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.

 

Out of Balance

amazing balance blur boulder

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

I’ve been in better shape.

I’ve been in worse shape.

I’ve been stronger.

I’ve been weaker.

I’ve been in better shape.

I’ve been in worse shape (really).

I’ve been so many things and I will end up being so many more.  Things ebb and flow.   Up until a month ago, I seemed to be right on target for my Birthday Half Marathon right up until the world stopped.   Since then, training has not been training but getting a run in here and there as allowed.   Races right now are non existent.  Although, I think I might still try to do the  virtual run, but I don’t think I will run the full half.   Probably just the 8K.

Since formal training has come off the table and I have been trying to not loose my mojo.    Not just me but my whole household.   You know when you have nowhere to go and nothing to do, you really have time to squeeze in a workout.    We even cleaned out the garage.   Bought some equipment, mats for the floor and are in process of turning our garage into a home workout space.   It helps that many are sharing workouts online.   One that I have found that I like is the Nike Training App.   During the Stay at Home orders they are even allowing you to view workouts for free.   Yeah.

I even went so far as to dust off a no equipment workout from my CrossFit days.   Let me just say that while I did the workout, it was not pretty and it made me think.   I realized that while I’m not sure that I would want to be doing CrossFit now that I was in the best shape of my life when I was doing it.   The cross training was key.   I further realized that I gave my all to running and allowed everything else fall to the wayside.   Time was limited and I chose running over yoga, CrossFit, cross training, and everything else.  It seemed like a necessary tradeoff but it wasn’t a smart one.

On top of that I realized that by letting everything else go, I was missing out.   Now I realize that I am now in my early 50’s, but I have lost a lot of upper body strength.   A lot.  Yes, I can run marathons.   Yes, I have endurance.    Yes, I can get to the finish line.   All those things are true, but I lost balance.   Balance in life is good.   Balance in life brings harmony.   Balance is easy to loose.   I could still run a marathon but I had to push harder than I should because of all that I stopped doing.

When I had balance with running, biking, HIT workouts, weight lifting not only was I in great shape physically but I was also able to run faster and further without injury.   Now I realize that I am getting older by the day, so I may not get faster but I can certainly get stronger and find the balance that I lost.   And since I am getting “older,”  my body needs balance more than ever.  I also realized I missed it.   Yes, I’m a runner but I’m am more than legs especially at 5 foot 2.   In thinking about it to, saying I am a runner made it ok not to be anything else.    I used it as an excuse not to do other things even things that I enjoyed doing.

Often our lives become out of balance with out us even realizing it.   We take more responsibility at work, our families require more of our energy, volunteering for important causes takes time, pets, responsibilities and one and on it goes until we realize we don’t have time for “self care.”   We become out of balance without even paying attention or noticing.

Now some people hate the phrase “self care” or view it as hokey.   Some think it’s selfish. Some think that there is no time.   Some don’t understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean bubble baths, salon visits, or even running.   Self care is what is necessary in order to recharge your batteries what ever that may be for you.

Right now most of us have a lot of extra time.    There is no where to go.    There is no better time to give yourself some TLC because you deserve it.   Right now the world is raw, emotional, and tender.   Everyone is worried.   Everyone is stressed.   Everyone has their own baggage that most people have no clue about.    There is no better time to add balance and self care to your life because you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself.

So with that said,  I’m looking to control what I can in my life and bring balance to it where I can.    For now that means adding full body workouts.   Taking time to do more than just lace up my shoes.    And the good thing is that right now I have to the time to see where this will take me.   Hopefully it will take me to a more balanced approach to my running.

Do you have balance?

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cancelled

cancelled

Everything is cancelled.

Rightly so.

Everything is cancelled and while we understand why, we appreciate the gravity of the situation, we know the necessity of it; for some reason we think we shouldn’t feel sorrow over the loss.   Maybe it’s just me, but I call BS on that.   Not just for runners whose races have been cancelled, but anyone who has anything which is everything cancelled.

We are allowed to miss meeting friends for coffee.

We are allowed to miss meeting our Mom’s for lunch.

We are allowed to miss running with our friends.

We are allowed to miss all the things that are important to us.

If our child came to us and told us they were upset that their soccer season was cancelled (which it is), we would never tell them that their soccer wasn’t important and they were being selfish.   At least most of us would not say that.   We would tell them that their feelings are understandable.   That it is ok to be disappointed.   That we understand that their soccer (dance, play, graduation, prom or what not) is important to them and that we wish things could be different.  That it sucks and we are sorry.

It is no different for us.

We are allowed to be disappointed that races we thought we would train and be ready for our cancelled.   For the runners who were ready to rock a race and then week before the rug was pulled out from them.   You are allowed to be upset.   You are allowed to feel sadness.   You are allowed to feel.

