Outrunning Fear, One Step At a Time

Mediatations in Motion

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.

Meditations in Motion

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.

Meditations in MotionWhen 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.)

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

72 comments

  1. Downtown was empty this afternoon. Just a few cars here and there. Parking available everywhere. It made me wonder where everyone went. Then I went for a run on the battlefield. The place was packed with runners, walkers and cyclists. I don’t know what else the end of the world will bring, but for me and many others, we’re getting much more fit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is the same way in Lititz, Jeff. It’s eerie not seeing the sidewalks jammed with tourists. I can imagine it’s the same for you in Gettysburg. We say lots of runners, walkers, and cyclists on the bike path behind our house today too. Maybe another running boom will result from this virus.

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  2. “the fear of loneliness, of isolation, of loss and grief” — indeed, the fear of those things is much more of a threat than the things themselves. So here’s to facing it down, one step, one asana, one word, and one courageous, hopeful thought at a time.

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  3. I was thinking about you, Laurie, this week when I read an interesting article how running is becoming a new thing in Rome during their lockdown. For the first time there, Runners are almost everywhere. An (almost) accepted way of getting outside. I don’t want to attach a link to your site. You can likely find it under “wired.com on lockdown in rome a preview of American life.”

    You are very right about still doing what we love. I was part of a 30 day yoga challenge at my studio and the studio closed at day 16. It was expected. I have started a 30 day yoga challenge with “Adriene” Youtube.

    We are also able to step outside our house and many great walking areas. I am going for long walks at least twice a day to help stay mentally and physically healthy

    I agree with the roller coaster of emotions, yet I also believe “we’ve got this.” Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will Google that article. Thank you. I hope we are never confined to our houses. I feel so lucky to be able to get out and run.

      I did a 30-day yoga challenge (by myself) once. It was intense! Good luck with yours.

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    • Bill and I were walking on the bike path behind our path this afternoon and we saw a young mom with 2 daughters (maybe 8 and 9) out for a run. I am so grateful we can still do what we love!

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  4. I have enjoyed a similar running ritual. Drive to town, park at the rec center and run the sidewalks which seem safer than the highway near home. Yesterday was my first day that all options with a shower were closed. There was lightning and rain as I went to my basement for a bike ride on the trainer. Not my favorite workout, but still available. As I ascended the stairs an hour later, I heard a bird singing near the house (I think it was a robin). God’s rainbow signaling everything was going to be alright. This morning I’ll take my light and run the neighborhood. Gotta feeling its going to be good. Hang tough.

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    • We are supposed to have a thunderstorm here today too. Luckily, I already got my run in. I miss the crowd I used to chat with at the rec center, but at least we still get to run! Hope yours was good.

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  5. I’m a walker, a lazy one, but that’s the exercise that I identify with. I’ve decided that I’m going to use this time to walk more, which is to say walk daily, because I can still do that. I refuse to allow myself to go stir-crazy. Oh yes I do.

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  6. You are so right, runners are one group who are use to facing fears. Not only internal fears, but external fears as well, ( rude drivers, bombings at races, assaults, kidnapping, etc). It is crazy but we will endure.
    Also, state game lands are closed till May???? I did not know this. I also live in Pa and often run at a state park. I hope they do not close. -M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, all events at state parks are canceled until the beginning of May. I think the parks themselves are not closed, but all races, events, and gatherings.

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  7. Luckily for me I’ve been working from home a long time, I’m an introvert, and I’m not often a worrier. I’m not saying it hasn’t impacted me at all, but I think I may have more tools than a lot of people to deal with the effects.

    Today I will run from home, but earlier in the week I drove to a different area. I think the day will come when I won’t be able to, so as long as I can, I will (today it’s a matter of time)>

    I’m so sorry about all the canceled plans. It may be first world problems, but it’s YOUR problems, and it still hurts.

    Keep on running!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right about driving to a different area now while you still can. I read that California is now under lockdown. NY and PA can’t be far behind. I will keep on running. You do the same, Judy!

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      • Ran today, but in the neighborhood due to time constraints & wanting to beat the rain (which I didn’t manage anyway).

        The lockdown in CA does not actually mean you can’t go outside. You still can. You can walk the dog, you can run, you can hike. But I think the day may come when that’s exactly what it means.

        We’ll do what needs to be done to make it through to the other side.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We got rained on during the run today too, but it was a warm rain. Temperatures in the 70s. I understand about the lockdown in CA, but I think under the new rules, you could not drive to a different area to run. Is that right?

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      • I’m not sure; I didn’t hear that but could be true. My brother lives in LA, but he’s actually pretty busy with work (although working from home).

        It was maybe 60 when I ran, although I actually think it might’ve been in the 50s. Still not too bad. It was a good run.

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  8. So sorry your vacation and all your events have been cancelled! I know how disappointing that can be. But you are right – you can still run! And spring seems to be springing in PA right now, which can be lovely as well 🙂

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  9. Amen, Laurie! Facing our fears step-by-step and day-by-day. Am I feeling a bit of cabin fever? Yep! But walking the neighborhood is a saving grace that both my husband and I are doing. Just got through with mine for the day!
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been saying all along, thank goodness I’m a runner and still have that for stress relief and on top of it, the weather where I live has been absolutely perfect! I can’t imagine having to stay in my house for weeks on end.

