I went out for a run last week. Then I was training for a race I just learned was cancelled. Regardless of the cancelled race, I need something to focus on other than all the negative thoughts presently flooding my head. I was minding my space during that run and keeping to the right side of the path. I noticed a biker coming in the opposite direction and he began to point at me as he rode past in a manner that I thought meant “move over more”. My first few thoughts were not very nice, and then I rationalized for I bit. I guess I could have moved over three, maybe four inches more, trying to determine if we did have 6 feet between us. I ran a half mile more up the road and realized. The biker. He was turning left.
My friend’s husband pointed out that hypochondriacs have been preparing their whole lives for this. I imagine that we might not see some of them again, not because of illness and death, but because this is the pandemic that might create a epidemic of shut-ins and now we have the infrastructure to support it. Similarly, introverts have wished their whole lives for some type of ongoing excuse to stay home. This is an extended holiday for people like me. This has gotten me out of so many awkward conversations with some of my neighbors, and not riding in elevators with…people. Gosh, it’s like a freaking vacation, socially. I no longer have a fake excuse waiting in the wings of why I just cannot make it to your function.
When I am minding my social distance, I try to respect and not offend. I do want to see my friends, but I know what’s at stake. So did the grocery store employee, who sprayed bleach on the key pad of the self check out. I actually got teary eyed at the gesture. I was surprised she didn’t spray me directly. It’s not the first time someone has questioned my state of clean. However, I am deeply grateful of all of the grocery story workers who are coming to work every day. Not to mention all the other people who don’t have the choice to stay home. I would like to see all my local store employees wear the bleach spray bottles in makeshift gun holsters with the handkerchief face masks, cause it does seem like the wild west out there in grocery land. I wouldn’t even mind if they even spoke to me aggressively and threatened me with a squirt of bleach if I was not as compliant as they demanded.
I am not certain how long I have been in the social distance/quarantine pattern anymore. I have trouble keeping track of the days. But I am still training for my non-existent race. The reason I am forcing this practice to continue is because it happens to be my daily treatment for my anxiety. Taking away the run while in lock down seems like a terrible idea. Over past couple days, I have come to the realization that there is just too many people out on the running paths, with the good weather, and I feel I have become part of the problem. So, with a heavy heart I decided I would stop going outside for my daily run and I dusted off my lonely treadmill that faces the wall in my garage. I did move it to face a window. Not sure why I didn’t do this 7 years ago.
I am not a fan of the treadmill, but am grateful I have access to one during these strange times. Some runners believe the treadmill is a practice of self harm. I agree, but I also think wearing jeans during the quarantine when I have decided to eat like a hobbit is more of a practice self harm, so pick your poison. Trying to continue some type of normal in times when nothing is…is difficult. So, I will focus on gratitude. As I press the on button today as I start my half marathon, I will be grateful I am consistent with my practice of self harm. I will wait to put on my jeans until my run is finished, at least this time.