And just because you feel that way does not mean for one iota of a second that you don’t understand that there are people suffering, that people are loosing loved ones, that first responders are putting themselves in harms way for the good of the many.    You can hold both feeling and truths in the same heart.

You are allowed to feel.

 

 

Look for the Rainbow

photography of green grass field with rainbow

Photo by Alex on Pexels.com

As much as this sucks….

And it does.

As hard as this may be…..

It’s harder for some than others.

We must look for the good.    We must look for the silver lining.   We must look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.   We must look to the helpers.   We must focus on more than the negativity,  the trauma, the losses.    We must acknowledge the bad.   We must pay attention.   We must listen, but we can not bathe in it.

One thing that I have noticed that I haven’t really seen in a long time.   I’m noticing families coming together – physically.   I’m noticing families spending time together.   I’m noticing families sitting on the porch while their children play in yard.   I’m noticing families taking walks together.   I’m sure many are even eating dinner together.   And while this has always been happening, it has not happened at the levels currently.

This has only happened because the world stopped, the calendars cleared, and there was nothing else that needed to be gone to.   No soccer games filling up weekend.   No school events.   No this.  No that.   Nothing but having to be home with the people who mean the most, but we don’t often spend quality time together because we are all so busy.

Today I had no excuse to skip my run because I had no where else I needed to be.   I even had time to take the dogs for a walk before I headed out.   While out and about running,   I saw the parents walking with their teens (if you have teens you know how big that is).   I saw Moms/Dads pulling wagons on young kids.    Family bike rides.   Elderly couples walking together.   I will admit as someone who runs outside frequently, the level of families out together right now is unprecedented.

So I ran.   I enjoyed the sun, the wind on my face and thankful to be outside.    I went out running wanting to do about 7 to 8 miles.   I got 7 in and was happy.  There was not agenda.   There was no pace.   There was not “have to.”   There was just I wanted to go for a long run.   So I did.  Funny thing is that I had a great run.   My splits weren’t pristine and I wasn’t trying to be.   Running to run and it was enough.   Also maybe to run off all the junk I’ve been eating.

My hope is that when this is over and life turns back to “normal” that we reflect on where they spend their time as their calendars fill up.   Is it necessary to be busy, busy, busy all the time.   Is it necessary for our kids to be scheduled, scheduled, scheduled from morning till night.   My hope is that we will remember having time to actually sit and enjoy just being.   Being with our families.   Being able to have time to think without worrying what is on our calendars.   Most of all remember that chasing the brass ring isn’t necessarily what life is all about.

 

PS – Don’t worry for everyone’s protection as I ran today, if I saw a family I crossed the street.   I adjusted my route.   I stayed away.

 

Solo Runner

I was a solitary runner before it was cool to be a solitary runner.   To me going for a run is the time to clear my head.  To relieve stress.   To think and process.   Just to be.     I had recently talked about planning to get back into running with friends, that is off the table for the foreseeable future.   So I will remain a solitary runner.  Luckily I like it.   For now that is enough and I’m just thankful that I can get out the door and run.

We all have so many concerns right now.   Some about family that we are not with.   Some about family that we are with. Some about how we are going to provide the staples that we need to stay at home with our family.   Everyone has something.    Most have even more than one something.   Maybe even a pile of somethings.   Right now more than anything we need to find a positive way to let that stress out.    For me now as in the past, it is running.

I half heartedly joke that when this is all over I am either going to be back in shape with the running, online videos, and stress or I’m going to be 100 pounds heavier.    The only thing helping with me not turning into a stress baker (another thing I love) is that I’m worried that I  might have hard time replacing the milk and eggs.   Hopefully once the store panic buying settles down, I can get back to baking.   Until then I will run.

I don’t run fast.  I don’t really run far.   Although I am training for my virtual half marathon, I will run.   And since it will be a virtual “race,”  my training doesn’t have to be perfect.   I just need to get the distance (which I will).   I will need to wait another day to worry about the distance and the time.   See a positive.

Being someone who has been a solo runner for years now, the transition isn’t that hard when it comes to my running.    Although like going on a diet where you immediately crave chocolate, I miss running with friends.   As the saying goes, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone is so true.   So many things pre Coronavirus we took for granted….. Meeting a friend for coffee, shopping in fully stocked shelves, the ability to go out to dinner, and all those other small things.   It will be a bit before we get back to those days, but we will.   We just have to be patient.   It’s only been 5 minutes.

Being socially distant to me is not the correct phrase we should be using.   Right now, we need to be physically distant but socially there are so many ways to connect.    I’ve even facetimed my mother recently.    There is texting.   There is the old fashioned calling.   There is messanger, Instagram, facebook, twitter, and some thing that I’m sure I don’t even know about since I’m “older.”    So while we have to be physically distant lets not socially disconnect.

