Has the pandemic helped you discover more benefits to your running?
Hmmm. Yes, but for me, I am not sure it is necessarily pandemic-related, but instead just general growth and maturity. That said, without the pandemic, I would likely not have created Together Runs, which yes, have been very popular, but have also been a gift to me to feel more connected to other runners. I love seeing where you are when you’re running, those of you who send me your images, and what you look like when you’re running. It really makes me feel that I can imagine you there and envision you there. So I feel that even when I’m training alone, I’m surrounded by other people. So that has definitely been an unexpected benefit that I feel the community even more, even though I run on my own almost every day.
As for other benefits, mostly what comes to mind is just how much I love being around other runners. More than that, I mean the connection with genuinely good, loving people who make this world better, but just happen to be runners. I love the way running weaves throughout all of our lives and often becomes the analogy for many things, but it’s not all of who we are. I’m not sure I would have realized how much those people meant to me without the pandemic.
The pandemic also gave me the idea for Running Realized, which went on to be one of the most powerful projects I have worked on. While we are not ready for another season yet (there are a lot of factors making that tough right now), it was truly life changing and helped me see that I could be a part of changing the world for the better, and opening up the eyes of others who genuinely wanted to do better and do something.
Finally, the pandemic made all races disappear for a while and at least be different for a while after that, which allowed me to continue down my path of discovering what running really means to me when I’m not competing.
So I guess yes, it has benefited my running and yes, I suppose the answer to the original question is a big “yes,” when I said in fact it was a “no” at the beginning.
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