Everything's been cancelled. I had a hunch Lake Sonoma would be cancelled as soon as this all started, closely followed by Western States. They were and that's that. Thankfully, I don't see races as my be-all and end-all. I can still run. That is a gift.
In more serious conversations, families are saying goodbye to dying loved ones. People are losing jobs. Rents aren't being paid. Kids aren't learning. Extraction companies are still polluting and our government isn't issuing fines.
I consider myself wildly fortunate during this time. I can pay my expenses, eat healthy food, stay home and away from others and I can still run outside. My loved ones are hunkered down, doing the same.
But when it comes to running, what's the best move?
I took most of March off, mentally and physically, to some extent. For two weeks I had alarmingly low energy and a bad back. I'll never know if my 12-hour sleeps and inability to taste were covid-related. I'm sure we're all wondering if we already had it.
Dreaming of Home
So, say we're healthy at this point and can still exercise. Most of us probably want a goal. But, how do you formulate a running goal with such an uncertain future?
Now is the time to dream; to dream at home, but also to dream of home. To zoom in on maps of our home counties and states, to learn the Indigenous history of the lands we run on, to explore the crevices of our locales. No matter where we live, it's all we have and isn't that infinitely better than nothing?
Hypothetically, let's say we have more freedom to move by the end of summer. This might not be reality, but for the purposes of dreaming, maybe we'll be able to run within a few hours of home. Or even better, run a few hours from home. And run back.
Now, let's be real, backyard adventuring has always been cool. But, now it's our only option. I'm honestly a little embarrassed that I've never put as much energy into dreaming of backyard adventures until a freaking pandemic hit.
During this time, I hope to expand my understanding of where I live. I hope to open my eyes wider to the trees on my daily runs. To slow down and listen. To forget my watch. To take a turn I've never taken before. To drive to fewer trailheads and to use less fossil fuel in general.
Granted, for now, we must route-plan from home and respect our limits. We mustn't take unnecessary risks. We must wear cloths around our necks, pulling over our noses and mouths when passing a human, from a pool noodle's length.
What a time to be alive. At least we're alive, eh? And if we're healthy and fortunate enough to run, we are in a pretty damn good spot. Every day we can run is a gift.
Let's use this time to dream. Home's never looked so good.