My hubby and I are running from home these days.
Our runs used to begin at the local rec center.
We live outside of town, where cars go zipping by on roads with little or no shoulders driven by drivers who may or may not be paying more attention to their cell phones than pedestrians.
The rec center is in town where there are sidewalks, which seem relatively safe.
But now the rec center is closed and there are very few cars on the road, so we run from home.
Yesterday we exited our driveway and started climbing.
There are two options for our route – we can begin by going uphill, which means a downhill finish, or just the opposite. We usually opt for the former.
As we ascended the hill, I noticed the sun was shining, the sky was a heartbreaking brilliant blue, and within half a mile, three bluebirds and a blue jay crossed the road in front of us.
It seemed like a blue kind of day.
I’m not going to lie, I have been going a little bit stir crazy since all of the restrictions have been instituted to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
We were supposed to be in Asheville, North Carolina this weekend, running a half marathon. It was canceled, of course, as were our trip to Morocco and Portugal, a 10k trail race run on state game lands, now closed until May, and all activities of our local running club.
I am completely on board with all of the social distancing, isolation, and other measures employed to halt the spread of COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean I am not going to complain about it a little bit.
Our lives have indeed taken many unexpected turns in the past few weeks and one certainty is that more changes will come, but when you think about it, those of us who run, walk, or do yoga, are the lucky ones.
We can still do what we love to do.
When I am not running, I tend to hang around the house, listless and morose, feeling sorry for myself.
When I go outside for a run, the sky opens up, I hear the birdsong of early spring, flowers line my path, endorphins begin to flow, and a choir of angels sings The Hallelujah Chorus. (I may have been imagining that last one.)
Here is the thing about runners: we are used to facing our fears.
Do you remember the apprehension you felt the first time you laced up your running shoes, stepped out the door, and took those first shaky steps?
Maybe you remember the time you finally ran three miles without walking, or maybe you recall the first time you did a track workout and worried your lungs would explode, maybe you can think back to your first 20-miler while marathon training, or maybe you remember the first time you ran in the dark.
You faced each of those runs with a little trepidation. Or perhaps more than a little.
We did those scary runs despite our fright because we focused on our goals, rather than fixated on our fears. That’s what runners do. We do it by putting one foot in front of the other.
One step at a time, until we have taken a million steps.
Now we are facing more angst, not only due to the fear of a potentially deadly virus, but also the fear of loneliness, of isolation, of loss and grief.
But we’ve got this.
This is what we have been training for. The current goal is to endure the pandemic while minimizing the spread of illness.
We have been practicing facing our fears one step at a time and that’s what we will do now.
Because we’re runners.
(You may replace “runners” with “walkers” or “yogis” if that better fits your circumstances.)
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