Stoke in the time of COVID

Is it just me or is 2020 the year that keeps getting worse?! After February, in the peak of shelter in place, I reminded myself that it has to get better from here. I mean, what else could happen? How wrong I was. As spring turned into summer, not only did the cases and restrictions increase, but we were also faced with the harsh reality of changes in the climate, specifically in the form of wildfires out west. The smoke settled in and took up residence in most of the west, forcing us to abandon our only freedom- the outdoor space. Add to the list of closures and bans, and without the outdoors, we were literally confined to our homes. And so the saga of 2020 continues, as bad grim headlines continue to flood our news feeds and doubt, fear, and uncertainty swirl all around us.

How is one to cope? Well, my strategy has been to focus on what I CAN do. Which turns out, is a lot right now. There are so many things I can do from my home to help with the bigger cause. Although not the same thing as getting out and being present for events, this alternative has satisfied my need for connection and feeling I’m an active part of society. Second, I have also been trying to stay active, as much as I can from my home. This has taken shape in many creative “workouts” but it gets the job done. I’ve cycled between core strength sessions, yoga, virtual strength/cardio classes, zwifting, dance parties, chasing the dog around the house, and house chores (have you ever thought of vacuuming as good physical activity?!). Although not the same thing as getting out and running, biking, or hiking, this commitment to staying active in some shape or form has given me structure each day and created some (short-lived) endorphins. It’s better than nothing.


Lastly, and maybe most important, the biggest thing for staying positive has been to make some plans for the future. Even though I well know some of these plans may change due to the landscape at the time, I believe it’s important to have things to look forward to. For me these things have been some trips I want to take in 2021, running races I hope to compete in, and friends I want to reconnect with in person. Looking forward to our Threshold trips in 2021 has been a carrot to keep me plugging away on the mundane day-to-day. When it’s smoky outside and I can’t even walk my dog, I visual how rewarding it will be to run the trails in New Mexico and indulge at the Four Seasons. The sheer fact that I can tangibly see those experiences in the future can get me through even the roughest of days.

Even though 2020 might get worse before it gets better, we can still control our attitude and know that things WILL get better. They always do- it’s just a matter of time and remaining adaptable during the changing tides.

Keep up the stoke my friends- we are all in this together!


#ThresholdExpeditions #StephanieHowe #CovidSummer #Ultrarunning #trailrunningadventures #runforfun


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