As normal, it’s been a long time since I’ve written. Crazy times right now, and so much has changed in just a short amount of time. As I’m sure so many people have felt, it’s been extremely stressful. My family moved last summer, almost exactly a year ago. Along with that, my kids had to adjust to a new routine, my husband had to work his old project in Wilmington plus the current project in Summerville, and I trained for the Endurance Trifecta. Once that was over, I had a foot injury, and fought tooth and nail to get my health back so I could run again. It was like molasses in winter. Thankfully my patience paid off.
In November, my oldest son found a great traveling, competitive percussion group. It was his THING. He worked for endless, tiring hours practicing the routine and music, perfecting every little movement and facial expression along the way. Just an FYI, I didn’t know this even existed prior to my son joining, so check out WGI Percussion if you’re curious. It’s a mix of marching band meets dance team meets drum line, but at a really high level of competition. This spring, my youngest son found his people in his teammates on the track team. He’s had trouble adjusting to his new 8th grade, and he just naturally gets along better with the 9th graders he’s met from cross country and track. I was just meeting more people in my neighborhood. I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I enrolled in grad school at Charleston Southern University.
Then. Hits. Corona. All of it stopped. Everything my kids truly loved at this point in their lives was *poof*, gone. I couldn’t cultivate my new friendships. I was on an emotional roller coaster with everything and was glued to the TV. My husband was pretty much working normally, except for the distancing from everyone else. He works in the field a lot, so it was fairly easy for them to adjust to meeting on the project grounds or Zoom meetings. So there was some normalcy in the family, and we didn’t have to worry about his income. Sigh of relief. My oldest completed his schoolwork from home and did a great job albeit he did not enjoy online learning at all. I almost got my youngest counseling because I thought he was falling into a depression. I was scared. Thankfully, he slowly came out of it, for the most part.
Through all this, I tried to maintain some semblance of normalcy for me and the boys. All my spring races were cancelled. I tried to maintain my fitness and it was really hard for me to do so. I wanted to sleep. I was exhausted, unmotivated, and I wasn’t sure why. I forced myself to complete most workouts. I would run 3 miles and want to quit, but I forged ahead. I hired my former coach, because I needed motivation. Coach Sami is awesome. I got it done. But I found myself begrudgingly getting up, even though I knew I would be glad I got the workout done. I was not inspired. I was faking it til I made it, but I just never made it. My mind is full, it’s cluttered, and I need a break. The chaos in the country hasn’t helped. The incessant arguing, the right-fighting, the name-calling. I. Am. Over. It. All.
Then I went on vacation to see my parents that I haven’t seen or hugged or laid eyes on in almost a year, the longest I’ve ever gone in my entire life without seeing them. I slept in. I deleted my news and social media apps. I sat on their deck for hours, soaking in the plethora of birds, the sound of boats on the lake, the breeze on the leaves, and the conversation we had. We went out on the boat and floated around, talking while soaking in the sun. It was amazing. My kids got to learn how to water ski. They shot guns. They ate nutty buddies at lunch. We laughed, we joked, we talked about serious stuff. I did my school work. My parents cooked for us. And we got refreshed.
I took a few days off running. For the first time in a hundred billion years, I wasn’t guilty about that. That was a new feeling. I told my husband that I was going to give myself a little grace for missing workouts. He wasn’t sure if he believed me, but I was serious. This is the first time since I can remember that I’ve been so unstructured, so unwilling to guilt myself into working out. But when I do work out, it’s been good. It’s been sweaty, and unplanned. It’s been nice. If I feel a breeze when it’s time to stop, I keep going. If I want to stop at 55 minutes instead of 60, I quit. If I want to get up and drink coffee instead, I do.
I also decided to put off my marathon goal and run a marathon for fun again. Instead of Houston in January, I’ll stay home and run Charleston the same weekend. It’s been years. I can barely even remember that time when I could let go of time workouts, goals, and making every single workout count. I’ve run a 3:33 marathon, and that would be great to do again, but that time will have to wait. I want to be free. I want to enjoy, I want to be one with running again. I don’t want to feel pressure from anywhere, mostly myself, of what my time will be when I cross the finish line. I want to not even care.
I talked to Coach Sami about it all, and I gave myself July to be free. To just do what I felt. To not feel guilty about a missed workout. And I feel really comfortable about it. I don’t want to unpack and live in this space, I just want to rent a VRBO for a few weeks. I want to ride my bike and get back in the pool. I can’t believe I want to get back in the pool. But if I don’t make it to the pool, I don’t want to feel bad about it either.
I feel relief. I feel like the vice is off and the pressure blanket has been removed. As Sami framed it, I’m breaking up with the feelings I was having, not running itself. Separation is good, the reunion will be grand. I can already feel it!
How have you been in this weird time? What’s the phrase you’ll never want to hear again. My word is “mask”. I already detest this word, and the only time I ever want to hear it after this whole pandemic is over is when referring to Halloween.