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Running through the Pandemic

The sun is out and I am lacing up my running shoes like I do every morning. It is 7:00 on a Wednesday morning and I am out the door, stretched and ready to run. Normally at this time the world is wide awake, filled with the bustling of kids off to school and people off to work. But as I run I don’t encounter hardly anyone on my runs, sometimes I see another runner on the other side of the street, but we both keep our distance, as we are told to do. Some cars pass by but not as much as there should be at this time of day. For the past month running has been very different for me and for many other people in this world. We are currently under quarantine as our country is trying to rid itself of the COVID 19 virus. Gym, schools and non- essential businesses are closed and people are told to stay inside as much as they can. But for the runners of the world, this should be our time to shine. They are actually telling us to get outside and exercise, of course with caution, when we can. But for me, and I’m sure for many other runners, running just isn’t the same as it was a few months ago.

While I still get my daily runs in, there is nothing pushing me to lace up my shoes every morning. All races for April and now even May have been cancelled, and many race directors are starting to cancel summer races as well. While this is absolutely the right decision, it is still a hard pill to swallow. My year revolved around my running schedule, 2 half marathons in the Winter/springtime, shorter races in the summer months, and then a half and hopefully a full marathon in the fall. But now I am left not knowing when I will be able to the toe the starting line of a race again. At first, it was hard to grasp that all the races I had been training for would not go on. For many races, this is the first time ever in the history that they have had to cancel. But this doesn’t mean that I will stop running, but my focus on my running has shifted a little. Instead of worrying so much about my speed and time, I now just go from time. There is no schedule for me anymore, I am not following a structured training plan. But instead I wake up in the morning and see what my body feels like for the day, longer runs if I feel good or just short recovery runs if I am sore from the day before.

And while at first it was tough to be running and not training for anything, but now a month later I am actually starting to enjoy it. I can run as fast and as far as I want, and not be worried that my training will suffer. I have also started to pay more attention to the world around me as I run, instead of looking at my watch to see what my last split was. I’ve noticed houses, gardens, buildings and even roads that I run past everyday but never really slowed down to really look at them. Being home all the time has given me a chance to work on other parts of my body that don’t get worked while running, which I hope will strengthen my body so when I do get back to racing I will be even stronger. I do miss the comradery that running with others brings, running alongside others sharing stories of past races, injuries and new places to eat after the run. And I do miss racing as there’s something about that feeling at the start of a race where you are nervous and excited all in one, that you can’t really get from anything else. But I know that this is not forever. One day we will get back to being able to run together again, we will be able to go to the gym and workout with our friends and go out to dinner after a hard track workout. I honestly can’t wait for that day when I am able to toe the starting line of a race. But for now I am just going to enjoy the fact that I can still get out every morning for a run, though not fast, but a run where I will go along at speed where I can take in the all the world around me has to offer.

-Diana Welch

Diana currently works a personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Middletown, NY. She also is a certified running coach and recently took a job as a Track and Field coach at Burke Catholic in Goshen NY. She enjoys teaching strength and conditioning classes, as well as HIIT and Tabata classes. She has competed in races ranging from 5k’s to even a marathon. She will hopefully be running The Philadelphia Marathon in the fall in hopes of qualifying for Boston. In her down time she loves to spend time taking yoga classes, walking and crafting.

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