I ran a lot today.
I ran 21.3 miles.
I ran for 3 hours and then walked with a purpose for 3 hours.
It was hard.
I did it for a timed event called the Virtual Pandemic Race Series sponsored by Human Potential Running. You chose your time – 6, 12 or 24 hours. I chose 6 hours because although optimistic, I am realistic when it comes to what I know I am capable of.
The last time I ran any where near 20 miles (or 6 hours) was 4 years ago when I ran the Desert Rats Trail Marathon – the hardest race I’ve run, without a doubt.
20 miles is tough. It’s usually as far as you run when training for a marathon.
I can tell you that over the course of 6 hours on your feet you have plenty of time to think. You might think about how much something hurts, and how much it sucks, and you may even question why you’re doing it in the first place! But you also enjoy the scenery and fresh air, waving at the other folks on the trail. (Cyclists around here are a bit of a cranky bunch, by the way.) And then you think about how good it’s going to feel to finish and how proud you’re going to be of yourself.
And then you might go back to thinking about the fresh air. Or the “Stay at home” orders. And then back to how much your feet hurt and that you could stop at 4 hours. And then a surge of energy and maybe you could move a little faster.
Over and over again, in random order. But one thing is certain, each phase will pass and you will eventually finish.
When it feels like too much to handle on your own, you lean on a friend (or a daughter) to get you over the hump. You ask for help. My oldest daughter called me as I was leaving the house at the beginning of hour 5. She talked to me for almost an hour – and helped me get through a tough time. And just like that, all I had was an hour left to finish.
And finish I did.
My feet hurt. My legs hurt. I’m tired.
I finished. I made it.
There was no finish line. No aid stations. No spectators to high five. No inspirational music blaring at the finish line – except for what was playing in my headphones. No one to hand me a medal. No entertaining signs along the route. No cowbell.
There was beer afterwards though!
It was a virtual race – run your time and report it. There are no actual races happening right now. Like most other sports, race directors have had to postpone or cancel races due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even the Boston Marathon has been postponed.
You know what doesn’t get cancelled or postponed during a global pandemic?
Life has not been cancelled! It may have changed, but it has not been cancelled.
The earth is still rotating on its axis and it is still revolving around the sun. (If you’re a flat-earther, just skip that part.) I still get up, pee, let the critters out to pee, and make a pot of coffee. I am fortunate to have a job, so I get ready for work – although my definition of “ready” has drastically changed. I’m taking “Casual Friday” to a whole new level!
There’s no Thursday night dinner and drinks at McGivney’s Bar and Grill, with the Hubby, chatting it up with Betty the Bartender. But we can pick-up the usual Pretzel with Cheese dip and a Cuban with a side salad curbside and take it home. I’ve learned to make a pretty mean Old Fashioned for the Mister – but he still misses Betty.
We can’t make a trip to Costco for snacks and stop for beers at the Alaskan Brewing Tasting Room to share our snacks with Teddie and Will and Brian. We take the snacks home and drink the beers we already have.
We’ve all had a lot of time on our hands lately. Some of it we’ve wasted watching senseless shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime. And some of you cool cats and kittens know exactly who you are! #guiltyascharged
We’ve spent some of that time cleaning our houses and garages, and trying new recipes. But some days we wonder why we even bother staying at home and get angry. And then we watch too many news briefings or Facebook posts and get anxious or angry. Sometimes we just get frustrated and take it out on the people around us. And then we’ll settle into our routine and be thankful we don’t have to go anywhere or be around anyone.
Over and over again, in random order. But one thing is certain, each phase will pass and before we know it, the pandemic will be over. And we’ll be back to sitting in rush hour traffic, working too many hours and watching life pass us by until something unexpected happens and we are reminded to not take life – whatever it looks like – for granted.
Life has changed.
But it doesn’t make it any less precious. Each and every day is a gift – sometimes it feels like a white elephant gift, but a gift nonetheless.
Treasure the time you have with each other. Not just because of the coronavirus – but because that’s what you should do every day. You never know what is going to happen. None of us expected this as we rang in the New Year, did we?
Hug the ones you’re with, because some of us could really use one.