Forty Two.

Today is birthday number forty two. I am working long hours today on a time sensitive work project so Friday’s work will begin early and end around 6pm. I don’t have a whole lot of interest in doing anything special for my birthday, other than probably this post. I rarely do.

Taking stock: As my personal life completely changed, I did what I could to maintain my training until other priorities and situations slowed or stopped it. I went to training for a CPT certification, and even though I’m ready to go its acquisition was delayed quite a bit (still in process) due to…

… the Coronavirus, which abruptly shut everything down in March, and has kept the world in some degree of half-operational statis since. No major races have happened (virtual races don’t count, sorry), and won’t likely happen before next year. In all likelihood, any late spring marathons that do happen will be smaller events in more sparsely populated states and regions, especially if there’s a resurgence of illness in the winter.

I stopped training for a while in late spring while working remotely full time, then focused more on strength training before gradually working back into running shape this summer. The extreme Vegas heat was my biggest deterrent to training more than lightly in the mornings.

Recent time trials on a training plan for a Jaunary half marathon show I still have my speed, and upcoming speedwork should get me back into racing shape before 2021. I’ve already stepped up my volume not just win regular running, but with a substantial dosage of cross training plus continued strength training. Between all that I’ve been training just about daily, for about 7-8 total hours per week.

As sedentary as Vegas can be, I’ve made sure to remain active and keep my diet lighter if not cleaner. I’ve slowly weaned my family into slightly healthier cooking habits, but I still have to make adjustments and buy my own food to make sure my diet stays mostly on my terms.

As much of a bummer as it will be, I almost certainly will not do Vancouver in 2021, playing the percentages with the ongoing Coronavirus situation while also banking tenure and a track record at my new job. By 2022, preparing for (and asking for a week off to visit for) that marathon should be an easier task. Plus, as previously mentioned, training would not have matched up well with my current training plus wouldn’t have afforded a break until after the marathon. That’s not a good idea.

There’s a few marathons in May 2021 near me that will likely happen (barring a total Coronavirus related collapse in public safety), and the current clubhouse leader is Memorial Day Weekend’s Mountains 2 Beach marathon between Ojai and Ventura, California. If it’s close to home on a long weekend, I won’t have to take time off work to attend, plus will have at least a day to sleep and recover before work.

The Ogden Marathon in mid-May or Salt Lake Marathon on May 1 is another possibility, though I may need to ask off work on a Friday to ensure I can get up there. M2B would be better as the trip is shorter and I wouldn’t need to miss any work.

I could do a fall marathon too, unless I gain incredible traction in coaching or personal training in which case I may take it easy and focus on others’ pursuits of a fall marathon. I will take it slow in Year 1 of that, though, and if all I’m doing is concurrently training 1-3 athletes, I’ll still train in full for a marathon.

The extreme summer heat was my deterrent to training this year, but practice in late summer with early morning runs helped me figure out workable approaches to getting the needed training done. I’m confident I can responsibly, effectively get in long runs during the summer.

A strong fall 2021 possibility is the St George Marathon on October 2, just 90 minutes away in St George, Utah. Like M2B it’s point to point from out of town in nearby Central, UT all the way into St George. The higher altitude will not be as big a challenge for me as others since the edge of the Vegas Valley’s altitude is at the start of the thinning range.

Believe it or not, the Las Vegas Rock N Roll in mid-November is not an attractive possibility. Along with being crowded and expensive, the Sunday evening race makes going back to work Monday morning almost impossible. It would either be too hard to get to and stay asleep, or too easy to sleep and then I can’t get up the following morning. This is why I take a full day after marathons. You need that latitude to decompress and not to mention REST. Also, the LVR&R course is very scenic for the Half Marathon, but the full gets stretched out into more dull and distant locations, even running you on an aimless loop through a couple of parking lots. It’s not as fun as one would think.

From a fall marathon I’d be poised to do Vancouver in 2022 and all would seem more my speed. 2020 was always going to be a gap year after transitioning back to Vegas, but it looks like 2021 will also be a rebuilding year due to what happened with Coronavirus.

I came back to Vegas in 2019 in part because I had the looming sense that 2020 was going to be a tough year in general, too tough to justify staying in Chicago. I was right for reasons I would have never suspected. Thankfully, I put myself in a family situation that minimized the overall impact to my personal life compared to how others have been hit. In a way, I expected things to be tough up front, and that’s helped my outlook as well as my situation. I’m building for the future instead of waiting for things to get back to a normal that may not ever return.

I don’t have high expectations for 2021, other than the hope that it offers more freedom and opportunity than 2020 did (not a high bar to clear, I realize), and that the work I put in now and next year will lead to great things into 2022 and beyond.

Forty Two should be better.


5 thoughts on “Forty Two.

  1. OmniRunner says:

    Salt Lake in May sounds good. How is the elevation?
    I’m in Boston and elevation here is rarely over 200 ft.
    Of course, who knows what will be going on in May 2021.
    I’m not holding my breath for Boston in 2021 either. I just don’t see an end to Covid in the next year.
    But I would love to run in a real marathon again!
    And Happy Birthday!

    • Steven Gomez says:

      Thanks, man. Salt Lake might be nice, though the thing is I’d have to head up there the Friday before, maybe even Thursday night, because it’s a Saturday race. The timing is really the only deterrent for me. It is higher altitude at 4000-5000 feet and dry. I’m somewhat lower in Vegas at 2300-2500 feet on the edge of the Valley, but at least get some exposure running in slightly thinner air.

      It’s always possible Coronvirus just wipes out everything in Spring too, and this is all a moot point. All else fails, I could accept that. There’s always other options. I have some more ideas I could carry out with no races to run, but we’ll see.

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