Maori Dictionary
I’ve read some insightful articles on what the Coronavirus Pandemic can teach us and how it could change the way we live in the future, once things settle down again. We can learn what is important to us and what the difference is between our wants and needs, in the hope that we fill our lives with gratitude, not greed. Lockdown has given us the chance to develop deeper connections with friends and loved ones, whether in your bubble or online, with less trivial social distractions. Maybe this will also change the way people work, and reduce the need for a mass commute in to the office each morning, thus reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.
I’m enjoying the slower pace and not having to rush into town for meetings and appointments. I’m also much more organised with my grocery shopping and spending less as a result of not ‘nipping’ to the shop every other day because I forgot something. I like the simpler life and it only makes me want to live more rurally and isolated from the chaos of society.
How have you been coping with the lockdown or country curfews? What changes do you think you will carry into the post-pandemic world?