It’s Back To Business, Even If It’s Not The Usual

It’s good to be competing again. I have a race every weekend in May (including yesterday), with the exception of Mother’s Day weekend. I don’t have kids; I figure I just need a break somewhere.

It’s good to see friends again, even though it is masked and hugs are only a sometimes thing. I’m good with an elbow bump. It’s the thought and the contact that count.

It’s good to train with a purpose. I am always up for a run, swim, bike session, or weight workout, but it’s easier with a goal.

And I hate to admit this, but it is fun to shop for workout gear again. I hate to shop; I think “retail therapy” is torture and would almost prefer a tooth-pulling to time wandering in a department store. But workout clothes are in a different realm. My closet is totally out of balance when you look at the workout vs. everyday wardrobe. In fact, I need to clean out the workout side; I have some new things coming and there isn’t room for them at the moment.

In the same thought, it is good to shop for things you didn’t know you needed. I always hated coming home from events with wet or towel-wrapped hair. Who knew there was such a thing as a rechargeable blow dryer? I have it and I love it.

I was surprised to see some wearing down on my running shoes; I have two pairs, and the ones I use for races are showing signs of use. While shoes are expensive to replace, it’s also nice to know they’re actually getting used.

I use a paper spiral calendar notebook for scheduling races, and last year was a big ugly blank, for the most part. My shiny new one is filling in fast, as more races go in-person, or at least offer the option.

It’s not all normal. Masks at the start and finish are required, as are temperature checks and at least some attempt at social distancing. I am all for maintaining the precautions as long as it takes, along with vaccinations, until the pandemic that has poisoned our politics and personal relationships, eradicated whole economic sectors and jobs, taken hundreds of thousands of lives, and changed much more permanently is as much a thing of the past as we can make it.

We will be able to look at this time with some humor — the toilet paper hoarding, the combination of stuck at home and having the time still did not equal a clean house, and the wrongheaded attempts by kitchen newbies to understand how yeast, flour, and water, combined the right way, turn into bread — but also recall how neighbors helped neighbors with groceries, money, and conversation. How people got to know each other strolling around their own streets and the way complete strangers pitched in at food banks, grocery giveaways, and voter registration drives. We learned how to be human with each other, and there’s hope this is one pandemic lesson that will outlast the virus.

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