Change is difficult. We resist living in a different way, particularly when it’s out of our control and comfort zone, and when we don’t know when we will return to normal, whatever that is. I’m fairly experienced when it comes to change and adjusting to life when pregnant or injured. Each baby and broken bone took me out of training and competing for the same amount of time. I knew what to expect and how to get back to my normal. While we do not know what life will look like when this pandemic is over, whenever it is over, I believe that we will be better for it. With each break I had, I came back stronger, recharged, rejuvenated, more appreciative and passionate about returning to competitive racing. We can all benefit when we allow change to change us.
Routine is how we thrive. It makes us more efficient, creates structure and meaning to our day, helps us maintain good habits, and greatly benefits our mental well-being. When my morning starts with a quiet coffee, morning run, and recovery bowl of oatmeal, I feel good, normal, and like I’ve accomplished something. In fact, it’s the highlight of my day, which thankfully hasn’t changed during the pandemic. When schools were closed, our children quickly and successfully adjusted their routines, which I believe helped create a positive school-at-home experience. While there were some struggles with adjusting to a slower and different routine, the kids learned how to take initiative and succeed independently, which will benefit them later in life.
Perspective is everything. I have said from the beginning that this could be much worse. While it is definitely more difficult for some than others, a lot of us are more inconvenienced and bored than anything else. We have food to eat, clothes to wear, clean water to drink and bathe in, and a good roof over our heads. Keeping 6-feet apart from others, wearing masks, waiting in line, and staying home more than ever isn’t fun but isn’t the worst thing that could happen to us.
Grieving is ok. While I believe I am an optimist, I have my down moments. I find afternoons particularly dreary and boring with very little to do compared to our slower than usual morning and evening routines. While I’ve certainly missed racing, I’ve found myself struggling more with the losses my children have faced—my daughter’s first overnight hockey tournament was cancelled, my 12-year-old son missed swimming at regionals, and my 14-year-old son didn’t get to compete in his final track & field day or get a formal grade 8 graduation ceremony. I also wonder if I’ve seen my final days of competing as a professional at international and competitive marathons as we’ve known them. I can and will only choose to be grateful for what my children and I have accomplished. While I may not get my 20th marathon in 2020, I can live with the hope that I will be back on that start line with everyone else, looking back on this as a memory.
While we are starting to see the lifting of some restrictions as we move through various phases, I am grateful for the people who have worked hard and diligently to make some very difficult decisions to keep us healthy and safe. While we may not see large road races until later on, I will continue to aim to be refined and changed for the better by this experience.