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The Beauty of Less-Than-Beautiful Running Vistas

I’ve spent the days since April, when the pandemic shut things down here in San Antonio, running loops around my neighborhood … 75 miles a week in two-mile loops. It’s not a particularly pretty neighborhood.

One week there were a lot of dead frogs squashed along the distance, but other than that, running the same two-mile loop day after day is about as exciting as you’d expect. One by one, all of the races I’d signed up for in 2020 were canceled. In June, I found out I’d gotten a spot on the U.S. 100km team and would represent the United States at the world championships in the Netherlands. I’d spent two years working to qualify for the team. That race was canceled as well.

I kept circling my neighborhood anyway. And, without the distraction of races, without the distraction of beautiful trails, I learned the power of routine and consistency in uncertain times. Instead of anger, frustration or sadness, the monotonous solo loopings left me feeling resilient, capable and peaceful. Granted, it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit most of the summer, so maybe the peacefulness was actually heat exhaustion.

Regardless, with most of my life upended by the pandemic, the practice of daily running acted like a mooring anchor. It kept me from becoming adrift in turbulent thoughts as I navigated on-line schooling for my kids, my husband’s shift to working at home from the dining room table, concerns about my mom’s health, job uncertainty and the anger and sadness that suffuse the daily news.

It was something that was unchanging and dependable in a sea of change of unreliability.

More than the physical benefits of running, it’s been the routine of running unchanging loops that has seen me through this pandemic. And that has been a surprise. As a coach, I try to help my athletes understand the power of consistency in their training. You will become a stronger and faster runner the more consistently you run. But consistent daily practice, in and of itself, will also make you stronger and more resilient. #RunningCoach #ThresholdExpeditions #PandemicAthletes #Wellbeing

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