Happy Easter Friends! I think we are probably all hanging on to our sanity by a thread, at least that’s how I feel. Everytime I sit down to write I just don’t know where to start or how much can really be shared. Sometime this past week, I can’t tell you what day, I heard Cheryl Strayed interview one of her former writing teachers on a new podcast called Sugar Calling. He was extolling his students to write, to keep notes, to memorialize our COVID-19 world and to write about it later to help us all process what happened and hopefully help future generations learn from this experience. So to that end I’ve decided that I want to try to post at least once a week. I want to share things through my point of view, what I and my family and my community are experiencing. I might write about nothing or everything, I am just going to write. So here goes, here’s my first of what will hopefully only be a few check-ins.
I had started off with the intent of writing about Easter and the new world order we live in and how we all experienced this holiday differently, but honestly I am going to be self indulgent and talk about running. Running has been an escape for me for years so it was devastating when early on into this crisis my body and mind conspired against my heart and running just wasn’t happening. I can only describe what I experience, but I know from posts in several of my running related Facebook groups that I was not the only one faced with this challenge. Work very quickly became all consuming, and it seemed like the rules were changing by the minute. I was the focal point for upset and stressed employees and upset and stressed family members. When I wasn’t at work, the waves of exhaustion were just too much. I am certain that it was the sum total of exhaustion, stress, anxiety, depression, fear and well ALL OF THE THINGS. There was a solid 2 week period where my body just couldn’t run despite my best efforts. I saw a post making the rounds of how what we were experiencing was trauma, and I believe 100% that this is true, I was experiencing trauma and my body and mind were doing their best to keep me focused on the task at hand.
It’s hard to lose a thing that has been such a vital part of your life for so long. While I was watching my fitness slip away, I was also watching every race I was signed up for being canceled or delayed. Granted canceled or postponed races don’t compare to the many layers of heartache and loss this pandemic has created for many around the world, but still it was one of many tiny losses that was chipping away at my spirit. Fortunately, I had decided to work with a coach last year who has been nothing but supportive and understanding. A coach that now sees a week with 3 runs, albeit short and slow runs, as a success. Who continues to check in and hasn’t told me that my A race in August is probably out of reach at this point. I can’t tell you what it means to have someone like that in your corner, thanks @ultraninjarunnr.
So, I am working on creating space in my life for running again. While the situation at work is anything but normal, I think my body has come to accept that this is the new normal. I can see the spikes in my heart rate that are related to some event at work and know to back off on those days, I am following the MAF method running slow, sometimes even walking to keep my heart rate low. I’m not running far, and I am not running fast; but I am running and every run feels like a small victory in my own personal battle with COVID-19. I am adjusting to my new normal, a new work schedule, new responsibilities and coping with the constant low level hum of anxiety that just seems to be. I am learning to “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going, No feeling is final.” – Ranier Maria Rilke.
I am not certain where things stand for me and my A race, The Transrockies 6 Day stage race. I’ve dreamed of running this race for years, but I am not certain how I can train for a 120 mile race at altitude right now. I know my primary focus needs to be on keeping myself healthy so I can continue to show up and be present at work, that for now work really does need to be the priority. So I am just leaving it out there to see what happens. The race director has already offered to allow people to automatically defer into 2021 and I am keeping that option in my back pocket, I might also consider dropping down to one of the 3 day options and then volunteer for the other 3 days. I don’t know what the answer is right now, I just know that I need to be kind to myself, be okay with where I am right now and let the future take care of itself. So I will continue on, taking each day and each mile as it comes.