So I like to run. I would consider myself an amateur, never run a marathon or anything like that. Just get out ~3 times per week and run one of 2-3 routes. Like many others, I find it meditative and restorative, and it is a big stress reliever for me. Usually when I run, I find that everything that has been on my mind occupies my thoughts. Stuff at work and home, things I want to do, issues I need to deal with at work, etc. Sometimes I replay events that happened, ask how I could have done better or reacted differently. Usually once I am 3-4 miles in, my thoughts finally gravitate to enjoying the run. I’m able to focus on the birds chirping, the sound of the wind and the road or leaves underneath my feet, and the splendid wildlife refuge that I pass.
Something changed recently. I can’t remember exactly when things seemed to shift, but it was probably 3-4 weeks ago when concerns around coronavirus began to rise. Since then, and not surprisingly, everything has been focused on COVID-19. The pace of managing this rapidly escalating situation has been unprecedented for all of us. I think that while there was so much thought, in general, put into emergency preparedness, what no one probably anticipated was how consuming this would be for all of us.
Now when I run, whether I am a mile in or in my eighth mile, COVID-19 is on my thoughts. Coronavirus is not only tragically taking lives and causing so many people to be ill, but it is completely occupying all of us. No where was this more apparent when I couldn’t shake it off my mind at the third or fourth mile and when I arrived at my destination, still with thoughts about coronavirus racing through my mind. (This is no surprise when people are wearing masks outside and stores are closed, like the store in this picture that I passed on my run yesterday). I sometimes wonder if we can run away from coronavirus at all. Even if we are able to escape this all-consuming topic just for a few minutes, that would be a good start.
Still, I find running rejuvenating and very enjoyable. I have also focused on watching comedies – the gravity of coronavirus and taking care of patients who are so sick, and seeing, first-hand, lives lost is a lot to deal with. So even though running may not be the full answer, complementing it with an Adam Sandler classic goes a long way. If the networks all make a concerted effort to focus as much on programs that bring us laughter as they do on programs which give us the latest deaths from COVID-19, we can all escape just a little bit more and get through this a little bit easier.