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The Ups and the Downs

If 2020 were an object, it would be a pile of dog poop.   You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say as a whole this year doesn’t suck the big one.    For some it sucks more than others and it doesn’t even take into account the pandemic.

2020 is also the year that one by one major races and events were cancelled.   Boston while shocking was not unexpected since it was in the beginning of the pandemic.   One by one other large events fell to the wayside.   Many of the larger fall events have been holding out hope.  NYRR just announced that they were cancelling the  New York City Marathon.   Not unexpected but still sad.   For those that were planning to run they are giving great choices for deferment which also unheard of from NYRR.    I believe they did the right thing both in canceling it and before most people started training.

This is the years for runners to decide why they run.   This is the year for runners to decide weather they run only for the bling or if they run to run.   Now don’t get me wrong…… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my bling.

I get a lot out of running besides bling, but when you are not training for anything it does get easy not to stay motivated.   Not to get out the door.   Not to go for longer runs.   Not to push yourself.    One of the reasons, I have been doing the NJ Virtual Boardwalk challenge.    21 days left and more miles than I would like, but I will get it done.

So while 2020 has sucked and seems like is on the path to sucking till the bitter end, we need to regroup, refocus, and adjust.

What if we took this time as a gift.    What if we viewed everything not through the lenses of what has been taken from us, but what has been given.   What if instead of thinking of all we are missing, we embrace all the things that we have.

Time

I currently have no part time job.   I have no practices to run my son to.   I have no this or that to attend, but instead of thinking about all that I’m missing what if I view this time as a gift.

I now have the time to practice yoga.

I now have the time to go for runs/walks.    I have even started walking the dog with my oldest son just about every night.    This is a gift.

Races

I am missing the thrill of big events.   The fun of small events.   Missing my running crew.   Missing training (really).   Missing a lot…. BUT…….    every since my surgery left me with Hypoparathyroidism, I have continued to push myself.   I’ve continued to train, race, and while I have cut back on number events I was doing, I still kept pushing.   Doing a marathon ever year since surgery in 2016 (actually every year now since 2014).     Now, I have no choice though but to stop chasing events because even though I was realistic about them, I still pushed myself.   FOR ME – instead of being upset that I can’t run NY again, what if I use this time to reconnect.   Not just with running, but the way I need to run.   Think about what works best for me as far as miles, pace, and calcium instead of chasing distances and time.

From January even before Covid, this year has had a lot of downs.   Lots of things have gone wrong.   Lots of drama.   Lots of things that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone.   But with each of these events, there has been an upside.   Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have gotten to the upside without the rollercoaster ride but that isn’t how life works.   Sometimes you have to let go of the handles, put your hands in the air, scream as the roller coaster is racing down the tracks and just be happy when you pull into the end.   You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.

So while many of us our in lows now, we have no choice except to enjoy the ride as much as we can.

So for now…..

I will continue to run.   I will continue to see if maybe I need to do more power walking especially in the heat instead of running.   If maybe, I just keep moving that is enough and for the next 21 days, I have to not skip a beat and apparently I am a streaker.

 

 

 

Transformational

When the history books are written about 2020, there will be much to be said.   Probably volumes could be written already and we are only at the half way mark.

I think the biggest takeaway when we are all said and done and so far the best way to describe it……  2020 is a transformational year.    It was the year the world stopped, caught fire and transformed.

I wish I could tell you how it transforms.   I wish I could tell you how it all turns out.    I wish I could say that it all works out for the best.    I wish I had the gift to see into the future to give that peace of mind.

Transformational…..

It’s not just the world transforming, but individual people.     Your life is not written in stone.    How are you transforming because that is the only part of the story that you have control over.   No, you don’t have control over the outside forces of your life but you do have control over how you face these things.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that and feel like it’s all spiraling out of control.

So may transformations.

Life is one big transformation.   We grow.   We learn.   Sometimes we need to relearn.    We transform with life experiences.   We change.   Our circles change. For many right now life is never changing, yet still not the same.   Always transforming even when it all feels the same. Different, yet the same.

Right now I will say 100% that the books I bookmarked to read, but never did have nothing to do with time. That the “chores” I said that I would get to but still have not tackled have nothing to do with time. All those things we said we would do…. if only we had the time. Now we know if time was really what was holding us back. For many things, time had nothing to do with it but became a good cover story.

