I don’t think I’m alone when I say that doing anything productive these days feels like the most arduous, goalless, waste of time.
COVID-19 has absolutely plowed its way through our way of lives, leaving behind a smoking pile of wreckage in its path.
At the moment, the United States has reached another grim milestone: 5 Million infected.
Anymore, the news is cluttered with saddening images of the sick and dying, those who’s rights are being infringed on, people of color being senselessly murdered (#ArrestTheCopsThatMurderedBreonnaTaylor), among other heartbreaking things.
If you’re like me, you care very strongly about other people, so to see these travesties happening and strengthening on a daily basis has wreaked havoc on your mental health.
I cannot stress this enough: If you are struggling, please reach out to a counselor who can guide you back to mental wellbeing.
All of this considered, it is no wonder we have struggled to find joy in the things that once brought us SO much happiness and clarity.
Personally, once my race was cancelled in early spring, I stopped running all together. I couldn’t see the point of lacing up, going out, and exerting myself in the climbing temperatures for a lost cause.
My purpose of training for months and months was to attain a PR in my half marathon. Now that the race was cancelled, I was once again purposeless.
Enter: months and months of being lazy, losing all my muscles and strength, and playing way too much Call of Duty.
The lack of a routine and the lack of certainty among other things destroyed my mental health. I was reading the news every day and having panic attacks about the state of the world. My depression was creeping back up after years of beating it down with running-fueled endorphins and serotonin.
I couldn’t shake the heaviness and the darkness, and yet I couldn’t find the motivation or the strength to do the one thing that I know would bring me happiness: running.
I was miserable…until my sister brought me much needed inspiration.
She and I were both swimmers growing up, so our bodies were both tuned more for aquatic, anaerobic exercise. Essentially, we both hated running.
So, you can imagine my shock when she told me she and her best friend had signed up for a virtual half marathon this coming December! I was so excited for her to share this passion with me, and feel the rush that comes with crossing the finish line after months and months of work.
All of a sudden I was back to normal: I was offering training advice, imploring her invest in a foam roller, and telling her that I would train with her as much as I could.
I was so excited that I decided to lace up and go on a trail run. I kissed my partner goodbye and said I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, I don’t know how far I’ll go or how fast…I just want to go.
I got to the trail and had one of the most magical, carefree, runner’s high trips of my running career. It was cathartic, and easy, and so healing.
I raced myself by going as fast as my legs would take me, never glancing at my pace on my watch because it didn’t matter.
I jumped and leaped over logs, I sprinted down slopes and hiked up hills, I sat by the lake and enjoyed a well-earned granola bar.
I ended up running about four very technical trail miles, and it has never felt better.
Essentially, I’m back.
The world will heal from this (when we have better leaders in the White House), positive change will come, but until then, we have to do what we can to bring ourselves happiness.
I’m proud of you, wherever you are in your journey. Keep crushing.
Run for your life.