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.
Most people sign up for races with a 90 percent certainty that they will finish; I'm not most people.
If it feels like it's been a long time since I've wrote anything consistent here, that would be painfully accurate. There's not one particular reason that I can give you but I can throw out a few:
Through one on one interactions with people in the running community and with loved ones reminded me about the reasons why I constructed this crazy website Running Fat Chef and it damn sure wasn't for internet fame. I truly love blurbing about the highs, lows, unstable moments and adventure that comes with fitness, particularly running. By having a honest heart to heart with myself, I buried myself under a blanket, wrote down a list with my insecurities, rolled it into a shape of a blunt and decided to say "fuck all of that shit-- I'm writing again."
With that said, let's talk about my 2019 highs and lows before the year is out -- and let's start with my DNFs.
It's been over a month and I think I had enough time off since I wrote a blog and recovered from a month long of races. For flashback Friday, what's better to write about than the Massachusetts' North Face Endurance Challenge experience with Mirna Valerio, infamously known as Fatgirlrunning, especially since I just wrote a review about her book coming out in October. Oh, so you haven't read my review: Book Review: A Beautiful Work in Progress...shame on you. You go read that RIGHT NOW!
Pre Race Day
"Fuck the gym. I have to get out of here on time."
Despite my efforts of packing early and attempting to get everything done in advance, I'm a stereotypical woman. There's never enough bags or clothing to take for a trip, even if it's only for the weekend. I promised myself a few weeks ago that I would have all of my items ready. Shit, I even made a timeline for my foolishness and fuckery. Seems like the only thing that went according to plan is actually making it out of NYC.
Two months prior, my running idol (and I think it's safe to say FRIEND) Mirna Valerio wrote the following on my Facebook page:
In turn, I binged between television and reading Jessamyn Stanley's Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body, while being in my feelings about God knows what at this point. I chalk it up to being a rainbow coalition of emotions because I'm a Gemini. I looked over at my suitcase when I made it to bed around 12:30 and was so sure that I was going to get up in 4 hours. I'm thankful that I didn't because I truly didn't know what Saturday's slaughter house presentation had awaiting for me.
Friday morning, I headed over to my best friend to go to his doctor's appointment. After hearing some unfortunate news, I called Mirna from the Bronx and gave her my information. Thankfully, she was running late and it gave me a bit of time to get White Castle cheeseburgers and onion rings for breakfast. This is probably the time where you should side eye me, considering I downed around 6 burgers and I'm horrifically lactose intolerant. She picked me up some time closer to 1pm and after we all exchanged some jokes, Mirna and I headed on the traffic laced road to Massachusetts.
Despite the shit traffic conditions, a stop or two to allow my ass to play the sax and a coffee break, we made it to the Waschusett Mountain. It's such a beautiful site from afar and for some reason, I didn't respect how menacing this course would be. The Waschusett Mountain is Massachusetts highest state mountain with a top elevation over 2,000 feet. Perhaps it was a great idea that I didn't research as I typically do for all of my races. I was still recovering from the shit storm name Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ from the Spartan Ultra Beast.
Mirna and I picked up our packets 30 minutes to closing but hung around for the seminar about Saturday's course. We had the pleasure of meeting Dean Karnazes, who happens to be this bad ass ultra-marathon runner here in the US and author of Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. For a man who is a month away from pushing 55, I would be, could be and to the prude folks, should be lying if I didn't think that this man was my undocumented future ex-husband next to Gordon Ramsey obnoxiously incredible ass. Okay, enough of my drooling over strong men. He spoke eloquently about the adventures of being an ultra marathoner. While Mirna affectionally remembers his words about biting off more than he can chew on her Women's Running Magazine post, I remember him talking about the metaphorically "Coming to Jesus" moment. Perhaps, with better judgment, I should have known that this course would be a diva during income tax time with the two grand lace-front but I was too hype about doing my first trail marathon. After we snatched up a few selfies with him, I think we both went into our respective modes of race day nerves.
NOTE TO SELF: If anyone ever reference something in correlation to the Lord Jesus Christ and his sidekicks, take them seriously.
Defining all of the literary squabble of carb-loading to contradicting articles suggesting fat and protein, we opted for burgers and fries at Five Guys. To add insult to injury, I went for the milkshake because those damn things are life. Unfortunately, my anus reminded me of how much milkshakes don't bring all the boys to my yard about a hour later.
We unpacked, took a shower and did something that I no longer feel so alone about: Laid out our clothes and snapped a picture of our race day outfits to post onto social media. After talking some more, we finally decided to get some necessary shut eye.
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.
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