My Coronavirus Run
I never thought a global pandemic would be the reason I started running again. Running through the streets in the midst of the coronavirus felt like time had turned back twenty-five years.
In my twenties, after many half marathons, one full marathon, and a few triathlons, I swore off running completely. I was tired of my knees hurting and feeling sore day after day.
Thankfully, I fell in love with yoga. I fully embraced the dark studio room, the calming music and enjoyed building strength while becoming more flexible. The positive energy in the room was palatable. I left class after class feeling reinvigorated and ready to face whatever the day brought.
Once the coronavirus shut down the world, my new favorite exercise became eating. I was well on my way to gaining the “corona-fifteen,” when I flipped open my laptop to do an online yoga class. Ten minutes into the class, I knew the ambiance I loved in the yoga classes was not possible through an online format.
I begrudgingly pulled out my running shoes and searched Spotify for my old favorite running music...Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” album. Memories came back to me of my Walkman flying to the ground because it accidentally slipped from my hand as I was running. I noted the convenience provided by modern leggings with pockets to hold my iPhone.
“You just have to put one foot in front of the other,” I encouraged myself.
As I began to run, the world looked different than it did just a few weeks ago. Everything had slowed down. I ran by a group of neighbors who were standing a few feet apart and talking and laughing like they had all the time in the world. No one was rushing to get to their next activity because there was no next activity.
On the next street, a man was spraying his bushes and bees began to swarm. I made a quick right turn into the alley. My mind went down a rabbit hole of trying to decide, if given the choice, whether I would rather take on the coronavirus or the angry bees. The image of the little boy dying while being stung by bees in the 1991 movie, “My Girl,” flashed through my mind. After thoughtfully weighing the pros and cons, I settled on taking on the coronavirus. Maybe all the vitamins I had ordered from Amazon would give me a fighting chance.
As my mind snapped back to reality, I realized I was lost in a maze of alleyways. I passed by a woman jumping rope in her garage. I wondered if this was something she had enjoyed in her youth. Maybe she was on a Double Dutch rope jumping team and had won the state championship her senior year. How fun this must be for her to have the time to jump again.
I found my way out to the street again, and an older couple walked holding hands. I worried how hard it must be to be over 65 in the midst of this crazy time. I imagined them confiding in each other, “Is this how it is all going to end? We live our entire lives well only to end alone in our home, unable to be with family or friends?” I prayed God would protect them and my parents and my husband’s parents. I made a mental note to call and check on the older people I loved as soon as I got home.
A young family walked together pushing a baby carriage. The parents grinned as their toddler attempted to ride a bike with training wheels.
There was a boy in front of his home shooting baskets, not because he was working a program to keep up with the competition, but because it was fun.
Everyone I passed by seemed calm, happy and somehow free.
I rounded back to my street as Tom Petty began to sing, “Crawling Back to You.” I had heard this song a million times, but never realized how much I loved it.
For many, we have been given the gift of time. Time with our loved ones, time to do the things we used to love...and most importantly, time to slow down and allow our minds to think and imagine a simpler life...for no other reason than we have nothing else to do.