April 10, 2024
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April 10, 2024
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Ironman in Canada Part 4: Coronavirus Training

I can pinpoint the moment the coronavirus took over my training…and I tell you when I took it back.

Purim 2020: Tuesday March 10. That was the last day that anything about my training or my life felt normal.

(Nothing about your life or your training for that matter has ever been normal.)

Pay attention, I’m making a point here.


Thank you.

(Your welcome.)

After March 10, “normalcy” slipped away in stages like the lights going off in waves in neighborhoods during a rolling black out. Looking back, I can see the sections of each neighborhood of my life going dark.

(Sounds like you were in a dark place.)

Are you referencing my simile?

(It doesn’t sound like an upbeat story.)

I wasn’t, but I did pull myself out of it.

(So, there is a happy ending?)

Read and see…

On Tuesday, March 10, my first race of the year, the New York Half Marathon scheduled for that Sunday was cancelled.

By Wednesday people were planning to eat their Shabbos meals without guests or play dates.

By Thursday, we were being told the shul was closed.

By Friday my school was telling teachers that we were closed.

(You teach?)

Apparently you don’t read the gray box on the bottom of the article.

(There’s an end to your stories?)

Very funny, just read the bio. Now where was I?

(Your life was a simile.)

By Sunday, Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin had signed an executive closing the movie theater and banning public gatherings.

By Monday, the situation had reached the point that I stopped asking my athletes if they wanted to meet one on one to train.

The final nail in the coffin was when all the pools in the state were closed.

So…by March 17, I was home, with my wife and our two children.

(So were everyone else’s children.)

With nowhere to show up to, I slept until 8 a.m. every morning.

(You woke up several days at 3 a.m.)

With the governor asking for an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, I did not want to broadcast my refusal to cooperate.

(Does everything you do have to be on social media?)

No, but boy it sometimes feels like it does.

Sleeping late led to workouts slacking.


Without a pool, there were no more Monday morning swims to start my week.

(The week starts on Sunday.)

When your race schedule is Sunday, the week starts Monday. Without the swim to anchor my week and athletes to train with my workouts shrank down to biking 60 minutes in doors, running 30 minutes outdoors.

(Normal people cardio workouts.)

But normal people don’t register for an Ironman.

(Is that race even going to happen this summer?)

And that weighed on my mind. If the race season was in doubt, why was I training?

(Why do you train when there are no races?)

Mira, presta atencion, focus. That, as Rabbi David Bashevkin said, we will save for another class.

(You were saying about taking your training back from the coronavirus?)

Right, I decided that I had to keep training in the hope, no, the belief that this August there would be an Ironman in Canada.

(How does one muster the strength when one’s whole future is in doubt?)

Social media!

I made a predawn Sunday video about hope.


I was up with the birds…

(Yes you are.)

And I told everyone on Facebook and Instagram to have faith. The chirping birds, up before the dawn was emblematic of rebirth and a better tomorrow. It was cute, maybe a little hokey.

(It was very hokey…and cheesy.)

I got a few Facebook and Instagram “likes” so I made a second on Tuesday.

Then on Wednesday, my friend Ilissa Green texted me, “Where is today’s motivational video?”

(This is a thing?)

Apparently. So now I had to find a reason to be optimistic every day.

(And tell everyone about it.)

This new project lifted my spirits and that got me excited about training again.

(You cannot expect others to make you happy)

But if I make others happy & that makes me happy, then are they not making me happy?

(Didn’t Abraham Lincoln say something like that?)

Yes, but like Rabbi Bashevkin said…

(…We will save for another class.)

David Roher is a USAT certified marathon and triathlon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and a veteran special education teacher. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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