We were thrilled to receive this guest blog from our long-time friend and customer, Mary Anderson. Mary is a working mom with two kiddos and loads of Nuu-Muu dresses. Read on to learn how movement keeps her grounded through #pandemiclife.
During this time of unpredictability, heartache and extreme loss, one thing that I’ve found helps calm my nerves and brings me a bit of normalcy is running. It looks different today, compared to eight months ago. Instead of waking at 4:30 am to join my twice weekly running group I’m either running alone or with my spouse (although I don’t wake at 4:30 if I don’t have to). I now wear a mask to protect myself and others on the trails. What remains the same is the runners high I get after a few miles, the beauty of sunlight funneling through the trees and the peaceful trickle of a stream.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed with life and my anxiety starts to take over my body, hunching my shoulders and quickening my breath I know that if I go for a run it will help ground me, pulling me back to reality and a sense of calm. I can’t control so many things especially during a global pandemic, but one thing I can control is how and when I move my body.
Among the many things that have been canceled this year due to social distancing requirements are races. I’m a fun runner, not a fast runner. I enjoy half-marathons and shorter runs for the challenge and the unique aspects that each race presents. Without the ability to run an in-person race this year I decided to sign up for a virtual race and train on my own. After successfully completing my half-marathon I thought I’d share a few tips that might help you plan your own virtual race, of any distance.
1. Determine the Details
This is the boring part of the planning process. You need to decide how far you want to run: a 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon or other distance. Are you able to start and end where you live? Do you need to drive, walk, bike or bus to your starting location? Do you need someone to drop you off and pick you up? Do you need assistance with water and food, or will you carry your own?
2. Be Creative
When I first started planning my route my goal was to have as few hills as possible, which is pretty much impossible in Bellingham. However, once I started thinking creatively, I decided that it would be fun to try and run through half of the parks in town during my half marathon. Other ideas I had were to run past as many bus stops as possible, past friends houses, coffee shops, etc. What is unique about your town or what do you have a lot of? Maybe it’s outdoor art or independent bookstores. Find some landmarks that you can build a course around and get started!
There are a few ways to create a running course, including Map My Run, Garmin, and even Google Maps has a measure distance feature now.
3. Be Flexible
If I’ve learned anything about 2020 it’s that I must be flexible. I make plans and at the last minute, those plans changes. I had originally planned to run on a Saturday, however when I checked the weather report on Friday it predicted a lot of rain and wind. Sunday was supposed to be calm and sunny. I decided to change my race date to Sunday. The race is virtual after all, I don’t have the luxury of deciding not to run in adverse weather during a normal race. It was the right decision and made the whole experience so much more pleasant.
During my race I made a few wrong turns. Around mile ten I mentally calculated how much distance I had left and how many miles my missteps added. I realized that if I ended where I originally planned, I’d be running at least an extra mile. I was tired and hungry. I decided to call my husband and ask him to meet us at a different ending location. I knew that I couldrun the extra mile, but I just didn’t have it in me, so I changed the route at the last minute.
4. Have Fun!
We are all experiencing different levels of stress related to the pandemic and life itself. So why not add a bit of fun into your race; wear a costume, choose a route that incorporates something you enjoy or run with a friend that makes you laugh.
I hope this inspires you to go outside and run, or bike or just move your body. I look forward to the future when we can all run together again and I will still hold dear my 2020 half-marathon where I ran though 25 parks and ran uphill, on purpose, just to get a couple extra parks in.
Take care and be well.
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