Spring Break 2020! Wooo! Accountants gone wild!
I ran a longish route today. Longish? Long starts at seven miles, at least in my mind. I don’t know where I got that, but I’ve believed it since 1988, when I started running long-runs. Six is a run, seven’s a long-run. Just like that, inarguable. I’d love to hear others’ opinions on this. I called today’s run longish because I’m not exactly sure about the distance, but more than six. Oh, and I walked two of the hills. So not absolutely long.
I’ve been sick. Weeks ago, I caught the flu. Not the Wuhan flu, the normal flu. My symptoms matched the typical flu symptoms: cough, aches, stuffy nose, but also, I was dizzy. Vertigo. My head spun. In high school, still getting used to alcohol, I drank for hours and then went to bed. And the room spun. They call these bed-spins. This is how I felt during my four days with the flu. Drunk.
Ever since, I’ve coughed nonstop. In the month since my flu, COVID-19, became a thing. This isn’t the greatest time to have a persistent cough. My coworkers give me disapproving looks and keep asking if I feel OK. Other than the cough, I’m fine. Except the dizziness. That never went away. Running’s been on the back-burner. A few short ones with Susan, nothing long, nothing on trails—too dizzy. This week, I got fed up and went to my doctor. I have an infection in my sinuses. Yes, you could say I have a sinus infection, but that phrase is used so frequently, interchangeably for ‘runny nose,’ it makes me roll my eyes whenever I hear it.
Three days of antibiotics and I’m running again. Or trying.
I feel like a gate slammed shut on Thursday. Wednesday was before, Friday was after. Possibly, I’ll feel this way for the rest of my life. On Wednesday night, Trump gave his flaccid speech, patted himself on the back and pointed fingers at China, Europe and anyone else he could find. Thursday, the market tanked (again), the world railed at Trump for his lack of leadership, and it became clear to me this was really happening. The world is shutting down, retrenching, trying to wait out the coronavirus.
On Friday, my kids’ school (along with half the schools in the country) shut down for two weeks, and a couple of hours later, so did my work. So while everyone is scared or at least nervous about what’s coming, there’s a bit of festivity air. It’s spring break—something my kids have never experienced. Schools in Gettysburg get out at the end of May. Summer starts for Sophie and Eli while their cousins in Maryland, Massachusetts and Maine go to school for three more weeks. How is this achieved? Well, they start school in the middle of August, and they don’t get a break in the spring. Okay, our rural America public school district actually celebrates Christian holidays, so they get Good Friday off, but nothing else. This year, they get two weeks, just like everyone else.
I’m an introvert. I like reading, writing and running above all other activities. I social distance naturally every day of my life. I know many people are worried about quarantines, about their governor shutting down their state. There will be nothing to do. There aren’t even any sports to watch on TV. For me, this is a dream come true. If I’m told to stay home, I’ll keep myself occupied. Especially if I can go out for a run.
The trail I ran today circumnavigates the majority of the Gettysburg battlefield. Much of it is tucked away in the woods, some of it passes through a historic farm, and about a mile crosses a large field. I run this trail frequently. I’d say I see someone else out on the trail one out of four runs. Usually it’s a horseback rider, sometimes another runner, and on rare occasions, a hiker. Today was different. People are looking for things to do out of their house but not around people. I probably saw forty hikers today. Sure, it was a nice day, I’m not surprised some people were out, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Couples, families, dog walkers, even some groups of teenagers.
I’m not making light of the coronavirus, anyone who reads my blog knows I’ve been freaking out about it since January, but I can see some real benefit in the changes taking place in our country. People aren’t in their living room watching hockey. They’re not at TJ Maxx shopping for what ever catches their eye. At least in Gettysburg, they’re out hiking a trail. They’re social distancing, which to me looks like people spending time outdoors with their family and friends.
I hope those hikers had a great time today. None of them seemed particularly happy when I ran down the path huffing and puffing my possibly infected breath, but a few smiled and said hi and seemed reasonably comfortable in their setting. Maybe when the coronavirus is an ugly receding sight in our collective rear view mirror, some of those people will choose against shopping or TV sports and go out for another hike on a sunny Saturday afternoon.