This is a week I will not forget anytime soon. It was the week that I ran a virtual marathon; 26.2 solo miles on my feet. All to remind myself that in these uncertain and often scary times, I am still much stronger than I know. I want to talk about the experience of running a virtual marathon, and I will. But I think right now, what I really want to talk about are the things I’ve learned during the coronavirus crisis. What spending days under this shelter in place has taught me, and what I am grateful to have learned.
This was the first week my son engaged in virtual distance learning. It was the first week where I have been responsible for my son’s day to day activities and my own work simultaneously. It has been one of the few times that I can recall where I haven’t had a CrossFit box or gym to spend my afternoons in. It has been the only time I have felt like I needed to run completely alone (with the exception of my son who joined me on his bike). And there were a whole lot of lessons learned. And a fair share of cabernet consumed.
My days were mostly normal, but also incredibly different as soon as the shelter in place was ordered. I was also tapering this week for my virtual marathon, which was pretty convenient in terms of timing, considering I tried to get my son to join me on his bike to keep him as active as possible during his time out of school. Normally, I get my runs out of the way in the early hours before he even wakes up. This week, with shorter distances and no school to occupy my son during the day, I ran the majority of my miles in the afternoon after work.
Related Post: Training For A Virtual Marathon
I planned my workouts for my lunch hours, and I took my kid to a school parking lot where we exercised together. He rode his bike, or his skateboard, or just ran around, while I tossed kettlebells, dumbbells, and myself all over the place. It’s amazing just how much of a workout you can accomplish with a few pieces of equipment. We also spent several afternoons taking walks on the trails behind our home. As strange and difficult as this week under shelter in place has been, it has amazed me how much synchronicity I have witnessed. Here’s a few things I have learned in the last week.
10 Lessons Learned During Shelter in Place
- Creativity & Adaptability are Invaluable
In order for me to continue to survive in this chaotic, rapidly changing environment, I’ve relied on two resources. My creativity and the ability to adapt. In my recent post, How We’re Keeping Our Kid Active During Shelter in Place, I talked about how being creative and flexible with my workout schedule has helped us make sure that both my son and I get plenty of active time. We’ve also had to be very flexible with this whole distance learning thing. Recognizing that my kid is only good for about 30-40 min of self-lead learning has meant that we’ve had to adapt both his schedule, and my work schedule at times. And I am so incredibly thankful to have an employer that has allowed that flexibility.
- People Love to Bake During Crisis
And I get it. Stress baking is a real thing. And few things in life are more stressful than a pandemic that results in being locked in your home for an undetermined period of time with your family. No matter how lovely they are. So, what do you do when you’re stressed and stuck in side? You bake. Now, I am not a big stress baker personally; I’m more of a stress pacer and yeller. But when I have long runs on Saturdays, I like to bake some muffins the night before. They’re delicious and carby. And let me tell you, it was pure comedy when my poor husband came home from the grocery store with SUGAR CUBES because that was all that was left. And God bless the man, because he knows better than to come home empty handed when I have an 18 mile run and need some blueberry muffins.
- Circumstances change, goals don’t have to
The speed at which things have changed over the past few weeks has been disorienting. So many races cancelled, kids staying home from school for a week, then a month, then maybe forever. Everyone has been dealing with significant changes in their day to day circumstances, and during these times it can be easy to shift focus away from goals. And that’s a human response. We gotta focus on what we need to do to survive more than holding on to our previously scheduled week. But once your head stops spinning, it’s important to reorient and remember the things you want to keep working towards. For me, that was running a marathon. The circumstances around what that marathon looked like changed completely. My last 10 days of training was nothing like what I had planned. But I was still determined to run my miles, and I’m still determined to get that Boston Qualifying time. I know my timeline has changed, because circumstances are different than originally planned, but the goal is still there. And I’ll still be working towards it.
- Related Post: My Marathon was Cancelled Because of Coronavirus
- We are So Interconnected & Responsible for One Another
As an introvert, I didn’t realize how many people I see and talk to on a regular basis. Friends at CrossFit, running buddies that join me for a few miles, girlfriends and moms that I text message regularly. We are all so interconnected. And you don’t realize how much so until you are forced to physically distance yourself, but find yourself still connecting so regularly through social media and technology. And because we are so interconnected, we are inherently responsible for one another. We are responsible for caring for one another physically and emotionally. Watching doctors, nurses, neighbors, and HEB employees step up and do more than I can imagine to make sure the community continues to function. It’s damn inspiring.
- Quiet Mornings are Worth More Than Gold
Ok, I do not mind being six feet apart from other people. Working from home is pretty routine (and best case scenario) for me. But when you’ve got two guys who have a lot of energy suddenly sharing that space with you, well it changes things up a bit. I love my boys. But I’m a human who needs a whole lot of alone time. It’s a big part of the reason I started running, in all honesty. So, since we’re all sharing this space for the foreseeable future, I’ve realized that I have got to keep waking up early. The hour or two that it is quiet, I have my coffee, and no one is talking to me has been a complete life line. If you’re feeling a little overstimulated or claustrophobic, try getting up before everyone else in your house and see if you feel better.