I’ve realized that I have enjoyed this step back.    This time to just be with no expectations.   This time to get back to basics.   To realize that I didn’t start running for the medals on the wall (although I do like to look at them).   I ran just to run.   Much like what my mother is doing now.   I have enjoyed just getting back to basics.

So as I am at home with my family, it is the same but different.   I have taken another running challenge (I think I mentioned it) of running the distance of the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles).   Another challenge.   Same but different.   This one there is no fan fare.   There is no big event.   There is just getting out there and getting as many miles in as I can.   Same, but different.

Currently I am plugging away.   I haven’t been keeping up as well as I thought, but I will push through and get it done.   I’ve got a little over a month to go and it will be time to pick up the pace.   Ok, not really the pace but the miles.  If I’ve calculated my miles correctly, I am only at 58.8.   I don’t see why I can’t get to the finish line.

Here is the thing…. What always seems impossible is right up until it isn’t.   So I will keep plugging away.   I will plug a little further, but I won’t stop until I get to where I need to be.

What if I fly

What if???

What if there is no easy answers?   What if we have no idea what tomorrow will bring?   What if as each day is just like the day before, we still have no idea what the future will bring?    How do we plan?   How do we accept not knowing?   How do we move forward and not stay stuck in limbo?

Why are there so many questions and not enough answers?

What if it is easier to ask the questions than answer them?

What if?

What if?

When will this happen?

When will that happen?

On and on it goes with no clear cut answers.   No answers that you like.   No answers that make things easier.  No answer that doesn’t lead to another question.

What if I tell you that it won’t always be like this?    What if I tell you that even in the best of times that tomorrow was never promised?    That plans fall through.   That life is more complicated and much simpler than we every realized.  That even when you make plans, sometimes plans change.   Sometimes things that you never thought would happen…. happen.    Things that you only dream of….. happen.

Right now so many of us feel in limbo.   We miss people that we now have to be “socially” distant from which really just means physically distant.   Do you even remember the last person not in your home that you gave a hug to before this all started?    Have you thought about how good it will be to give that person a hug when this is all over?   I, honestly, can’t remember the last person that I hugged and that makes me sad.   Althugh I believe it would have been either my mother or my friend, Jen; but I’m not sure.   It was such a normal thing that at the time I might not have given it a second thought.

Second thoughts are the problem now.   Second, third…. a million.    We are all searching for answers but right now there are no answers.    That is hard for so many reasons.   How do you plan for the future when you don’t know.   So many things that we took for granted before are now gone.   A hug goodbye.   The ability to pop in on a friend.   The knowing that even if plans had to change that the world didn’t.    As hard as some people want to put this pandemic behind us, it is here in our lives for a while.   We have no choice but to give up the reigns and that is a hard pill to swallow.

Right now many people are planning for fall races.   I was asked if I wanted to be part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team and as much as I support their cause…….as much as I like to plan….. as much as I want to; I just don’t think I can for several reasons but I go back and forth.

My first thought really is how much harder this year it would be to fundraise.   People are hurting and many disposable income is gone.     Businesses that have been very supportive in the past are doing all they can to survive now.     While these last 2 years I have had great success with my fundraising and had expected to do it again this year, I just can’t see how that would be possible.    It bothers me too because I think Sandy Hook Promise mission is worthy of all of our support.

On top of that honestly, I know so many runners are holding out hope of fall races but I don’t see how that can happen.   How in a matter of months can NYC expect to host an event with 50,000 runners and their supporters.    It seems like a foreign thought to me.   For those holding out hope, I hope I’m wrong.   It will be a strange November without a NYC Marathon but I’m sure the people of Boston felt the same way.

It is hard to plan for the future when the future is so uncertain.   For me, that means just doing the things that I can do daily to make my life seem like I am not a house plant.

Exercise Daily – Check

Shower Daily – Usually

Daily walk – Usually

Try not to eat all the chocolate – I’m trying

For me….   Making a conscience effort not to plan is my plan.      I would love to plan for a fall race, but I just don’t see how that can be.    I would rather let that go now as, for me, that is what I need to do.    This is not to say that I am giving up planning and doing.   I am just going to plan and do things that are in my control.   Right now I am in the process of deciding weather I want to run the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles) or the NJ Turnpike (117.2 miles) – Virtually, of course.   There is an online challenge where you are in control from running the distance of the boardwalk (28 miles) to going as far as taking the Jersey Devil challenge (579 miles).   These distances will be run starting May 15 through July 15th.   Mile wise I’m leaning towards the Turnpike but I’m more of a Parkway girl, so I have not figured it out yet.    That will be something I control.

