To run or not to run
The fear last week was that the mayor was going to close the Lake Front Trail here in Chicago because of over-crowding. Getting out for a run, even just every other day is so important to me! I’m realizing on days that I don’t run, my step count is less than 2000. This for someone who, until very recently, was averaging over 12,000 steps a day. It’s really hard to move in a 2-bedroom apartment (one bedroom of which is still my sub-lessee’s even though she is back home with her family).
At a news conference a week ago Wednesday Mayor Lightfoot said, “You cannot go on long bike rides. Playgrounds are shut down. You must abide by the order. Outside is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks.” Ugh. That’s typically the minimum that I run. Official word came on Thursday morning that the lakefront, the 606, and Chicago Rivewalk were being closed indefinitely.
The streets are still open. There are less cars. I try to get out early. I still need to run. This IS my respite. And with all due respect to Mayor Lightfoot, most runners can run a 5k in less time than it takes most people to take a 30 minute walk. Of course I’m such a rules follower that I’ve been sticking to 3 miles…not 3.1.
Inside, I am grateful for our creativity and resourcefulness and the willingness (courage?) to further embrace technology. I scheduled video calls with my siblings in Ireland and the UK and with some of my fellow furloughed Fleet Feet co-workers. Video conferencing has also enabled me to get to know my CARA colleagues and committee members although we are all working remotely.
My daughter and I continue to get a long okay, although she is reprimanding me for making messes and not loading the dishwasher properly. This is the teenager, who not so long ago, claimed she didn’t know how to operate the dishwasher. She turns 20 next week.
I’ve come to learn the cat’s routine. Sleeps for most of the day. Gets up at dinner time and spends the evening looking for things to knock off tables and dressers. I miss my dog. And of course I miss my boyfriend tremendously.
After a three-month hiatus, I created a new FaceBook profile. The main reason, is that for my new job with CARA, I feel I need to know what they are doing on all social media platforms. I also miss the connections with friends and family far away. This time around, Kurt suggested adding our relationship status. 🙂
Embracing my inner introvert, I’m doing okay with the quarantine/lockdown. I’m drawing on all my years as an only child, and my daughter is as well. We know how to work alone quietly and take-up our own space. She jokes, “I didn’t know my lifestyle was called quarantine.” But as we stay busy, its with a feeling of sitting peacefully in King’s Landing, aware that the White Walkers are in Winterfell and heading our way.
By the close of the weekend, the death toll in the US had reached 2,588. Last night it had climbed to 5,110. To put that in perspective, there were 2,977 victims of the 9-11 attacks. I saw posts on LinkedIn about the United Way’s response to this crisis. I recalled being on the “front line” on staff with Bergen County’s United Way in 2001 in the aftermath. It felt good to have a purpose. I’m not sure what to do now except stay home and keep my daughter and those around us safe.
Helplessness is probably the most accurate way to define what I have been feeling. I worry about my friends back east or scattered around the world so far away. I’m frustrated that there’s not something I can do to help alleviate the burden on healthcare workers, first responders, and grocery store employees. Yet I am feeling an enormous level of gratitude for this time with my daughter in a bright, airy apartment with a view of the street. Simple things.
The White House task force projects more than 100,000 Americans are going to die. That’s more than the number of US service members killed in Korea and Vietnam combined. Running seems so incredibly unnecessary. Then I learned about just one person that I knew. I started thinking again about the best way to get out for a run. To clear my head. To gain a sense of control. To feel some certainty in such an uncertain situation.
Still trying to decide whether or not its safe – or appropriate – to go for a run? Here are some resources that may help:
How to Run Safely During Coronavirus, Runner’s World
Chicago Area Runner’s Association (CARA) offers these guidelines:
Practice Safe Social Distancing
Adapted from guidance from the Road Runners Club of America
- Do practice social distancing. Running alone, or only with a partner is recommended at this time. If you run with a partner, ensure appropriate spacing between runners; the current recommendation is at least six feet of separation.
- Don’t run if you are feeling ill or have flu-like symptoms.
- Don’t share fluids. Carry your own fluids to avoid contact with others on course.
- Don’t share towels, food, gels, or any other item that runners normally share freely.
- Do wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after using the port-a-john or restroom.
- Do not spit or blow your nose in public.
- Bring along tissues or a small towel or a good old-fashioned hanky if you need to get rid of some snot during the run.
- Do avoid close-group selfies. Safe social distancing applies to the post run as well!
- Do continue to follow safe social distancing even when the run is over. This include avoiding post-run meet-ups.
- Do not pressure your friends to run, either in a group or alone. People need to make their own choices about running during these uncertain times. Follow all guidance from your local authorities on group activities.