Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Running Into Uncertainty

10 days. The last we spoke was 10 days ago.

Can we rewind 10 days? How much will that cost me? A roll of toilet paper? (to soon, sorry.)

If I knew then what I know now. Famous last words.

Unless you've been living in a dark hole for the last month, you've probably been educated thoroughly on COVID-19. And in the last week, this virus has gotten everyone's attention and faster than any angry mother that has threatened a spanking on a bare bottom. 

At the beginning of February, I drove my father to St. Alexius in Hoffman Estates for his final cataract procedure. Days before, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed at that very medical center, the first case in Illinois. I pulled up and noticed a lady wearing a mask as she walked into the hospital.

"Uhhhhh Dad you sure about this?"
"Yea, Meg. I'm fine. SEE 👀 you later, HA!" - Jack Hode

Fast forward 5 weeks. Illinois currently sits at 160 cases and as of Tuesday afternoon, we experienced the first death over this unknown.

How has this impacted me?

10 days ago I was confident I'd be able to toe the line of my first race of 2020. That didn't happen.

10 days ago I was able to go to work and see all our students. I was able to converse with them. I was able to tell them they MUST improve attendance in order to graduate. I was able to discuss Spring Break plans with them.  I haven't seen a single student since Thursday morning.

10 days ago I was able to go to a grocery store without concern of shelves being empty. This is a very common thing today.

10 days ago I was able to stop at my parent's house without worry or fear of infecting them. I had to make the very difficult decision to stay away from my parent's house until this becomes less scary, due to their age and health concerns.

10 days ago I started every day confident that all events and businesses would continue running and operating at normal expectancy. These days, Randall Road is a ghost town and there wasn't a single official St. Patrick's Day event last weekend.

Moral of the story: This. Is. H U G E.

The last 48 hours have been some of the most difficult for me. I'm sure it's no secret to you all, I tend to worry more than most. Lately it's been in overdrive. Yes, the media has played a nice little role in that. Yes, I've read my facts. This virus isn't as deadly as others we've seen. But this one offers more unknowns. This one is taking out entire COUNTRIES at one time. Sleep hasn't been easy to come by. I toss and turn quite a bit. Do I worry about getting sick myself? Eh, not really. I'm a healthy, active 32 year old adult. If I were to get sick, chances are I'd be ok.

But, the scariest part for ME is.... there are people walking around with this virus that never show symptoms and don't know they carry it. What if that's me? If that's the case, how likely is it that I could get my parents sick? My 95 year old grandmother? My father-in-law, who is already in a somewhat fragile state?

I'm scared for those that aren't allowed to work and worry about how they'll feed their children. I'm worried for anyone who could potentially lose their job over this virus. I'm worried what this will do to us economically in the next 3, 6, or 9 months. I'm sad for all of the Weddings, Holiday Celebrations, Baby Showers, Family Reunions, and everything in between that this will be ruined in the months to come.

This is bigger than us. This is bigger than we know. It's hard to wrap your head around something you can't physically see. At some point, we'll all be able to see it. We'll know a friend, co-worker, acquaintance, or family member who was diagnosed by COVID-19.

So what can we do?

I'm sure there's no definite answer to that. The obvious is to follow advice given to you. Wash your hands. Eat healthy. Get proper rest. Stay at home. Distance yourself. Another thing I've found to be extremely helpful.... GET OUTSIDE. KEEP MOVING.

But Megan.. what? You just said to stay at home. 

We might all be quarantined right now, but the best thing you can do for your spirits and your health is to breath that FRESH air. Go walk the dog. Go for a jog. Put on a few layers and take your bike out for a spin. Find a way to take in that spring air and vitamin D. Gyms might be closed but that doesn't mean A N Y T H I N G. Now's when your 1st grade creativity comes into play and you start using canned goods as ankle weights. {Need workout ideas? You know who to call!}

10 days ago I was certain I'd be able to give you my racing lineup in the next few weeks. Now, most races have been cancelled through May. We are all entering a huge unknown. I'd like to sit here and tell you that, "Sure, June is when we go back to normal!" But... is it? The uncertainty of the future has everyone in a frenzie, a mass panic. One thing I can guarantee is that I'll still be running, straight into this day to day uncertainty.

Last weekend, the March Madness Half Marathon was cancelled for the first time in 42 years. It's truly one of a kind, and my heart hurt badly when I heard the news. Of course it was for the best. But that didn't take the sting away. Being the creature of habit that I am, I knew immediately that this wasn't something I was willing to give up. Official race or not, I'd be running that course on race day at 8:35am (official start time). I recruited the healthiest friends I could find and we met up (in a group of less than 50 and kept our distance during the entire run) to race the course.

March Madness Half Marathon 2020
None of us wanted race weekend to play out this way. But we weren't willing to let it cramp our style. I've said once, I'll say it again. This endurance community, we roll D E E P and we're thick as thieves. There's no other I'd rather be apart of. 


**To everyone out there doing the hard stuff: the doctors, the nurses, the teach from home teachers, the grocery store employees, the single WFM moms, I see you all. And I'm a huge cheerleader and fan. Chin up. 

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