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  11. Very nice use of running to parallel the fear the non-runners (and general population) may be feeling right now. I well remember the first time I ran 10 miles…I think I had a goofy smile on my face for a week because I was so in awe of what I’d accomplished. That first marathon, too, had a lot of fear-provoking moments leading up to the big day, but we all know how that played out. Great insightful posts, Laurie 😉

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    • I think 10 miles was a big deal for me too. Years ago, hubby and I celebrated an anniversary in Annapolis, MD. A 10-mile race went right past the B&B where we were staying. At the time, I remember thinking “Wow! People actually run 10 miles???” Thank you, Kim! 🙂

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  12. We’re all runners, one way or another, Laurie!!! Pity we can’t run away from this one, though.Just have to do all we can to stay safe — and be mindful of others too. Keep on running! #WOTW

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  13. I think my son’s snowboarding accident put this all in perspective for me. I haven’t had one moment of self-pity. I’m grateful for everything right now–his recovery. My job. That my employer is giving me the option of doing telemedicine and working from home. My husband is still working. Family. Food. Running. We just have to stay safe and try to prevent this from spreading.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I was thinking about your international travels plans recently and had hoped your trip was cancelled before you went through the hassles of trying to return from overseas. Sorry to hear other events were cancelled too, but I’m glad you’re enjoying your runs!

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  15. Laurie – we are indeed blessed that we enjoy being outdoors and taking in the sights of nature around us, no matter whether we run or simply amble along. You will enjoy Spring unfold before your very eyes and appreciate all the birds singing as you are a birder. I will try not to go to big parks as I will have to fill up gas more and interact with people and germs. That’s okay, my favorite nature nook will be all that I will need to keep my head clear and I can walk there (a two-mile round trip) or drive occasionally. I hope we do not have to shelter in place – either of us, but I believe that even in San Francisco sheltering in place still allowed going outside as in walking or running. Our Metroparks collection of parks in Michigan have waived all fees ($35.00/year or $10.00/visit) for the short term to encourage people to get out of the house and out in nature (at a respectable distance of course) … may we get through the next few months with as least stress as possible and stay healthy too.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I do too Laurie – now all the parks are banning playground equipment use (I was surprised it was not banned before this, but it was official today.) The Metroparks are much bigger than our regular parks, so lots of fresh air while hiking on those trails – it is a good thing in that some kids maybe never visited before – the parents may have no time, no money to do so, so it may be an experience that remains with them forever.

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      • I am afraid for my grandsons to go to the playground right now. I am hoping my son is not taking them! We went out hiking in the woods today at a wildflower preserve. Maybe I can publish some wildflower photos sometime soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • They have banned it in some counties here – there is something new being banned daily it seems. Yesterday it was barbers/hair salons, nail salons and tanning booths. I’m sure your son is not taking them. We are a bit away from wildflowers, but I took pictures of daffodils and crocuses in a church garden today. It was a welcome sight.

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  16. Pretty much everything in my city is shut down except for the liquor stores and supermarkets. I’m working from home for the next few weeks so I’m just trying to keep some sort of routine between exercising, working and getting some fresh air every day. This “new normal” is a little scary, but I just try to keep a level head and not freak out because I know that doesn’t help the situation.

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    • Even the liquor stores are shut down in Pennsylvania. We have been getting out every day for a run too. the weather has been perfect. We will get used to the “new normal” but I miss social interactions! Stay safe!!!

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  17. Taking it one step at a time is all any of us can do at the moment and I can see how that comes more naturally to those who are runners. I’m glad that you are able to still enjoy your running. It does make such a difference to be able to get outside, away from the news, and look at the blue sky and hear the birds singing. We spent most of yesterday out in the garden and it was just what we all needed. I think we all need to vent every now and then too – this is a huge shift in everyone’s lives and it’s going to take quite some getting used to. #WotW

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    • I am glad I can still run too. I would go stir crazy if I couldn’t get out and run. It is a stress-reliever for me. My hubby tends to watch the news non-stop when we are home. That increases stress! So glad to hear you can get out in your garden. I bet the kids loved that. Looking forward to seeing the photos! 🙂

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  18. As they say this too shall pass. But it’s not easy.

    I continue to run but solo. I enjoy the company of others when I run even if it’s six feet apart. My friends don’t share my mojo. They are staying home and running alone.

    I’m keeping up my mileage. Why not? There will be more races. It’s not only about the medal.

    Runners are tough. We will survive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “This too shall pass” is the perfect philosophy for this situation. We won’t always be under lockdown.

      I am lucky to have Bill to run with but we do miss running with our running club.

      I’m doing more mileage than ever – I can’t go to the rec center to swim or do Body Pump.

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  19. I’ve heard so many people lamenting over their closed gyms—I am so grateful I don’t need a gym for my workout! (Although I admit to missing my swims… ) Love that tulip picture, btw!

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    • I miss my swims too, but I certainly understand and support our rec center for closing. I don’t want to be the one who transmits the virus to any of my vulnerable friends or family!

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  20. the thing I’ve learned is my need to develop more patience – I started out saying yes, let’s stay home and be safe – then after 5 days, I’m a little kid saying hurry up and be over!

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  21. Tomorrow, tomorrow…I am going to measure out a distance to run and start getting back to running outdoors as I always did as a young mom. My 5Ks have been canceled, my mosaic class postponed and I have had a little pity party last week here at home. Ate far too many M&Ms and drank a couple of beers I wouldn’t normally have indulged in. But I want to get back at living again. Thanks for this encouragement.

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