- Health Cannot be Taken for Granted
I don’t think this one needs any explaining, but at this moment in time I am more acutely aware of and thankful for my health than I have ever been in my life.
- I’m More Introverted Than I Thought
If I’m being completely honest, I miss seeing my CrossFit and running buddies. But after 10 days of social isolation, I can say that I still feel pretty good. And after all of this is said and done, I would not be upset if we kept up with this whole 6 feet bubble thing. I think it’s brilliant. We could all use a little space.
- Serving Others Feels Amazing
I am a therapist by training, even though I have been in the corporate world for the past four years. So I know just how amazing it feels to watch someone heal. And as a coach, I love being a witness to someone discovering their own strength. When this virus started to become a clear problem, I knew how important it would be to find ways to serve others. Being able to reach out to friends, hold space for family members who are nervous, help relatives figure out how to order groceries online, and encourage runners to focus on their own strength has been such a positive experience for me. And being able to utilize a sport I love to fund raise for an amazing non-profit is probably one of my proudest moments.
- How Little I Need to be Happy
I need a lot of carbs, a few hours of quiet, some time with my boys, a pair of running shoes, and some dumbbells. That’s it. Everything else is extra. I have a lot of gratitude for all of the extra in my life, but I can live without most of it. And it’s so freeing to recognize that we don’t need a whole lot to feel incredibly content and peaceful.
- How Far a Little TP Can Go
When you’re more mindful about the number of squares you’ve got in your home, you’d be amazed at how long it’ll last. (Also, it’s 100% unnecessary if you run out; there’s lots of other options).
Related Post: Staying Healthy & Sane During Social Distancing
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 52.2
Hansons Marathon Method, Week 18
How the Runs Felt
All of my runs this week were kept at an easy pace, which was a nice break from all of the speedwork I’ve been doing lately. I mentioned earlier that I rearranged my running schedule to run the majority of my runs in the afternoon so that my son could join me. It’s been getting fairly warm here in south Texas in the afternoons (high 70’s – low 80’s), so a lot of these runs have required a huge shift in what I have been used to. But I have to be honest and say that it’s been really nice to run in the sunshine with my kid. Even if I am losing 3lbs in water weight every time (I’m exaggerating, please don’t be concerned about my health).
My marathon was tough, but such a fun experience. I was able to share my decision and encouragement to others on a local news station here in San Antonio. If you’d like to take a look at the interview, you can check it out here.
What I’ve Been Listening To
I haven’t been listening to very much this week since a lot of my runs have been with my son. The big exception was obviously my solo marathon. I checked out a new podcast; Run Hard, Mom Hard. I think it’s gonna be a great podcast, and I love that it’s hosted by two mother runners. I also tuned into the latest episode of Ultra Runner Podcast where they discussed the recent decision to cancel the Western States Endurance Run with the race director. It was such an interesting glimpse into what goes into those kinds of decisions.
How the WODs felt
This week was certainly different from my typical programming. I’ve been fairly impressed with just how good of a workout I’ve been able to get with limited equipment. I’ve been posting some home Workouts that I’m also sharing on my Instagram and Facebook stories, and I’ve seen so many great workout ideas posted from CrossFit boxes. I’ve loved seeing all of the workout inspiration, and I really love how many people are sharing videos and pictures of themselves getting the work done in their garages, living rooms, and balconies. It’s a great reminder that in times of crisis, working out can be for much more than just the health benefits and muscle building.
What Went Well
I have to say that overall, while this week had some stressful moments (like apple juice meeting my couch for the first time), it’s been pretty nice overall. I got some much needed rest, and slept in later than I’ve been getting up most days. I got in 4 days of stretching and core work, which is probably a record for me. I made peace with the fact that it’s going to be a while before I can get back in the box or run an organized race, and I saw an opportunity to fundraise for a great nonprofit during this time.
What Went Shitty
I’d be completely lying if I said that I haven’t had moments of bitterness over the fact that I “should” be getting ready to run a Boston Qualifying attempt this week. And I really miss having a barbell in my hands. I whipped myself quite a bit this week, since I’ve been doing a whole lot more double unders than usual. When I take a moment to zoom out a bit and give myself some perspective, I’d say these are small potatoes at this point in history.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week, I plan to take some well-earned downtime after my marathon. I know I won’t be racing, so I’m anticipating that I should be feeling better somewhat sooner than usual. I plan on spending a good amount of time stretching, hiking, and walking with my son. I also plan on sleeping in a bit more, and focusing on getting ready for the trail season that is hopefully coming soon.