Tangled Up in Blue: In the long run

Someone asked me if time has been going by quickly or slowly these days.

During the coronavirus pandemic, are my mornings flying by? And in the evenings, do I look over at the clock at 9 p.m. and look again five minutes later to see that hours have passed, that I should have been asleep yesterday, all while the sun continues to leak through my windows?

Or is it all dragging on? Do I struggle to survive the afternoons without crawling into bed hoping that a nap will use up some time more effectively than staring aimlessly?

Well, sir, I think it’s both.

We’re in it for the long run during this pandemic, and it’s starting to feel like it.

I start out optimistic by listing out all the things I can accomplish, things I’ve written about here and on every variation of a to-do list I can make. But, as the days and weeks and, now, months drag on … I’m a bit exhausted.

It’s just like those long Sunday runs all the training plans say I should do.

I lace up my shoes and get excited about the miles ahead of me, how they’ll make me stronger and faster, or prepare me for longer races I hope to run one day.

And then my feet hit the pavement, or trail, or even (god forbid) the treadmill, and I’m off running. The first mile or so is always great.

I’ve got this. Easy peasy. Why don’t I do long runs more often? Who could dislike running?

Mile three or four rolls around and running starts to suck.

How much longer? I can’t stand this! I didn’t sign up for this, did I? Who would sign up for this, how can anyone enjoy this? When will it end?

And I live with that pain for a few miles because, well, at this point I’m too far in to not keep running. Turning around means that those miles behind me become the miles ahead of me.

These two feelings go back and forth. Miles go by quickly, with a positivity that is hard to re-create once it’s gone. It disappears and any mileage beyond my next step is intangible, all positivity chased off by the monotony of my feet moving forward.

The two feelings are not exclusive of one another, though. When I’m flying high and running positively, a nagging feeling exists that it will end. As Bob Dylan puts it, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

And when I’m feeling low, it’s best to think about when the running was good — whether it be just a quarter mile ago.

It doesn’t always feel this way.

No matter my destination or the distance I travel, I have to keep trudging along until the end is in sight and a joyful exuberance overtakes me.

Holy cow, I’m so excited for this to be over. I’m going to do so many things that aren’t running after this. I’m going to lay down and roll around and stretch everything. I love running so much, but I need to not run this far for a bit.

We haven’t gotten to the finish line of coronavirus yet and who knows what kind of mileage we’re in for. I know I started out strong and keep vacillating between, to the point where delineations between feelings and energies are blurred. I have to remind myself that my answer can always be “both.”

How are you doing? I’m good and bad.

How are you feeling? Great and terrible.

What are you thinking? Nothing and everything.

What do your days feel like? Fast and slow. Good and bad. Great and terrible. Nothing and everything. A little bit of both.


For the Clarion

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