COVID-19 can make you a bit paranoid and of course, sick. Race cancellations and a wave of paranoia might have you questioning your athleticism or reasons why you move. Remain resilient during this pandemic by revising your goals.
Admittedly, I have trust issues with my entire calendar at this moment. Several races were cancelled and I've been playing it by ear with the swimming facility that I use. As of this morning, I lost 4 paid gigs and nervous about booking any flights until the dates are closer -- and who knows if I'll have the money to finance it by these dates. At the moment, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the entire world and people have justified reasons to be nervous. Watching how organized events start to unravel over the course of a few weeks, my feelings shifted from disappointed to numbness. Within a month, a great chunk of my scheduled races are gone: Tokyo Marathon, New York City Half Marathon, a change of date for The Love Run and my Hot Chocolate 15K in Philadelphia is officially a virtual run. With the exception of the Tokyo Marathon, I feel like all of these places handled it the best way that they possibly could -- I'll be kind and reserve my feelings since we're kinda going through a pandemic.
Surely people are hurt from the change in events and this goes well beyond running. New York City feels eerie from the lack of people populating the gym or local pool. Restaurants are thinning particularly Asian establishments -- thanks xenophobia. Pictures of Times Square surfacing the internet are being compared to every horror movie or crazy book known to man. And because I'm a fitness aficionado, I am loaded with questions about what I will do to press forward. After all, fitness is not just something that I do for fun. I am a freelancer who uses her platform to speak about these adventures -- which requires for you to be around people. At this moment, my social media accounts are bogged down with concerns about their training going to the wayside to questioning how will people maintain their marbles as the world goes COVID-19 crazy.
Race Cancellations & Frustrations: Did I Train for Nothing?
Did you sign up for sixty thousand races and find yourself watching events get cancelled like Thanos asked you to hold his beer? You are not alone my dear friend. My debit card side eyed me for a month and I am dancing with the idea that I will not be able to redeem myself from two marathons that I attempted last year. Aside from watching my money prance with the rolling credits at the end of a movie, I have moments of feeling overwhelmed. It is easy to sink into a depression wondering if you put in anywhere from 8 - 20 weeks of training for nothing. The answer is absolutely not.
Here's the long and short about training for an athletic adventure: Your training is never a waste of time. Investing days to months on a personal goal is something that benefits you beyond one day especially if we're talking about endurance sports. As endurance athletes, the hardest muscle to train is your brain. When you pound out the pavement, hike trails, tackle hills during your cycling endeavors or power through yoga, remember to give your brain enough credit; after all it's the hardest muscle to exercise.
You lost your money and scheduled date but not your grit -- dig deeper into the creative side of your brain. We're gonna treat this like a grieving and recovery exercise. Start by acknowledging the loss of your event and be angry, hurt or depressed. Recognizing that something happened may suppress bitter feelings about future events -- because one or ten cancelled races don't take down an athlete, right? Now remix those feelings with a new goal and there's no problem with not selecting another date at this moment. Here's some things to consider doing:
On Mental Health: Financially Strained, Feeling Heavy & Lack of Toilet Paper
In a world that is clearing alcohol based hand sanitizers, masks and toilet tissue off the shelves, find humor in all of the great soap that's available in the aisles. I'll be frank: I am nervous as shit. If I read another update on how many more people are afflicted from this disease, I might lose it again. I spent a great deal of my night talking to a handful of Instagram followers who are in Italy via inbox about what they're experiencing. Opening my inbox of job cancellations causes a great distress to my wellbeing. Before COVID-19, I was already paranoid about sanitation and practicing good healthy practices because I'm always sick. I am that immunocompromised body that you may or may not read about; this is not just a "boomer disease." Being a parent to a child with Type One Diabetes who doesn't fully comprehend the severity of this situation because he's focused on being a teenager means I have to remind myself to be calm when I ask him to clean his room, wash his hands and don't make teenager kind of jokes that might not be appropriate if heard in larger groups. Selfishly I miss going to the gym and been taking out my frustrations through cycling and struggle swimming -- I'm a frantic goldfish trying to master this breathing technique in freestyle. Playing my part means reducing how many times I go to a facility and might eventually mean avoiding it altogether. Every time I go for a run, my mind empties out so much that I can hear others' conversations about COVID-19 and it's all I can think about for two hours. I have to keep myself smiling about something or else I'll wallow in depression thinking about the worst. If anxiety taught me anything, panicking leaves no room for rational thinking.
