A few months ago, I posted a note that put this Blog on the back burner for a bit or maybe even permanently. In the mess that was 2020, blogging had become an obligation and a chore instead of a fun past time. I was also running out of motivation and material. Between COVID-19 and a bitter, divisive election year, I really didn’t feel like communicating with the world more than necessary.
Here we are almost halfway through 2021. COVID-related restrictions are being lifted, we’ve been vaccinated, and we are remembering once again how to be with other people. Like any major event in history, COVID-19 will shape part of our lives going forward. With any luck, people will be more conscious of their hygiene, more thoughtful to others, and will no longer take for granted things like a walk in the park or going to a concert, or participating in a 5K.
Speaking of 5Ks and racing, does this post mean I’m raring to race again? Hmmm. Frankly no. Or at least not right now. In fact, at the time being I have little gumption to sign up for any sort of race. Heck, I have races on my calendar I signed up for two years ago that have been deferred to later this year or next year and I’m not sure I want to do them. Runners and triathletes persist so hard at their training for fear of losing the edge or losing the will and ability to train hard and run fast. We run through pain when we shouldn’t and we inconvenience others because “I have to get my run in”. As it turns out, we can indeed lose that edge. I don’t know if we should be afraid of losing it though. It seems I have more time and will to do other things I enjoy too. I’ve often talked about that in past posts, but hadn’t really acted on it until now. As you will see in the days to come, other things are happening.
Perhaps the biggest fear those of us in the running and triathlon community share is that of “losing our fitness” if we stop racing. And by “losing our fitness” I mean reverting to our former blob-like, couch potato selves. Despite the pantry being just a few steps away, I personally managed to keep the work-at-home weight gain to a minimum. The pool and gym were closed and I hate doing weight work under normal conditions so I didn’t really do any strength training for most of 2020 but I did run and ride a fair amount. At least, I did enough to realize I don’t have to be signed up for a race to get myself to train. In fact, it was a bit liberating to not feel obligated to have to run and ride. Nor did I have to go out and get in long runs, track workouts, or crazy interval and tempo runs. Perhaps I should have been doing some of those things. As it is, I ran enough not revert to a giant amoeba but have definitely lost a step or two in speed. In fact, I’ve downgraded myself from runner to jogger.
2020 was a year for people to move outside to more isolated activities. I devoted a lot more of my new-found free time to bowhunting deer. (I know . . I already spend 75% of my time thinking about it or doing it. How much more devoted could I be?) Without summer vacations and busy weekends, I used the time to do more preparation for hunting season than I have in years. I spent the summer clearing trails, hanging new tree stands, and for the first time, putting up trail cameras to see what was out in the woods. The abundance of wildlife was fun to see and the cameras themselves became a bit of a hobby. When hunting season rolled around, I was able to spend more time in the woods than I have in years resulting in a pretty good season. I filled buck tags in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the NJ deer being the first buck I’ve taken to the taxidermist in quite some time.
I think the most significant and refreshing change I made in 2020 was to stop watching the news. As a kid, I can remember the news being a reliable source of truth with factual, objective reporting leaving interpretation and discussion up to the viewers. Now, the news seems to be nothing but sensationalism, and social influencing. I get that the networks are competing with the fiction pit that is social media but I was finding that the reporting on the news did not match reality and there seemed to be political influence and sensationalism around every story. Even the weather has to focus on the hottest or coldest temperatures with the weather map showing heat index numbers during the summer and wind chills in the winter instead of the actual temperature. We are human beings well-versed in how humidity and wind effect the feel of the air. Please just give me the basic numbers. Turning off the news has been liberating. I’ve been accused of sticking my head in the sand and ignoring the world. Really? So as an example when the country was wringing their hands about the power outages in Texas during the late winter cold snap, what were any of us supposed to do? Cringe and worry? Did that help? No thanks. Not tuning in has been the second best thing to come out of 2020 after the removal of my hair-raising 76 mile daily commute.
For the big question, am I re-opening this blog? Sure! Why not? I continue to be flattered by the hundreds of readers that tune in weekly and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t get a message from WordPress about new users following my blog. It may not be the race-centric blog it was before which may be a turn-off for some of you, but even then we had adventures in Newfoundland that were quite popular and stories about surgery, fishing, RVing, and even bathroom issues. I suppose if that stuff attracts readers, I should do my best to continue scribbling more of life’s adventures, especially if they are more varied. Stay tuned! More to come soon.