So, for me, when the world is our of my control; I will take the control back where I can.   How I can.

What are you doing to stay in control?

 

 

 

Time after Time

Time has lost all meaning to me, but I think we’ve pretty much been in going on 6 weeks now.   Who knows.   Is it still April?   I think April now has 675 days.   Each day is the same.   Each day is long.   And yet still there is not enough time to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher until the sink is filled with dishes.   I’m not sure how that happens, but it does.   This is my life now.   Searching for food delivery slots that are not available.   Making carts on the off chance that someday I will hit the lottery and get a slot which has happened twice in these 6 weeks.   Then there is the inevitable suiting up to go to actual store since teens in a Pandemic apparently will eat more food than required by a heard of elephants.

This is my life.

I am still blessed.

On top of that every and any event has been cancelled.   Not just for now, but for next month and the month after and the month after.   On and on the cancelations go.   So much for my doing a race a month for the year.   Ha.   I will take for still being able to fit into my running clothes when this is over.    That being said,  with health officials already talking about a reoccurrence of this crap in the fall during flu season, you wonder if this year all major marathons will be cancelled.    Chicago while not cancelled is allowing participants to cancel.   Unheard of.   Many while not outright cancelled do not have a new date yet which makes you wonder.   NYRR has cancelled their NYC half and their races through June.   It makes you wonder what they will do for the Marathon that normal has 50,000 runners.   To me, a layman, runner; I just don’t see how it is possible but what do I know.

I had been thinking of running NY again for Team Sandy Hook Promise but I don’t see that happening.   With so many people hurting financially raising $3,000 does not seem feasible.  Honestly nor does the thought of going to an event with 50,000 people.   I went to Target for groceries and thought I would have an anxiety attack with all the people in the store who were wearing masks and most being good about socially distancing from each other.    I couldn’t see myself at the village start line.   Honestly  I can’t imagine how an event like this will happen even though it is still months from now.

Who knows what will happen.   I do know that no matter what I can’t see myself in the middle of it.   That being said, I have run a marathon every year since 2014, somehow someway I do not want 2020 to be the year I don’t.   I’ve already been thinking that trails are the way to go.   Who knows, I might have to do my own virtual marathon.   Then again maybe I just skip this year.   In the whole scheme of things, it is not the be all end all.

Yes, I miss my running crew.

Yes, I miss group events.

Yes, I miss it all.

But what I have taken away the most is that in the big scheme of life….. for me……  although I am a runner, although I love to run,   although I have had and will have again so much fun running……… When this is all over, I do not want it to go back to business as usual.

I want it to better.

I want to think about things differently.

I want to realize that while I am a runner, I am so much more

 

 

 

Epic Day

Tonight I should be sore from running my Birthday Half Marathon AKA the Rutgers NJ Half.    Like millions of people across the world,  plans change.   Honestly with all that has been happening my birthday actually snuck up on me and I was ho hum about it.    I know that had the world not stopped, I would have been ready for this half.   I  am allowed to be disappointed, but with that can realize…

It just doesn’t matter.

To be honest this half marathon was not so much about finishing the race, but knowing I was going to spend it with friends.   I had encouraged a few people to sign up and before we knew it, there was a group of planning to go.   Some I haven’t even run with yet, but was looking forward to running with.   It would have been an epic day as a day spent with friends always is.

It was still an epic day.

I woke up.    I have my health.   My family has their health.   We have food in the fridge.   A roof over our heads and hubby continues to work from home.   Life is good.   We are blessed.   We are lucky.   We are grateful.

So while origionally I toyed with actually running a half marathon today, I thought better of it.   I took a day off from any and all exercise.   I showered.   More shocking is that I even blew dried my hair, put on makeup, and found that I can still squeeze into my jeans.   I was being fancy today.   It almost felt like formal attire.

