Many years ago, long before my child came into my world, my BRF (best running friend) was a nurse with three children, ages 6 to 15. Folks knew why I—this is Tish—was training like a crazed maniac: trying to run the New York City marathon fast enough to squeak out a Boston qualifier. But one guy wanted to know why my BRF was grinding out long runs with me if she wasn’t going to run the marathon? What was she training for, anyway?
What was she training for? “Life,” she said.
Before the pandemic, I used to joke, “The run is the best part of my day!” Which was partly true and partly mean. Because if the run was the best part of my day, what did that say about my kid, my job, my BF? (Um.) Haha, just joking!
And now? After more than 100 days of working from home with a 15-year-old who was schooling but is now just hanging around because her counselor job evaporated, amid all the attendant anxiety of upheaval, uncertainty, and disrupted expectations?
Most days the run is the only hour when I’m out of the house. Away from the computer with its endless-scroll task list. Away from the dirty dishes clamoring for attention.
(And I type all this fully appreciative of how fortunate I am to have my health, my family, and a job I can do from home.)
I try to be mindfully present and notice my surroundings. And here’s what I’ve noticed: There are so many more folks running now. Probably because gyms are closed, and the skies get light around 5 a.m. Still! It’s so nice to see so many people outside!
And not just runners! Last week, I was out for a run feeling a little sulky about the New York City marathon, which had just been canceled. It was the right thing to do, and there are larger problems in this world yet, still, I was sad. NYC is like the lodestar of my running year. Plus, I’d already picked out my souvenir sweatshirt.
I ran (slowly) up a hill behind a couple walking what appeared to be a very fat dog with a long swishing tail. But hold on a second, that’s not a dog!
“That’s a pig.” I said. “Yup,” they said.
I started to run by, but turned back to exclaim, “That is the best thing I have EVER seen on a run.”
So this is what we’re all training for now, right? You never know what you’ll see on a run. Life.