Some people sadly have taken social distancing to an art form.   They feel that it is a way to protect themselves.   It may do that.   They may feel it necessary.  They may feel they have no other choice.   For them, maybe that is what they think they need to do, but all it really does is keep them from taking a chance on people and everyone at arms length.   When you keep everyone at a distance soon enough that distance will be too far to cross and you are then left wondering why no one crossed it.

For my running friends, we have all kinds of apps we connect on and through.   So while we can’t run with our friends, we can encourage them when they get out there.   We can be their in all sorts of way.    So connect, but just don’t do it in person:)

be-kind-2

 

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know what is happening not just in the United States but across the globe.

People are stressed

People are scared.

People are freaking out!

People are on the search for toilet paper.

If your not, you might be…

On the younger side

Not paying attention

A very zen individual.

For the rest of us….

We are stressed

We are scared

We are freaking out a little bit

No we are not letting the fear control us, but as I said before…. A little fear is a good thing.     It will keep you from doing the things you need to do.

We are freaking out, because no one knows what is going to happen.   We are doing these things, because we know there is a whole host of people who don’t believe “the hype.”   We are stressed because the store shelves are empty and there is no end it sight.   Even my 72 year old mother keeps sayin, “this has never happened before.”

She would be right.   This is not normal.   This is not business as usual.   This is putting strains on families worrying about paying bills, about isolation, and about trying to keep everything going.   This is putting stress both mentally and physically on people.   Remember that as you deal with people in your day to day life.

its-not-what-happens-to-you-but-how-you-react-to-it

The one thing about clearing your calendar and having nothing to do is that you have the gift of time.   It’s a strange feeling because you feel like you have so much you should do, but yet so much you don’t want to do.   Then before you know it, it is the end of the day and you still have laundry in the dryer.   Lets be honest though no one wants to fold laundry no matter how much time you have.

I did get an email on what my options are with my birthday half marathon.    One is to do a virtual run still getting medal and shirt and other is to roll it over to another race.   I am leaning towards doing the virtual race.   Although not really a race, but a run.   As I said before, this was about celebrating my birthday with a half marathon.   I’m still following my training plan to the best of my ability right now.  Who knows, maybe by April we will be able to have a group run and do it together.  Fingers crossed.

So I will run.

I will also start doing some of the great online classes being posted online.   Today I did a home core Pilates class.  I do think that I will feel it tomorrow, but I guess that’s the point.   I’d like to think that I would come out of this home arrest in better shape, but then there is the brownies.   So probably not.

Besides if there is one thing that we can all take away from this is that so much of what we deem important means nothing.    The silver lining in an otherwise cloudy sky right now.

Tomorrow the sun is supposed to be out and weather is going to be beautiful, so I will head out the door.   I will run solo but I will run.

How are you holding up?

 

 

 

 

You Either Control it or it Controls You

They say you either control your fear or it controls you.   It’s not just an expression.   There is so much truth to that.  Fear can paralyze you.   Fear can keep you from reaching your dreams.   Fear can keep you from reaching your potential.   On the other hand….. Fear can keep you safe.    Fear can help you to make wise decisions.    Fear can help you to live to see another day.     Like everything in life, it is about balance.

Some people in order to control their fears ignore it.   They pretend real dangers don’t exist.   That somehow they are immune to the consequences.   They pretend that if they don’t give into fear that somehow that makes them stronger than what they are afraid of. But pretending the dangers aren’t real, don’t make them any less real.  It just makes you reckless and in some cases stupid.   That someone they are immune when you are not.

Some people go to the opposite extreme and let their fear paralyze them.   They refuse to try anything for fear of failure.   They shut themselves off from people, relationships, challenges and just follow the path of no fear.   They live a shell of their potential life and never each for the brass ring for fear of missing it.

A little fear is good .  A little fear makes you think about consequences.   Helps you make smart and safe choices.   Not too much that keeps your from trying, but enough to keep you trying smartly.     It won’t stop you from signing up for a marathon because you don’t know if you can do it, but will ensure that you plan to get to the finish line.    It won’t stop you from life, but will make you think about your life choices.

We are all at a crossroads now.    Everyone I know whose paying attention is thinking about what is going on in the world.   How much social distancing is enough?  Some wonder if they are even necessary.   Are the places we think we need to go really places that we need to go?  What are the consequences if we go.   Then making sure we wash our hands when we get there and when we get home.   If your lucky, you even have some hand sanitizer for the trip.

Then there are people right now thinking that they are stronger than this virus.   That they will continue to gather, go to races/group runs, and somehow that makes them braver and stronger than the rest of us.   It really doesn’t.   It makes them more reckless.

One of the definitions of fear is to have concern or anxiety.

