One runner,
Six bikers not drafting,
One dude getting ready to mow
While his kid played with chalk
In the driveway,
Eight people,
That’s all I saw on my run today,
Three hours
And I only saw eight people,
There were plenty of cars,
But no one was out.
Then I had to get food,
Lots of people,
I had on my running hat face thing,
That had part pulled down
So only my nose was covered.
A bunch of kids, like twentyish years old
Had gathered to hang out,
They took their meeting into the parking lot
To rev their engines and try to be normal,
If that’s even possible for twenty-year-old dudes

Weird, it’s weird being out,
Not seeing people,
Seeing people in masks,
Having people avoid everyone
To the point where when they are shopping
They look like the kid in the bumper cars
Who can’t make the car go straight.
They just spin their cart around and around
Panicked that they might get sick,
Probably not thinking about getting someone else sick,
Anything for those Golden Grahams big momma.

How about a mask?
The runners are distancing.
The bikers are distancing.
Can’t an overly loud,
Inappropriately clad, even by Walmart standards, mother
Make a choice that isn’t based on her loudly exclaiming
(Without a mask), “I gotta get my Grahams!!!”
Okay, you are going to get them, but
Could you think about being more respectful of the pandemic
Despite your need for high fructose corn syrup.

Eight people,
Three hours,
No complaints.

Twenty minutes at Walmart,
Just enough time to see people
As they probably always are.

Went running this afternoon,
The lady down the street was walking her dog,
It was barking as it always does,
That high pitched yelp
Like the toy store mutts.
I rounded the corner into Watership Down
Where a rabbit must have been hit by a car
The vultures had not gotten to it, yet,
A little further up the hill,
A field mouse of some sort had not bad it, either,
The worms everywhere
Since the rain has pushed them out of the ground.

I just kept going,
The few miles I had planned
Passing at a snail’s pace.
The death that is around,
The uncertainty of life,
The fear of getting sick,
It all is taking a toll.
That’s why I get out,
To get away, to find some peace in nature,
To not be bothered by infection rates,
Body counts, or right-wing blabber.
I suppose this one didn’t do its job.

The things that go through my mind when I run.
Usually, it starts
With a song, this morning “Glory Days.” I’m
Not sure why, how could
I know that the rising sun
Could make
Me remember all those
Nights
Hanging with the crew
Back when my hair was
Something other than white. I brought it
Back to the run
Just when the breathing became labored,
When the sweat was dripping,
As I needed to stay focused
To finish the run
Strong.
The battle of the mind, thinking of what was
Versus what is
Made for a nice distraction,
A chance to dream,
A chance to take leave of the moment
While getting hot without the bother.
Man, the stuff I think about
When
I’m
Running.

“It’s funny, humans tend to hatch our most challenging goals and dreams, the ones that demand the our greatest effort yet promise absolutely nothing, when we are tucked into our comfort zones.” David Goggins

A couple of days ago, I had a dream,
One inspired while in the sort of lockdown
We are all in,
I was sitting on my couch,
Probably pawing a bag of peanut M&Ms
When I thought,

“I’m going to ride, run, walk, and swim 4,215 miles
In about three or four months.”

It sounded good in my head,
Indoors and outdoors, a simple process of adding up miles
Checking them off, and before long,
I’d be heading into the Yorktown Pub
To enjoy a prime rib sandwich and maybe even
A once in a lifetime return to an adult beverage.

Today I hit the trails,
The second day of my mission,
The tall trees held back the cold March winds,
Coronavirus kept back the crowds.
My pace was steady and instead of heading straight,
I turned left heading on a never before run on trail,
The hills, the twists, the turns took me
Across to the other side of the river, well, creek,
But it might as well be a river because
There’s no good place to cross.

The new trails kept everything fresh,
People strolled on the other side,
No one was with me
Except the regular sound of my deep breaths,
The exhortation to push off Orton style, and
The realization that I’m not ready to run
All the way across the country.

Charlie Bailey unexpectedly disappeared
And I found myself running the David English trial,
Road crossings, bridges, and finally a neighborhood
Were all on my way.
I was getting tired, feeling cold, not sure of how to get back
Other than to turn around,
And face all those hills again.

Finally, the years of running these trails paid off,
I recognized a road, knew to turn there, and was back on track.
The path became familiar,
My gait smoothed out,
Confidence began to win out.

Four miles later, with eleven done,
I was back at my car.
I sat in the hatchback for the first time
Feeling that great feeling of finishing a run,
The kind of run that is new, challenging,
The beginning of something.
The initial couch optimism that was in me
Right after I hatch this harebrained idea,
The feeling of hubris that inspired me to invite others
To attempt this madness,
Was met with a reality that this shit is going to be hard,
Will take longer than I thought, and
Might be the biggest thing I’ve attempted, yet.

It’ll be over when it’s over,
Done when I’m finished.

***4215.2-miles by 12/31/2020? I’ll get it done. [4,197.7 to go…]

img_1065
Surprise, I ran this morning
Under a most beautiful sky,
There were birds singing,
Not a favorite of all, I know,
But it suggested Spring to me,
And with all of this virus stuff
We could use a little song in the air,
But then this run was heavier than most,
Fewer people out, less traffic,
I ran without worry on a busy road,
Crossing without waiting
The Walmart light to change.
I’m running faster,
Maybe thinking that if I’m not out so long
The virus won’t catch up to me,
I know that’s just a dream
Viruses are more patient than that,
But I’m breathing, take full breaths,
Letting those alveoli show their resilience,
Their sense of purpose
As I hammer away at the pavement,
Running solo, no music,
Except for the birds and the satisfaction of feeling
Spring is just around the corner.

silhouette of boy running in body of water during sunset
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on Pexels.com

The social side of running,
That time when lungs are full,
Legs aren’t aching, and
A stream of conversation is possible
Took a big hit this morning.
Our group, a very small gathering,
Jogged through the drizzle,
Guided by a foghorn-like GPS
Keeping us straight on our recreational drive
To have an easy Sunday run
With friends.

We were in denial,
We knew,
The streets were more empty than normal,
Conversation was about ransacked grocery stores,
Jokes were about self-containment and cleaning.
The kicker that brought everything to the surface,
Perhaps a non-wiped down contagious surface
Was the end of run high-five.
We all pulled a “swing and a miss.”
I didn’t even take my mittens off.

That was when I was sure that I was taking some time off,
Then another said she was out,
And another. Before long, our group of six
Was scattering, unwilling to stand at Starbucks,
But more likely resigned to the fact
That we should probably heed the warnings.
Don’t get me wrong, the running, the exercising,
The pushing of the boundaries of what we do
Will not stop.
We’ll just be alone when exercising.

Ho-hum…

Maybe less panic,
With a little common sense, and
A healthy dose of patience
Would be just what we need
To survive the lifestyle changes
Spreading our way.

Keeping your space,
Washing your hands,
Duh.
Maintain a level head,
Chill the eff out, and
Get used to no sports for awhile.

I dont know, this is all new,
I’m a homebody, so social distancing
Ain’t no thang, although
I’ll probably run with my friends
In the early hours of the morning.

I’ll keep my space, no spitting,
Wash my hands when I’m done
Laugh it up with the crew, and
Get on with the next day.
Really, what else can I do
This side of panic?

A run
With plenty of spray,
Two parts grossed out,
One part just trotting along.

A hike
With plenty of sun,
Companions out for a walk
Sniffing all the smells.

A ride
On fat tires and potholed roads,
More of a fitness test
Than recreational endeavor.

A Sunday
Where there was time for napping,
Nascar, and golf,
Plus plenty of joking,
All there to fight off Monday…