Layer by layer.

This has been the oddest year.  I know you all feel me on this.

It has been surreal, to say the least.  And, little by little, things have been stripped away.  What I have been left with is real, and raw.  I think back to the months leading up to the pandemic, and I can scarcely remember how things felt on a day-to-day basis.  I remember being very busy, and always having a plan and a to-do list.

Since March, everything has been upended.  At first, I didn’t really mind.  Even though it was strange, I was able to adapt and keep going with the flow.  Now, two months later, I am left with just the basics.

We get up everyday, have breakfast, talk about what needs to be done, do our daily exercises as a family, and then begin school work.  Before I know it, it’s time for lunch and then our afternoon school work begins.  The little one has “quiet time” in her room, and I’m already planning dinner.

Hours and hours are spent in the kitchen: cooking, cleaning, planning meals, and repeating.  The groceries disappear as fast as I can restock them. The kids continue to eat, grow, and argue.  Soon, it’s already the weekend again.

Before I know it, Monday is happening, and we start all over.  This has been my life since March 16th.  There has been no swimming, no racing, no working, except for a handful of hours each week where I get to treat some patients one-on-one.

The weather finally turned, and it seemed spring was actually here.  Then, the rains began, flooding happened, and the temperature plummeted.  Again, we were stuck inside staring at each other.  The water was beginning to warm up in the lake, until the rains came.  Now, the water has cooled again and we have a bacteria warning.  This means no swimming.  I can’t remember the last time I swam.

What has happened during all of this is a sort of metamorphosis. I have begun to rely more and more on my running, and less and less on everything else.  As a result, my life has, in essence, simplified.  I rather like it.

Gone are the days of biking and swimming and training for events.  Now, it’s just me and my shoes.  I wake up early, and I run.  I go for whatever distance I want.  If it feels good, I keep going.  When I lose interest, or things start to get uncomfortable, I stop.  The simplicity of stepping out the front door is not lost on me.  There’s no agenda, no pressure.  The only other thing I’ve done consistently is weight training.

To be honest, I haven’t missed multi-sport, which is both surprising and unsettling at the same time. Wether or not I still feel that way by the end of summer…well, who knows? I have actually felt a sense of relief, to be honest.  Things have been stripped away, and I can see more clearly now.  All I need is some dirt under my feet, and the beautiful trees.

I don’t think any of us will emerge from all of this unchanged.  I, for one, am excited about that.  I look at my life differently now.  I can prioritize better now.  I have also begun to see what I truly do for myself and what I have felt like I needed to do “just because”.  I have peeled it back, layer by layer.  And, I like what I have discovered at the core.  I think I like it here.  Maybe I’ll stay.

Run Happy.

Run Long.


Amy is a trail runner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also a runner and triathlete), and four kids in Ohio.

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