One definition  of brave is to defy, challenge;dare

I don’t know about you, but I pretty much have anxiety and concern right now.   I also don’t wish to challenge the coronavirus to enter my home.    All you need to do is look to places like Italy to see that right now a little fear isn’t a bad thing.

The beauty of being a mostly solitary outdoor runner is that for now I can still be a solitary outdoor runner without actually being brave because my fear is making me smart.   Today I went for a 6 mile run on the trails.   I was not the only one on the trails, but I was by myself on them.   Passing, being passed, and going the opposite direction.   It was all good.   The sun was out.   The air was fresh.   Most of all it let the anxiety fall away.

I’ve been reading a book recently about mindful meditation.   It is about meditating where you are no matter what.   Becoming in tune to your surrounding.   So today while I was out, I put on no music and to be honest when your running the trails the sounds of them are music enough.   But today, I ran.   I noticed the swish, swish, swish sound that my jacket made as I ran.    I noticed the sound of my feet hitting the dirt.   I just took it all in and spent time in the moment.

It was enough.

 

The Day the World Stopped

Busy-Calendar-600x250

 

We live in a faced paced world.   We live in a world with calendars filled in not by the day, but by the hour.  Color coded for family members and grids filled up.   We schedule play dates for our kids.   For many parents, their second job of being chauffer starts right when school gets out – practices, school events, music lessons, tutoring, etc, etc.  We even schedule our exercise and running.   Down to the last detail, our days are filled.

Filled with exactly what is the question?   Filled with things that bring us joy?    Filled with busy work?   Filled with things to keep our kids busy and off screens?   Filled…. Filled…. Filled.

What happens when those grids of activities, filled up calendars of events and appointment and expectations of places we “have to be at” come crashing down.   What happens when it seems like the world literally and figuratively comes to a stop?

That is when we realize what is important?   Will we be ok with the silence?    Are we happy with the people that we are surrounded with?   Can you take a moment to reflect if everything you think you should be doing are things that you actually need to do?

Every year since before I was married, I’ve taken a 2 to 3 week camping trip with my husband and his family.   We go to a lake near Canada where we basically remove yourself from day to day drama.   There is no cell reception at the lake and only wi-fi when you drive to town.   I always come back from that vacation feeling rejuvenated and refressed.

We can use this time to do the same.   Obviously this is very different circumstances.   Obviously and with good reason people are worried not just for themselves but their loved ones as well.  This is not a peaceful time in that sense because there is much to think about besides health.   Some people need to worry about financial strains too.  Some are just trying to find toilet paper.   As I said before, it’s getting real now.

While like others, I am disappointed in races being cancelled; I understand the reasoning and justification.   If there is one thing I am going to use this social distancing for is to get some reading in that I’ve been too “busy” to do.   I’m also planning to find time to hit the trails since I will have the time.   The trails are always a great place to run with others but also run alone.   The weather is turning for the better and  I can’t wait to lace up and get out on the trails this week.   Now is a great time to reflect on what we should fill our calendars with when the world starts back up again which it will.

What are you doing with your “social isolation” time?

It’s Serious Now

Closed

You know the sh*t is serious when they start cancelling races.   Big races.   Little races.  All races.   It usually takes an act of God for that to happen.   We are apparently there now.

Not shocking but somewhat since it’s a month away my Birthday Half Marathon is cancelled.    I am proud of these race organizers from NYRR to those organizing Boston Marathon for making these tough decisions.   While I know people are disappointed, it’s really just running.   It’s not life or death which is really what’s going on in the real world now.

Right now the real world is scary.   You can’t even escape to Disney World anymore because that is closed (not that I was going).  Go to a Broadway Show.  The show is not going on, so nope.   Can’t watch any sporting event (not that I would) because they are all cancelled.    Can’t run a race because that’s cancelled too.   You know what though….. None of that matters.

Seriously.

What matters in life is how you face disappointments.   How you deal with the world when the world is spinning out of control like it is right now.   And again, what is important is not just your health but the health of your loved ones friends, and neighbors.

For me, I’m still running.   I’m still going to follow my training plan.   I’m still preparing to run a half marathon that I won’t actually run, but I could.    For me this race was going to be a fun birthday run, but it was also a way for me to get back to running.   I don’t need to cross a finish line to do that.    All I need is to go out the door and run.

So I will continue to do what I’ve been doing.   I will get my runs in.   I will follow the plan.   I will do what I need to do for no other reason than that is what I want to do.    Isn’t that the reason I was doing this in the first place.   So even without crossing the finish line, it seems like I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do.

Find my joy in running again:)

So while the world is going crazy looking for toilet paper and hand sanitizer and everything is out of your control, remember that what is in your control is how you respond.   When you realize that, you realize that none of the other stuff matters because what happens in life even on a good day is never in your control.   So you just have to roll with it and make the best of it and if you can’t do that just accept it.   Once you can do that everything else will fall into place.

Control