Sometimes, I just need a timeout. How about you?
Plus: 3 virtual races you (might) love, and an open thread on what you're dreaming of after quarantine ends
“Before, I always lived in anticipation ... that it was all a preparation for something else, something ‘greater,’ more ‘genuine.’ But that feeling has dropped away from me completely. I live here and now, this minute, this day, to the full, and the life is worth living.”
— Etty Hillesum
The photo above, of the little blue wildflowers sticking up from the grass, was one I snapped right after a run in my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. It was late morning and the sun hit them at just the right angle; it was one of those fleeting moments I felt like I had to capture or it would be gone forever.
I share it with you now because it’s part of a challenge I set for myself over the past few weeks: running at least a 5K every day. Some days I ran (a little) further, some days quite a bit further, but no less than five kilometers. Every day.
It’s been a blast, even when I’ve run in the rain — which was actually a lot of fun, and something I hadn’t done in a long, long time.
(There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?)
I’m also employed full-time as part of a team that is now all working remotely, and I’m married to an amazing partner who’s trying to do the same with her job — which is even harder, because she manages a team of people. I manage only me.
On top of that, we’re trying also to teach kindergarten to our 6-year-old in between our work meetings, and to keep the house (semi-) clean while we’re all quarantining together.
Being side-by-side with my family these past few weeks has been so fulfilling, because our life before was so hectic, so filled with so many things, that often we didn’t know whether we were coming or going.
So, hitting pause has been a good, good thing. But it’s also given us a life without boundaries. So, there’s no time when each of us goes away to be our “work self” and gets to come home to our family selves.
Now, we’re ourselves with each other, all the time. Are we doing this right? (Especially the teaching school part?) Or are we blowing it? How do we know?
Making sure each of us has the time and space to go and exercise has been a huge blessing — often, it’s the only “me” time each of us gets.
(And here’s the thing: we’ve got it easy compared to many right now. Neither of us has to do our jobs covered in PPE, or spend a dozen hours straight on our feet helping patients try to survive the night in an ICU.)
But sometimes we all — each and every one of us — needs a little break. To stop pushing ourselves and just take a breath. (As Rosemary Harris’s Aunt May tells Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in the 2002 movie Spider Man: “you’re not Superman, you know.”)
So, if you’ve been feeling pushed and pulled and pressured by all the extra responsibilities we’ve all been taking on lately, today is a wonderful day to press pause on it, if you can. Go for a run — or don’t go for a run, especially if your body needs rest.
A old friend of mine from college had a great saying: “What a wonderful thing it is to do nothing and rest afterwards.”
Virtual races you (might!) love
The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. A 1000K race — you read that right, a thousand kilometers — from the state’s southwestern tip all the way to its northeastern corner, starting in May and going all the way through August. (Here’s a map of the route.) The plan is for all entrants to share their daily mileage with the race organizers, and get an education on Tennessee history, geology and points of interest you pass along the way. Sign up here.
The 555 Virtual Run. Run a 5K between May 1 and May 5, anywhere you like, and share it on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #the555run. Sign up for the race for a small fee (5 euros, or just over $5) and know that it helps support Doctors Without Borders.
Virtual Fiesta De Mayo Half. The in-person race can’t be run this year, so Texas’s Irving Marathon is hosting this virtual half marathon, 10K and 5K — they’ll send you a technical race shirt, race bib and finisher’s medal, as long as you complete it by Saturday, May 30.
Great running reads
What Will Endurance Races Look Like When They Come Back? It won’t surprise you to learn just how far business has fallen for most race organizers in just a few short months. Koz Events, an operator of 15 triathlons, duathlons and running events in the San Diego area, laid off its entire staff recently after its revenue fell to zero; on the other hand, Joe de Sena, the owner of the Spartan race series, says he’s planning to go forward as planned with his company’s endurance events from July 1 forward. Who’s right? We’ll find out.
“We are tribal creatures... we’re not going to live our lives hiding from each other behind our couches.”
To Run My Best Marathon at Age 44, I Had to Outrun My Past. One of the most beautiful essays I’ve ever read about running and the journey we all make to discover ourselves, especially the parts of ourselves we’d rather not look at up close. Nick Thompson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, tells the story of how his father Scott’s love of running was derailed and his life was upended by a variety of events, some chance and some self-inflicted. But Nick picks up where his father left off, and ultimately journeys to a much different place.
“We get faster because we train harder and improve the capacity of our mitochondria to manage oxygen. We get faster because we accumulate wisdom and stick to routines. And we get faster, too, because we break barriers in our minds that we don't know exist—and probably couldn't cross if we knew they did.”
This Is the Exercise Your Body Needs During the Coronavirus Outbreak. Useful, common-sense tips on how to get the exercise all our bodies are craving while we’ve been cooped up indoors these past few weeks. It’s important to note that when you exercise really hard — think a 2- to 3-hour run or long, intense bike ride — your body can be immuno-compromised, so those workouts are best to avoid if you’ve been feeling sick at all.
“‘Our data show that physically active people have a 40-50% reduction in the number of days they’re ill with acute respiratory infections.’ But more is not better.”
If You’re Running During Quarantine and Wondering How to Stay Safe and Healthy, These Tips Might Help. “One of the most beautiful things about running is the ‘why.’ People run for a myriad of reasons: to lose weight, help their heart, challenge themselves, find connection. They also run because it's their release, it gets them into their skin, it brings joy, makes grief more manageable, shakes loose the heaviness. It doesn’t click like this for everyone, I know, but there is a ‘why’ to the run. Mull over yours, and hold onto it. We will get (and run) through this, because the truth is, you are capable of more than you realize and humans are resilient.”
A song to run to today
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Open thread: What are you dreaming of running/doing after quarantine ends?
Sooner or later, we’re going to re-emerge from the shelter-in-place orders that most of us have been under for the past few weeks. Life won’t be back to what it was anytime soon, but at least now we can imagine what it might look like.
Do you have anything you’ve been dreaming of running or doing that’s been blocked by the coronavirus? If not, when will you allow yourself to start dreaming of races/things you want to accomplish again?