I took an iced coffee and was waiting in my side garden for a friend who said she was coming to pick something up.   I was soaking up the sun.   I was enjoying the silence.   Then the horns started beeping.    The shouts of Happy Birthday from cars.   I looked up to see my own birthday caravan with balloons, posters, Happy Birthday banners, even a real live unicorn, and most of all wonderful friends.

No it was not the birthday I imagined or planned for.   Yes, I wish that the world was in a good place for it to return to normal.    But most of all, I realized how lucky I am.   After they drove away, I realized that if it weren’t for running this caravan would not have happened.    These women for the most part came into my life when I started lacing up my running shoes.   We’ve ran many miles in training together.  We’ve ran many miles just to be together.   We’ve chased 9 plus 1 together.   We’ve ran trails together.   Some of us even have run away from Klingon Opera singing together (I kid you not).   We’ve grown together.   We’ve been there to cheer each other on and pick each other up not just with running but in life too.

Running has brought me so much in life but by far the best thing it has given to me is the people in has brought into my life.

So while running is a “solitary” sport and everyone who runs must run their own race and pace, that does not mean that you have to do it alone.

While we all tuck ourselves away at home, it sometimes feels like you might be in it alone, that your own your own, but it’s not true.   Just like each of us runs our own race and meet at the finish line, we will shelter in place alone with our families but we will meet together at the finish line of this horror.

Apart but Together.

We must not loose that.   We must remember all that is good.   All that makes everything worth fighting (staying home) so hard for because we want to get back to less apart and more togetherness.

Then we will be

Together until we must part.

 

Settling In

We are all settling into our new normal.   School at home.    Work at home.   Eat at home.   Stay home.   Don’t go anywhere.   Home.  Home. Home.

Even with that, I will be the first to say that I am in a very lucky situation.   My husband has a job where he was able to immediately work from home.   While he took over my computer/office area, I’ll take it.   My kids are old enough and self sufficient enough that the only help I give them on “school days” is waking up to get online.   While I temporarily lost my job as a Preschool Gymnastics teacher, this was extra family income to pay for activities we no longer are able to do while staying at home.   So I know that I am lucky beyond belief.

On top of that, my kids are all home even my college age son.   While I’m not sure he is as happy to be on Stay at Home time as me, I readily admit that it eases anxiety having them all under the same roof with me.

All that being said, I know that not everyone is in the same boat as I am.   I have friends who have lost their jobs.   I have friends worried about their jobs.     I have friends doing their jobs while also now having to help their children with their school work.   I have friends who are working in the hospitals treating the sick.   These are some scary times and if your not scared or worried about something, you must be more zen than most of the world.

On top of all of that just about everyone is scrambling to find everyday staples of life.   I feel like the hunter/gatherer of the family.   While my husband works, I look for online shopping slots, alternative ways (farm boxes), and when need be go to the store to get supplies.

This is the new normal.

This is a temporary normal.

But for now this is normal.

We are in this together which is why when the CDC recommended wearing masks, I accepted it.    There are many who don’t.

I went out for 8 miles last week.   My timing was off, so  I was out mid day.   It was warm when I ran, but I still wore my buff to cover my mouth.   I was not only in the minority, I was one of only 4 people that day wearing one.   One person was driving in a car, so they might not even count.   Now, not everyone I saw was running.   Many were families out walking/biking but everyone was out trying to enjoy the day.  I avoided all crossing streets when needed, changing route, and going out of my way to social distance from everyone.

As I said, it is not just the running community questioning the use of face masks but the population as a whole.   In the running community there are many opinions.   Many reasons why to wear.   Many reasons why not to.   It is up for debate.  Some feel that since they are solo running it isn’t necessary.  In my state all parks are now closed because they were jammed pack like the beach of fourth of July.   Even if you were trying to socially distance, you just couldn’t.   So it made sense to close them while many also don’t agree with that either.

Here is my take……. There is a lot we don’t know about Coronavirus.   A lot.   What we do know is that it is contagious.   We also know that you could feel fine, but have it and spread it without even knowing it.    By the time you know your sick (if you ever do), you have already been contagious and able to spread it.    So the wearing of the masks seems like a good idea.   I wear my mask to protect you.   You wear yours to protect me.   It’s part of being in a community.

So if you see me out there running (which I admit I need to do more of), I will be wearing a buff, a bandanna, something.   I hope you are too.