Getting Ready for Spring Races then COVID-19 Strikes

by Andy Reed

                                        Bob Irwin and Andy Reed Before COVID-19

2019 was a mixed bag for me running-wise. I ran lifetime PRs at the half marathon and 15k distances, but the rest of my races and adhering to any sort of structured training had suffered. In late fall, I began to get some longtime issues with asthma sorted out, but the last few races had been a disappointment. In mid-December, I hit the reset button with a week of complete rest followed by a few weeks of easy miles.

January 2020 came and I began training with new focus, following much of the training philosophy of Tom “Tinman" Schwartz. Adhering to Tinman's approach of consistent training and moderate workouts, by late February I was seeing results. I was seeing steady progress each week, running faster workouts than ever, and looking forward to spring racing. My first real test would be the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon, where the goal was a sub 1:20. Based on the way workouts were going, it looked achievable.

Early March came. I bought some new racing shoes, and I was excited for the first few races of the season, the Runnin’ of the Green and the Schenectady Firefighters 5k, followed by the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon half and the USATF Masters 10k Championships at the James Joyce Ramble in April.

Then Coronavirus hit. One day it seemed distant, an exotic disease of the far East, only a problem for travelers and a select few unlucky folks who came into contact with them. The next, it was if the world had changed overnight and Coronavirus was everywhere, in our faces and threatening every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Suddenly, for most of us, the world stopped. Everything was cancelled. The world was full of fear and uncertainty. But you could still get out and run.

Running is the one thing in my daily existence that, thus far, Coronavirus hasn't been able to change. Sure, races were cancelled. There will be other races. I don't miss group runs. I'm a solitary person by nature and have always done most of my training runs solo. I enjoy the solitude of running alone. As far as racing is concerned, I'm still training daily, building general race fitness, and seeing steady progress. I plan on running a few virtual time-trial type races later this spring. No, it's not the same, but it will be ok.

In these uncertain times, running is my constant. It's like that internet meme: “Oh, you want to know what I'm training for? Life, motherf***er." Running is life.

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