For my creatives, athletes in sports or those who are freelancers like me, I know we are feeling it. If unplugging your landline from the bill collectors for a hour maintains your sanity, do it. Make that dope ass complicated meal that you saw on Food Network last week. Record yourself tone deaf singing to Alanis Morissette or butchering up a song like it's a Kidz Bop commercial. Fuck it -- laugh at some of these COVID-19 memes if you have a dark sense of humor because I know I'm not alone in doing this. As an entrepreneur, I've contemplated doing a bartering system and dipping into my miscellaneous talents and abilities to keep myself afloat if this continues on for a great deal of time. Redefine your version of normal; we will need it until this rides out into the sewer.
If running and cycling outdoors is still an option for the next few days to weeks, I'll be taking advantage of every opportunity that I get while doing my part to avoid public transportation. I am a shitty person to text but I love talking on the phone or jumping on an Instagram live. Use this time to pick up that thing you abandoned like a crap load of books you purchased via Amazon and actually read them. Use online softwares like Rosetta Stone and learn that new language that you desire. Here's a better one: Tell a loved one that you love them because your brain and heart need the endorphins.
This pandemic feels like shit because it is SHIT but we all have our part to play in giving it the middle finger that it deserves. Social distancing, a word thrown around but not fully explained, is a public health act used to slow down the transmission and spread of a highly contagious disease. I know we want to be selfish and indulge in EVERY single regular activity on our schedule but if you have the option to stay home, exercise it as much as possible. Play some music as you spring clean through your homes. Take some time to recover if you are sick but was trying to push through a March race; consider this your unofficial taper week. If part of your mental health practice is to interact with others ::waves hand:: consider utilizing our virtual options like Facebook video, Skype or video chats. When you meet up with someone, hit them with that Wakanda greeting.
Contrary to the terrible mixed messages that are out there, while COVID-19 is hitting older populations harder, it doesn't mean that it's not making people sick or dying. And I'll contradict myself by saying that it's not as crazy as our imaginations or the ridiculous statements floating around Twitter and Facebook. Not everything is media hyped but don't listen to every crazy remedy out there. It is completely reckless to suggest people to douce themselves in bleach, eat garlic, indulging bullshit that Alex Jones is peddling to impressionable people to drinking water every fifteen minutes -- and yeah, these things were suggested by the internet. Even during a pandemic, there are individuals scamming worried people around the world. It is not only disturbing; some of this stuff is illegal.
Stray away from getting information from questionable sources or even your buddy with the conspiracy theories. Check into the CDC or World Health Organization. Think twice before you start ripping someone's head off for coughing around you. Before flexing those keyboard skills, stray away from cursing out a race director at this moment: they're overwhelmed and if it's a smaller organization, they probably NEEDED this event to happen. And let's not play the blame game on certain communities and use this time to be xenophobic, practice the oppression Olympics or racist. It cost absolutely nothing to be kind and it feels kinda good to say something dope.
I hope that this moment in time passes us swiftly. We are all in this together and will persevere. Process your feelings as organic as needed and come back up for air when it's all out. While COVID-19 is a new thing, the world's been through so many things before -- keep fighting the epic battle.
Latoya Shauntay Snell
For my pretentious ass bio, check out the about me page but for anyone interested in who I really am, make me a good meal at your house and I'll tell you a dope ass story.
If you want to donate to my one woman operation, please feel free to donate below. All funds will help me keep the blog running smoothly.